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Check your nuts...

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Wolve, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. 3am Saturday 23rd January 2010 woke to my alarm at the Medina hotel in Chippendale Sydney, packed and loaded the Nissan Patrol parked out the front. Drove around to work and began loading all the equipment and furniture for the trip back to Melbourne. I’d been in Sydney for the week after dropping a car full of kids going to a youth camp in Canberra along with a trailer now chained to a post in the Canberra University car park the previous Monday. With the car packed solid and chairs strapped on the roof rack I headed out of Sydney via the M5 freeway.

    Around 5:30am, heading through the tunnels at 80Klm/h I noticed a slight thrumming I put down to the wonderful concrete surface they tend to use in NSW on Freeways. Once out on the main throughway with the speed increasing to 100Klm/h the vibration didn’t ease up. Increasing to the posted 110Klm/h going through Moorebank I figured I needed to pull over to check if it wasn’t something else and indicated left. Just as I turned my head to check for traffic in the left lane a sudden lurch had my head snap back to the front in time to see the left front wheel bouncing off to the side and the car beginning to roll. Thinking “I wonder where that’s going to hit”, I gripped the steering wheel hard to keep the vehicle going straight and gently eased the brake pedal to see if they worked before the car began a slow drift into the left lane. Pulling the handbrake on I managed to heel the bucking and thumping almost three ton beast into the left emergency lane to a halt where the shower of smoke and flame that had been trailing behind me caught up.

    Hitting the emergency lights I scrambled out, with cars and trucks roaring past at 110Klm/h I grabbed a torch to examine the damage and found the front left brake rotor ground down into the pavement and the marks of the wheel and tyre over the side bar where it had hit leaving the scene. I walked back along the M5 and found the wheel resting amongst trees. After retrieving the wheel and rolling it along the emergency lane I came back to the Patrol finding two other 4X4 owners had stopped to lend a hand. First was Denis in another Nissan and the second was in a Ute but I’ve forgotten his name. Denis and I walked back in the increasing dawn light but we failed to find any wheel nuts.

    Evident by the studs having not been stripped, it appeared that someone had attempted to steal the wheel but were foiled by the lock nut. Instead of putting the nuts back they had left them off so the gradual vibration of the wheel had loosened the lock nut till it eventually unwound and the whole wheel fell off. It appeared the only damage was from the brake rotor hitting the ground and shearing off of the stone shield and a few dents and scratches on the alloy rim of the wheel. We jacked the car back up and using a nut from each of the other wheels re-attached the wheel. I could drive it slowly but which the damage to the brake rotor I wasn’t going far.

    The next seven hours were filled with many phone calls trying to find a replacement rotor on a long weekend where I ended up getting a second hand one from a 4X4 wrecker. Then finding a mechanic in Milperra to machine the second hand rotor and dismantle the hub to re-fit it. Once complete I then had to run back to Liverpool Autobahn to buy new wheel and lock nuts. Instead of the 8am meeting time I finally rolled into Canberra at 5pm, $200 poorer, to hitch the trailer and transfer the equipment before setting off for Melbourne with the kids on board. By the time we got to Albury around 1am I realised how exhausted I was and we had to keep stopping for a break the rest of the way so we finally didn’t get home until 7am Sunday morning.

    Not quite the excitement I’d been looking forward to on this trip however I’d like to thank a few people. Denis and the Ute driver for stopping to help and restoring my faith in what it is that makes us Australian. Especially Denis who was on his way home from work and even took the time to guide me through the side streets in Moorebank to the industrial area. Also the ARB guys on Newbridge Road Moorebank for calling suppliers and hunting down All Model 4wd Spares at 14 Marigold Street Revesby for the rotor.
    Big cheers for Frank and his family as I understand it upset his plans for the day as well but at Total Fuel 146 Beaconsfield Street Milperra he made my day getting the rotor sorted.

    You may recognise this place being opposite the Milperra hotel (now called “The Mill”), the site of the infamous Bikie shoot-out in 1984.

    I also found myself driving past RC Motorcycle Tuning but it was way too early in the morning, darn it, I always wanted to meet Rob and chat about bikes!

    And to the person who attempted to steal my wheels I only have this to say, I hope your fortune in life may improve so that at some time, in some way you may be able to offer help to a stranger and change someone else’s life for the better. Maybe one day you will come to understand the impact your actions had on so many people and how much more it may have, if I had crashed.

  2. The ramifications could have been so much worse. Another driver/rider might have been hit by the errant wheel, you yourself could have been killed or seriously injured. And for what? 1 wheel from a 4WD?
  3. checks his nuts --- yep I am a total loon - to the point of paranoid schizophrenic - I am out to get myself
  4. Yes, the list of "what ifs" I thought best left to your imagination. It also occurred to me as a rider to look at what the road did to this rotor! I for one will always be wearing protective clothing...
  5. Yup, my imagination was working. The damage to the rotor was quite a surprise. Having lost parts of my flesh, I am aware that gravel rash doesn't really do the injury justice.
  6. Wow! I can't believe how calm and articulate you remained with that post. Looking at that rotor, it must have been a frightening experience and I'm glad you made a safe stop. For the sake of a simple "quick buck", the attempted theft placed you and others (lucky it was very early in the morning) in a very dangerous situation.

    PS. Although slightly irrelevant, I believe the limit on the M5 through the Moorebank area is 100kph - it's 110kph up to the east side of the tollgates.
  7. Bloody hell!

    Oddly enough, I had a very similar experience with a Land-Rover more than 20 years ago. Fortunately I was going a bit slower than you were. The warning sign was a slight, rythmic creaking which blended into all the other odd noises the old beast used to make. In my case, the hammering pulled the studs out of the hub.

    I'm very impressed with that brake disc though.
  8. Wow ! That's a hell of chain of events ! :shock:

    Glad no accidents was involved.
  9. I wonder you had ABS whether the disc would have looked like a 50c coin...or just a couple of centimetres smaller diameter circle :LOL:
  10. i am a welder by trade and i know how long it takes to grind down metal. To grind down a disc rotor that far would take at least half an hour. This alone tells me how much force was imposed upon the rotor upon landing on the pavement. Bloody hell mate!
    Stay away from Sydney, it's always asking for trouble. If there ever was a dog eat dog city in Australia, it is Sydney. And you're right, karma will get the creature that did this to you.
  11. Holy Cow!...
    Hope they get hit by a runaway wheel.
    Glad no one was hurt.
  12. karma is a biatch, amazed at the rotor to, make sure u tell your rotor next time to ATGATT :)

    glad u got home safe
  13. Glad you're ok!

    Have you kept the rotor? It'd be a great reminder of why you need to preform basic vehicle checks, especially good to show people you know don't really look after their vehicles.

  14. Good on ya! Grant for an informative piece.

    Hope that is the last of your trouble from Sydney.

  15. Damn, I can't BELIEVE how flat that rotor is....scary.
  16. Wow i'm also amazed at how much the brake disc rotor was worn down, glad to hear that no one was injured and you were able to finish your journey home.
  17. everytime i read the name of this thread i keep thinking exactly that, check your nuts lol
  18. I stand corrected if I quoted the wrong stretch, it was wherever the speed limit went up as I noted the increase just before the wheel fell off. After that I was a little busy to check the GPS...
  19. Thanks,

    yes I've kept it and have done the rounds of the 4X4 groups and MC forums. I'm thinking of engraving it with the date and time and clear coating it before framing it for the wall of the shed. Hehe...
  20. I'm also impressed at how well you're taking it! Glad to hear you and everyone else around came out of it OK.