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Not a bright spark

Posted by daveb on October 10th, 2007

Ever since it rained in Bern, Yoko has not been performing at all well. On good advice, we were to change the spark plugs and adjoining leads to cure the problem. Trouble is, the Swiss VW garages quoted us over a hundred pounds for these bits and bobs and we [politely] refused to pay so much, knowing full-well that we could get them shipped from the UK for a fraction of the price.

We ordered the bits from the UK six days ago and paid a little extra for express shipping with Parcel Force’s ‘Euro 48′ deal. It turns out that ’48’ is a bit of a misnomer. After five days of turning-up at Luzern’s post office with a hopeful face, only to be sent away empty-handed with a “come back tomorrow”, we’ve had to draw the line and move on. We’re now told that the parcel will “arrive tomorrow”. Tomorrow is a public holiday here and so we’re at least another two days from getting the parts, best case. As bad luck would have it, the campsite at Luzern is also the most expensive–by some 25 percent–that we’ve experienced in all of Switzerland. By now, it turns out that just paying the original inflated Swiss price for the parts would have worked-out cheaper than the import plus waiting costs that we’ve now incurred. :-(

We struggled on to Italy to try our luck there, although not before a fellow VW Camper, eh, camper decided to have a look at the state of one of our plugs to confirm what we already knew. Except he dropped the plug into the engine casing and Squiffy had to fish it out with a make-shift grabbing device (a fridge-magnet, duct-tape and an artist’s paintbrush) which also grabbed-out a bit of another make-shift grabbing device which presumably fell into the engine casing the last time somebody was fishing for a spark plug that they dropped too.

We crossed the border into Italy and found a Halfords-type store who sold us something close to the HT leads that we needed; I replaced them to no avail. The shop did not have the specific plugs that my Haynes manual listed, so the mechanic out the back found and fitted an equivalent and replaced the distributor cap. Finally, the machine now stays-up without stalling, although it has developed a new oil leak, which the mechanic* swears blind has nothing to do with his rampant over-revving of our good lady.

* Footnote: We just wanted you to know that our mechanic both looked and sang like Elvis. The King is alive.

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