Quantcast

Stranded in France!

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
Hi,

We took the ferry over to Normandy last Sunday to see the D-Day beaches, Bayeux etc, then drove down to Versailles for the night. While driving north to Amiens on Friday, the van (the infamous Scudo) lost power with a jolt and coasted to a stop on the hard shoulder. In his ineffable wisdom, my father decided to not take out AA European breakdown cover for an extra £75 without telling us, and the recovery to Amiens has already cost over double that. We were told that the garage the van was taken to can't look at it until tomorrow, so we're stuck in this godawful place for at least another day.

The biggest problem is the language barrier - we can order coffees and buy baguettes okay enough but can't talk technical stuff with the mechanics, so its inevitable that we'll be ripped off. The recovery was bad enough!

When we get the diagnosis hopefully one of you can confirm it?

Plus our cat had a suspected stroke on Friday! Why does it always happen to us? :x

Thanks in advance,
Mark
 

gus3049

Established Member
Joined
30 Nov 2010
Messages
1,857
Reaction score
0
Location
Charente, France
mark aspin":1bul50kt said:
Hi,

so we're stuck in this godawful place for at least another day.

Mark
Can't imagine a nicer place in which to get stuck :lol:

Mind you, you are a bit far north of the really nice bits. bad luck with the transport, I too am without wheels but at least I am tucked up in my home during this wet weather.

Hope you get it sorted. My experience of French garages has all been positive and they always seem to go out of their way to help if they can. A few are just plug it in and see if the computer says no but a lot seem to be genuine mechanics who are used the keeping old French cars on the road along with all the modern stuff.

Good luck.
 

Jonzjob

Established Member
Joined
19 Mar 2007
Messages
5,029
Reaction score
12
Location
Ex nr Carcassonne, S France. Now NW Wilts, UK
Good luck from me too Mark.

As Gordon said,unless you are very unlucky the French are very good and will help all they can.

I don't know that part of France, but I agree that all of the places we have seen the best bits are even further South East than Gordons bit..

When you get the diagnosis let us know and we will try to fathom it for you. A lot of French speak English, at least a little, and what we once thought was bloody mindedness is because so many of them don't want to appear silly and are a bit frightened of looking so, so they don't.

Sorry to tell you what the forcast for Amiens is Mark, but they are often wrong.

http://www.weather.com/weather/5-day/Am ... X0269:1:FR

Best of luck.
 

Jacob

Established Member
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
16,119
Reaction score
0
Location
Derbyshire
mark aspin":8g7exoat said:
.....our cat had a suspected stroke on Friday! Why does it always happen to us? :x

.....
Count yourself lucky it's only happened to the cat!
 

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
*****UPDATE*****

The hotel receptionist phoned the garage and roughly translated what they said for us....

They say the "engine chain" is broken (timing chain I guess they mean) and will cost €3000 for a new engine.

The van is only 5 years old and has done around 55,000 miles, so how can the chain break so soon? Even if this is the case I think a reconditioned engine would cost considerably less than what they have quoted.

We're now going to look at ways of getting the van to the UK to be repaired.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Mark
 

Paul Chapman

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2006
Messages
8,657
Reaction score
0
Location
Bookham, Surrey
mark aspin":9zqwj6ll said:
The van is only 5 years old and has done around 55,000 miles, so how can the chain break so soon?
These days the timing "chain" is usually a belt and they do need to be replaced at intervals specified by the manufacturer (the recommended mileage or time interval is often specified in the vehicle handbook). When they go they can wreck the engine.

Hope you are able to get it sorted.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

JMcK

Established Member
Joined
29 Aug 2009
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
SW France - Perigord Vert - 24450
I have done a little research for the area you are in,Picardie. There are some numbers you could try here:

http://www.leboncoin.fr/services/320794227.htm?ca=19_s
http://www.leboncoin.fr/services/260885345.htm?ca=19_s

Also a list of garages in Amiens who offer breakdown recovery;

http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/annuaire/amie ... automobile

I am a long way away from you so cannot vouch for any of them bu it might give you a start.
It might well be cheaper to get it recovered by a firm local to you in UK

Good luck (or as they say over here "Bon courage")
 

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
Thanks guys

The van was serviced not that long ago, so I assume that the garage would have inspected/replaced the cam belt/chain then (I've read that the 1.3 engines have chains? Maybe I'm wrong though)

Thanks for the links, JMck - the second garage in the list, Garage du Petit St Jean are the robbing b******s who tried to rip us off. If you are unlucky enough to breakdown in this area then avoid them at all costs!!

Mark
 

Harbo

Established Member
Joined
13 Nov 2006
Messages
5,548
Reaction score
0
Location
Hampshire
Chains don't normally fail or need replacing?
When my wife had a Golf the belts needed to be changed every 40k miles!

Rod
 

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
It's a 57 reg Fiat Doblo cargo with the 1.3 multijet JTD diesel engine. It's such a gutless lump you have to take some hills in 1st gear!

One of our contacts is delivering in Paris tomorrow so he's agreed to bring his car transporter and pick us up as a backload. He's going to drop us off at his brothers garage in London to take a look, and even if he can't fix it he can give us an idea of the work involved and how much it should cost. Then we'll phone the AA for recovery home.

