Episode 264. Nissan Navara. DX03 LKV. (Part 5).

 I'd enjoyed the tranquility of solitude for a couple of days, and ridden my new Kalkhoff that I've just bought up and down the beach path a bit more. So with the Buddleia all chopped down, chipped up, and bagged I was ready to load up the rest of my stuff, and head back to BelongaClint so that I could take my garden waste to my local tip.

The Navara was getting really low on diesolium, and so, knowing that there was a fuel station between me and my Junction where I would be joining the M4 I figured that I would fill up there. I'm guessing that the station was probably the best part of two miles from the secret hideout, and even though the gauge was lower than I'd ever seen it before I figured that I should make it there without any dramas. However, on a steep hill with the nose of the Navara pointing downwards it coughed and spluttered a bit, and belched out a load of black smoke, but as the road levelled out, all seemed fine to me, and the Navara returned to service as normal. I reached the fuel station, got out and filled up. Because of how the Navara had acted however, I did think I'd just have a quick look at the fluid levels, which as usual were fine. So with the Navara fueled up I was good to go. I tried to put my mind at ease by telling myself that the problem was I was on a steep hill, and maybe with so little diesel it ran out for a second until the road levelled out, now it's got a good healthy amount of diesolium on board it's going to be fine. I mean I've had it a good few years now, and it's never let me down before, right? 

Out onto the motorway and for about 30 miles it seemed good, but then four miles from the Welcome Break services at Sarn park I smoked the motorway out and everyone behind me dissappeared in a huge cloud of thick black smoke, it's seemed that the Navara had turned into a VW. Worse than that I now had no power but managed to keep it running, and crawled along the hard shoulder at about ten miles per hour to the service station four miles away. Luckily for me it was mostly downhill. Once safely in the carpark that was it, it just gave up and as the car park was slightly uphill, it wouldn't climb it. It sounded like really bad rod knock, and knowing the Navara is famous for destroying the bottom end of their engines I thought it was game over for my lovely little truck.

So at 16:00hrs I called the RAC. I'm sure you know where this is going but stick with me. They told me that they'd have a recovery truck out with me within two hours. 18:00hrs came and went, then so did 19:00hrs, I thought that maybe as it was a Friday they were busy, but I called them again to see what was happening. They said they were trying to get me recovered, but were quite busy, however I would get collected in about an hour.

By this time I was starving, and when I'm hungry I'm really not what you might call a barrell of laughs. So knowing this, and knowing that I didn't want to be a proper grumpy shit when the recovery driver did eventually get to me I thought I'd better do something about feeding my belly, so I did something I've not done for just over two years...

I went to see the King! Yep, it's been over two years since I've had Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, or any of that fast food junk. It would've been three years, but I was out with 'Girlfriend' back in early September 2019 and I inadvertantly bought Burger King at Leigh Delamere services, and instantly kicked myself for letting myself down! Anyhoo, for me if I'm going to have fast food, then Burger King is my preffered choice, I just find the portion sizes bigger, the quality of the food better, and I've got to admit that, probably partly because I was starving, I really enjoyed my meal while I waited for the RAC to turn up. With my meal eaten it was now getting on towards 20:00hrs, and still no sign of the recovery lorry. Worse still, as I sat there looking out of the window I watched as a couple pulled into the car park, lifted the bonnet on their car, scratched their heads, and then phoned someone. By 21:00hrs, their car was getting dragged onto the back of an AA recovery lorry. I rang the RAC again, and eventually after being on hold for ages they told me that I would be collected by 22:00hrs at the latest. There were becoming fewer and fewer cars in the car park by this time, however around about 22:15 hours a lad in an old MX-5 pulled into the car park, steam bellowing from under his bonnet, by 23:00hrs he too was on the back of what appeared to be an independant recovery lorry, and he was also away. I'll be honest, food or not I was starting to wonder what was going on, I'd called the RAC almost six hours ago now, and it was getting on for 24:00hrs what on Earth could be keeping them? I was starting to get pretty irrate, but atleast I was in a warm motorway service station, and not stuck on the side of the road on my own in the cold, so I guess it could've been worse. 

Finally, at 00:40hrs I got collected by a recovery lorry, finally I was on my way home, but no. Once I was perched in the back of the recovery lorry and heading along the M4 with a driver who was coughing his lungs up he told me, inbetween coughing fits that he was only the first leg, he was taking me 30 miles down the road to the next motrway services where I would be loaded onto another truck which would take me home. Well I wasn't thrilled, but atleast I was going home.

