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 Just like a bad penny - I'm back!

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Tom Mc
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PostSubject: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:24 am

Well I'm back after an adventurous few weeks away, although it seemed like months on the road! Great time had by all but I couldn't imagine a year or more away. Seems great on paper being away for that length of time, but to be honest it would drive me mad. A bit or 'normality' for a while is called for, then doubtless it'll be itchy feet time again come the Spring.

Having completed the 3,000 miles of Landy Rally Euro 4x4 Charity Drive, I’ve since been at my mate's place in the Dordogne and the Spanish Pyrenees - that was another 3,000+ miles!

The second 3,000 mile stint was in my 1973 300 Tdi + auto box Range Rover ambulance, the one that will eventually be converted into a camper. Reason was the clutch went on my silver 200 Tdi Rangie, so drove back to the UK in a Hertz hire car and collected the untried and untested ambulance. A daft thing to do granted, but I really had no choice. I had a “Pyrenees 4x4 Tour” to run so obviouly couldn’t let the clients down. Apart from a water pump which I bought at a Land Rover dealership in Santander (knew it was on its way out but hoped it may last – it didn’t!!!) which myself and one of the tour party changed whilst wild camping one evening - thanks Ian - the ambulance performed impeccably.

Well, it did if you forget about the fact the rear door all but fell off due to the bottom hinge pin rusting through, the actual mechanicals of the vehicle performed impeccably. It actually pulled like a train! That combination of the 300 Tdi + auto box is awesome.





















Anyway, as I say I’m back now, so look forward to reading what you rabble have been up to of late. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:32 am


Glad to see you had a good time. & good to see you back here.

The Camper looks great, nice to see it up and running doing what it does best.

Jason

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:25 pm

And we were all relishing the sanity and relative peace Tom.
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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:42 pm

Ahhhhh ... love you too! cuddles

Well it was a 'sort of camper'. In one afternoon I quickly slung in the back -

upholstery and bedding from the caravan to make a bed
water container
fuel jerrican
cooker + large gas bottle
pots & pans
wired in a 600w inverter for charging stuff + operating a drill (well handy when it came to
fixing new rear door gate hinges from an ironmongers - the fibreglass was a doodle to drill)
and a CB of course.

Et voilà! One camper of sorts!

As I say to everyone, the ambulance may look like a dog's breakfast, but I'd rather leave it like this - 'natural' - until such time I can really afford to start converting it properly. It's work in progress after all, so as long as it's road worthy, that's all that matters. One day ...

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:58 pm

Tom:

You will note that i made absolutely no reference to it breaking down.
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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:34 pm


Laughing Laughing Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:25 pm

Mmmmm!!!! As it happens a couple of miseries on Landy Rally mentioned that it wasn't on for the organiser's vehicle to break down. My retort was, "what was I supposed to do pre-event, change the clutch - just in case?" If that was the case, then I suppose I would have to also replace the ball joints, CJ's, CV's, propshafts, etc. etc. While I was about it, perhaps I should have renewed the engine, gearbox, transfer box ... Where do you stop? Yes it would have been good to have a newer and potentially more reliable vehicle, but then again the entry fees would have been twice as much in order to pay for my steed. That's life. Besides, every time I drive down a motorway and see a Merc, Toyota or any other 'reliable' car on the hard shoulder with the bonnet up, I think to myself, "not so smug now moneybags!"

The things is, they are all machines so eventually they will all break down at some point, and when modern motors break down with all their electronics on board, then you'd better have very deep pockets indeed. Then again given the lifespan of modern vehicles, they could well end up in the scrapyard before they ever have a chance to break down. Either way, motors are a costly indulgence ... whatever make or model!

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:16 am

It all adds to lifes rich tapestry and as long as you had fun its fine, as for vehicles breaking down!!!i think as you do when i see a Roller broken down as well, but i will remember this one for future banter Tom. Just hope the Shogun never breaks down.
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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:14 pm

I owned a 2.5 diesel Mk.1 grey import Pajero once - the high roof version, the type they love in Asia. Great while it was running for it was massive 4x4 van in the back, but one fateful day it literally ran out of power and ground to a halt. Mechanics, diesel fitters, some very competent DIY guys all had a go at it, nobody could resurect it.

