Car Mechanics (UK)

Shake, rat­tle & roll

- Steve Wells Vauxhall Motors · Vanuatu · Belgium · Vauxhall Astra

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.

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