23 April 2010

One Little Screw Screwed Me !

Oh I was cursing. It was a good job nobody was within a mile of me on Wednesday of this week. My Alfa was in bits and all because of one stupid little screw.

The weather had picked up - gone was the rain every second day and it looked finally as if summer was about to start. The terraces were starting to look overgrown, my stunning Magnolia trees had lost all of their spring flowers and the oaks were budding all over the place. My nose was twitching with the bud pollen (it’s just recovered from the pine dust), I’m starting to ride my scooters with a heavy jumper instead of Arctic style anoraks and it was therefore time to unwrap the Alfa from its winter cocoon.

When I had ‘wrapped it up’ last October, I’d remembered that there were a couple of problems which I needed to fix; the brake ‘warning lights’ kept coming on (big job) and there was a rattle from the passenger side of the car (tiny job).

Now men hate rattles, particularly on a car. Even more so, they hate rattles which they cannot locate but I was ok because I’d already traced this rattle to the ‘nearside’ wing mirror. That side of the car has never been right since my builder nearly ripped the door off one day (long sad story about two cars crashing in the rain) and so, much of my time is spent on that side of the car.

Simple. There’s a small plate under the mirror which probably covers up the securing screws. Remove that, tighten the screws and that’ll be it fixed – 10 minutes max!

Nope. One of the two screws holding the plate was frustratingly, partially hidden by the bodywork of the car. I’d have to remove the mirror first.

To remove the mirror I had to remove the door panel. To remove the door panel, I had to remove the speakers and the arm rests and the electrics and the …… I’m sure you get the picture and if you don’t - see above.

Luckily, I’ve had the door panel off once before (refer back to crash with builder) so I knew where various hidden fixings were located but it still took a good 90 minutes to get to the wing mirror. One minute later, I had the covering plate off and I was tightening that little screw which had caused the rattle and the rebuilding process started. Another 45 minutes and the door had been rebuilt but hang on – there were a couple of tiny screws left over!

Aaaaagh – I’d left the small covering plate in the footwell of the car. It had been hidden by some tools. Nothing for it – start all over again!

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