Less than happy with Independent Citroen Specialist?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! blomquvist's Avatar
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    Default Less than happy with Independent Citroen Specialist?

    Hi Froggers,

    Just interested in your opinion on my first experience with a particular Citroen Independent specialist. Am I being too precious? Or is the following experience not uncommon among Citroen owners? Guess I just need the opportunity to vent a bit.

    High pressure pipe from accumulators to power steering blew a hole on my ’92 XM 2.0i. LHM all over the engine. Car towed to Independent Citroen Specialist (who I won’t name at this time), who assured me that they’d get me back on the road asap.

    Independent Citroen Specialist took seven days to remanufacture and fit a pipe of around 40 cm in length. Access to pump and accumulators is good in the 2.0i.

    I asked for an estimate of cost and time. Citroen guy (wouldn’t introduce himself) said around two hours work plus either cost of part or fixing existing pipe, and asked me to ring to see when car would be ready – a little odd, as I wasn’t sure how I would know. Each time I phoned I was advised that they were having difficulties getting the right pipe, etc. Told me he’d ring me at a given time to update me on the situation – never happened. When I rang for the third time, on the seventh day, I was told the car was ready.

    Car returned with radio not working and clock/external temp gauge lit up like a Christmas tree (showing all possible displays).

    Overall cost was nearly $400, including $138.68 (!) for the remanufactured pipe.

    I’m a bit concerned in three areas:

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    (1) cost of remanufactured pipe – it’s clearly a bit of old conduit from another car that’s been bent to fit. If air conditioning pipe work is in any way analogous, I’ve had far larger new A/C pipes made up and fitted by specialists in far less accessible spaces 205 GTI in hours, for less money.

    (2) Time – seven days to do the work, while assuring me it would be completed asap.

    (3) Customer service: Appeared to be well-intentioned, but really unimpressive after many years experience of Pug, Saab and Volvo independents.

    I’m currently doing a piece of work on automotive servicing in another part of the industry, so felt that I should have some idea of what was reasonable.

    Interested to hear your reflections.
    Last edited by blomquvist; 15th September 2005 at 05:32 PM.
    1992 Citroen XM 2.0i Prestige 1989 Peugeot 205 GTI S2 (Little Red Car for sale) 1998 Volvo V70R AWD (Big Red Car)

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger! Jack Z's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty ordinary to me regardless of marque or circumstance.

    With the benefit of hindsight you could always phone a few others and explain the work required for the purpose of getting their estimate and feedback and assess if you were fairly treated.

    I don't know XM's but I did have a broken (leaking) high pressure line on the bottom of my BX last week where it was rubbing on a chasis member and I was charged $187.50 to remove, replace (including a second hand line) and flush the ATF I put in the system to get me to the mechanic including supply of enough LHM for the system to replace it.

    Car was dropped in Monday PM and back finished Tuesday PM.

    Another thought is to get a pic or specs of the pipe / hose in question and get ENZED or PIRTEK to give you a price for the job... sounds like it is right up their ally....this will at least give you an idea if the cost of the replacement part was fair.
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  3. #3
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    It's probably one of the few 4.5mm hydraulic lines on the car.... Problem being most Citroens only have 4.5mm hydraulic lines from the pump to the regulator ........ So it's unlikely they have the bubble flare tool for that size.

    I would have thought just about any specialist would have lengths of cupro-nickel lines in the 3sizes used, and a bubble flare tool. That being the case it would have been five minutes work to cut the right length off, bend it to shape (really really easy that stuff is to bend ... It's so soft, and doesn't tend to kink). Then flare both ends.

    Lets imagine they don't have the line ... They ring around looking for an XM wreck to get one off (nope, no luck).... Spend a few hours chasing it and decide to pull the pump to regulator line from something like a GS and bend it so it's fits

    It's highly unusual for a high pressure line to leak (unless it's rubbing against something). I doubt it'll hapen again, but if it does, just ring the NSW car club (they have the flaring tools) and get a length of line sent down with a bubble flare both ends.. You can just bend/fit it yourself then. It'll take 15minutes (including topping up the LHM and bleeding the hydraulics).

    BTW: I have a 3.5mm bubble flare tool here, so if you ever need a line in that size, just give me a yell (include the length you require).

    EDIT: Just realised $400bux Excellent, they probably now have a 4.5mm flaring tool and roll of 4.5mm pipe, 'cos you have paid for it

    seeya
    Shane L
    PS: Why are the letters "P" and "M" floating around in my head when I read your story
    Last edited by DoubleChevron; 15th September 2005 at 06:02 PM.
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  4. #4
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Z
    Sounds pretty ordinary to me regardless of marque or circumstance.

