806 New Cylinder Head now electrical problems

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806 New Cylinder Head now electrical problems

Post by mgoodlad » 11 Sep 2007, 23:02

A brief summary is as follows: (okay I lie, it is a pretty long story): The car is a Peugeot 806 1.9 SLDT from 1998/R with about 103,000 miles. There was oil getting in the coolant so the car was booked in for a new Head Gasket. The car ran perfectly before this - it had an MOT five days before and passed, including the emissions test.

The full story is in previous thread "1.9 TD car - oil in header tank - oil cooler or Head Gasket?" ", I have started a new one as that one got too long and it concentrated on different problems than I am asking about now. Many thanks to all who contributed to that thread.

The head turned out to be cracked so I accepted a quote of about £1100+VAT for a new cylinder head. The work took almost 3 weeks during which time they had the engine right out, and the new head on twice. The car was not starting properly or running right so I put it straight back. They diagnosed a blocked exhaust which was replaced, and a problem with the injection pump, which was not looked at as there was no time before my holiday. The car then drove to Holland and back, still underpowered and not starting right. On my return I got a bill for £1879, including several hours for them trying to fix the problems which they hadn't fixed.

I disputed this in writing and put the car back in to them, and they booked it into a diesel engine specialist. He read 5 fault codes and said there was a short in the wiring loom - all the sensors were throwing up errors. They fixed the wiring short and did a compression test and that was fine. The sensors checked out okay individually and now had just 4 fault codes.

They then didn't know what to do next so booked it into an independent Peugeot Specialist. They have called me today - they say the car needs an ECU (which is throwing out uneven voltages), an advance solenoid, a throttle potentiometer, a fast idle solenoid, and an EGR valve. And it would be about £1,000. !!!!!

They were careful to say that the specialist garage thought the faults were there for some time, and it would be nothing that they have touched in the Head job that would cause these faults.

But the car started and drove perfectly before it went in, and was a poor starter and significantly underpowered when it came out. I called the MOT garage and he agreed there was nothing wrong with it, other than the head gasket problem, and this was 5 days before the big job.

Now the original quote of about £1,100 + VAT was borderline on a 100,000 mile, 9 year old car, but I went ahead as the 7 seaters are harder to find. It was also given after the head was off and they had had the opportunity to drive the car, and inspect all components.

I don't know yet what their view is on the £1879 invoice, and they must have spent at least another 20 hours of their own time since then NOT finding the problem. I don't know if they plan to bill for these extra hours or not, and then there is this £1000+ today.

Obviously they took on a job they did not have the equipment nor experience to handle, demonstrated by their first diagnosis - exhaust blocked and fuel pump; and also their use of not one, but two other garages to do the proper diagnosis.

I would really appreciate any advice on how to proceed - in the interim I asked them to see if they can find a breakers with a damaged vehicle and get a secondhand ECU and the other parts off it to try to keep these costs down.

In particular I have three questions:

1. Could the car pass the emissions test five days before, with all those bits not working?

2. Could it have been something they have done which has "blown" all these bits or something? They are obviously going down the line "not their fault".

3. Where do I stand legally? - I accepted a quote of £1100+VAT and conceivably it could end up costing over three times this - on a car only worth £1500 on a good day. Surely they accepted the car as okay before they commenced?

As mentioned, they took the whole engine out the first time, which I believe is not necessary for a head change. The new gasket did not seal properly due to damage on the way in, so they had to do the whole job again - this time not taking the engine out - so they have lost loads of money on this already.

This is now day 43 of the day being in the garage - yes, just over six weeks, and the stress has been considerable! They did give me a courtesy car after a while so I have transport.

Any help (or just comfort) greatly appreciated...!


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806 New Cylinder Head now electrical problems

Post by caveman_si » 12 Sep 2007, 12:29

It sounds like you took a working car with a minor fault (HG) into a garage for a specific job and the garage were unable to complete the job as required. It sounds like the garage could have broken your car and caused the futher damage by there negligence during the work.

Personally i would go to the Citizeons advice buerau or a solicitor and ask for legal advice. As i would be tempted to tell to tell the garage u were quoted 1100+vat and that everything else is there fault for breaking it while in there care due to the incompitance. Proven by there need to get 2 other garages to do work on. And as such thats what u are going to pay.

BUt the best thing to do is get some legal advice mate to find out all the options.

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806 New Cylinder Head now electrical problems

Post by CitroJim » 12 Sep 2007, 13:40

This is a shockingly terrible state of affairs....

The Diesel Emissions test is just a smoke density test so, provided any pre-existing faults did not make it smoke excessively then it would have passed. My experience though is if any sensors are not doing their job then the engine will smoke quite badly, especially if subjected to the MOT regime of several runs up to full rpm off-load. Duff sensors will also cause hard starting and it was not hard to start before it was worked on. So from that it is reasonable to assume that all aspects of the diesel injection system were in fine fettle before it went in. You know this because you were completely happy with all apsects of its performance previously and noticed a significant difference after the work was carried out.

Fact is, it is incredibly difficult to believe any, much less all, of the items you have been told are faulty can all fail simultaneously. It just does not happen. Exhausts don't suddenly block and nor do wiring looms suddenly develop a load of shorts.

During a head change, the ECU cabling has to be disturbed as it will be in the way, likewise injectors and the wiring to the needle lift sensor, which is delicate. There would have been no need to touch the pump, except to disconnect the injection pipes from it. The advance solenoid is tucked away underneath the pump and should not have been touched. It is possible the ECU loom could have suffered damage during the head change but only through rough handling. In short, no, there is no way all those items can suddenly fail casastrophically as they seem to have done.

I'll be careful what I say here for legal reasons but from where I sit, reading the comments, the individuals carrying out the work appeared to be somewhat unskilled, incompetent and negligent. Clumsiness and ignorance could have caused damage to a number of components. Some are quite delicate when you are wresting with a cylinder head in their vicinity and the throttle pot, for instance is an easy target.

It does not sound like the specialists were much better either. It sounds like they used a scattergun to diagnose and took the route of "lets replace everything" and hope the problem magically rights itself. I get a feeling they understood less than they let on about the injection system. It is quite a straightforward system and not at all complex in reality.

The original problem after the head change was probabaly quite trivial. After such a major job there is always scope for a small error (connector left off, say) but it is usually quickly resolved. I'm guessing here that something trivial had been overlooked and everything has been condemmed in an attempt to find it. They've probabaly overlooked something very simple and fundamental and ended up completely disappearing up their own rear ends in trying and depriving you of a fully functional car because of it.

You have paid out a money in good faith to have what started out as a straightforward job carried out. You got back something that was not right and they have been unable to resolve it even though it has faults now that were not pre-existing. If it were I, I'd be complaining very bitterly to each of the businesses involved at top level and seeking legal advice. I'm not up on the law as it relates to this at all but there must be some laws that protect the customer from shoddy garage work. I guess though that the fundamental problem is that it is your word against theirs that the car was running perfectly (apart from the HG) when it was placed in their care. That is a hard one.

Make a big fuss and kick up a stink, mention reputations etc and shame them into sorting it. I'd be a thorough pain in the neck to them to the extent they sort it just to get you off their backs and save, perhaps, a lot of profit-damaging adverse publicity locally.

I wish you all the very best in this.

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806 New Cylinder Head now electrical problems

Post by CitroJim » 12 Sep 2007, 13:43

:oops: Sorry, duplicate Post. The internet here went a bit iffy for a bit.