New Silver Goes to Hospital…

01 Dec

At the start of the year I wanted to replace my car with a camper but, with my Citroen’s MOT rapidly approaching and no time to go camper-shopping, I decided to buy a car and think about vans another time…

…and lo, New Silver joined the family. He’s a Golf TDi, and he’s new and silver (whereas Old Red is old and red…I like to put a lot of creative thought into naming my possessions…*ahem*).

When I bought him I thought I was investing in a good solid vehicle. Sadly, I was wrong…

In the short time I’ve had this car I’ve managed to spend an inordinate amount of money having bits replaced. And, for whatever reason, it needs work every time it has to negotiate a flood.

A while back I travelled to Hereford to visit one of my good friends, but it rained ALL night so by the time I headed home the narrow country roads were turning into waterways. After a few deep baths I noticed a squeaking noise, but put it down to water under a belt. Big mistake…

…a few days later I was driving merrily along (avec squeak) when the battery light came on and the power steering decided to take a holiday. I googled the symptoms and decided that the fan belt (which drives the alternator and power steering) was probably the culprit.

After being recovered home and paying around £65 for the pleasure (beware Green Flag excess charges! My package only takes me 10 miles for free and I not only have to pay for the extra miles to my drop-off, but I also have to pay for the truck’s journey back to their garage!) my local garage discovered that the pulley had snapped clean off the alternator, leaving the belt flopping uselessly.

Unfortunately, parts companies don’t make the pulleys on their own, so my choices were to replace the entire alternator or wait for a pulley to be fabricated (if that was even possible…the mechanics weren’t 100% sure that it could be done). I need my car for work so I had to pay around £350 to have the whole unit replaced. Sigh.

With all the recent rain and a rural route to work, I’ve had to drive through a lot more water and my problems started again…

This time the engine was randomly overheating. There wasn’t really any pattern to it, the hot air heater stayed warm and toasty (I’ve had rad problems before and in that case the heater never got warm…probably because the radiator was bone dry…) and it would cool itself as suddenly as it had heated up. It was decidedly odd.

After a day at the garage (again) they found that the water pump was slipping and would randomly stop turning. It was made of plastic and, although it hadn’t cracked, it was really worn and didn’t grip the rod properly. Not only did the pump need replacing, but the cam belt was looking worn too so they recommended changing that while they had it all open. £365 later (it’s a huge amount of labour) and New Silver is running at a constant 90 degrees again.

I doubt the floods are directly to blame for my troubles, but I do think that the water may have washed away whatever gack and yack was holding all the rotten parts together! Let’s hope the water pump is the last of my issues, for thus vehicle at least!

I think an engine maintenance course should be on my Christmas list this year…

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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Random, Van Maintenance


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