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!

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.

Poio, Pontevedra and another good garage

Paulo had also told me about an aire in Poio which he said was very nice. I decided to give it a try and sure enough it’s by a park and right by the beach of a lovely bay. I noticed as I drove in that on the main road is a huge fruit and vegetable market and a garage so once I was settled I walked back up to speak to them. 

The Peugeot garage had said £1300 to repair! Apparently their recommended cat is £1000, although they also allow a warranty on another one which only costs £500 lol There is an aftermarket one that Euro carparts do for £180 but I can’t get one out here.

So, using Google translate on my phone and a lot of waving of hands etc I asked the bloke in the garage if he could weld the broken joint in the cat. He immediately said yes and we arranged for me to come in after work the next day. A lot of Spanish businesses have lunch between 1pm and 3pm but then work until as late as 8 and 9pm at night. I’ve ordered that stuff from Amazon but I would prefer a permanent weld of course. 

Jack, chasing squirrels...*sigh*...at least it was a grey one.
Jack, chasing squirrels…*sigh*…at least it was a grey one.

He also, without a word of English managed to make me understand that if I walked around the park and crossed to the far side of the bay, there was a beautiful walk along the bay culminating in a great wide open scene. I spotted the path he was talking about and decided if the weather stayed good I would indeed try that route.

So next day I went in and he didn’t book me in, didn’t take my keys and say we’ll ring you, just pointed at the other cars inside and indicated that I wait lol It was almost 45 minutes later that he had me drive it in and they began the weld. They did it quickly and it looked like a good job and he charged me €60 so I was content with that. 

Annoyingly my Monzo card would not work to pay him. I got out my Nationwide bank debit card but that didn’t work either. This happened at the toll booths when I first got to Spain and I remembered that my Tesco credit card was the only one that worked. So I gave him that and that didn’t work either. Grrr. In fact out of 7 debit and credit and Mastercard cards not one single one worked. I managed to find the €60 in cash but it meant paying him partly in change from my purse that I keep for launderettes and parking etc.

When I phoned the bank later they said the card was probably faulty but as 7 were declined I suspected it was more to do with the charging system. I suppose that’s a reminder to always have some real cash on you no matter what. 

The garage is labelled as Talleres Rosil and can be found at Casalvito, Poio, Pontevedra, Spain, 42.438129, -8.695677. 

Anyway the van seemed to be fine so I went back to the aire and then walked up to the fruit and veg shop and went mad in there lol Oddly, their reader took my Monzo card fine.

Where I stayed: Poio Area de Autocaravans, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain, 36995, N42.438383, W-8.693519, free parking with fresh water and toilet dump.

Germany, an update.

Nothing much has been happening here, but then everything has! 

I spent some time up north with family and friends and it was a wonderful time. I think I value them more as I don’t see them every day and it’s bitter-sweet to leave. I popped in on my way south to see my friend in Ulverston as usual so I put the van into the garage there for it’s MOT so it won’t expire while away.
They had to replace the support strut that the radiator rests on due to corrosion and a tyre that had a split in and I’m unhappy about that, as it’s not long since I got new front tyres, and as there was 3 good ones left I asked the fitters to put the 2 best ones on the rear. Grrr. 

Never mind the bill was £350 and the work all done although they now say the rocker cover gasket is not needing replacing so they didn’t do that. Everything else…apparently…is fine. Although it quickly became apparent that the engine was still using oil so clearly everything isn’t fine. *sigh* Also in my humble opinion, the rocker cover does indeed need replacing.

It was suggested in a Facebook group that my cylinder head gasket may be to blame. So I’ve checked online numerous times in loads of places and I have not one single, solitary symptom of a blown head gasket. So off I popped across the channel to head for that Norway trip that I’ve long wanted to do. 

A few days later I pulled in to a layby near Munster. The engine was rough, it was using oil still and when I got out the stench of hot rubber was strong. I checked the brand new rear tyre to find it was really hot. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, I think it’s just cheap rubbish. I wish I’d asked them to put Michelin Agilis on as they are excellent on the front.
Anyway I struggled but finally found a garage to look at the van in Munster. They were called Lowen Centrum.

