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

Pass problems

I was going to say you may not believe it but, you might…my brakes burned out on a pass in Austria lol

It was a 16% hill and in 2nd gear the rev counter was going over 5,000 so I went into 3rd but then had to continually brake on and off most of the way down. The brakes got so hot that by the half way mark there was smoke coming from the wheels and the stench was awful. I pulled into a restaurant car park that offered itself and noticed a camper about the same size as mine but about 10 years older pull in after me. They didn’t have problems 🙁  Here’s the car park: MK3_2601

So, I decided to sit here and have some lunch. It’s blazing hot and I have no idea how much of the hill is left, I suspect a lot. I may not even reach Italy tonight grrr

*Update: I had to stop once more on the way down but from then on it was flattish so no problem. It’s concerned me though so I’m getting the brakes checked out when I return to UK.

**Update 2: I was chatting on a motorhome forum and a guy gave me this link http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/VehicleSpecific/T3/info/brakefluid.htm It’s an article that basically says brake fade is due to old and poor condition brake fluid and not pads. Bad pads cause brakes simply not to work. I am dubious as to the authenticity of this but I’ll be checking it out.

I decided that as it was over 2 hours quicker using the toll roads through the Brenner Pass, I’d pay the fee. It was €19.80 to get through the first few miles of the pass, but the next 150 miles or so of Autostrade into Veneto was only €5.60. Total tolls paid since leaving Calais including the French ones is a wallet busting €71.90 Thanks in part to my SatNav which although I told it NOT to use toll roads, it did. So after the second time it did it in France I bought a map and stopped using the TomTom. I’m heartily fed up with TomTom’s unreliable mapping so that’s my finish with it. It’s useful for marking POI’s and that’s about it.

Total mileage covered from Dover is 1006, which equates to about 156 litres of diesel which at the average price is just less than £250 or so.

Anyway, I got into Mestre and headed for Punta Sabbatini as I’d been told there was a sosta there. I found a free car park and parked up and went to bed shattered.

Oh update on the money card. I rang them and they said the last transaction had not worked as he had not sent it through as the correct transaction type. It needs to go as chip and pin and not a swipeable card. Well he managed to do my Visa card OK…anyway, the stop before that she said did not work as the Money Card does not work at automated fuel pumps and it says this clearly in the terms and conditions. What about the previous time near Strasbourg? Oh wait, it doesn’t matter, just put all the money back on my bank card as this has cost me dearly in time and stress so far and failed to work so I don’t want it any more. Yes Sir, that’ll be up to 5 working days to go into your account, or £21 if you want it immediately. I wish I could say “You useless, greedy robbing bastards!” but it wasn’t her fault she simply works there.

Taking a brake

Put my van in to be checked at G and C Autos in Gateshead. I was worried about a brake light on the dash, but apparently it was just the sensor on the rear going mad. I knew the front one was broken too as I had snapped the lead one day when putting the snow chains on, so they fixed that also. Topped up the brake fluid and reported that the load balancer was leaking. *sigh* Another part fitted by Croxdale Autos just over  a year ago, so now I gotta get booked in for that. I wonder where Croxdale get their parts from cos they fitted a wheel bearing that failed too, although luckily that failed in warranty.

Anyway, brakes all cleaned and working again, so they aren’t the reason the van is using too much diesel and lacking power. They suggested going to a diesel inejctor specialist so thats what I’m going to do. Happy days :s