Fixing the Motor

I have the NCT tomorrow and I’m a bit anxious.  What will they discover?  Will they find the bodies in the boot?

By the way, do you know why the Americans call it the trunk while we call it the boot?  Simple.  Boot is just a variation of boîte, which means box.  Cars in the old days had a box on the back.  A boîte.


But as usual, I digress.  Tomorrow, I have the NCT.   I’m reasonably happy about it after a sizeable amount of effort, brought about largely by the incompetence of main dealers.  My mechanic is a Russian, an excellent fellow who understands everything about motor vehicles, and what’s more, he charges a reasonable amount of money for his work.

This is a very good thing  The Irish mechanics I used to employ charged an exorbitant sum for precisely the same work, and while I realise that some people will berate me for not employing local labour, I have one simple reply.

Fuck off.

For years, you’ve been boning me up the arse, and now I have a reasonable man who knows what he’s doing.  I’ll stick with him.

And if anyone should seek to take me for a fool, let me tell you this.  I know everything there is to be known about motor vehicles.  I’ve stripped them down and built them back up.  I’ve lain in the cold and the rain on the side of the road fixing shaky automobiles, and I’ve crushed my knuckles in the process, so I’m fully qualified to know if my mechanic is a good one or a bad one.

It was an engine mounting this time.  Not a big deal, you might imagine, but it still took me weeks to get the right one because the motor factors kept ordering the wrong part and even when I got on to the main dealers, they had the wrong schematic.

Good.  Main dealers are thieving bastards, the world over.

Years ago, we had Minis, old-fashioned Minis of the old-fashioned kind, and they had a habit of shearing their engine mountings which was fun.  You could be driving along and when you put your foot on the accelerator, the engine tried to jump out through the bonnet.  KLA-KLOONK!!  How many happy days did I enjoy lying on the ground in the pissing rain with a small stone sticking into my shoulder blade replacing Mini engine mountings?

I’m not doing that stuff any more.  I’m too old.  Fuck that shit.

One time, I had a beautiful car that I drove home at 85 mph because we were in a hurry.  The passengers were dear friends and close family, but as we slowed down and approached our house, the front wheel broke off due to the failure of a ball joint.  If that had happened three minutes earlier we’d all be dead.  Figure that out.  I sat down at the side of the road and fitted a replacement lower wishbone, but that was then and this is now.  I wouldn’t do it today.

I’ve worked on all sorts of cars.  I’ve changed engines, swapped clutches, routinely done the brakes, taken out half-shafts, and I’ve always been confident about my work.  Do it right and it will be right.  But as I said, I’m tired of all that shit.  Let someone else do it.

For myself, I’m happy to let the Russians do the job. I like them and we get on well together.  But most of all, they don’t rob me.

NCT tomorrow.  Isn’t it a horrible feeling as they poke around among your junk?  I don’t like it. Usually I find a way to wander off  and come back later instead of moping around doing the waiting walk which is never a good look.

I used to be a serious mechanic. There was a time when  a house with a pit might have persuaded me to buy it, but those days are gone.  Today, I’m just another lunatic, reaching out to my fellow madmen.





Woo-hoo!  It passed!



14 thoughts on “Fixing the Motor

  1. I know exactly how you feel.Here in the uk we have the yearly mot,without which you cannot get road tax or insurance.You can be failed here for not having water in your windscreen washer,though I think this never happens.I have been told in the past that they have put water in,and that I need not thank them!.I know there after a bung as they say here.I feel like telling to fuck off.This waiting to see if it passes is not a nice feeling as I can attest to.Talking about minis,that universal joint on the front wheels with four ubolts was a horrible thing to change.Main dealers charge fees that heart surgeons would not be unhappy with.

  2. This notion that we should have some sort of loyalty to people simply because they come from the same part of the world as us is a bit fucked up. There’s plenty of reasons to choose one mechanic over the other, but nationality isn’t one of them. In any case, the Russian is as local as the Irish guy if he has settled down here.

  3. I once took the engine out of a Hillman Hunter, took me about fifteen minutes.
    I used a racheted socket, one mini-visegrip tool, an open and a ring spanner, a screwdriver and a ball-pein hammer.
    The boss; at the time, said he was only an hour ahead of the Customs and Excise men.
    There was none of them NCT tests then.
    No Russians either, except in James Bond films.

  4. Good luck with it Bock..
    My philosophy these days with the NCT is to lash it in without doing anything in preparation, see what they tell me needs fixing, if anything and get someone to fix it.

    If that’s the motor factors on Parnell Street you’re on about.. I usually find them top notch to deal with.. gave me a good deal on a car battery there a few months back.
    The swines at Advance Pitstop on Cathedral Place put in the wrong battery a few months earlier.. not enough chargiage or wattiage or something. I didn’t bother going back to them.. Live and learn.
    People can’t afford to be fleeced for these sorts of things anymore.