    With the benefit of hindsight you could always phone a few others and explain the work required for the purpose of getting their estimate and feedback and assess if you were fairly treated.

    I don't know XM's but I did have a broken (leaking) high pressure line on the bottom of my BX last week where it was rubbing on a chasis member and I was charged $187.50 to remove, replace (including a second hand line) and flush the ATF I put in the system to get me to the mechanic including supply of enough LHM for the system to replace it.

    Car was dropped in Monday PM and back finished Tuesday PM.

    Another thought is to get a pic or specs of the pipe / hose in question and get ENZED or PIRTEK to give you a price for the job... sounds like it is right up their ally....this will at least give you an idea if the cost of the replacement part was fair.
    That is probably reasonable. 5litres of LHM (I asume they flushed and supplied the LHM). Possibly 1 hours work to remove and fit the line (if it was in a sh!t of a place with appalling access). They probably gave you the line itself for free. It's hardly difficult to come by.

    Probably $80bux LHM (well it is a dealer, there not going to sell it at cost)
    labour x 1hour $80bux ??
    2nd hand line $10 bux ?

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by blomquvist
    Am I being too precious?
    No
    Quote Originally Posted by blomquvist
    Citroen guy (wouldn’t introduce himself)...
    It's at about that point there that I walk away...

  6. #6
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Next time around I'll do if for the $400 .....

    First:

    I buy this:

    heavy duty flaring tool with all Citroen pipe sizes optioned on

    That would be $350aud + postage.

    I would then get in a roll of 3.5, 4.5 and 6.4mm (sorry I should have said 6.4mm hydraulic line above, not 4.5) and we'd all be able to make whatever lines we like for just the cost of the hydraulic line itself (which isn't expensive ... Maybe a few bux a meter).

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Uga Boga's Avatar
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    Can we play the guessing game? I think i know who it is and i know that others on this forum have had similar issues with this outfit, who pride themselves on being specialists (usually that means they can charge 10x extra!).
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    1000+ Posts Uga Boga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    Next time around I'll do if for the $400 .....

    First:

    I buy this:

    heavy duty flaring tool with all Citroen pipe sizes optioned on

    That would be $350aud + postage.

    I would then get in a roll of 3.5, 4.5 and 6.4mm (sorry I should have said 6.4mm hydraulic line above, not 4.5) and we'd all be able to make whatever lines we like for just the cost of the hydraulic line itself (which isn't expensive ... Maybe a few bux a meter).

    seeya,
    Shane L.


    You're rubbing it in now, a whole flaring tool kit for the same price!!
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  9. #9
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to rub anything in ... I seriously want one of these !!!



    Maybe when I win tattslotto

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  10. #10
    Tadpole
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    [QUOTE=blomquvist]Hi Froggers,

    Just interested in your opinion on my first experience with a particular Citroen Independent specialist. Am I being too precious? Or is the following experience not uncommon among Citroen owners? Guess I just need the opportunity to vent a bit.

    High pressure pipe from accumulators to power steering blew a hole on my ’92 XM 2.0i. LHM all over the engine. Car towed to Independent Citroen Specialist (who I won’t name at this time), who assured me that they’d get me back on the road asap.

    Independent Citroen Specialist took seven days to remanufacture and fit a pipe of around 40 cm in length. Access to pump and accumulators is good in the 2.0i.

    I asked for an estimate of cost and time. Citroen guy (wouldn’t introduce himself) said around two hours work plus either cost of part or fixing existing pipe, and asked me to ring to see when car would be ready – a little odd, as I wasn’t sure how I would know. Each time I phoned I was advised that they were having difficulties getting the right pipe, etc. Told me he’d ring me at a given time to update me on the situation – never happened. When I rang for the third time, on the seventh day, I was told the car was ready.

    Car returned with radio not working and clock/external temp gauge lit up like a Christmas tree (showing all possible displays).

    Overall cost was nearly $400, including $138.68 (!) for the remanufactured pipe.

    I’m a bit concerned in three areas:

    (1) cost of remanufactured pipe – it’s clearly a bit of old conduit from another car that’s been bent to fit. If air conditioning pipe work is in any way analogous, I’ve had far larger new A/C pipes made up and fitted by specialists in far less accessible spaces 205 GTI in hours, for less money.

    (2) Time – seven days to do the work, while assuring me it would be completed asap.

