I opted for Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tyres, which I ordered from and arranged fitting through Black Circles. As of writing, one day later, they certainly make a huge difference. Lovely, smooth, precise feeling is restored....well almost.
I have been suffering from knocking sounds coming from the front suspension area again. I assumed it was going to either be the anti-roll bar drop links (as I haven't changed them yet) or perhaps the near-side bottom ball joint, that might have gone the way the off-side did recently.
Whilst the car was up on the lift having the tyres done, I had a poke around and asked the mechanic to help and found that the near-side bottom ball joint has indeed failed, quite badly as well. When he grabbed the wheel and rocked it, the whole hub could be seen to be moving maybe 5-10mm in the ball joint. Very poor show from those ball joints which are only about one year old.
Also there is a worn bearing kind of sound coming from the engine. I suspect a belt tensioner/idler or water pump bearing is on its last legs. Cam belt service was done at about 112,000 miles, so time to do it.
So current to-do list:
- Near-side bottom ball joint
- Front brakes pads
- Possibly ARB droplinks if knocking still present after ball joint replacement
- Full cam belt service including: cam belt, +tensioner + idler, waterpump
- Possibly ancillary belt + idler + tensioner if noise persists.
- Oil and Filter