Dirty oil streaks left on my door
Dirty oil streaks left on my door

After several hours their diagnosis was…blown cylinder head gasket. €2000 to replace it please! I was pretty stunned not just at the diagnosis but at the price! I said I’d best head back to the UK to get the work done there and he warned me the van might travel 100 or 1000 kms but then would surely fail and I would be in trouble. When I returned to the van I found it covered in greasy handprints both outside by the door, on the door, on the bumper, and the steering wheel was also filthy with dirty oil.. Yeah Peugeot main dealers charge more because of their higher standards eh? Well even 2 weeks later I can’t get these cleaned off!

I spent the next week trying to find another garage. I contacted 6 in total by email including the English text but also a German translation done in Google translate, and only one contacted me back. I took it along and he did not even put it on the ramp. He said it sounds fine and he could see no smoke when I revved it and feel no air or other sign that the cylinder head gasket was gone. He found a perished vacuum tube which he replaced for free but I gave him a few Euros as a thank you and he said the turbo might have a problem which would explain the oil usage, but he wasn’t sure. I left there none the wiser and wondered at this fabled German efficiency which tbh I have seen no indication of whatsoever. 

So, here I sit, near Fussen, wondering what the hell to do now. If I go on I risk catastrophic engine failure. If I manage to get back to the UK I risk yet more garages who have no clue what’s wrong or how to fix it, and waste my time on  a fruitless exercise. 
Oh the joys of motorhoming! 



17th September and the other day I was coming down the motorway and realised that plumes of black smoke were coming out of the exhaust. I stopped as soon as I could and took the vacuum pipe off the EGR valve which disabled the valve from working. As far as I know if it’s disabled it’s permanently closed and that cured the black smoke almost instantly. A few good revs at 3500 rpm and clouds of black smoke for a few seconds, then it drives nice and clean again. 

Now, black smoke is a sure sign of unburned fuel. The injectors have just been professional refurbished and the fuel return pipes all replaced, those are things that might cause black smoke. I know what the EGR valve is for and what it does and how it works, yet I can’t find a rational explanation as to how disabling it would prevent black smoke, and yet it does. 
So, I’ve given up totally on garages because not only are my brakes sticking, and they’ve now been supposedly overhauled 3 times, but there’s still excessive oil being used and black smoke coming out if I enable the EGR valve and no clarity of why in the year I’ve been visiting different garages including Peugeot dealers and independents. 

I am now going to teach myself diesel mechanics, and try to find the solution myself. 

Screw loose

So, some time ago the offside wheel arch liner simply fell off the van. I had parked by the road and it literally just fell off in front of my eyes. I can only assume that a garage when doing a job had decided they could not be bothered to secure it back properly. I had no idea which one, but since my £300 engine tray disappeared I know that garages often don’t bother replacing things or at best, do it haphazardly. 

Wheel arch liner
Wheel arch liner

Nevertheless I was surprised to see the job that BD Motors did to my van. I was taking it in anyway for MOT and I asked could they refit the arch liner while they had the van. Of course they said…no problem they said…here’s a photo of what they did…

What they did was drill a couple of holes in my wheel arch and screw a couple of self tappers through the hole to hold the liner in place! WTF! They are about a mile from a Peugeot dealer but they can’t get the right plastic clips to hold it in place?

I’ve long thought BD were a bit slapdash. They replaced the cross bar not long ago and did not bother to fasten the front bumper back to it even though the original screws were there. 

I will definitely not be going back to that garage again. Yet another one off my list.

Belgian Breakdown

Image of damaged engineSo, this happened. 

Diesel injectors are complicated things that squirt fuel into your cylinders. They are under immense pressure and so are held in place by a large, solid metal clamp which is bolted onto the engine block. When you change an injector, or take it out to clean it as I did you must take off the large bolt and clamp and then pull the injector from it’s seat. The bolts that hold the clamp down must be in very tightly due to the pressures involved, otherwise the injector would simply shoot out of the hole and punch right through the bonnet.