    (3) Customer service: Appeared to be well-intentioned, but really unimpressive after many years experience of Pug, Saab and Volvo independents.

    I’m currently doing a piece of work on automotive servicing in another part of the industry, so felt that I should have some idea of what was reasonable.

    ALWAYS GO TO THE TOP! Dealers in pug, citroenand renault seem to think a foreign car a way to trebble profit.

    I agree that this whole setup sounds dodgy.

    I am a Pug owner, but in canberra, I have had tremendous service from "ENZED".

    These guys are professionals about pipe work of any kind, BUT don't work on cars. In the same scenario (but with a PUG dealer) I have rescued the pipe in question from the dealer, taken it myself to "ENZED" and they made a new one in the first required pipe and they repaired an old one in the second case.

    This latter one was charged at $45.00; the former at $145 (new hoses)
    Cheers!

    0415264422 or probyn@textrine.com

  11. #11
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    I had a HP line scuff through on a CX many years ago when the strap holding the handbrake cable had broken and it had just rubbed right through.
    I had the car trucked home where I pulled the line off and went to a mate of mine who was an Enzed franchisee and asked for him to run me up a new one.
    He was busy so just told me what to do and offered me all his gear to do it. I cut it through, cut a small sleeve that fitted neatly over where it was cut and silver soldered it in place.
    That was about 12 years ago and although the car has since been pensioned off due to a tailender, it did stellar mileage with no further problems and took about 30 minutes from go to woah. The most expensive part of the exercise was the truck to bring the car home, but I was never going to do the job in a Woolies car park at 8 at night!! Otherwise, had it happened in daylight hours, I would have done it there.
    Sounds to me like typical Citroen specialist attitude; make a mountain out of a molehill.


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  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! blomquvist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    BTW: I have a 3.5mm bubble flare tool here, so if you ever need a line in that size, just give me a yell (include the length you require).

    EDIT: Just realised $400bux Excellent, they probably now have a 4.5mm flaring tool and roll of 4.5mm pipe, 'cos you have paid for it
    Yup. Sheesh.

    Thanks Shane and everyone for the feedback. Much appreciated. Time to go shopping for another mechanic further afield (maybe an airfield?).

    A strangely Gallic day in three ways: (1) Nice to have the big Cit back. (2) Experienced a overcharging in the best metropolitan French fashion. (3) Then a mate arrives with a bootfull (yes, a bootfull) of illicit overproof absinthe
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    Fellow Frogger! blomquvist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uga Boga
    Can we play the guessing game? I think i know who it is and i know that others on this forum have had similar issues with this outfit, who pride themselves on being specialists (usually that means they can charge 10x extra!).
    We can. Shane is on the right track.

    (I don't like absinthe!)
    1992 Citroen XM 2.0i Prestige 1989 Peugeot 205 GTI S2 (Little Red Car for sale) 1998 Volvo V70R AWD (Big Red Car)

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    Blomquvist, sorry to stray OT, but is that George Bush quote for real...bloody hilarious if it is!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    Blomquvist, sorry to stray OT, but is that George Bush quote for real
    FWIW source was a list of too 101 sayings (for 2002) issued by the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations It included a remark that George W. Bush was supposed to have made to Tony Blair, "The problem with the French is that they have no word for 'entrepreneur.'" There's some conjecture that it may be spurious, but hell, if the stereotype fits...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blomquvist
    FWIW source was a list of too 101 sayings (for 2002) issued by the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations It included a remark that George W. Bush was supposed to have made to Tony Blair, "The problem with the French is that they have no word for 'entrepreneur.'" There's some conjecture that it may be spurious, but hell, if the stereotype fits...
    You did hear that george double was concerned that half the american population had an IQ of less than 100??

  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Our Xantia stuffed a high pressure pipe (right side from the sphere where it rubs on the strut tower) early in the piece and our local guys had the option of waiting for a part from France or having it repaired. The latter option was cheaper, so we did that. When it failed again some years later, of course, it was by now a common fault (the series 2 pipe is redesigned) so it was fixed same day (and cheaper, but still well over $100 for the part).

    The XM didn't really sell here (the 2.0 never did, did it?) so I suppose that may be why the pipe was unavailible. The pipe price doesn't surprise me if it was custom made.
    John

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  18. #18
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    Our Xantia stuffed a high pressure pipe (right side from the sphere where it rubs on the strut tower) early in the piece and our local guys had the option of waiting for a part from France or having it repaired. The latter option was cheaper, so we did that. When it failed again some years later, of course, it was by now a common fault (the series 2 pipe is redesigned) so it was fixed same day (and cheaper, but still well over $100 for the part).

