Posted at 11:23:14, 16/8/2003
Well I should probably have written about this a while ago but I kept thinking that it couldn't possibly drag on for even longer and I would wait before telling my sad tale!
About two weeks after I got my car repaired after the last time it broke, I was in the Lake District for the weekend. I started to have some problems starting the car and it would spew white smoke out of the back for a short time after it started. It made it all the way back to Worcester without any problem so I was quite surprised when the Three Counties Garage in Malvern said it was the head gasket and quoted me £500 to fix it. Lots of people said that this was a lot for a new head gasket so I phoned round and found Graham garage, also in Malvern. Not only did they quote me a more reasonable £300 and pick my car up from the other garage, they also lent me a car while they fixed mine!
I should really say a bit about the loan cars... Now don't get me wrong here, its very unusual for a garage to lend you a car while they fix yours, especially a small privately owned garage, and it has made life much easier, but whichever Volvo designer decided that gold was a good colour for a car should be shot! Even James at Graham garage thought the Volvo 440 was hideous so it was soon swapped for a Fiat Uno. This proceded to leak oil all over Ella's dad's driveway and then started to bunny hop and stall regularly. This was then swapped for a very nice Audi 80. A fantastic machine which drives very nicely, the only problem being that it need a new differential in the gear box. James' deciding factor on whether or not I could drive to Sheffield in it was the fact that I had AA cover! Amazingly (considering my recent luck) it made it there and back.
Once James took my engine apart he discovered that there was nothing wrong with the head gasket, it was the cylinder head itself that was cracked, in exactly the same place, at the top of all four cylinders. Shit.
A new cylinder head would cost £340 in parts alone so James started to search for a second hand engine. It seems the Vauxhall 1.7 Diesel is prone to breaking in the way because the only engine he managed to find had exactly the same problem when he opened it up. In the end, a new cylinder head it was and I'm now down another £595 in parts and labour for that.
But is that the end? Of course not... no, the windscreen has two large cracks in it (and that's pretty unlucky by itself) and, despite the fact that both are right at the edge and don't obstruct my view at all, it failed its MOT so that's another £115.
Needless to say, I didn't want to risk another long journey in the Audi so it was the train to my Mum's in Huddersfield this weekend. And yes, my train for the Birmingham New Street was delayed again... oh joy.