Tuesday, April 15, 2008

If boats were cars or cars were boats

We have had to delay by one day our trip to look at sofa beds for Herbie because our car has broken down. Strange rumblings from the clutch and a lot of juddering at startup. Unlike boats, which generally have old fashioned simple engineering, modern cars are very fancy under the bonnet.

Our Focus apparently has a two part flywheel, like a sandwich, which (if I understood the bloke right) contains the springs which buffer the action of the clutch. Apparently these springs have gone and the whole thing is in danger of flying apart and possibly smashing through the gearbox. It certainly sounds like it. So I need a new flywheel, and while they're at it , new clutch, cylinder, release bearing etc. So by Wednesday evening I'll be £708 worse off. That's at a clutch specialist. At a main Ford dealer you could probably add 25% to that. In the old days it would just have been the clutch bits which would have been about half the cost.

On Herbie I could get a whole new gearbox including clutch fitted for a similar sum, or I could probably do it myself cheaper. Our BMC diesel is quite simple to service and parts are cheap too. Service (oil change) intervals seem short at 200 hours, but 200 hours in a car averaging 450 mph would be 9000 miles which doesn't sound so bad does it. Of course at boat speeds allowing for dallying about in locks with the engine running, 200 hours is only about 500 miles! Then, my car uses posh synthetic oil at about £35 plus VAT each change, wheres the boat oil costs about a tenner each time. Don't you just love modern technology!

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