    The XM didn't really sell here (the 2.0 never did, did it?) so I suppose that may be why the pipe was unavailible. The pipe price doesn't surprise me if it was custom made.
    Guys, in the UK the piping on early cars rotted away within years.... Do you really think a small lenght of pipe is worth $200bux They re-pipe the back of entire cars over there, certianly it doesn't cost thousands ... not at all.

    There is only 3sizes of pipes, you get a roll of each a flaring tool and make your own pipes. It's very easy I know 'cos I've done it.

    Hell would freeze over before I'd pay $400bux for a little peice of pipe. I'd order in a flaring tool and roll of hydraulic line (actually forget the roll, I'd just grab a bit of line off a CX/DS/GS/Xantia/BX wreck) and bend/cut/flare to the right size. Infact to get out of trouble, I'd take a wrong length pipe from a wreck (grab one that's to long), roll circles in it to use up the length and plug it on until you can make up the right length/sized pipe.

    This isn't rocket science. If you have a flaring tool, it'll be no harder than household plumbing

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  19. #19
    Tadpole dutronc's Avatar
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    I had a similar experience where I had to repeatedly phone back to get a cost estimate on some work which I knew was going to cost a bit(@$1000) and kept getting exscuses like "the other guy worked out the cost and he's not here right now, give me your number (again!) and I'll get him to call you right back"...3 days later call again: "oh yeh, I wrote down the wrong the number, look he's due back soon, can you call back in 10?" ...call back and "yeh, you just missed him" and we played this little game for 2 weeks!!! until I could get some idea of how much I was going to be paying!
    I know I was stupid to stick with it, but they are both nice guys and it's close to home and generally speaking the work they have done in the past has been good. But to be stuffed around again and again...it had me trolling through the forums here and the cit site looking for a new mechanic.
    Speaking of which, has anyone tried Cars of France in Alphington???
    After my last experience (and reading this post which I think MAY be perhaps the same place???) - I'm thinking of trying them for some work I need doing. Any comments good or bad would be much appreciated.
    Thanks!

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  20. #20
    Tadpole dutronc's Avatar
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    Hey guys,
    further to my last post, has anyone tried out the French Garage in Moorabin??
    I'd love to hear some positive stories for a change so dont hold back your enthusiasm!!
    www.frenchgarage.com.au

  21. #21
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    Guys, in the UK the piping on early cars rotted away within years.... Do you really think a small lenght of pipe is worth $200bux They re-pipe the back of entire cars over there, certianly it doesn't cost thousands ... not at all.

    There is only 3sizes of pipes, you get a roll of each a flaring tool and make your own pipes. It's very easy I know 'cos I've done it.

    Hell would freeze over before I'd pay $400bux for a little peice of pipe. I'd order in a flaring tool and roll of hydraulic line (actually forget the roll, I'd just grab a bit of line off a CX/DS/GS/Xantia/BX wreck) and bend/cut/flare to the right size. Infact to get out of trouble, I'd take a wrong length pipe from a wreck (grab one that's to long), roll circles in it to use up the length and plug it on until you can make up the right length/sized pipe.

    This isn't rocket science. If you have a flaring tool, it'll be no harder than household plumbing

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    Well there you are Blomquvist; you've been SO sucked in. You idiot. Why didn't you go and get a flaring tool, get the car towed back to your house and fix it yourself. Or just take a pipe out of one of the spare cars we all seem to have lying around in our back yards. Sheesh. Aren't we mugs.

    Nah, you wouldn't have spent time ringing around trying to source a part either, and I'm sure you could have easily fixed it in under an hour once you had the pipe. Just like me - NOT.

    And what really pisses me off - people making a profit from their business. Next we know they'll be paying tax....
    John

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  22. #22
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    No-one is saying that ... He said the line appears to be second hand, so there no doubt in my mind they'll have just pulled a line off an old GS wreck and bent it to shape, charging him $400bux for the experiance....

    It's hard when your cars stuck somewhere and you have no choice.... You would expect someone that runs a Citroen workshop to bend over backwards to try and help you out ... Even just pulling the completelly wrong line from one of there wrecks and installing it, then ordering in/fabricating the new line at there luisure. It would guarantee you a customer for the life of the car ....

    No-one has anything against someone making a profit, on a readily accessed hydraulic line they'd have to be charging $400 and hour (pluss the $200 pipe ) to get to his cost. If you can easily access it any hydraulic line really is a 5minute changes, lets be generous and say 15minutes to fill the reseviour and open the bleed screw ......................................

