So the trip to Lohen had been an eye opener. Sadly not for any positive reasons. On the journey back the car felt fine until I hit the home straight and then suddenly I would lose power, no revs, and I'd have to coast to the hard shoulder.
Because this has happened so often now I'm kind of used to it, almost expecting it on long journeys. I try and restart the car while it's crawling along, but this seems to make no difference, the battery and starter are fine. After the terminal diagnosis from Lohen earlier in the day it was evident that the engine was on its way out, it was just a matter of how long would it last.
Eventually she restarts and I manage to get home and put some more fuel in, which always fixes the problem, despite having a fair amount of fuel already in the tank.
A few days later - literally - and the engine finally dies a death. With an impressive 130,000+ miles on the clock, I was on my way to the supermarket when all the power went and wouldn't restart. Some fellow drivers stopped to try and help me bumpstart it, but it was no use. So I bit the bullet and called my roadside recovery to come and help me.
In a small twist of fate the recovery operator was having a break in the supermarket car park I had broken down outside of. When he turned up he said he could take the car to a garage or back to my house. Unfortunately I had broken down on a Saturday, which meant most garages and the one I wanted - Mintech in Bury, were closed.
Clearly the car had to be moved, but I didn't want it to count as being 'recovered' because I needed to get it to a garage on Monday. Technically the options were limited and I was in a bit of a fix. If he helped it would be a 'recovery'. Hmmm.
I asked whether he could just help me get the car onto the supermarket carpark for the weekend and I get it 'recovered' on Monday.... Hmmm, again. He said I'd have to speak to my recovery service and clear it with them. After a bit of sweet talking, they saw the difficult position I was in, and proximity of the supermarket car park and agreed. Confirming I would be able to recover it on Monday to a garage. Great stuff. As it happens a local friend saw us broken down and offered me a lift home too.
Fast forward to Monday, and guess what, there's complications with the recovery service. Despite making it clear on the Saturday and getting it all agreed, I again had to go through it all and explain before they agreed to finally take the car to our friends at Mintech in Bury. I'd already called them up first thing on the Monday to explain and they kindly agreed to sort it for me asap. What legends, without a car, I would literally be up the creek without a paddle, especially in my rural location.
A friend had lent me his works car - a shoddy Micra that has been ragged to an inch of its life with doortrim falling off, holes in the floor and dials that come off in your hand! Ha! But hey, it was a car that worked!
A bit later on I get a call from Mintech. They're putting in a new engine, which seems like the easiest (and probably the cheapest) solution, given that an engine strip at some garages can cost over £1000 alone. But there was a question... do I want a standard Cooper S engine, or an engine out of a GP? Hmmm, again.
What do you think?
Oh yes I did!!!
(and they even put the correct coolant reservoir on, a new archliner and Cold Air Intake (CAI).
Back on the ramp.