I broke the van! (by )

While in London with the van, I had to deliver a server to a data centre - (InterXion London)[http://www.datacentermap.com/united-kingdom/london/interxion-london.html]. There's parking at the DC, but it's £20 to park a van there, so I decided to try and get into the car park marked just north of it on the map, in Quaker Street.

While I could find the car park, I couldn't find the way in - I could see cars all parked behind a fence, but no sign of the entrance. But while navigating the narrow little roads, I had to turn around in Grey Eagle Street:

View Larger Map

The road was narrow, only a single track, but with a wide pavement, so I opted for a three point turn. I turned hard right to bring the front of the van up onto the pavement, and the right wheel went up, but then I heard a grinding scraping noise. I was a bit surprised to be bottoming out on a not-particularly-high kerb, but I reversed back and found a place further down with a dropped kerb (but less pavement, since there was a car parked up there) to turn.

However, I noticed that my steering was suddenly a bit funny. I had to hold the wheel at about seventy degrees left to drive in a straight line. And the suspension felt odd - I could feel every little stone in the road, and if I went over even the slightest bump, I heard a funny creaking sound.


After a quick check for visible signs of damage as soon as I had parked (none), I did the business of the evening, and then drove carefully back to Highgate for a closer look.

I parked with the wheel perfectly straight, then got out and looked at both wheels.

Here's the left one, pointing nice and straight ahead:

Left hand wheel

And here's the right one... pointing twenty or so degrees to the right:

Right hand wheel

Looks like the tracking's totally out, then.

And by the scientific method of placing my hand in the gap between top of tyre and wheel arch then holding it still while I walk around and try on the other side, the right hand side seems an inch or so lower than the left, too.

And all this when I'm supposed to be doing a five-hour drive up motorways tomorrow evening. Eeek.

I'm going to see if I can find a place to look at my tracking and suspension first thing tomorrow... but I'm dreading what it'll cost, and doubting I'll get it fixed the same day...

1 Comment

  • By Angie, Fri 10th Oct 2008 @ 4:34 am

    If it is just the tracking you will get it done tomorrow down here if not in London, but you will need to go out early. Obviously you need to get it done before you drive apart from possibly being dangerous it would be very tiring. Just a point Al if this happened so easily just turning, I guess you may all have had a lucky escape. Have you got your license with you? You may have to hire a car, I will help financially at the present if necessary. If it is more than tracking, perhaps we could see my brother and see what he can do for you. This may still mean hiring a car. Unfortunately with all the visits to hospital and doctors to sort things out for the operation and my inability at present to use public transport I can't let my car go, or I would.

    I will help you as much as I can.

    love Angie

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