Sofa rebuild

So the story is, I was taking some colleagues down to the Isle of Wight festival, and 2 of them were very large men. At some point on the journey back one of them said they had felt the sofa ‘give’ when I braked hard. I hadn’t braked hard, so I was unsure what he meant but when I looked, the frame of the sofa had been ripped out of the wall and flattened and snapped down onto the floor. 
I can only assume that given his massive bulk, he does not know how to carry himself and plonked himself down on the sofa without regard to what his weight may do. 

Anyway, later I discovered that the other sofa had suffered the same fate from the other guy, although not as catastrophic as the battery box and gas cupboard had acted as struts for the frame and prevented it from snapping and hitting the floor like the first one. 

It’s taken me months to get round to fixing them partly as I was so busy with other things, and partly because I imagined it to be a very difficult job. I am absolutely hopeless with a saw and can’t cut a straight line to save my life. However…this month I got round to doing one.

I was fed up of not being able to put the bed up, and fed up of it just being broken so as I had a week off work I decided to take the bull by the horns. It turned out to be time consuming, it took me 2 full days to finish it off. But part of that was not knowing how to dismantle the sofa in the first place and taking my time to make sure I did a good job given my lack of wood working skills. 

Now I don’t do videos normally but a friend asked me to see pictures of the job. I had only taken a couple so I made a video of the completed job, explaining a little bit about what I did. Here it is for your enjoyment. 
I would say that the bed is now 10 times more reliable and sturdy than when I bought the van, it was sooooo badly made and weak that to be honest I am very surprised it hasn’t broken before now just with my weight. 
Anyway, here it is, comments welcome.

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Leaky injector

So I was leaving a venue and wondered why I could actually see my fuel needle dropping as I drove. It had to be a leak, and I remember that the night before, after using more fuel than I should have needed to, I saw smoke coming from under the front of the van when I was reversing. I leaned out the window with a torch and it was not the exhaust, so I wondered if it was a leak on the EGR system again. I was tired so thought no more about it and went to bed. 

So the next day leaving the venue and heading back to Durham and watching that needle dropping I knew it was a diesel leak so I got stopped as soon as I could and I saw it pouring out from under the van. Turning off the engine stopped it and as it was coming from the offside I guessed it might be the fuel pump. However when I got the bonnet up I saw instantly that the return pipe or leak off pipe as some call it had come off the injector. 
Everything was covered in diesel splash: the battery, the brake and steering reservoirs, the accessory belt, electrics, it was literally everywhere. It pumps out with some speed if you take off the return pipe, and that had been pouring for about 15 miles. I’d lost almost a half tank of diesel, about 30 litres. 

I knew straight away why the return pipe was off. I could see that the small wire clip that holds it onto the top of the injector was not there. A few thoughts went through my head like; did it just pop off? Was it rusted and broke off? Was it not put on properly by O’Connors when they replaced the engine? As I thought that last thought I also noticed that there was no clip on any of the other 3 injector return pipes. There was my answer, this was yet another example of O’Connors shoddy work. He had not replaced the spring clips.

An image of the injector leakj off pipe held in place by duct tape
Showing my improvised pipe clip

I rang him but was told ring back the next day and they would try and find some. There’s no arguing with them I tried before when I got the engine swap done, so I just hung up. The next day I rang them back and they said they had some on order and would get them Friday. So I rang Springfield Peugeot in Gateshead who told me you can only get them with a new injector for £400 lol That’s not true at all, genuine Peugeot parts on ebay have them for £3.49 a set. 🙂
Not wanting to wait for ebay or til Friday I decided to go to a local scrapyard. But first I’d have to cure that leak.

Luckily there’s a metal bracket above the injector which I know as a pain as it has to be removed to get that injector out. So I used some duct tape, folded over many times to create a thick wad, and then  jammed it between the top of the return valve and the metal bracket to make sure the valve did not come out again. 

You can clearly see in the photo all the diesel covering everything in the bay, and on top of the left most injector, the wad of duct tape that was holding it in place. 

With this arrangement it still leaked but only barely, so that was me sorted for the time being.  I got to the scrapyard without issue and got 4 clips and a new piece of return end pipe for a fiver, job done. 

Oh it also cost me £8 at Halfords for a tin of brake cleaner which I used to clean the worst of the diesel spill from the rubber hoses, electrical wires and fluid reservoirs. The rest of the block and the engine mount need a better cleaning though, I’ll probably have to Gunk it and use a high pressure hose to get it properly clean. 

There is definitely an argument to be had about paying inexpensive garages to do complicated jobs. Using O’Connors has cost me about £500 more than it should have done, in extra costs on hire cars, accommodation, new parts and of course a half a tank of diesel and a lost day dealing with it. 

