For the non-natives: the proper word is "mechaniker", and this spoonerized version Stems from "machen" = to make or create and "hinig" = broken. Unfortunately the mangled version is appropriate much more often than not.

A data point in favour: two weeks ago I accepted that the Soobyoo is finally ready for a new clutch, and that at precisely 170000 km the timing belt should, indeed, be replaced as well. (I've got no idea whether the previous owners did a belt replacement at 105Mm as the service manual states, hence BSTS.)

So I went to the mechanics shop I was happy with the last time the Sooby needed help. However, the trusty Sooby-aficionado running the shop had just recently had to leave the business due to nasty skin problems and the new gang, Adam and Simon had just taken over this easter. Giving them the benefit of doubt I booked the work with them; their costing of the job was roughly as expected ($450 for the belt replacement, $820 for the clutch - in the Sooby taking out the transmission is a lot of work because of the 4WD and because it's actually a transaxle).

Monday morning I dropped the car off (5 km from home, new-old bicycle in the boot), telling them not to hurry and the advice was that it should be ready Wednesday noon at latest. Tue+Wednesday it rained heavily but I got the call just as expected around noon, there was a brief let-off of the rain and so I cycled there in the wet.

Picked up the car, drove it around a bit, stinks very badly of hot/burning grease or oil, checked: some surplus grease from the right inner CV/SF joint can had made it onto the exhaust (which runs quite close) and stank things up heavily. Screwdriver, scrape the grease off together with some of the baked-up old sand, no big deal.

Unfortunately that wasn't the end of it: on the next drive the clutch pedal wouldn't come back up fully and some rattling was heard near the firewall. I drove around a bit more, then dropped by at the shop. Some quick rebleeding of the clutch hydraulics later it turns out that this is a bigger problem, and whether I could leave the car with them overnight. Sure I could, and Adam dropped me off close to home.

Thursday I get another call: after quite some more work to figure out the precise nature of the problem they've concluded that the clutch master cyclinder is stuffed and lets air back into the system after a few minutes' work.

So they would have to replace the master, and it would take another day or more to get that freighted in (none in stock anywhere nearby). That, of course, is a pretty nasty verdict for most Asian cars as the manufacturers seem to price spare parts close to the same weight of silver (at least).

However Adam said it was obvious that that wasn't an earlier defect and that it must have been caused by something being disturbed by their work - and therefore they'd pay for the work and new master cylinder. machhiniker indeed, but machhiniker with a conscience, yay!

So, on Friday late afternoon I got the hoped-for call, cycled there once more and now I have my car back in working shape. Took a tad longer than planned but such is life. And being saddled with something resembling a conscience myself, I did give Adam and Simon a fairly fat tip - not because they broke things, of course, but because they handled the matter professionally and honestly.

My personal conclusion: I'll keep sending my Sooby to them for things I can't/won't do myself (Cosford Auto Service, 4220 Burleigh Heads, 07 5593 5948).

One interesting side item about the whole affair is the just-in-time nature of most business dealings in Australia: nobody seems to stock anything, it's always just freighted/flown around if and when ordered.

This was especially visible here, as not even the Subaru distributor had spares in stock - never mind that Soobies are really quite common here and most of the older ones have the EJ25 engine and a substantial amount of other parts in common...

[ published on Wed 28.04.2010 15:12 | filed in interests/au | ]
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© Alexander Zangerl