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Tales of a breakdown driver (modern content)


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1133 replies to this topic

#31 OFFLINE   Conrad D. Conelrad

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Great thread, Tiff! 8)

Also had a raft of call outs to modern VAG group cars, where folks backed them out of their garage, switch off and find they won't start again. They always eventually go, but take a fair bit of winding, usually requiring a boost from the jump leads.

I've heard of this specific thing before, with VAG tat. What's causing it?

#32 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:23 PM

I reckon the VAG thing just isn't specific to VAG, as I've seen it with others, namely Volvo and Jaguar. The kind of cars which are bought by people with garages :) It has to be something to do with interupting the warm up cycle,and throwing too much fuel in on the second start or the fuel condensing in the cylinder, soaking the plugs. Exactly the same symptoms and cure as a flooded Metro.

I've been out to 1 Panda in the past year, for a wheel change. Fiat's just don't break down, well not on my patch anyway ,they know better :lol: The CDTi's in Vauxhalls give loads of grief. Italian conspiracy?

I don't see many Japanese cars, apart from Japanese cars that aren't actually Japanese. Aygo, and a few Civics.

Another Clio immobiliser issue this afternoon- non start 2001 stylee. Found the crank sensor to be hanging on by the last threads of the bolts. Tightened this up and.... still the same. had a check of the sensor loom and the wires were all crispy. Hmmm. I then gave the key a good squeeze while turning the ignition and it burst into life- the circuit boards in the keys seem to crack and cause the immobiliser to stay on, always worth a try as a new key has to come from France and is £150+, or just go online and buy an immobiiser bypass module for about 80 quid

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#33 OFFLINE   AeroNautiCal

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

+1 On yes, please keep posting about your call out's, as they're excellent.

#34 OFFLINE   Shep Shepherd

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:25 PM

Great thread. Long may it continue to be updated :D

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#35 OFFLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:40 PM

Forgot to say, great thread!!! Feel free to give us a daily report anytime, i'm lovin' it

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#36 OFFLINE   pompei

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:55 PM

+ 1 from me, too.
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#37 OFFLINE   mrcitroen

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:58 PM

Good stuff! Keep it up :)
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#38 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:16 PM

Great, I'll keep updating anything that I think may be interesting or useful. :)

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2006 and 145000 miles.
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#39 OFFLINE   M'coli

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:58 PM

Thanks, Tiff - it's making fascinating reading!

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#40 OFFLINE   Conrad D. Conelrad

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:58 PM

I reckon the VAG thing just isn't specific to VAG, as I've seen it with others, namely Volvo and Jaguar. The kind of cars which are bought by people with garages :) It has to be something to do with interupting the warm up cycle,and throwing too much fuel in on the second start or the fuel condensing in the cylinder, soaking the plugs. Exactly the same symptoms and cure as a flooded Metro.


Computer pulling the choke out too far then!

#41 OFFLINE   Joseph

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:25 PM

Great, I'll keep updating anything that I think may be interesting or useful.

This is my office.


Posted Image

Fife, eh? Well if I ever happen to break down on your side of the Kincardine Bridge, you're getting a phone call! Not for a repair, just to hear some great recovery driver tales :)

A Glasgow bus driver recently wrote a book of all his accounts of all the goings on in his days of driving buses. It's called The Bloodbus and is a good read (Google it). You could nearly put pen to paper and release a book yourself, I'm guessing all of us on here would read it...


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#42 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:36 AM

Forget the J.D.Power survey, this thread is all we need, superb info, more please!
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#43 OFFLINE   406V6

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:57 AM

Another vote for a great thread. Well written and very interesting to read. This is proper real world motoring - or perhaps I should say real world stationary.

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#44 OFFLINE   worldofceri

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

Another +1 from me. What's an RDT? A towing dolly?

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#45 ONLINE   Volksy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:25 AM

This was my one when I did this a few years ago, great truck!

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#46 OFFLINE   eddyramrod

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

+1 from me too, this is very interesting, and yes, it would definitely make a book! :D

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#47 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:39 AM

A book eh? I'll have to start gathering notes and photo's :o

An RDT is a "Rapid Deployment Trailer" like this..