Back to that same old question: where the heck do you find a reliable garage that does not charge £100 an hour like Peugeot dealers do? One Peugeot main dealer quoted me £3200 to swap the engines. So I guess I’ve still saved £2000 by going to a backstreet garage.

PS: I think that particular injector needs replacing anyway, and has done since the other engine, but aside from that this new engine seems to be running really well. Touch wood!

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Toilet habits

So the day finally came when I decided that I should really fit the new Thetford toilet bowl that I bought about 3 months ago. I was a tad scared of the job I’ll be honest, but also I’ve had very little time to devote to it, being told from a few sources that it’s a half day job and a nasty job too. The first thing I can tell you is that that is bollox. Even taking my time it was about 2 hours and that included cleaning the cassette and having a tea break. 

Anyway, you can get most of the way by watching this video. It’s not my toilet mine is the C200CW, this video is how to replace the pump in a more modern toilet. However, the basic steps to get the bowl off are the same so I found it really useful for the main part. 

I cleaned the compartment thoroughly, then detached the two front and back brackets, the front one being the one that holds the magnet. I’ve no idea what that magnet is for. Then there’s 3 brackets that actually hold the bowl onto the base but allowing it to swivel. Those 3 are all identical so no need to remember where each one came from. So, five parts, each with 2 screws, simple enough. The bowl is now free and you need to detach the flush pipe to actually take the bowl out.

Image showing a spout from a Thetford toil
The flush spout

Once the bowl is detached from the base though the pipe from the flush prevents you taking it off. It took me the use of a torch and dentists mirror to establish how to get that off. 

This series of photos shows how. As you can see in this photo the flush spout is free of the bowl itself, and it wasn’t easy. There are 2 parts arrowed. The left part is sort of hooked in the hole that it goes through, retaining it when the right bit is pushed into place. 
The right bit is a sort of spring clip. It’s actually underneath when you look at it in place, so you need to use a mirror to find out where it’s edge is, then I used a stubby flathead to prise that clip toward the body of the spout, which  frees it from the housing. You can’t see what you’re doing so you have to see it with the mirror so you understand how it fits in, then simply feel your way while using the stubby. (Or whatever you use to prise it off). 

Putting it back is the reverse and is a bitch to do with the pipe still attached. You hook the ridge shown left in the photo over the lip of the hole, then you have to force the spout down and in so that the clip at the right goes into place. I found this impossible to do with the pipe attached as the pipe is so rigid and large. So I took it off and put the spout in place and that was fairly simple to do with the pipe off. 

I hit another snag putting the spout back in and the next photo show how I overcame that. 

Showing the flush pipe with duct tape attached.
Flush pipe

The pipe as I said is fairly rigid but as you can see in the photo, it has to come into the bowl, go around the back of the moulding and then attach to the spout. And therein lies the problem, it was almost impossible to get the pipe into place. 

So, once again duct tape came to the rescue! I have some very strong stuff so I wrapped it around the end of the pipe, then fed the tape through behind the moulding, and pulled the pipe through using the tape. Once I had it in place I took the tape off and with one or two swear words I managed to get the pipe back onto the spout. 

Job done! If I was to do it again I reckon it would take about an hour. I am massively chuffed with my new bowl, the first one in 15 years, and along with the cassette refresh my toilet is like new. 

 

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Enter stage left…a decent Peugeot dealer!

Yes I know, how can I utter the words “Peugeot dealer” and “decent” in the same sentence. It defies everything I know and have experienced over the last 14 years! But truly, I’ve not gone mad or senile and it’s true. You don’t believe me? Here’s the story. 

As some of you know I’ve had my brakes fixed a couple of times since 2014. I won’t list all the links, just do a search on my blog for brakes and all the sorry stories will come up, including having the brakes rebuilt front and back, and having the rear brakes checked and adjusted several times in the UK and Austria. Yet here I am driving along with poor brakes that need to be pumped to get them to work, and no handbrake. I had started collecting all the spare parts for the entire braking system last year in Canterbury. If all these garages could charge me all this money and still not give me working brakes I may as well do it myself. 

I had been given some screenshots and advice by a Peugeot mechanic on a forum and given my history of DIY mechanics since I was 17 I decided I’d do it myself. I had got a couple of extra parts from a dealer in Penrith when I was working there some weeks ago so one day I set out to fix them. I quickly found I could do nothing as when I took the offside drum off, the adjuster actually fell out. Literally fell onto the ground. I could see some of the return springs were old and damaged so I replaced them but the adjuster was clearly damaged too. Where the sear hits the knurled wheel for auto adjustment…there was a 4 mm gap lol This partly explains why I have no rear brakes. 

I checked with a dealer and the adjusters were £84 each so I bought a pair from ebay for £32 the pair lol However faced with difficulties of where to park to get the job done, in the end I booked it into David Hayton’s dealership in Penrith. I’d already bought an EGR valve and pipe from them and had good advice while there, and although they charge £105 an hour the guy seemed to know his stuff.

