A1 clutches part 2

Well what a tale I’ve got for you today!

I got to the garage and dropped the van off and me and Jack set off down that lovely canal again. Canals are fab places because there’s water which we’re all drawn to, straight walks away from traffic which most of us enjoy, and of course nature. Bizarrely as we walked a large heron decided to land on the opposite side to us and wait for fish. I know it was 15 feet away across the water but I never though for one minute they were bold enough to be that close to a dog. 

Grey heronJack was pretty stunned too, he simply stopped and stared at it for ages, maybe waiting for it to do something? Maybe wondering what it would taste like? He’s taken on a herring gull and a goose before so he’s not afraid of large birds, but it sat there nonchalant so we walked on.

I found the same cafe as last time and got a nice cuppa and sat outside with it in the sunshine. When the weather is nice it makes so much difference. We continued our walk and as I randomly walked streets I found my van parked in a garage! Not A1 clutches, a random MOT centre, tucked right away in the side. Just sitting there. I was shocked and wondered if it had been stolen?

I went in and asked about it and apparently the MOT centre is part of the same group as A1 clutches and they had taken the van over their to work on it as it had a free bay. Grr I wish garages would tell you when they do this. This was about 11:30 am and I’d dropped the van off at 8 am so I asked if it had been looked at yet and the guy said he thought so. 

Anyway I carried on and 15 minutes later received a phone call from Jaz who was the manager. He said they could not hear the clunking from the front wheel that I had mentioned, so could I come down and show them. I said if you can’t hear it driving then simply test the ball joint as I am convinced that’s what’s at fault. They said that’s not their way to test the ball joint with a lever. I was surprised as that’s how all garages test them because they’re simulating the joint being under load. But anyway he referred to the gas leak I’d mentioned and said the EGR valve was leaking. I replied it was a brand new EGR valve and I’d just had a new EGR tube fitted to the manifold too, but you can see that it’s not the EGR valve leaking, as the soot marks point upwards from below the EGR valve. When you rev the engine you can even see the soot blowing up from down the back of the engine. 

So I moved it on and asked if the rear box of the exhaust had been done. he explained not but that it would be better if I attended and as the guys were going on lunch from 1 pm til 2 pm, 2 pm would be a good time.  I pointed out that I’d dropped the van off at 8 am, so that would be 6 hours they’d had it by that time and nothing achieved, and I needed it back at 3 pm anyway for work.

At this point Jaz said “Mr Finnigan I resent you saying that we have done nothing to your van all day. Come and get your van. Pick it up and take it away we don’t want to work on it. You can get the work done elsewhere.” I was stunned! I was so stunned I simply said OK and hung up.

The truth is they had done nothing all day. They might have driven it forwards and backwards in what they apparently call a pendulum to recreate the noise I was hearing, but they’d not done the simple, definitive test that every single garage in the UK does, which is apply pressure to the ball joint to test for movement that indicates wear.
They may have decided that the gas leak was from the EGR valve, but if they had looked at the valve and revved the engine they would have instantly seen the soot that spurts up from below the valve, probably from a faulty manifold gasket, or a hole in the exhaust or something.

They may have done something, but it wasn’t much and it wasn’t right either. I did as asked and simply went and got the van and drove it away. An entire day completely wasted. I was too angry to say anything so I left it til another day.

New clutch – yet again.

Yes clutches, we’re back to that old chestnut. I need a new clutch yet again.

There’s a ‘fluttering’ noise coming from the clutch when I am in neutral and stationary. It’s not every time and when I depress the clutch the noise goes away. So I asked in one of the forums I’m in for recommendations and A1 Clutches came up. I called them on the phone and they seemed fine so I booked in for a visit. 

We found Nemo.When I got there it turns out they have a tropical fish tank in reception. I know from Swingbridge autos who also have one that Jack is fascinated by fish tanks. Perhaps he just wants to eat them? Yeah I think that’s it…he just wants to eat them. He wants to eat everything. Including vomit. I think I may do a post one day about nothing other than the things Jack eats.

Anyway, here’s Jack Finding Nemo. or more accurately, trying to eat Nemo. Please,if you have kids don’t let them read! (Disclaimer: no Nemo’s were hurt in the Jack and Nemomaking of this post, I didn’t let Jack eat the fish.

A1 clutches are right next to a canal so I left the van and Jack and I had a lovely day walking along the canal. The sun was shining and there was a little breeze and we hadn’t had proper exercise for a few days so it was nice to look forward to a good walk. I even remembered my sun block!

A1 rang me and said the clutch was done but the clutch fork was very worn so they needed to replace that. The total cost would be about £450 so I said go ahead thinking that might explain why new clutches don’t seem to make much difference.

The job was done fairly quickly and I had the van back at about 1 pm. Interestingly they had added some advisories which I thought was a nice touch. They noted the gear selector was worn, (don’t even start me off about rip off Keldine Autos, or Ford Parts as he calls himself!) the handbrake was slightly high which I knew about and that’s something I’d fix myself later. 

Slight engine and gearbox leaks and the gearbox oil was low so they topped that up, well, both leaks go back to shoddy work done by Premier engines when the engine was rebuilt and the gearbox when that was rebuilt by Ford parts/Keldine autos. 

They also noted the exhaust was blowing and the rear box needed replacing again I was aware of that so that’s the next job. Crikey, it’s never ending! As I left I noted that the clutch juddered slightly as I let it out, and the bite was quite ferocious. Cross fingers it’s just cos it’s new and I have to get used to it. I’ve booked it in for same time next week to have that exhaust looked at and a couple of other things.