Car Mechanics (UK)

WHEELARCH WORK

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 Typical of most FWD vehicles, access to the bottom of the timing belt is via the offside front wheelarch. Rob starts the job by raising the front corner, securing it with an axle stand, then he removes the road wheel.

A trolley jack is required to support the engine when a support strut and the offside engine mount are removed, so this is manoeuvred into position, underneath the sump. The load is spread with a block of wood.

To make matters worse, one of those screws mentioned in the last step is hidden behind a brake flexi-hose. Fortunatel­y, there’s enough room to squeeze a screwdrive­r into position and undo it.

A support strut between the bodywork and the front subframe needs to be removed. It looks quite simple, but those 15mm bolts should be tightened to 50Nm and could be seized. Rob’s lucky, on this occasion.

Rob thinks he’s undone all the screws that hold the trim panel in position, but it still seems to be attached. There’s one more, hidden behind the wheelarch liner. Most of the screws for the liner are seized.

 Finally, the panel comes out and we can now see the crankshaft pulley. Rob selects second gear from inside the Ka, then tries to slacken the three 13mm bolts for the pulley. The drivebelt provides additional resistance.  There’s no air-con on this Ka, so there’s a short drivebelt between the crankshaft pulley and alternator. Adjustment is via the alternator. First, its mounting bolts are slackened, starting with this 16mm bolt through the wheelarch.

 There’s another 16mm mounting bolt on the top of the alternator to slacken (seen in the bottom of this photo), followed by the adjuster, comprising a 17mm nut and bolt (top middle of our photo).  Moving the alternator towards the front of the engine bay, the drivebelt becomes slack, so it’s removed. Rob discovers the ribs are cracked. He’d checked it during the last service (see the November 2020 issue), but access is clearly limited.

He’s not so lucky when it comes to removing the plastic trim panel that protects the bottom of the engine. Most of the crosshead screws have seized, so he resorts to using an impact driver to loosen them.

Thankfully, there’s an access hole in the wheelarch liner, so after undoing a few of its screws, it can be pulled out a little to see the remaining screw holding the first trim panel in position.

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