It should all go to plan... I hope!

Mark
 

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
I haven't given an update because we're waiting for an update! Thanks for asking - it's nice to know that someone's thinking about me :lol:

There wasn't as much trouble releasing the van as we had anticipated - I was expecting a 500 plus euro charge for "inspecting" the van so the 28 euro they wanted for parking it there wasn't too bad. Amiens won't be seeing me again, I can promise you!!

The courier took us to his friends garage in London (it's not his brother's) and they confirmed that the timing chain has snapped, doing untold damage to the valves, cylinder head and possibly the camshafts too, so the French garage were partly right. The AA came and tested the battery, but wouldn't help get us back to Swansea because the Halifax thing we were sold the week before only covers roadside assistance, despite being promised that we've got the full bells and whistles cover. By this point it was about 9pm so we had to pay for one of the courier's drivers to take us home because it would have been about 4am if we had taken public transport.

The garage said today that they've taken the engine out and will give it to a specialist to overhaul. They say it'll cost up to £1800 all in. Plus I have to go to London to pick it up when it's done.

The mechanics don't understand how the timing chain has snapped prematurely either because they should be changed ever 100,000 plus miles, yet the van has done just over half that? I doubt someone sneakily turned back the clock as it was a builder's van before we bought it, so the mileage it has done is what you would expect for a 5 year old vehicle.

We'll find out a bit more when the engine is taken to the specialists. Hopefully it won't be too long because I've got no transport, can't earn any money and I'm already sick of walking the four mile round trip to the shops each day to get the things I forgot to get the day before :roll:

The next van is going to be anything other than a damned Fiat :lol:

Mark
 

Jacob

Established Member
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
16,119
Reaction score
0
Location
Derbyshire
3k euro for a new engine sounded a good price then, compared to recon etc. Not much consolation, except it's nice to know that the French garages wasn't ripping you off.
 

Jonzjob

Established Member
Joined
19 Mar 2007
Messages
5,029
Reaction score
12
Location
Ex nr Carcassonne, S France. Now NW Wilts, UK
That's not too good news Mark. Pistons don't like it wen valves stay open! It tenda to punch holes in them and break the heads off the valves to boot!! Especially on diesels where the compression ratio is much higher than petrol jobbies.



I would have thought that a builders van wuldn't have a tremendous milage on it? As an IBM mainframe hardware service engineer I was doing about 20,000 miles a year which is what the builder would have to have done in 5 years and I spent a fair amount of time on the road. I would have thought a builders van would have spent most of the day parked at his job? So in that case it may well be worth contacting Fiat U.K. to see if you can get something back if it's proved that the engine hasn't got anywhere the 100,000 mile mark?

Failing that have you priced a reconned engine? Because by the time you put all the labor and parts charges in there it may just be worth it?

The Fiat forum could be a good place to have a shufty at too. It loos as if there is loads of gen on there?

http://www.fiatforum.com/tech-talk/

Whatever, good luck :mrgreen:
 

Mark A

Established Member
Joined
28 Nov 2010
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
0
Location
South Wales
The mechanics talked us through the options and decided that overhauling the engine would be best as they were unsure of the extent of damage done, so it might not be as bad as they first thought. Plus the work done now will come with a warranty, while an engine from a breakers wouldn't.

That's a good idea John. The problem would be getting any money back from them! :roll:

Jacob - the 3000 euro was their initial approximation of how much it would cost. By their condescending attitude and aggressiveness (at one point I thought there was going to be a fight between the mechanics and the courier) No doubt they would find something else to add to the invoice. The van's in the best place to get repaired as it's being done by the friend of a friend, in a way.


Mark
 

tomatwark

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2010
Messages
1,147
Reaction score
0
Location
Scottish Borders
My garage told me to change the timing belt and tensioners on my transporter at 50k the book says 60k.

Their reason was that they had 2 transporters snap timing belt tensioners under 60k giving the same result valves the pistons.

One of which was their own break down recovery pickup.

So the book is not always right.

When I have bought a vehicle with over 50k on the clock it has been part of the deal that a new belt was fitted if they wanted the sale, as I also do not believe service history either, anyone can get a rubber stamp made for about a £10.


Tom
 

Jonzjob

Established Member
Joined
19 Mar 2007
Messages
5,029
Reaction score
12
Location
Ex nr Carcassonne, S France. Now NW Wilts, UK
The reason that I suggested contacting Fiat was because when we had a Citroën C8 the cat/particulates filter gave up the ghost after about 30,000 km. That bill was 2,500€ or so. The Citroën sevrvice manager told me to contact Citroën Paris and they finished up refunding the price of the parts, almost 2000€. He had said that it should not have gone sick in that short time.

Tom, belts do need changing at much shorter intervals than chains by what Mark has said his was only just over 1/2 way there..

We have just got back from our local Citroën dealers this morning with a new bit for the tailgate, the release handle, just for me to find that they have changed the plug type. So, back there this afternoon to see if we can get the correct one ordered? Hey ho, such is life.. Made worse because under normal circumstances I would go on my own, but until my hand is out of this bleedin splint and still probably a couple more months before I can put any pressure on it! :?
 

Latest posts

Top