Chris Ritchie and Premier Engines and the tale of a paranoid Scotsman

So I got my engine back, and Chris Ritchie said over the next few days they’d put it back in the van and make sure it was all working. They did that and I finally got an almost £800 bill and my van. Never been so relieved in my life. That’s the happy news. Now for reality…

The instant I heard the engine I thought to myself this does not sound like a completely refurbished engine at all. Chris was stood beside me and said “That sounds sweet as a nut. The best sounding diesel I’ve heard.” That statement was so incorrect that I think he said it because he knew it sounded rough, but either he didn’t know what to do about that, or he knew it was his fault, or he simply had had enough of my van and wanted rid of me. Now I’m not a mechanic so I did suffer from a lack of confidence about my thoughts on the van, but deep down I knew it sounded rough. I decided to take it for a drive and see how it was.

I drove for about a half hour and honestly, apart from the engine block being gleaming clean, it felt no different than before. Indeed in subsequent days I found that it also did the same crap mileage of 22 mpg. And yet another day it got 29 mpg. So although the engine had seized and was now repaired, the original problem before seizure was clearly still there. 

It was also saddening to see missing and damaged and even broken parts in the engine. I know everything has to be stripped off the engine including injectors and alternator and everything before it’s sent for refurb and I wondered if it was possible to get an engine out, store all the parts and then put it all back together again and put it back in without breaking something. I decided that Chris Ritchie although he was a decent enough man and a canny mechanic, simply wasn’t setup for a job this big, so I let it slide.
I ordered the new plates from a Peugeot dealer in Barrow and a handful of bits and pieces.

After a few days of driving I felt strongly that the noise from the engine when driving sounded the same as a 90’s Ford when the tappets had gone. A very fast and loud ticking that had not been there before. I wondered if the head had actually been refurbished as well as the block. I checked the paperwork and that said the entire engine gets done. Looking at the bolts that hold the rocker cover on you could see that at least 2 of them were full of grit and dirt so clearly they had not been off, which they would need to have been if the head was refurbished.
So I emailed Premier engines but the next day decided to ring them. 

I spoke to a guy called Paul Eades and firstly asked to confirm they do do the head when they refurbish an engine and he said yes, so I said well I think mine got missed off. He immediately said “I know what you’re doing and I don’t like how sly you are.”
It took a moment for his words to sink in but once they had I was bemused. “I’m sorry.” I said, “I actually don’t understand at all what you mean.”
Straight away he comes back with “You’re trying to catch me out.”
I said “Catch you out with what? I’m bemused.”
” No you’re not.” He replied “I hate people like you who are sly and try to catch people out. I know who you are.”
I was actually stunned. “I said yes I said I was Gary Finnigan and I’m ringing about my engine. You confirmed that you refurbish the head too, but I’m ringing to say that I don’t think it has been done, I think it’s been missed off.”
“Yes I know, I got your email, and now you’re ringing to try and catch me out and show me in a bad light.”
I said “No I am not! I am ringing because email takes too long back and forth and I just want to get this sorted as soon as I can. What on earth am I trying to catch you out with!”
“Your head was done.” He replied, “That’s all there is to it, don’t ring here again or email.”

I truly was stunned. I asked to speak to a manager and he said “I am the manager.”
I said “OK I would like to speak to the owner.”
“The owners have no contact details that you can use, I am the person with greatest authority in this company and I have nothing else to say to you.”
I simply hung up at this point. I’ve never in my life come across anything like this before, so I rang back and asked the switchboard to put me through to the manager. The took my name and put me through to…Paul Eades. 
So I rang back again and asked if they had a complaints department. It was a different person so they asked what it was about and I simply said it was a complaint about some work I’d had done. He took my name and put me through to…Paul Eades. 
After googling them I rang their sister company who does the actual milling work on components and asked to speak to whoever was in charge. I was put through to Paul Eades. 

At this point he says to me “I have instructed every one of the departments here that if you call you are to be put through to me instantly. You will not be able to speak to anyone else in the company, and I have nothing more to say to you.”

Absolutely gobsmacked. I even googled the company and sure enough the owner was listed but nowhere was there any contact info at all for him. I tried ringing Premier Engines several times over the next week or so but every time I was put through to Paul Eades. 
They’re now called Engine Engineering  and as I don’t have any money to sue them , I’m basically buggered.


Sadly it was only much later that I found out the police conducted two massive investigations of this company after someone reported them for stealing an engine! Read that news report here.

Update 2:

That engine finally gave up the ghost in September 2019. Apparently the crank shaft bearings collapsed. I got another one from Vege UK so I shall post about that later.