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.

A clutch of good news

Following on from getting my van back with a lovely new rear end, I decided that if I was to go abroad this year I should really get the clutch done first.

What I’ve noticed more and more is that when driving, the rev counter suddenly goes up by maybe 500 rpm’s without altering the speed, then drops back down again. I think that’s the clutch slipping. It is a 3 ton van so perhaps I could not expect the same life out of this clutch as I could from a car. 11 years and 110,000 miles is probably not that bad when you think about it.

I had been asking around as Robins and Day wanted a wallet scaring £800 to fit a new clutch. I finally got quoted £166 by Hoddy’s in Gateshead who are Vosa approved so I’ve booked the van in for Monday morning and we’ll see how they do.

I also ordered a new wing mirror. £138 from Wingmirrorman. Now when you stack a wing mirror against a new clutch to be fitted and there’s only £28 difference, what’s that all about!

I had spent some time shopping around for a new generator too and was becoming bogged down by so many makes. Finally a Welsh company stepped up with some advice and they narrowed my choices down to two: a Yamaha and a new American import called Champion. As the Champion was much cheaper at only £370 I decided to go for that one. I should get it tomorrow so hopefully it will live up to all the hype.

It’s always an anxious time spending this amount of money on anything, especially with a company you haven’t used before. I’m thinking positively though, the generator simply has to work as well as my old one and I will be content.

I’ve been really busy copying all of my 2000+ DVD’s to hard drive so I’ll try and get round to adding some photos to the last few posts when I get the chance.

Rip off!

In 2012 I bought 2 sets of tyres. 1 pair of Vanhawks which were cheap rubbish, and 1 pair of Avon hard composite tyres. So when ATS were fitting  my new wheels the other day I simply rejected the idea that the rear tyres were worn, cracked and ready for renewal. Something stuck in the back of my mind though so I checked last night and sure enough, they’re some make that I’ve never heard of.

Now I wish I could  say that I know National Tyres in Newcastle on Tyne fitted Avons like I paid for, but who actually checks their tyres to ensure they’ve got what they asked for? I would love to think the nice lads at Lodge Tyres in Birmingham didn’t rip my Avons off and replace them with cheap rubbish tyres, they were all dead canny and helpful.

However, 1 of the above is true. I don’t know which one, but either National or Lodge ripped me off.  How frustrating! It reminds me of when Robins and Day were supposed to carry out my major service, and didn’t even replace the oil or air filters nor change the oil. Lesson learned, from now on I check whenever stuff is done!

So, I rang ATS as the other 3 new wheels are there so they’re going to fit them on Thursday now and put some Continental Vanco 100’s on for me. Another £180 I could so without pulling out Grrr!

New wheels!

My shiny new Vanco 100’s…they feel sooooo good….they drive sooooo well, but I woke to a puncture this morning! I Googled a tyre place which as it happened was about 2 miles from me. Thank God for internet enabled smartphones! I do like my HTC Desire C now, even though it’s slower than a hole boat with no sails stranded on the beach .

So off I popped and he said the valve had gone. Most likely they had not changed it when they put the new tyres on. Hmmm!! However on investigating further, he noted that in fact the weld that included the hole for the valve was corroded. He asked if I had had a flat on that wheel before and indeed I had. Bad Tyrespot for not spotting that. Very good ATS Barrow-in-Furness for not only spotting it, but taking the tyre off the wheel, swapping it with the spare and bagging up my wheel to take to Peugeot who are only about 2 miles away.

It’s not a Robins and Day Peugeot so I drove over to get some new wheels and guess what? £113 each plus VAT! WTF??? I phoned Perthshire caravans as when I was there last year I noticed some 15 inch ones in for £35 but sadly they had none left. I finally found some at www.tyreleaders.co.uk for only £44 each. Cheaper than some breaker yards wanted for second hand ones. I rang ATS and asked if the wheels could be delivered there and they were fine with that. Good work ATS! So I ordered 2 from Tyreleaders but when I went to check out it did not give me a delivery time as it said it would Grrr. Since ordering them too I’ve found out there’s a measurement called an ‘offset’ and mine could be 115 or 130. I contacted Tyreleaders but they’re in Germany and I got no response from them. So, I’m left not knowing when my new wheels are coming, and not knowing if they’re the correct ones. LOL isn’t life exciting!

Robins and Day put to the test

As you probably know my motorhome is based on a Peugeot short wheel base van. It was looked after by the same Peugeot dealer in Bensham, Gateshead until last year when I finally sent a complaint into Robins and Day head office. They had undertaken and recommended work that did not need doing, overcharged for work they did, done shoddy work which exists to this day, not done work that needed doing and given me attitude on the phone when I cancelled an unnecessary repair.

I went to a different Robins and Day in Benton in Newcastle on Tyne and they promised me a free 96,000 mile service, and a lifetime discount on work on my van as an apology. I accepted that.

Months later I went for that service and when they finished I found they had not identified a leak on the radiator, they did not change the air filter or the oil filter, they topped up the oil but put too much in and it had to be drained off later, and they failed to remedy a starting problem that’s been going on for about a year now.

I emailed Robins and Day again to complain and ask why I was being treated this way and what were they going to do about it? The least I expected was that my van would be repaired properly and all faults corrected. But no. Here’s the email I received from them today:

Dear Mr Finnigan

Thank you for your email received n(sic) the 26th February.

I am sorry to learn of the problem with your vehicle and of your recent experience with Robins and Day. Dealerships will always do their utmost to satisfy and accommodate all customers, however it is appreciated that misunderstanding and communication can arise on occasion. I am confident that it was not the intention of any dealer staff to appear disinterested and if this is the case I sincerely apologise on their behalf.

I have informed the Peugeot representative of your concerns and this information will be used to help the dealer improve their service levels. All customer feedback is taken seriously and we expect the highest standards of professionalism from out(sic) network.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to inform us of your experience.

Regards
Stuart Adamson
Customer Relation Manger

So, I’ll find other dealers who will value my vehicle, look after it properly and carry out work to a decent standard. After all, their base rate is £93 per hour, you expect something for that amount.