RIP Pajero, it was good while it lasted. Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:22 pm

aahhh your back then,, affraid ,,,,you would be called an alternative motorist,,driving the ambi,, adore ,,,,,,same as me,,,driving around in a 101. stupid ...who gives a fxck,, thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:44 pm

I tell you mate, folk loved it. Even over here drivers will pass on a dual carriageway, give a hoot and thumbs up as they pass. Beaming smiles all 'round!

Tempted to keep the exterior exactly as it is, a wolf in sheep's clothing an' all that, but unfortunately for the Pyrenees tours (and the promotion thereof) it has to look more professional. Still, I'll enjoy it while it lasts before its makeover.


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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:02 am

Did you manage to get your gear box on the RR classic sorted or is it still stuck in Italy ?
How are the plans for the 2012 celebrity rally going, I am waiting in anticipation

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:05 am

Funny you should ask ... it's story time, so now everyone can learn a lesson or two from my mistakes!

As you know, the Range Rover came to a sticky end on Landy Rally near Lake Como - actually nothing near so dramatic, the clutch fork inside the gearbox simply gave up! Normally I would drive on without the clutch, but as we were heading for Val d’Isère, the mountain passes and hairpins would have been a tad unsafe to say the least.

So, having telephoned International Rescue, in this case the RAC equivalent in Italy, the RR was hauled off to a VW/Audi garage in Sorico just north of Lake Como.

LESSON No. 1 If the local garage have time to repair the vehicle before your return ferry date back to the UK, then the RAC will not repatriate your vehicle under any circumstances, you have to get it repaired at the local garage.

This means that if you were planning to spend 11 days abroad and it breaks down on day 2, then obviously there is time to repair it and you will be given the option of carrying on with a hire car supplied by the RAC. Don’t go wandering too far mind you, as at some point you’ll have to return to collect your repaired vehicle. Fine if you are visiting friends at a set location, but an absolute pain if your are on a touring holiday with a day-to-day itinerary you have to follow, so you could easily end up hundreds of miles away from the garage repairing your vehicle!

If however you were to break down on day 9, then there wouldn’t be enough time to repair the vehicle and make it back to the ferry in time. In this case your vehicle would be repatriated all the way back to your front door or a nominated garage local to you, while you and your passengers would drive back home in the hire car provided (or several hire cars as you cross borders).

The point is, the garage you’ve been taken to on a low-loader can charge virtually anything they want as they know they have you over a barrel. In my case the garage wanted 1,200 euros to repair my RR, for something that should cost no more than 300 to 400 euros maximum. Even 500 or 600 euros would have been gut-wrenching but still just about acceptable, but 1,200???? B**********s!!!!!!

The lesson here is not to tell the RAC, AA, Green Flag or whoever that you will be returning in 10 days time or whatever, lie through your teeth and tell them your ferry is in 2 days time. Yes it’s morally wrong, but what other choice do you have when the rip-off cost of the repair is greater than the market value of your vehicle?

LESSON No. 2 Make sure the information you receive from your breakdown assistance company is 100% correct. Again, I will relate my story and make your own choice.

Having completed the 11 days of Land Rally in the hire car provided, I contacted RAC Europe to find out the situation regarding my RR. Having been told of the garage’s extortionate estimate, I decided there and then to fly to Milan on a cheap Easyjet flight, make my way on public transport to the VW/Audi garage, collect the RR and drive back to Calais via the motorway network. Yes, still no clutch, but I knew it would start on the key and once rolling I could simply match the revs to change gear, then turn off the engine when I had to stop – easy!

So, over the phone I asked the RAC man if there would be any charges if I were to collect the vehicle myself and drive off into the wide blue yonder. He said he would find out for me. Later that day he phoned back to inform me that the garage wanted a 37 euro diagnostic fee (just for a mechanic to sit in the RR, depress the clutch and announce the clutch was knackered – I actually saw him do it when it came off the low-loader, he didn’t even lift the bonnet!) and 12 euros for storage. Annoying yes, but a total of 49 euros was acceptable and ‘just one of those things’ I naively thought to myself.

