Car Mechanics (UK)
Shake, rattle & roll
Last summer, I thought it was time to swap the timing belt on my Vauxhall Astra MKIV van, which I’ve had from new and has reliably covered 180,000 miles. Being a job I had tackled before, I had all the necessary tools and parts ready to get stuck in.
I always pride myself on doing a thorough job and everything seemingly went smoothly. After a couple of hours, the timing belt was changed, along with a new tensioner and drivebelt. At this stage, the van was still on axle stands and the trolley jack was lying loosely under the sump, where it had been used with a piece of wood to support the engine while the mount had been removed.
I turned the key and my faithful van burst into life. Then as I stepped back outside, I was greeted by an awful rattle coming from the bottom of the engine: a rhythmic clank, clank, clank. I quickly turned off the ignition and gave the engine a look over to see if anything was amiss with the pulleys or if the crank pulley was still attached. Everything appeared to be in place. I reached for the ignition again and the van fired straight up, still accompanied by the terrible din.
As I looked around the engine trying to locate the source of the noise, l bent down by the front of the van and could see my trolley jack rattling away as it was being vibrated by the engine! I moved the jack away from the van and all I could hear was the sound of a happy engine blissfully idling away with her new belts fitted.