  5. if your going to the nct centre in ballysimon I’d suggest you sit back and watch the show the cleaning lady puts on while washing thw glass doors near the front office. honestly think Kate moss in the white stripes video “I just don’t know what to do with myself”. very entertaining.

  6. I’m only guessing here but may ‘Trunk’ have come from those steamer trunk contraptions (or box :)you’d see strapped to the back of old motors?

    Hope the Bockmobile was caressed gently by your Russian.

  7. I’m also in the trade, did Eyre Square to the Quay in Dublin in two hours within a punto and inside a lather of sweat.
    That day is gone as you say.

    But counter staff are less competent now, or more care-free, perhaps.
    The car parts are more diverse too though, like “off-set” lugs on a single element indicator bulb – another modern nct requirement; that bulbs must be coloured….wtf.
    Surely its bad enough that bulbs are required at all, but that they must be coloured as well, on top of the obfuscation to do with non-symetrical lugs?
    The world went to shit when women started wearing trousers and people generally believed that they were getting “free minutes” on particular phone networks – extreme?
    Anyone remember when a car ran fine without nct, insurance, tax… and without mention of emissions? Park where you like, lock it if the locks worked, and thoroughly enjoy the experience – free from expense, hassle, terminology, a working handbrake (whatever that is), and duty bound cops. Liberty.

    The lower case nct, added another layer of compliance/bullshit to a society already drowning in the stuff. Bock might not have even met this Russian only for the fact that he’s been embedded into a “scheme” where one even has to waste a second contemplating the state of ones ball joints.

    Perhaps, staff at nct centres originate from motor Factors – once qualified there; moving “upwards” on their career path.
    ‘Cos according to their own “test” of last year, my bulbs were fine. Suddenly, all of them have lost their colour, as if programmed to self destruct, simultaneously.

    Its that or else there was some sort of solar flare, diminishing the bonding agent in the pigment?

    Just like Bock, I prefer not to look while the motor is being analysed – probing for rust with a screwdriver, hoping, to see daylight.
    Anyway, the genius returned his verdict that there was no water in the window washer, but that he could hear the motor (pump, electric motor) running. Great, but he still failed it.
    I dare not suggest that he “took a slug” from the container (not looking), but it was working fine before he began his violation,so to speak. And they probably have water fountains, a fully stocked bar, or something to quench the thirst – so there must be another explanation beyond my mechanical understanding (that solar flare, again?).

    Bring back the Penny Farthing, though one suspects that a regulatory body would be established to verify the number of wheels, your backside emissions, your balls for tightness and your bulbs for brightness.

    I wouldn’t leave your water canteen, hanging from the handlebars, either.

  8. I have formulated the opinion that loyalty to someone who lives local has been one of the over riding problems in Ireland, and in particular in Limerick.

    Through the evolution of this kind of thinking, popular local suppliers / repair men get richer and busier, leading people to think they must be good, which makes them more arrogant, more expensive and less good at what they do, if they ever were any good.

    I had a local supplier justify truly appalling service by saying he had been doing it for 25 years so he must be doing something right. I did point out that he may have been doing it badly for 25 years and nobody had mentioned it to him, because they knew his wifes brother. I didn’t know his wifes brother so I pointed out his failings, people are not keen, or indeed used to that.

    I like to think the recession has and will correct some of this thinking, for the good of the nation and my sanity.

    I wonder do the Russians take the approach of repair rather then replace, like the Polish, that can lead to some very dodgy car repairs, (wife had no brakes when the car was returned, thought I was trying to kill her)

    No more Polish mechanics, might look for a Russian, the Irish guy is fleecing me, and every time the van comes back it has a new problem within days, getting suspicious.

  9. My mechanic’s Irish, and cheap, and damn good at it too -a ‘car whisperer’. Maybe he’s got some Russian blood in him, although i think he tops up with 5W30 in place of blood. No, we’re not all spoilt useless overcharging chancers, not all. Some of us always were -and still are- imaginative, hard-working, honest, and a bit of craic too. I hope some of the good ones get to stay and help make this a better place.

  10. As it happens, my car is currently in a locally-owned body shop, for some minor repairs, because it turns out to be the best value.

  11. @Daddy owe

    I’ll pass on the craic thanks, and go for cheap efficiency, if I wanted a charming mechanic, I’d have a sex change, or look for a female mechanic !

    Neither very easy options, just to get a crank shaft pulley done for under €200.

    Might end up getting used to the clicking noise while idling

  12. 2.5 litre, transit,

    Does €200 for what was decribed as a pulley arm seem expensive ?

    Does the pulley wheel make a clicking noise when idling, if it needs replaced ?

    At the beginning of the year the same guy helped me dodge a bullet my correctly diagnosing that being unable to get into 2nd and reverse was not a reason to do a €1000 new clutch, which I have done before, with some other cowboys (not Russian).

    I wish I had more knowledge of mecahnical engineering, but lost interest in cars as they got more complex.

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