When we arrived at Severn View services on the M48 it turned out that it was not 24 hours, and so was closed, locked up, and dark! Worse still, no recovery lorry waiting to take me home in sight. Still, I was swiftly unloaded into the dark car park and the recovery lorry driver told me not to worry, the next one would be along soon! This was at about 01:20hrs! So I sat there in the dark, freezing cold waiting. At about 02:00hrs three cars pulled into the car park, each containing four of five black guys, they got out of their cars and started looking at my truck from across the car park. This worried me somewhat, and so, as it was dark I tried to sneak out of the passenger door and into the bushes without being detected. I got a fair distance away and watched from the bushes as they wandered over to my truck and started walking around it, and looking into it. After about 20 minutes they went back to their cars and left, I can't tell you how worried I was, but frankly my underwear was ruined! By now it was getting on for 02:00hrs, I called the RAC yet again, and I was furious. They told me that they were trying to get me recovered but they didn't have any drivers who were willing to drive 90 odd miles at night? What do you mean you have no recovery drivers who wanted to take me 90 odd miles at night? When I was working for someone else I didn't get a choce of what jobs I could do, it was a case of you get paid to do whatever job you're asked to do, and no matter if I wanted to do it or not, I had to do it. Anyway... 

 By about 03:00hrs, my mood was not the best, and I told them that I was freezing cold, tired, hungry, and wondering why I was paying almost £400 a year for covereage, and getting treated like this? Their response was that they were trying to get me home, but they still couldn't find a driver who wanted to drive 90 miles at night, but if I wanted they would send a taxi to get me home, and my Navara would arrive the following day. I've got to say that I wasn't happy about this, but I wanted to go home, and so at 03:50hrs my Navara was on the back of it's second recovery lorry of the night and I was stuffed into the back of a nice warm Taxi and finally heading for home.


 I got home just after 07:00hrs, and I was flipping grumpy! But atleast I was home. 15 hours after calling the RAC to get me. I do find myself wondering what I am paying for. In Episode 8 I described how my first encounter with using the RAC wasn't exactly great when my Trailer broke, and needed recovery. The RAC really did try everything they could to not recover me, They left Me, my Wife and our two little kids on the side of the road in the snow and cold for over ten hours, and in the end I had to drive back out to Germany, and recover the car that was on my trailer myeslf. The RAC promised the trailer would arrive home in 14 days, and it never did, they then promised to re-imburse me for the trailer, but again they never did. Then in Episode 190 I talked about breaking down in my Vauxhall Omega, again in Germany with my Wife and children but this time it took them 13 hours to get me recovered, and sitting by the side of the autobahn for 13 hours with a grumpy hungry wife and children is no fun I can tell you. However, time heals a little, and I guessed that as we were in Germany although I was pretty unhappy about the length of time it took to get recovered I figured we were in a foreign country, with a different language so maybe they had an excuse. But this time I was in Wales, oh wait, that is a foreign country with a different language, but even so this time I'd originally broken down just 60 miles from their HQ in Bristol, and was now less than 20 miles from it, what was the problem? Anyway at 11:00hrs, and on it's third truck in 24 hours...

The mighty, although pooly Navara arrived home. I'd had plenty of time to think about the Navara durin the 19 hours it had taken the RAC to recover it home for me, and I had decided that it probably wasn't rod knock because it only did it when it was under load, and not when it was idling, also, the thick black smoke didn't seem right to me for an engine that had eaten its self. I felt that if the engine had eaten its self it would've  most likely have been blue oil smoke, this was, in my opinion more like unburnt diesolium. I called my mechanic who arrived at 11:30hrs...

My mechanic works faster than the RAC, and pretty quickly loaded the Navara onto his trailer, and was heading home to diagnose the problem. It turned out that the problem was that the EGR valve had packed up which just flooded the intake with exhaust gas, choking the engine and causing it to make an awful knocking sound, and have no power. After searching for a few days for a new one I wasn't able to get another EGR valve brand new, only second hand, so as I didn't fancy fitting another one that would pack up sometime soon my mechaninc just blanked it off, and frankly it's running fine again now. Alls well that ends well I guess.

Except, now trying to convince her worshipfulness that the Navara is the truck for her would appear to be out of the question. When we collected my Navara from my mechanincs worskshop I asked her if she would like to drive her new Navara home, and she just said, "You are joking surely? There's no way I'm having that!" Normally I think I'd try to carry on in my dictatorship ways, and she'd just have to go along with whatever it is I've decided to do, but this time I don't think I'm going to get away with it, she just point blank refuses. Still, I guess if there is any silver lining to this cloud it is that it broke down with me, and just me in the cab, if I'd have convinced her to take the Navara on, and it did it to her I'd never ever hear the end of it, so I'm going to take that as a win, small as it is. So I reckon I'm sticking with the Navara for a while, and actually I think thats just fine, despite breaking down, it's been repaired now, and running well, so I'm happy with it.

 I've got to say though that the treatment of a so-called professional outfit like the RAC was extremely shoddy, are the RAC flippin useless or what? I do genuinely wonder what kind of service I'm paying for here. I find myself wondering if all recovery companies are the same? I can't help feeling that if they are how do they stay in business? I wonder if I just keep getting extremely unlucky when I need my car to be recovered, or is this just how it is? I find myself wondering who other people use. I can only hope that I don't breakdown again any time soon.