BROKEN MANHOLE COVERS AND SUSPENSION BOLTS
I believe my recent (and some past) experience should be shared with our members.
Norman wrote about suspension bolts breaking on the TF160's. There is a bolt that secures the lower end of the combined shock absorber and spring to the sprung section of the wheel hub. The bolt is cantilevered and therefore from a technical point is in single shear and being cantilevered is also subjected to bending. In my case the sheared line is at cut of the thread and not on the shoulder of the bolt. The 'v' of the thread appears to have been a crack inducer, rather like the perforations on toilet paper, and on microscopic examination there is some crystallization on the break. The crystallization would indicate fatigue resulting from repeated bending rather than a shear fracture. The impact was probably the last straw.
This failure has been experienced by a number of TF 160 drivers and all owners should be aware of it and know how to recognize it when it happens. Anyway Norman has covered this in his letter to the magazine. The purpose of this letter is to share my experience with claiming damages from the relevant authorities.
Apologies to the legal fraternity in the club who may not agree with my recommendations but what I can tell you is that my efforts worked.
Responsibility for manhole covers is one of the following departments: Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA). JoBurg Water, Telkom and others. In my case I initially submitted my claim to JRA and was later advised that it should be JoBurg Water. The small covers generally where your left hand wheels travel near the kerb are valve chambers. In recent years the old metal covers that were stolen or broken have been replaced with a composite blue material - fibre reinforced concrete- that have failed dismally. The tyre markes on the tarmac shown on the attaced picture indate many such problems. Incedently 6 months later the cover remains broken
I drove over this one in Mountain View and not only did it break the bolt mentioned above but the end of the spring/shock landed on the drive shaft resulting in major damage- broken side shaft, damaged CV and shock absorber- some R 12000,00!
The procedure for submitting a claim is as follows:
|The claim form is available on-line from JRA web site- and send to Bonolo Ramohlala They list the documents that are required. Download the form...|
|In respect of JoBurg Water - the contact is Reon Coetzee tel 011 988 1441 Reon Coetzee. Download the form...|
I prepared a fully substantiated claim with the following:
|Completed claim form|
|An invoice for the repairs and a receipt reflecting my payment|
|Colour photographs of the damage|
|A Google Earth picture of-can you believe! -the missing cover.|
|A Google map of the location|
|A letter from my insurers stating that I would not be lodging a claim with them. (since I was covered I could have claimed from my insurers but that would increase my monthly premium, affect the no claim bonus etc.)|
|An affidavit stating that the car was damaged by the missing/broken manhole cover. A standard form for an affidavit of this nature is available from your local police station but also now available on our web site|
All this was delivered to them by hand in a bound document with a copy of the covering letter that was signed for acknowledging receipt. I was given a reference number. One need lots of patience and a weekly follow up quoting the reference number. In my case the claim was submitted in April and settlement finally received in October. In the first sentence I mentioned past experience- Some years ago Michel had a similar problem with an unmarked trench in the road that was settled by JRA.