They can be responsible for poor fuel consumption and as I am plagued by that I have been refurbishing an old set of injectors. So I was parked in a layby in Belgium swapping the injectors for the replacement set but when I was taking this one off, the bolt head snapped clean off. Oops. You can see the threaded part of the bolt still in place arrowed in the picture.

With no way of holding the injector in place the engine simply won’t work. To get the bolt out I need a screw / bolt extractor and I haven’t got any. I could try drilling the bolt and hammering a small flat screwdriver into the hole, but if it doesn’t work I could damage the engine irreparably. 

Luckily I have breakdown cover for Europe so I rang them and after establishing where I was they said they’d send someone. I was on the computer and kept looking out of the rear window for the breakdown truck and the guy in the car behind kept smiling. I think he thought I was looking at him. I glanced around and it was obvious that this was like some layby’s in the UK, a place for men to meet other men. I tried glancing without him noticing that I was but he did anyway and he probably thought I was simply being coy!

Anyway the truck arrived and the although the guy spoke barely no English this is Flemish Belgium so everyone speaks French so we managed to get by, resorting to using Google translate on our smart phones when we got stuck. The guy from the car behind came out and started stroking Jack as the recovery man was getting my camper onto his truck. He tried to speak to me a couple of times and it was slightly embarrassing because his intent was obvious and yet given the circumstances he was not prepared to give up.

If I was a woman and had to put up with that shit daily I’d buy a bloody big baseball bat…

The Journey

Anyway we finally got on our way and Mr Breakdown texted almost the entire 40 minute journey grr. I tutted a couple of times as he was veering toward the side of the road but he seemed totally unperturbed. I had to grit my teeth and bear it.

We finally arrived safely at a garage and he handed me over to the mechanic who spoke even less English. I am not sure if he was putting it on cos he seemed not to even understand “OK!” However with sign language and my little French we got the van parked in a bay on the street outside the garage, as of course I’d be sleeping in it that night. I felt more settled as the AA had rung me twice to check progress and when I mentioned his lack of English and my poor French they said if I got stuck they’d liaise with the mechanic for me. 

Parked outside the garage in BelgiumSo, here I am outside the garage after a good nights sleep. Notice anything? Yeah…my van is 10 and a half feet tall and the garage doors are about 7 feet tall. So there’s no way he can fit me inside, and it’s raining outside, so…

And yes I was right, it was 2 days before he finally got round to repairing the van. I phoned the AA again to let them know what was happening and he had told them they did not know where I was. They did however know I was sleeping in the van so I think they were simply avoiding doing the work in the rain outside.

He came out anyway and I had googled the words I needed and explained what I wanted doing. Pointing at the bolt I said “Percer” to mean drill it. Then “Extrait” for extract, then “Remplacer” for replace. He nodded and went off (presumably to get a new bolt) and was back and had the job completed within an hour! Merde! I was secretly chuffed cos although it took them ages to attend to me, the job was done quickly and the bill was high for what they did, but within reason.

Anyway I was just chuffed to be fixed so I paid the €112 bill (Daylight robbery!) and took off. 

Oh I’m back…

So, I’m driving down the motorway after leaving the garage and after spotting sign for a rest area I decide to pull in for a cuppa. Guess what? Yeah, the exact same one I’d been taken from a few nights ago by the breakdown truck. Given that you join the highway about a mile before it, and leave the highway about 3 miles after it to get to the garage, how come it took 40 minutes to get there last night? Well I did a bit of Sherlock thinking and came up with this:

I was a foreigner and stuck. He was an independent breakdown operator. He texted almost throughout the journey. He brought me to a garage that could not fit me in. It took 2 days to get round to fixing my van. For what was actually done to my van the price was steep.

I think he was texting the whole journey because he was trying to ‘sell’ my breakdown to a garage. He must have been driving around the streets waiting for a good price before settling on the one he took me to. Conspiracy theory? Or truth? Who knows. Anyway, I’m off to France now to find some screw extractors and some new parts cos if this ever happens again I can do the job easily myself.

Oh and no…the guy in the car behind me wasn’t there when I returned! lol