A salutary lesson

Gentlemen,
As most of you are aware I have a new van which has been fitted with a Towbar by the garage's agents, well today I borrowed from a good friend of
mine his large trailer because I and a few others are collecting from a local site a telephone exchange which I will deliver to Internal Fire at Easter. The exchange is to big for my trailer. Whilst driving the twenty five miles home I had a call from my friend suggesting I might look at my towbar when I got home as he had seen it appear to move/flex when I drove off. When I got home I had a look and found that the towbar was actually loose on its fixings because who ever had fitted it had not used either locking washers, nyloc nuts or what ever, it was a plain nut and bolt with the flat washer on the bolt head side. Tomorrow it gets bolted together properly with correct fixings, don't assume because it was fitted by a towbar company it is correct because it is not fun being passed by a trailer you thought you were towing.
Martin P
--
snipped-for-privacy@btopenworld.com

Semper in Excrementem Altitudo Solus Varius
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On Fri, 15 Feb 2008 18:23:31 -0000, "campingstoveman"
<snipped>

Yes, I'd hate for you to 'lose' my trailer.... :-))
Suggest you take some pictures of "before and after" and tackle the dealer about it.
Our last three vans have had factory-fitted towbars and never had a problem. The dealers prefer to get them fitted locally as there is more hidden margin for them than the fixed-price factory one.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel http://www.stationary-engine.co.uk http://www.oldengine.co.uk
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One step ahead of you :-)) it was fitted by a Luton company for dealership.
Martin P

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Gentlemen,
It now gets better, having sorted out the mechanics of the towbar I turned to the electrics because we had no brake lights on the trailer yesterday only to find that all the wiring is in place and connected but the brake lights don't work, having tested it on a spare light board and two trailers it going into the garage as I suspect its been incorrectly connected.
Martin P

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Rules for dealing with garages: 1. The bigger they are, the less they know or care. These places are factories. The mechanics never meet the customer so it's just a job on a machine. They don't see any problems as affecting people.
2. Main agents are useless. All the comments above apply plus their rates are the highest and people are tied to them for the guarantee period. When that expires, most folks take their cars elsewhere. Consequently, main agents only do routine servicing or replace components. It's a brain dead job with no stimulation. The management is there to make money and that's the driving force behind the business.
3. Garage mechanics know next to nothing about electrics. When something doesn't work they replace it hoping that cures the problem. If it doesn't, they replace something else, after all, they're not paying for the first thing they replaced. Just tell the customer there were two faulty components, they won't know any better. Feed them b**sh*t and take their money. Once they've got your Ł's they don't care about anything else.
4. The customer has no comeback on the garage who will swear that the vehicle was in excellent condition when it left them. They checked all their work thoroughly and any subsequent fault either developed afterwards or the owner has been fiddling. Take the matter further and you find yourself arguing against a qualified mechanic with loads of training certificates to say he knows all about that particular type of vehicle. Any qualifications you may have are far too general, not specific to that vehicle and are so old as to be irrelevant.
You could report them to trading standards for letting an unsafe vehicle on the road. They're unlikely to do much about one case but if they've already got a file full of similar incidents it could add to the picture.
Personally I wouldn't trust any big garage near anything of mine. I've experienced their ineptitude and lack of care too many times. If you MUST take your vehicle to them, check everything they claim they've done.
On the matter of your electrics, I've come across some 7 pin pre-wired towing socket where the wires are pushed into the terminals and the screw tightened onto it. Note the lack of wire stripping; they hope the screw penetrates the insulation. If it doesn't, someone else will fix it.
John, (cynical car enthusiast and ex mechanic)
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 03:10:21 -0800 (PST), John
fish, chips and mushy peas. Wiping their mouths, they swiggged the last of their cup of tea, paid the bill and wrote::

Nowadays, the manufacturers have been forced to agree that servicing carried out at garages other than dealerships will not invalidate the warranty.