    What sort of Citroen specialist doesn't have access to a simple pipe flaring tool and lengths of pipes Against the cost of running a business a few hundred $$$ to buy in these types of tools that would be used quite often in this context would be a very good business decision. You would only have to sell 2pipes at $200bux each and you'd be making $$$ big time

    seeya,
    Shane L
    PS: Isn't it funny how everyone knows exactly who were talking about, yet no names have been mentioned.... Doesn't that say it all
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    I'd be upset too, If I was charged $400 for a bit of pipe, but all you can do is do what I do, and never give them a chance to rip you off again, ie not go back.

    As for Cit Specialists, the only one I have had dealings with is, Cars Of France, and I can say they are quite reasonable for parts, (i've been given quotes for twice the price at other places) and are quite willing to talk to you about fault finding etc, but I havent had any major work done there, so cant comment on that, but every time I've been there, they seem to have plenty of business.

    Terry

  24. #24
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    No-one is saying that ... He said the line appears to be second hand, so there no doubt in my mind they'll have just pulled a line off an old GS wreck and bent it to shape, charging him $400bux for the experiance....

    It's hard when your cars stuck somewhere and you have no choice.... You would expect someone that runs a Citroen workshop to bend over backwards to try and help you out ... Even just pulling the completelly wrong line from one of there wrecks and installing it, then ordering in/fabricating the new line at there luisure. It would guarantee you a customer for the life of the car ....

    No-one has anything against someone making a profit, on a readily accessed hydraulic line they'd have to be charging $400 and hour (pluss the $200 pipe ) to get to his cost. If you can easily access it any hydraulic line really is a 5minute changes, lets be generous and say 15minutes to fill the reseviour and open the bleed screw ......................................

    What sort of Citroen specialist doesn't have access to a simple pipe flaring tool and lengths of pipes Against the cost of running a business a few hundred $$$ to buy in these types of tools that would be used quite often in this context would be a very good business decision. You would only have to sell 2pipes at $200bux each and you'd be making $$$ big time

    seeya,
    Shane L
    PS: Isn't it funny how everyone knows exactly who were talking about, yet no names have been mentioned.... Doesn't that say it all
    I've got to admit, it does smell of parking the XM in the dusty area at the back, forgetting it, forgetting it, forgetting it, then finally realising they'd better pull their finger out and finding an old bit of pipe on the floor. "How long's it been here?".."All week"...."double it - charge him $400, beggars with XM's can't be choosers "....

    Then again maybe: LHM $80, pipe $138 (yeah, yeah, I know), now labour - maybe 20 minutes on the 'phone sourcing the pipe, 5 minutes to get the car in, 5 minutes to get set up, 20 minutes to R+R the pipe, 10 minutes to go and get the LHM, fill, then wash hands, start up, check its OK, drive around the block and check all's still OK, come back, bonnet up and have another look, checking for leaks. Maybe also check the rest of the system is working fine - all that, what, 30 minutes more. That's 90 minutes. Add a bit of time for booking in, and round it up because it was a more trouble than they'd like and its $400. At least they were thorough .

    Having said that, my mob outsourced to Pirtek for my original repair and advised we slot in a new bit when it failed 6 years later - I'm presuming its just not worth their while to fiddle around making bits of pipe fit just to have customers fuming 6 months later because its burst again. I would have thought if a halfwit (not you Shane!!) could so easily whip up a pipe while having their morning crap, they would have done so too - and happily taken the profit. But they didn't. Perhaps its because its a pretty tricky bit of pipe in my instance - subject to movement and vibration - and so they weren't happy to use anything potentially substandard.
    John

    2005 Renaultsport Clio 182 Cup - French Racing Blue
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  25. #25
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    It tends to be movement and vibration that kills the hydraulic lines. They have been known to crack the regulator to pump line on SM's in the USA too... If you replace with the cupro-nickel line it's incredibly flexible and I have no doubt it will outlast a solid line, however if vibration/movement of the strut is causing the failure your speaking of replacing the line will only ever temporarily fix it. The answer most likely will be a very thick walled line, a braced line, or if space permits a spiraled line (such as the line that goes to the rear brake arms.

    Those cupro-nickel lines (Gee's I hope I've spelt that right) really are fantastic and extremelly maliable.

    If he's said the line looked new, I don't doubt it would have cost a couple of hundred bux to specially order in through Citroen.

    You guys do realise we have Plaides up in QLD ... Hydraulic specialists that will most likely have all the flaring tools and pipes I speak of

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

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