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 £70 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!

Pulley the other one…

You recall I got my clutch done at Hoddy’s, and after I got the van back it was rattling, I mean proper rattling, like the tin man having sex with an empty bean can. I wondered it it might just run in or something but after 2 weeks it was doing my head in so I went down to Hoddy’s to get it looked at.

I parked up outside wanting to be there early for the morning but was woken about 1 am by a car driving past a couple of times. I never bothered looking out but I listened and I could hear all manner of stuff going on. Then I heard this loud voice (which turned out to be a recorded alarm) shouting “You have been recorded and the police have been called and and we are continuing to monitor you!”

I did look out then, just in time to see a young lad legging it down the street and a small car with no lights on doing off after him. Quite why he ran past the car then they drove after him to pick him up I’ve no  idea. Maybe burglars are really thick as shit?

Anyway, so I tried to settle down again but after about 20 minutes the police show up. 2 cars and a dog van. Well, when Jack heard the dog there was hell on and when he saw all the cops wandering around outside he went mental at the window and wanted to rip them all to pieces lol.
I opened a window and told the cops they’d missed the lads and gave them as much info as I could. Sadly about 15 minutes later another one came and asked me it all over again lol I didn’t get settled til about 3 am.

So, I get up in the morning and it’s 9 am before it dawns on me that the reason Hoddy’s hasn’t opened is that it’s bank holiday Monday…..

NEXT DAY
I do it all again. Ground hog day or what lol But at least this time I get it in and they say the crankshaft pulley has gone. £130 to replace. I said yes then rang other garages who said about the same  price too and when I picked it up he showed me the old one which was indeed in pretty poor state. Sure enough when I drove away the engine sounded much better. More money I hadn’t bargained on but hey ho.

I had asked them to do the MOT too. It failed, and the main thing out of 4 was the lower suspension ball joint. However the guy was bothering more about having the wrong reflector on the rear of the van. He went on and on about it, even saying “I can’t fail you for it cos I checked, and I can’t, but it is wrong.” I found that odd and the fact he went on so much that in the end I said it’s not even an advisory, so let’s leave it. But he was still mithering me about it as I left.

So the next day I drove down to Preston to the only Robins and Day main dealer that I will visit. It flew through the MOT without problem, and they even had time to investigate the brakes for me to establish whether I can have vented disks on. Sadly, they can’t tell without stripping the brakes entirely. I suppose the moral there is if you’re not sure, get a second opinion.

All cabled up

Well I got booked in at G C Autos at Gateshead and he replaced all the cables and checked the braking system out all for £94.
I’m chuffed to bits now as they actually work and it proves how bad they were because the foot brake works better too. I may fit vented discs at some point as I’ve found some to fit but I’ll do that as I need it.

More brakes…

I was very pleased with the job done on my brakes when I came back from Italy, although I have since then found some vented discs, which I intend to buy and fit.
However I did ask that the brake cables be replaced at the time, and they convinced me that the existing ones could be “made good” so I allowed myself to be swayed. Here we are almost 6 months on and the cables are giving me problems now. The first 2 inches of pull on the handbrake handle is loose, and then it suddenly goes stiff as though the brakes are on, but they are not. So I’m going to get the whole cable assembly replaced in the morning.
Let’s hope that doesn’t break the bank.

Van brakes repaired

Image of a car garage
Swingbridge garage

Got the van into the garage for 7 am and set off to walk around Newcastle on Tyne. It was quite cold to start with but later on the sun came out and it was red hot all afternoon.
They called me about 1 pm to collect the van which cost me £291.66 for new disks, new pads, new shoes, new fluid and the handbrake cable serviced.  I went to pick the bike and my other stuff up and by the time I got to my friend’s about 12 miles away the brakes were stinking, squealing and fading. I was gutted and after I got my stuff took it straight back.

They jacked it up and cleaned it all off but were adamant there was no problem, it was just the brakes bedding in. They did seem miles better after I left later so let’s hope they’re all sorted now.

Part of the problem is these motorhomes are standard commercial vans with a camper conversion and instead of running at full weight occasionally, they do constantly. So the brakes will get hot but still shouldn’t fade.

Update. 

The brakes were not fixed at all. They might have replaced the shoes and pads and the disks but that’s about all they did. The fluid clearly hasn’t been bled through, just topped up because the brakes are no different. Also he gave me a cock and bull story about the handbrake cable but that hasn’t been touched at all. 

I returned here some months later intending to complain but in the end I booked it in and simply said there was a problem with the brakes. He came out later and said “Bloody hell who did your brakes they’re set up all wrong!”
I looked him square in the eye and said “They were done here.”

So we had some argy bargy and eventually they agreed to sort it all out and charge me half the bill. 

That’s what they did, and afterwards I checked the brakes and the two tiny boots from the end rear cables were not in place, and the pivot hole had not been drilled out to make it swivel easier as he said he’d do. 

Load of old cobblers this lot are so I won’t be back to them. 

Take a brake

You may recall that when I first came to Italy my brakes faded out, you may have read it here. I just checked a price back in the UK and for new brake discs, decent quality pads and new shoes, plus the whole system bleeding through with new fluid, they reckon 4 hours work and just under £300. As I don’t have any tools myself I’d say that’s not a great price, but it’s not a really bad one either.

Thing is I may have to have them done in order to get back in July. Wish me luck in trying Italian garages lol