I once collected a Range Rover from the dealer where I now worked, after repairs. I hadn't got 20 years down the road when it became VERY apparent that there was still something seriously wrong - worse than when it was taken there. I took it straight back and complained, and they reluctantly sent somebody out to test drive it. Result? Red faces all around in less than 2 minutes and me having to ring base for somebody to collect me...........
In fairness to technicians (which is what they call mechanics these days), with modern stuff it's a case of "mend it with a new bit" as you can't repair most parts of a car these days, and if you can it's more cost-effective to replace rather than repair, unless it's a piece of old-fashioned machinery where you can repair it and get the bits to do it!
Brian L Dominic
Web Site: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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Wish my cars would run as long as that after coming out the garage. :-)
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 07:21:23 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@ems-fife.co.uk finished tucking into their plate of fish, chips and mushy peas. Wiping their mouths, they swiggged the last of their cup of tea, paid the bill and wrote::

Whoops - should have been 20 YARDS!
Brian L Dominic
Web Site: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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Brian Dominic wrote: (Snipped)

==Question: What is the difference between a Technician and a Mechanic?
Answer: A Mechanic has done an apprenticeship.
JW˛ ==
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Question: What is the difference between a Fitter and a Mechanic?
Answer: A Mechanic is not necessarily stumped when the bit he needs is not in stock!.
As someone with a life long interest in mechanical engineering and a long time employee in the motor trade, I am sad to hear such informed and practical opinion have so many negative things to say about main dealers. With no recent experience myself, I can in no way argue with the views expressed, but if universally true, the ethos of skill with service that I was used to in the seventies has certainly changed.
regards,
Kim Siddorn Rolls-Royce cars, Volvo cars and trucks, Nissan (Datsun) initial dealer. Triumph motorcycles.
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wrote:

Fitter vs Mechainc is an argument that's raged for decades. The term fitter dates back to when components were produced to much wider tolerances than now and they had to be "fitted" by skilled people. That included such things as filling and dressing mountings and scraping bearings combined with basic fabrication and machining skills obtained after many years as an apprentice. Fitters always looked down on mechanics as mere component replacers. I reality there was probably little difference between the best of each as they learned their trade.
I wrote my rules slightly tongue in cheek almost hoping to be proven wrong. It's a sad enditement on the automotive industry that no one has really disagreed with me. I realise that electronics have revolutionised fault finding. Indeed many faults would be almost impossible to find on modern engine systems without them. However, they're only one tool available to the mechanic and changing an expensive electrical component without checking the power to it is surely inexcusable. That does assume the mechanic knows the difference between volts and amps though. Of course electronics will only fault find on systems so equipped. They will not trace a faulty bearing or leaking hose. It's certainly more cost effective to replace components rather than repair them especially as the garage will get the blame if the repaired component fails later. The customer won't remember the cheaper bill by then. This all brings us down to what the customer actually wants. Do they want the best repair possible, carried out with care by people who take a real pride in their work or do they just want the car back? As so few motorists actually know, want to know or really care anything about their car, it's going to be the latter. They don't care how the repair is done as long as the car's been valeted. They just pay the bill and leave. Garages are actually giving the customer what they want which is why they continue to work as they do and make money in the process.
Having slated the garage trade and main agents in particular, I was actually pleasantly surprised by one recently. I bought a new wheel bearing from my local Subaru agent. After I'd paid, I wandered out past the mechanics having their tea break. As Haynes don't do a manual for my car, I asked if anyone could tell me the torque setting for the drive shaft nut. Not only did they know it without looking at the book but they spent a good few minutes running through the job with me. That was surely performance above the call of duty. When my car needed some minor work and I'd not got the time, I booked it in with them. I was actually allowed to go into the workshop to watch the mechanic do the job which he did very well. I was very impressed with that level of customer service from a main dealer. However, it was too good to last. The next time I asked them to do a job, I was excluded from the workshop for health and safety reasons. We compromised in the end and my car went on the ramp backwards so I could stand outside and see what the mechanic was doing. Again the mechanic did a really good job, even giving me a running commentary as he went so that I would know how to do it (cam belt change) next time. He also pointed out a few minor other faults he spotted at the time. That's how a good mechanic should work. His management is another matter though.
As Martin's noted, my rants are too long so.......
John
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I to am in the Motor Trade - (I work for a large factor) and here's what I can say....
As a supplier of components we have to ensure that the customer concerned get what he wants- that is to say - does he want a budget part or one that meets the OE spec? The company I work for has to keep a quality range and a budget range to accomadate this - a good example is Mintex brakes - they meet (or exceed) the OE spec with the friction materials - if your main dealer refused a warranty because the car had mintex fitted - He would be in trouble , A few years ago 'block exemption' came into force - basically it means that if vehicle is fitted with parts that meet or exceed the 'OE' spec than the manufacturer cannot reject claims qouting the use of non 'OE' parts. NOT many adhere to this rule!!!! Another point i must mention is 'REG 90' another rule regarding friction materials - this states that all friction material sold on the aftermarket must be within 15% of the OE spec. Some car rmanufacturers get around this by selling their own aftermarket brand- in many cases this IS NOT 'REG 90'
We also had a problem regarding oil recentley - a Volvo being serviced by one of our customers - had the oil recomended by Castrol used -a few months later the turbo failed - the dealer refused to honor the warranty as Volvo listed a different spec to Castrol.
One last thing - we are often asked to diagnose a fault by retail customers often who have rung for prices of parts - sometimes we can amaze them - an example of this was a 'punter' who was having trouble with his VW Polo - as it warmed up it began to run rough - but no engine managment light on - we told him to replace the engine temp sensor - about a tenners worth - he thought he needed a new ECU - he came in bought a sensor , and rang us later to say that car was now O.K.- We know from experiance what we sell the most of and on VW's that is a comon fault!
As to garages - we tend to send the punters to those garages that buy the OE parts rather than budget gear - We recon if they fit the best gear then they must do a better job than those that buy the cheapest
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wrote:

<snipped>
Just reminded me of anoher 'silly'.
Buy the 2.5 Turbo Vivaro from Vauxhall, or the 2.5 Turbo Trafic from Renault, they are both made in the same factory in Luton for the UK market, but the engine oil spec is different. 5W30 for the Vauxhall, 5W40 for the Trafic, both fully synthetic.
Why ?
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel http://www.stationary-engine.co.uk http://www.oldengine.co.uk
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All to do with the oils the dealers are expected to keep, and what the relevant manufacturer keeps Vauxhall 'super synthetic' was originally 5w40 specific to diesels, but they've now changed to a 5w30 suitable for petrols and diesels. If you were to look at the oil specs, you'll find that renault and vauxhall list similar oils as being suitable, just that they recommend whatever oil they normally use/sell through the dealers.
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 13:07:25 -0800 (PST), jagojules
[snip]

[snip]
How many EGR valves do you sell for the Fiat/GM 1.3 diesel? :-)
--
brightside S9

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wrote:

I can't say that i've been asked for one yet- but do sell plenty for the 'eco-tec' have had local hire company on for 1.3 gasket set - blown engine -mind you it has 130,000 on clock! the 1.9 gm is also a italian lump - found in alfa's water pump has plastic impeller -it falls of !!! regards julian
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wrote:

I can't say that i've been asked for one yet- but do sell plenty for the 'eco-tec' have had local hire company on for 1.3 gasket set - blown engine -mind you it has 130,000 on clock! the 1.9 gm is also a italian lump - found in alfa's water pump has plastic impeller -it falls of !!! regards julian
They must be copying the germans with the impeller trick. That's a classic VAG problem.
EGR valves on the 1.3s aren't as big a problem, provided the ECU has been programmed with the new update with the EGR self-cleaning routine in it ;-)
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Oh I don't know so much - I remember that happening to an old Vauxhall Ventora I once worked on, (with the big straight six) something like a bronze impeller pushed onto a steel shaft IIRC.
Julian.
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wrote:

As an ex-mechanic also, I think there is another side to this story, as I have also had problems with a new vehicle, but not resolved yet.
The manufacturers don't allow main dealers that much latitude in how they do things, especially on new vehicles under warranty.
Diagnostics are all electronic and there's no time allowance for investigating something that 'might' be the problem.
On the last van, we lost the aircon, and they must have spend Ł2k on new compressor and other bits and pieces before it was finally traced with a voltmeter to a fault in the main loom. No amount of plug-in diagnostics would find that one.
Our van is a bit older than Martin's but has a series of problems that we are pushing to get sorted out, the dealer has not been in touch since last October, and we ended up going through the leasing company as owner of the vehicle to get things going again.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel http://www.stationary-engine.co.uk http://www.oldengine.co.uk
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That broken wire should of been found during the diagnostic procedure, if they had followed the protocol properly. Manufacturers are clamping down on dealers/technicians who don't follow the protocol, as it's costing them alot of money in incorrect diagnostics, with your A/C fault being a prime example. Manufacturer's would rather pay for some extra diagnostic time, rather than a replacing something that isn't the problem.

That does sound like your typical dealer.
moray
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