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Sarel Fouche is a very lucky man. His habit of wearing hipster jeans and adjusting his belt tension so that a considerable amount of his rear anatomy is exposed to public view would have passed unnoticed in a city, but it was bound to draw comments in a small town. The local community came up with rude names for him, but the one that finally stuck was “Half-mast”.
Sarel’s daily transport is a VW Citi Golf and his driving habits can best be described as enthusiastic, with a certain amount of over-enthusiasm thrown in.
We regularly service his car and the last time Half-mast brought it in, he mentioned that the VW had recently started to make a clonking sound when pulling away as well as when driving over a bad patch in the road. This sounded like a suspension problem and I gave the car to Hennie. He jacked up each front wheel in turn right underneath the suspension arms so that the McPherson strut was compressed. This gave him a chance to examine the strut for top-end play that normally can’t be felt when the wheels hang in mid-air.
Both strut mountings seemed to be fine, so he put the car on the hoist to inspect the exhaust system and other parts that could cause a knocking sound. Hennie couldn’t find anything amiss, so he lowered the hoist and drove the car to his bay with the bonnet open. As he reversed off the lift, Japie, who was watching, said: “The engine seemed to rock rather a lot when you released the clutch pedal.”
Hennie cursed silently because he forgot to look at the engine mountings, so he moved the car back onto the hoist and discovered that the mountings looked rather old and dilapidated. He then returned the car to his bay, put the front part on stands and got Japie to rock the engine with a crowbar while he eyeballed the mountings. The rubber-to-steel bond on one of them had partly come adrift, so they had to be replaced.
We received the new mountings the next day, Japie fitted them and Hennie drove the car to make sure the noise was gone.