This week has been a jumble of Mock Turtle and Wocky. We had to get the kitchen over at the new place certified and clean, and all the while we are trying to get the Beast (long may he thunder) through an MOT. This is not a problem like last year, when the entire universe appeared to conspire against us, this is just the simple acquisition of parts for a job that needs doing. Here followeth another lesson in the Big Book of Why Not To Buy a Knackered Old Van.
The suspension was the part that failed the MOT. We hunted the part down, found that it could be bought directly from VW Germany and, after a small amount of budget balancing, as is customary when the Beast tries to take an MOT, we splashed out.
Germany is very good at logistics. They’re a little over-keen on packaging, but the springs got here precisely when they were supposed to. We shipped everything off to the garage, and they were just about to fit everything when a wheel nut got into our way. This stud, used to connect the wheel to the axle, had been shredded over the years from too much having to take wheels on and off. The wheels, like the rest of it, are troublemakers with nothing to lose, and I was not terribly surprised. Sadly once a garage has seen a dodgy wheel bolt they can’t go passing MOTs any more.
Having enjoyed moderate if expensive success with German VW we attempted this again, but the Code Of Knackered Van Ownership clearly states that no single supplier will ever work twice. They send the wrong part.
At this point I set off on a journey of discovery into the internet to find the bolt. It’s a normal enough looking bolt, realistically it doesn’t even have to be exactly that bolt, it just needs to be roughly the same length and width. I learnt much about the subject of bolts. That bolt, for example, is not a bolt, or a wheel stud. It’s a wheel fastener.
The problem has always been knowing what exactly you’re looking for. To find a car part, you have to be able to tell someone exactly which part you’re after. There are no guides on the net that allow you to look this up, even though there are plenty that appear to offer the same service in reverse, and tell you if a part number will work on your vehicle. The trick is to take matters to the source, and ask the dealership. VW Leamington had a serious think about the problem, offered me a hot beverage, and then produced the part number before I’d finished drinking it.
That part number was enough to convince VW Germany that their description was wrong, and hopefully they will now send us the right part. There is still an MOT to get through, but the lesson, should you choose to take away anything from this post, is that knowing the part you need is at least half the battle. The other half is managing to render yourself into a permanent state of “IN”, so that you never miss the delivery. They know. They will wait.