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Haynes’ World: rough roads take their toll on our Skoda Yeti

Haynes' World Skoda Yeti

Haynes' World is a regular feature that takes a look at what the staff at Haynes are doing with their cars, bikes and other vehicles. This time, Euan has had to replace some of his Skoda Yeti’s suspension.

Skoda Yeti rear

Car: Skoda Yeti

Owner: Euan Doig

Have you ever had one of those jobs in which everything seems to be difficult or go wrong?

You see, a combination of chronic underfunding here in the UK has taken its toll on the roads, not only where I live but seemingly everywhere I go.

It was especially bad last winter. All of the journeys I undertook, whether they were trips up to my hometown in Scotland or simply heading to my local supermarket, were punctuated by swerves as I tried to avoid yet another cavernous pothole, or thumps and bangs when I inadvertently strayed into one. Some were so deep I feared I’d need a head torch and a budgie in a cage to get out safely.

Skoda Yeti sunset

This took a toll on my Skoda’s front suspension, and before long there was an ominous and annoying rattly clunk from the front left corner over even the most minor imperfections.

After some investigations, it became clear that the antiroll bar drop link on the left-hand side was knackered. A new one was purchased, and time set aside to carry out the swap. Not enough time, as it turned out.

The appointed day dawned… showery. I thought: “Ah well, it’s only a few bolts, so I’ll just avoid the showers.” I lifted both sides of the car and set it on axle stands, then removed the front left wheel (after a bit of wrestling).

Skoda Yeti brakes

I’d sprayed the 19mm nuts at either end of the droplink with Plusgas a day earlier, so hoped they’d come off quite easily. Nope.

I thought I’d break each nut loose initially using a socket, except the middle shank protruded so far that a socket wouldn’t fit, and I didn’t have a deeper socket. So, a spanner it was, with a second spanner hooked into it to provide extra leverage. Boom – it worked! 

Skoda Yeti droplink

Then it was just a case of holding each centre shank still by inserting an Allen key into it, and loosening the nuts using a spanner. Except the nuts didn’t come off easily. Indeed, despite me using lots of spray to ease their path, they fought me with every single turn.

And then the centre shank started to turn around the Allen key, which meant I couldn’t loosen the nuts anymore. At which point the showers I’d been dodging caught up with me and emptied the contents of the sky onto the entire proceeding. There was only one thing for it: tea.

Next step: hacksaw

I had a think and decided the only way to remove the droplink was to hacksaw each shank, so I set to work.

Great! I’d got about halfway through the first one when the hacksaw blade snapped. Did I have a spare? Of course not. After a trip to Screwfix in my girlfriend’s car I had two packets of spare blades, so set to once more. Shortly after, one end of the droplink was free.

Hacksaw droplink nuts

Another brew was required (partly to let my arm recover), then I set about the other end. Sure enough, off it came. Then down came the rain again, in biblical fashion. It definitely stopped play.

Repairs stretch into the next day

The car sat, forlorn, on axle stands overnight, and then the next day dawned with a curious yellow orb in the sky. Enthusiasm burned anew, and out I went. Putting on the new droplink was a doddle, and once I’d torqued everything up to the correct tightness it was time to get the wheels back on and put the car back on the ground, all of which went fine right up until the point when I was tightening up the wheelbolts to the right torque. At which point my socket snapped. See what I meant when I said it fought me every step of the way?

Another trip to buy a new socket, and the wheel was back on and tightened properly.

Skoda Yeti new droplink

So, a job that should have taken around an hour actually took me most of one day, part of the next, cost me for fuel and new tools, and meant that the household teabag stock took a huge hit.

Still, it was all worthwhile when I took the car out and all clunks and rattles were gone.