Mechanical problems are a given when you life the kind of like I do. Just like a house or your daily, driver, mine just happens to be both, breakdowns will happen. When it is the same thing but different issues it is frustrating!
I have had an issue with my fuel system for awhile. It started a few years ago with the fuel pump going and it has been a constant from there with a few breaks in between.
When the fuel pump went the first time, with no warning in a line at Jiffy Lube and had to get towed I really did not have a go to shop. The one I would use could not handle the height of my van and some of the things I or Tom could do but this need a high roof and a hoist. I called around and got a name of a shop and took it there. Oh not good!! After explaining that I live in my van and need it back asap I got “can you leave it for the weekend? ” *sigh…explain again. They ended up keeping it for a couple of days and I rented a car to get back and forth to work and couched surfed. When I got the van back I could not put more than $20 worth of gas in at a time. I was working about 2 hours away on a project and staying there at campground in my van Monday to Friday. I called and would bring it back on the Saturday BUT I needed it back that day. It was all just a disaster. When I finally got it back I could put more than $20 in but had to do it slowly. I could not pull the trigger on the gas pump more than half way. Uggg! I will live with it.
Time to find a new garage.
Trust! I find that hard now a days. When I take my vehicle to a garage I am trusting them with more than just a van. This is my home. My life! It is where I sleep at night, where I write, where I make my coffee, where my dreams lie.
I found this great place in Port Colbourn Ontario that really understood my unique situation. They handled all the big jobs on both my vans with care and consideration at a reasonable price. They also had a very cool Cockatoo in the lobby which was so cute.
In the summer a noise started in the back of the van. An squealing annoying noise. It sounded like it was coming from where the fuel pump was. Oh no not again! Tom confirmed. Darn! Pulling that tank was not easy or cheap. The noise would come and go and then I could feel the pump giving up. Hesitation in the gas peddle, loss of power. It was time to do something. I called the garage and they took me in. They ended up keeping the van overnight but I got it back the next day. I went to put fuel in and yup you guessed it, I could only put a little fuel in before it would keep shutting the gas pump off. I called them and arranged to take it back later in the week. I took it back, dropped it off, got a tune up while it was in there, and when I went to put fuel in it was still not fixed. Ugggg! Since I was retired it was not as big a hassle but still… I called them back making arrangements for the next week. I walked in and the bird was gone. They had sold the company and it was new garage owners. It was now Westside Auto. Ohhh thats not good. This is a problem from the last owners.
I had just spent $1500 and still had a broken van!!! I spoke with the owner Dave and he told me that it would be no problem they would honor the work they did! OMG!! What a relief.
I explained my unique situation and he understood. They took the van in and when he took the tank down it had pin holes in it. Knowing I needed it back they did a temporary repair and fixed my filling issue. I would need to put a new tank in.
Now there is kind of a story behind the pin holes in the tank. It has to do with plumbing. There is a lot of plumbing running under the van. For the water tanks and drains and one of them was leaking on top of the fuel tank. Probably why I had a second fuel pump go in the same number of years. Hiw it got cracked I do not know. I can speculate but I do not know. I asked the guys if they could see the leak could they wrap it with flex tape. They said they were not an RV shop but they would take a look.
Well I will tell you they did way more than looked and went way above what I would have expected from a mechanical shop. Dave called me and said it was more than just a cracked pipe. There were 3 elbows that were leaking. Tape would not do it. All of the piping is between the body of the van and the fuel tank. To get at it you have to drop the fuel tank. He said he could fix it and replace the elbows. He could not guarantee because he was a mechanical shop but he would do his best. Josh doing the tank and Dave doing the plumbing. Tag teaming it! Oh yes please! If I do not stop the leak then I will be replacing the fuel pump and tank again.
I picked up the van the same day leak free and put fuel in it pulling the gas trigger to full throttle!! Woohoo!!! I cannot tell you the elation and the relief it was. When I got the bill it was a pleasant surprise. If I have to go without the bird, seeing Dave on the othersife of the counter knowing my van is safe in his hands is worth the trade.
Customer service is a dying service these days. Josh and Dave went above and beyond expectations to get me back on the road safely and with running water ( next week…I am so excited!!)
If you are in the Port Colbourn area and need a good mechanic I highly recommend these guys!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure!
See you next week.