The brakes were in a disgusting condition and I was pleased I had the parts I’d bought over the last year as we used most of them, which saved extra cost and of course time waiting for them. The guy showed me what he was doing and I even helped out a little where I could and after 2 and a half hours they were done. He even put copper grease and stuff here and there which a lot of garages don’t bother with. And some ceramic grease on the edge of the shoes. I wish I had taken lots of photos but I was too busy helping to get them done. 

So, once finished he put the van on the rolling road and the left front and rear brakes passed, but the right front and rear failed. How odd. However he said they would take time to bed in so not to worry and the same test in a week would probably show a pass. Once I got to drive it though it was amazing how efficient the brakes were and I now have a working handbrake!

Now I recall all the times in the past when I’ve driven out of a garage and the brakes seemed fine only to get worse over the next few weeks, so I am not counting my chickens just yet. But I do have a good feeling about it his time so…fingers crossed!

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I’m still here

Yeah…it’s been a long time. In fact it’s been almost a full year since I last posted. What have I been doing?

I’ve been doing not very much to be honest! Seeing the grandkids, supporting my daughter, working hard at 2 jobs and of course messing on with my ancient and decrepit van. 

I’ve hardly been anywhere apart from the lake district a few times and working. I trained for my security licence and have been doing a lot of work as a security guard, steward, safe guarder etc which has made me a reasonable sum of extra pocket money. I put that to good use by getting new tyres, having a load of welding done and finally getting the brakes sorted out. I was going to Furness cars and commercials. That awful night when the engine seized they were the ones who recovered me and I recall the driver telling me they also did repairs so I tried to find them much later. I did eventually and asked them to do bits of work on the van. Mostly it was about the high fuel consumption. They found that on one test there was a result of 12 micro somethings, and it should have been 250. So they suggested replacing the MAF sensor. Although the MAF sensor was only a year old I went along with it and sure enough when they tested the second time the reading was much closer to 250. Sadly, it did bot all about my fuel consumption. 
Later, the alternator collapsed and they offered me a Bosch alternator with a lifetime warranty. I went for it even though the final bill was over £500. They made me feel as though I could rely on them even if their prices were high so I went for MOT and they did a small patch of welding which cost me over £300. That was me sorted though, with a few advisories for more rust. 

The metal here was so rusted it was split.

As I was earning extra money from the security work I decided not to wait until MOT time and then fly around trying to get things done, I decided I would work through the advisories now while I still had 8 months left. I jacked the van up to have a little look to see what needed doing and I was shocked to the point I could barely believe it.

Let me show you their advisories. These photos don’t show the full extent of the rust, because a light press here and there went straight through and bits were flaking off just by touching the area. Alongside these, and one of them is clearly where some garage has tried to jack the van using a box member and punctured it, there was rust in the wheel arches with gaping holes and large areas to come out. There was also rust on the inner sills to the extent they had to be replaced. The area where the chassis is fastened to the suspension lower arm was rusted right the way through and to everyone I showed it was agreed that the van was an instant MOT fail. So why had Furness passed my MOT? And what had they done for over £300 cos I could not find any area that had had extensive welding.

Clearly this has started because someone jacked it up on the box member.

Several garages said the work would run into hundreds, with one particular garage quoting me £2000! lol 
Anyway I sent the pictures to Furness who replied that they were happy with the quality of their work and stood by their decision to pass the MOT. The replies were actually quite angry that I should dare to question them. I pressed them again on MOT rules that someone had given me and they replied saying clearly the van had rotted since the MOT! The levels of corrosion in these photos have been building up a very long time and in fact I am shocked no garage in the past has flagged it as an advisory. I posted some pictures on my Facebook page and

This is one of the main anchor points for the suspension.

eventually I was recommended a garage in Wingate called Lloyds. They had a look underneath and after careful thought offered me a price and said the work could be completed in 2 days. The 2 day thing was mostly cos I had to have the van back each afternoon. They were as good as their word and did all of the necessary work and charged me a really fair price, which wasn’t a great deal more than Furnes had charged me for work I could not even find. Lloyds work was of great quality too so they are now my goto garage when I am nearby. 

This section literally was falling apart, with great chunks of metal hanging off or missing.

I’ve added all of these photos as a reminder that it’s very well worth checking your vehicle yourself even after it comes out of the garage. As anyone who has read this blog in the past will know, I consider the majority of garages as unprofessional and at worst, cheats.  

I felt secure with Furness Cars and Commercials, I’m not sure why, but I can now say their level of work is disgraceful and in the opinion of several other mechanics, some of them MOT testers, they sent me on the road with a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Thanks to Lloyds it’s all done now, and I’ll be keeping a check on the chassis so I can keep on top of any work done.

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