Posted Image

This is the one I have-

http://www.ebay.co.u... ... 35c24cf360

Mercs went through a pretty bad time a few years back, but they seem to have learned from it and the newer ones are back to what Mercs should be. Still have a 190 or W124 before any of them though. One thing I found out a few weeks back is that some Mercedes have the same issue as the old Type R Civic, where the spare wheel only fits the back, so gives you a bit more hassle at the side of the road swapping wheels back to front.

Last night was pretty uneventful, an old 1996 Punto with a leaking clutch slave cylinder at 11.30PM- from what the owner was saying it was the final nail in the coffin and was going over the bridge. Engine still sounded sweet too... Dropped it off and the owners grandad was an old skool Autoshiteist- in the yard was a 1969 Morris 1800, a 3 Litre landcrab and a Morris Minor. As it was after 1am I didn't get much chance to have a chat :?

Volksy, Those things are legendary and rack up huge mileages. You must have had a lot of Green flag work to have a liveried vehicle, or were you self employed?

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#48 ONLINE   Volksy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Volksy, Those things are legendary and rack up huge mileages. You must have had a lot of Green flag work to have a liveried vehicle, or were you self employed?


We did work for both Green Flag and Britannia rescue, That Canter was one of the best trucks we had, still going strong today but has been repainted white, never any bother apart from the crap handbrake. The rest of the fleet were (Specs) 3x Iveco Dailys, 2x Renault Mascotts, (Flatbeds) Another Canter and Iveco, a Renault Master and a VW Transporter.

I was working for them before all the work/time directive applied, so didn't need a tacho or drivers hours, was earning mega-bucks, but horrifically long hours and dealing with some right messes for insurance companies and the police. Green flag insisted that at least one of our trucks was liveried up. It did mean that I couldn't do Britannia work though, however GF paid better ;)

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#49 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

I was working for them before all the work/time directive applied, so didn't need a tacho or drivers hours, was earning mega-bucks, but horrifically long hours and dealing with some right messes for insurance companies and the police.


LOL, whats that all about then? I'm on call 27/4, off Monday/Tuesday usually. Just now I'm covering for holidays so 25/7 for 3 weeks solid..then off 9 days.Used to do police work up in Dingwall/Tain, but we don't get any here.

We have 2 identical Vito's, an LDV Maxxus beavertail lift and shift, 2 Chevy 4x4 double cab pickups and an Iveco Eurostralis thing. I'm only up to 7.5 tonne so can't drive the Iveco.

I've heard about the dodgy handbrakes, just what you don't need on a breakdown truck.

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#50 OFFLINE   mrcitroen

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:04 PM

Tiff, are you doing breakdown cover for the meet in Dunfermline at the middle of the month :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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#51 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

I'm off on holiday then so if I'm there it'll be Tiff's Wreckovery services that will be providing the pisstaking , general poking about and chin scratching.

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#52 OFFLINE   Timewaster

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

some Mercedes have the same issue as the old Type R Civic, where the spare wheel only fits the back, so gives you a bit more hassle at the side of the road swapping wheels back to front.


Mate of mine runs his own garage and runs a Canter like the one in Volksys pic. (Many an hour is wasted in the pub with tales of recovery jobs.)

He recently had to recover a C class when the owner had fitted a space saver to the rear using the standard bolts instead of the shorter ones Merc supply.
The longer bolts passed through the hub and as soon as he pulled away, smashed the handbrake mechanism to bits and locked the rear wheel solid.

I'd never heard of this before now.
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#53 OFFLINE   stilo_active

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

Thanks Tiff, great thread, highly enjoyable and interesting!

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#54 OFFLINE   skattrd

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

Nice on Tiff, keep it up, more tales from the roadside please.

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#55 OFFLINE   mph1977

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

Great, I'll keep updating anything that I think may be interesting or useful. :)

This is my office.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/tif...