So armed with this knowledge, I decided to leave the RR where it stood for a while because (a) I was drained after covering 3,000+ miles over the course of Landy Rally, (b) flights to Milan certainly weren’t cheap if you wanted to fly the next day (£175 whereas in advance they could be as low as £30) and (c) I had a couple of 1,000 mile Pyrenees 4x4 Tours due to take place, so had to drive down to Santander in the RR ambulance – yet another 800 miles – so the thought of driving back the silver RR from Italy somehow didn’t appeal. That’s why I left the RR at the VW/Audi garage for 2 months, so I could return refreshed on a cheap flight, pay the 37 euros diagnostic fee plus approximately 60 euros in storage charges (it was 12 euros after 12 days, so it didn’t take a genius to work out it would be 60 euros for around 60 days).

WRONG!!! When I arrived I was presented with a bill for 750 euros to reclaim the RR! Why? Because it was actually …

30 euros diagnostic fee

+

10 euros per day storage fee.

Yes I know, what happened to the quoted 37 euros diagnostic fee and 12 euros for storage? All very strange!

Anyway, presented with the new figures, it was still a terrible shock given that I only had enough cash to cover what I thought was the total garage fees (I actually allowed up to 100 euros – just in case), the fuel back to Calais, the cost of a new ferry to the UK, the fuel back to the Midlands. I phoned the RAC for some help, pleaded with the garage, did everything I possibly could to recover the RR, all to no avail. The garage wouldn’t budge, the RAC didn’t want to know despite it being their error telling me the storage was 12 euros, instead of 12 euros per day, I was snookered.

Having spent hours at the garage (it was now getting on for 7pm), I finally had to admit defeat and tell them to scrap the vehicle; what else could I do? Of course it still cost me a lot – bus and trains back to Milan, a hotel for the night as there were no flights, £100+ to get back to Gatwick, train back to Coventry – not to mention the time and effort getting there and back.

Moral of this story, if the RAC/AA/whoever say something is a certain cost, ask them to confirm it in writing via email, that way should it all go horribly wrong as in my case, then you may (only may) be armed with some sort of ammunition for compensation at a later date. As it is I’m stuffed – no vehicle and just a sizeable credit card bill at the end of the month to show for my efforts … GREAT!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:12 am

BTW, apart from yourself and a 3-vehicle team from Ireland who were really up for it, the feedback for a Landy Rally Celebrity Edition has been abysmal. Not just teams I have to say, but in terms of media, potential sponsors, etc. Hardly surprising given what's happening with the economy at present.

So I'm afraid that's it, end of and era. No more Landy Rally, no more orange! Sad


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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:19 am


Good to see that you learned some stuff on the way and have pointed out a few valuable things.

It is a shame what is happening at the moment. Times are very tough....

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:29 am

Needless to say I shall be contacting the RAC, I'll keep you posted.

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:24 am

I would suggest you always get a name from whoever you speak to, and always write down the details such as time, date, and the specifics of what you discuss, this is for several reasons, if they dispute what you say you have a written record and do not have to rely on memory, you have a name/names of people who advised you, and the details which in your case would be the costs involved. People often lie when faced with such situations such as providing misinformation as they are intent on not having disciplinary action taken against them, or they don't necessarily lie, but only remember what they remember and often only in a certain way which often leaves it open to interpretation.

You can refer back to your notes and provide specific information, the date, approximate time, the name of the person to whom you spoke, the details of the information they gave you, and any ancillary information you have documented, this puts you in a strong position.

Approximately three years ago i had a similar situation by being misinformed, it was work related and not automotive related, but the same principles applied and it actually went to court to be resolved, and i won the case because i could refer back to notes and provide accurate data and the details from a hand written note i made at the time. Remarkably their computer notes were deleted and their telephone calls were not recorded on that particular day, strange that.
After the cross examination i could not be caught out because i had facts and not a vague recollection, and i asked the person who gave the information one final question after they had been questioned.

My final question was simple, "can you tell the court what clothing you wore on the day in question" which received a numb silence, they could not, i merely made a simple statement " if they can't remember what they wore on the day in question, how can we trust anything they say as its all from memory and a falliable one at that". I heard their team mutter Bas**rd and the rest of the court smiled, case won. They asked me if i could remember what i wore on that day, i said yes and produced a picture of me on the phone to them.
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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:32 am

Nice one! As it happens I do name the name of the chap I spoke to (in amongst the other half dozen), so armed with this and other notes I will definitely pursue the matter.

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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:12 am

Good luck Tom, be prepared for the fight and do not surrender.
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PostSubject: Re: Just like a bad penny - I'm back!   Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:50 am

TOM,,, affraid , computer-22 ,,,,,,you numpty,,,,,,,

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