Expensive Fuchs (not Chris's fault...) (long)

Mark J. Besso quattro at audisport.com
Sun May 1 13:36:38 EDT 2005


I don't know what deity you put your faith in (be it Jesus, Allah, or your 
ex-mechanic-friend Dennis), but you own them a big THANK YOU!

It's also reassuring to know there's still folks at dealerships that are 
willing to go above-and-beyond when it comes to helping people.  I think a 
nice letter of thanks to the SAAB dealer commending Franck for his efforts 
is in order.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis-Alain Richard"
Subject: LAC: Expensive Fuchs (not Chris's fault...) (long)

Took the day off yesterday to pick a set of Fuchs wheels at Force5auto in
New Hampshire. Denis, a co-worker, ex-mechanic in another life, took also
his day so we could chat about life, wheels, and spring in New England.

Concord NH is 400 km from Montreal so we left at 8:00 Friday morning,
expecting to be back here for supper. We drove Honey's new ride, a 50 000
miles 2001 Saab 9-5 Wagon 5-speed, because of:
A real cargo area;
A functional cruise-control;
Air conditioning.
18 years younger than my Quattro.

Everything went well, we met Chris at Force5auto (was like a pilgrimage for
me...), bought the wheels, had the worn tires dismounted, and took off for
Montreal at 3;00pm. Easy. But when there is a pilgrimage, there is also a
test, a way to prove your faith...

On highway 89, cruising gently at 75mph, just before the ramp for Lebanon
NH, the engine died, no warning, no CEL light, nothing.
Put the car in neutral, luckily (#1) we had enough energy to take the ramp,
run the red traffic light, keep going on the shoulder, and end in the
parking lot of Miller VW/Dodge, without the need of a towing or the highway
patrol. Lucky I said. But we are at 325km from home, in a foreign country,
with a dead engine, and it is Friday 4:30PM.

Then, because I browsed saabnet.com a couple times, I guessed it would be
the Direct Ignition Cassette that died, a common failure on the 9-5. Presto,
we called Dean Hill Saab, luckily (#2) only 6 miles away, and spoke with the
parts guy there that agreed to take my credit card number, bill a cassette
(460$US), and deliver it after its shift to us even if this is not is way
home. We are real lucky (#3) this is a nice guy. Did I mention that we don't
have a single tool in the car?

5:30, Franck from Dean Hill Saab is there, we swap the cassettes, a 2 minute
job with a 10mm wrench borrowed from the nearby garage, just to discover
that the car will not start. I guess my luck is over... But Franck tells us
that the fuel pumps are also known to be a very hot seller at his counter.
Luckily (#4), Franck agrees to take back the cassette and wait until we
check the fuel pump.

Luckily (#5), I know where is the pump. I jump in the car, raise the back
seat, open the pre-cut carpet, pop the metal cover, and try to hear the
characteristic noise from the fuel pump; pump is quiet as a tomb. Luckily
(#6), Franck accept to take off again to the Saab dealer even if it is
closed, and will bring back a new fuel pump (530$US) for us. During this
period, Denis and I will "try" to remove the fuel pump from the car.
Did I mention that we don't have a single tool in the car? Well, in fact, we
have the jack handle and the wheel lug wrench.

Luckily (#7), this will be enough for Denis to unwind the big 7" diameter
plastic ring that seal the pump to the fuel tank, unplug the hoses and the
wires and finally remove the pump from the plastic tank. Amazing. No need
for a simple screwdriver or a wrench... bare hands is enough. Just amazing.
Don't bring tools, bring Denis!

When Franck comes back, it's a matter of minutes to reinstall the pump,
start the car (it works!!!) and take off for a well deserved Friday night
lunch at the nearest pub. On my arm, I tell you.

Did I say that we had no tools, no way of diagnosing the failure, no clue of
where we were or where was the closest Saab dealer, but we made it to
Montreal before the end of the day? Did I say that I am a lucky guy?

1983 Quattro with "priceless" Fuchs wheels now.

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