2006 and 145000 miles.


yet another recovery / road side services vehicle with totally uncalled for grille lights !

grille lights are to clear traffic when responding on blues / greens not to bling up recovery vehicles ...

far more useful to put a single beacon or 2 source mini light bar on the front of the roof ... ( with the full bar at the rear)

#56 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:50 AM

Here's a pic of the RDT in the Vito.

Posted Image

Had to use it late last night to collect a pickarsehole up from Dunfermline after the alternator died.Was outside a pub so had to put up with the usual "helpful" drunks whilst diagnosing what had happened. Dropped it off and got home at 3am, up again at 9 this morning to a 2001 Golf with clutch problems. Once I got to the car I saw a problem that I'd forgotten about, but seen quite a few times before on VAG stuff. Whoever thought this would be a good idea, and signed it off for production should be sent to Stalag 17. A flimsy, brittle peice of Airfix plastic on the top of the clutch pedal to operate the pushrod for the master cylinder. When the car gets old, or the clutch wears and gets heavy in typical VW fashion, the pushrod punches its way through the stupid bit of plastic and you lose the clutch. Thought they might have learned from the Mk1 golf where the bulkhead used to rip when the clutch wore :roll:

This is what you find lying in the footwell if it happens to you. Fit a new bit of Airfix and it may last a day or a year, but it's a warning in my experience that you'll need a clutch soon.
Posted Image

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#57 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:04 PM

Great, I'll keep updating anything that I think may be interesting or useful. :)

This is my office.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/tif...

2006 and 145000 miles.


yet another recovery / road side services vehicle with totally uncalled for grille lights !

grille lights are to clear traffic when responding on blues / greens not to bling up recovery vehicles ...

far more useful to put a single beacon or 2 source mini light bar on the front of the roof ... ( with the full bar at the rear)

There are 4 lights along the to of the windscreen too with alternating flashing patterns. along with the grille lights and the full width light bar on the rear, and the whole van is reflective..and I've still had to shut my eyes and hope for the best at times when I hear a screech from behind me.I'll use as many lights as I possibly can to alert traffic, sometimes on pitch dark country roads on a blind bend, or the side of the motorway at 3am with dozing truckers piloting 44 tonners a foot away from me lying on the ground. What gets my goat is everything has orange lights now, council vans, street sweepers, everything...so no one really takes notice. There is a petition going around the recovery industry just now to try and get breakdown vehicles to be able to use red or purple flashing beacons to differentiate from the sea of amber, so people are aware that there may actually be someone working at the roadside. Recovery beacons should only actually be used when at the roadside, and shouldn't be used when in transit. We aren't even allowed to put cones out on the road FFS.

I hope you are speaking from experience about having less lights. Maybe the families of the many roadside workers who lose their lives every year doing their job would have been a bit more forceful in their argument against being LESS visible.

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2004 Fiat Panda Eleganza -Blue Cocktail
2001 MGF VVC- Head gasket Blew


#58 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

On a lighter note, I spotted a dilapidated UMM Alter in a garden this morning, will try to get some pics :D

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#59 OFFLINE   brickwall

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:29 PM

I have a similar feeling too about the lights. bin lorries, tractors, rubbish sweepers, large lawn mowers...the list goes on. I think orange should be reserved for people working about the roadway - the others should get a new flashing colour.

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#60 OFFLINE   Albert Ross

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:22 PM

I have a full width array of rotators and "electronic" phased flashers on the roof of my Land Rover. I use them for the moment that I arrive at work to unlock, as it's an urban clearway with a shared cycle path/footpath at the side, which I have to block to clear the road, when I open the gates. I also use them when stationary behind (or in front of) breakdowns I am trying to clear (for free) off other clearways in my locale (Doncaster.. it's full of them) I then also use them for brief (under half a mile) towing jobs to safe areas for proper recovery firms to do their thing. I recently had to protect an abandoned car on a major junction... the owner couldn't move it, he was alone and quite old, but was very grateful of the assistance. (He had gone to use the telephone round the corner)
The snow is obscuring the centre ones, but you get the picture. Corner lights are for tight navigation issues off road....!
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