Day 112 – Looking For The Silver Linings…
What a day… It’s hard to believe that so much changed in the space of 8 hours.
Firstly, as planned, we checked out of our beachside caravan spot (with the help of a flatbed tow-truck). I had to actually convince them to pick the car up, as the owner of the wreckers (and the tow truck company) thought it was a waste of time moving the car.
We arrived and I explained what had happened to the car, and he insisted that this was the end of the line, time to start looking for a new engine, which he estimated at $6,000-$7,000. I insisted that I’d like to investigate, rather than jumping to the worst conclusion. Their usual mechanic was on leave for the next four weeks, so he tried calling around to the other mechanics in town.
Not. One. Single. Mechanic. In. Esperance. Was. Interested. Not one. I couldn’t believe it! I don’t think I’ve ever been knocked back by a mechanic before. I was quite taken aback. Well, one of them didn’t straight up refuse, but with the expected delay, it may as well have been a refusal. Turns out, Esperance is not a good place to break down (especially not in a Mitsubishi Delica).
So, it was time to formulate Plan B. Tow the car to a location where there is a mechanic that would like to make some money from our services. Luckily, our RACQ coverage allowed for this (to be towed to a location to carry out repairs). We considered our two options – Perth or Adelaide and after we found out the difference in prices, we realised that Perth was the only real option… So, we started calling mechanics to firstly see if they would like our custom, and secondly, what we’d be paying for the privilege of their time/services. …and the news wasn’t all good. Yes, they would do it for us. … but, it was going to be upwards of THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS (which for reference is nearly half of what we paid for the car – though, it was exceptionally cheap, and I am starting to understand why now). I’m going to call some more places tomorrow see if I can’t get that figure down below the $2500 mark…
Morale was at all time low levels. Of course we were going to fix the car (wasn’t ever an option to abandon it) and continue with our travels, just the shock and the pain at the anticipated bill was too much right now.
The next possible slot to get Deli-chan sent to Perth wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon, which meant another two days here in Esperance, then two days on the truck before work could even begin… (which will probably take at least a week).
While we were waiting for the tow truck to return (he left to pick up another breakdown a few hours from town just after he dropped us off), at the suggestion of a Delica Club member, I removed the glow plugs and turned the engine over to purge the cylinders of coolant. I’ve got to say, not the most pleasant sounding noise! I honestly thought for a second that I’d made a terrible mistake doing that. But, pushing fluid out of a very small hole is noisy. There was bright green coolant sprayed all over the engine bay, but that was good, because at least the water wasn’t rusty and oily. Sprayed some oil down into the cylinders and put everything back together. The man at the Wreckers (Tim – AM Wreckers) was exceptionally helpful for man that managed to offer us very little help.
So, that was that. Car is going to be towed to Perth on the back of an empty road train on Wednesday afternoon (arriving on Friday). We just had to organise our own way back to Perth (RACQ will pay, but they don’t have affiliations with Trans WA bus services). So, even though the truck won’t leave until Wednesday, we are free to leave tomorrow (Tuesday)… except the booking system for Trans WA closes at 5PM the day before departure… which I discovered at exactly 17:07… which means we have to wait here for an entire extra day…
So, like I said at the start. Looking for the silver linings here. At least RACQ will pay for us (and the car) to return to Perth. The weather here is nice. We are healthy. There is still money in the cookie jar. We have good company. We can find a mechanic who can carry out the work in Perth. We have a place to stay in Perth. This is one less thing the next owner will need to worry about. We might even catch up with a Scottish friend that is in Perth on vacation.