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A quick sanity check, please


RogerGW

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Hello all,

 

I've just got my Trigano back from Chelston Motorhomes, near Taunton, where it has had its first service on both the mechanicals and the living area. Only one unexpected item arose -- new exhaust suspension rings at less than £20 the lot -- so I was happy.

 

Today, however, I looked under the bonnet to see if everything is as it should be. When I checked the oil, I was surprised to find it was black -- the pictures show how it looks. Is this normal?

 

They say they've changed it and the filter. Every other vehicle I've owned -- petrol or diesel -- has had clear, golden oil straight after servicing. I've driven no more than 40 miles since collecting the van.

 

I've emailed their "customer care" manager about the matter (he's not around today), attaching the photos, and look forward to reading what he says. In case he comes up with a load of plausible waffle, has anyone seen oil get this dirty this quickly?

 

TIA,

 

Roger

Oil1_small.jpg.26ecb60715be44e64bc716be45fa8724.jpg

Oil2_small.jpg.5cbe7de1c65de42f6d49566412a3add7.jpg

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Its difficult to say. If the old oil was left to drain for a good while then I'd expect the new oil to still look new after just 40 miles. Sadly some mechanics drop most of the oil but refit the plug too quickly leaving half a litre or so in the sump, this can colour the new oil almost immediately. Also some mechanics don't remove the sump plug but suck the oil out through the dipstick tube and this can obviously leave some residual old oil in the sump to colour the new oil. Difficult to prove either way really.

 

D.

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Thanks, Dave. Sounds as though they might have done it after all. I want to be sure before I go nuclear with these people.

 

Presumably a look at the filter would show if it's new but I don't know where it is. There's nothing visible from above and I can't see anything at the bottom of the engine if I lie with my head under the bumper.

 

Roger

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Guest JudgeMental
only way to be certain *-) is to pay for an engine flush as well as oil change. but not worth it with the low milages motorhomes normally cover........
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Presumably a look at the filter would show if it's new but I don't know where it is. There's nothing visible from above and I can't see anything at the bottom of the engine if I lie with my head under the bumper.

 

It was better light today than when I looked before and I've now found the filter. It is new (but seeping a little oil at the base). Also, the area around the sump plug -- and the plug itself -- is clean.

 

So it looks as though Chelstons have done something but I'm still suspicious of the mucky oil.

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I had this too on a previous van after it had been serviced by Fiat, unfortunately in doing so they'd caused a leak when fitting a new oil filter and the whole thing had to be redone, we checked the oil a few days later and it was black but we knew it had definitely been replaced.
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We had the 2.3 Fiat and could not see the level of oil as it was so clear, you had to hold it up to the light to see it, however when our car went in for first service the oil was black soon as we got home, they told us thats how this oil is , i still do not believe them.
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I do my own servicing, so I know it gets changed and left to drain fully, I would say it takes very few miles for it to look black tinged but your pictures do seem very black. Does the oil 'feel' smooth and new with an oily smell or does it feel thick and full of muck with a sort of 'burnt' smell.

Every Deisel engine I have tends to go black fairly quickly but it feels different to old oil when you rub it between your fingures. My petrol engined cars oil stays very clean even after a year.

Sorry not much help as it is very subjective but making a decision purely on the colour without taking account of the texture I believe is a bit iffy.

Bas

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JudgeMental - 2009-11-21 6:46 PM

 

only way to be certain *-) is to pay for an engine flush as well as oil change. but not worth it with the low milages motorhomes normally cover........

 

Hello Judge,

 

I was informed by a main dealer service manager, some while ago, that the engine flush, especially where the vehicle is given a run to work the oil through the engine, should be with quality Oil NOT cheap flushing oil. Perhaps those in the know could confirm this.

 

Regards,

 

Mike.

 

 

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Does the oil 'feel' smooth and new with an oily smell or does it feel thick and full of muck with a sort of 'burnt' smell....

 

Mmmm! I'm getting cork, candle snuffers, vaseline and old paraffin stoves with -- just a minute -- yes, a hint of pterodactyl droppings. 8=)

 

Seriously, that's useful, Basil. I'll try in the morning, when with luck it won't be tipping down with rain (again).

 

Roger

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I too would not use flushing oil, which is VERY thin, on either a high performance or a high compression diesel engine.

 

In the past when oil was inexpensive I would use a gallon of 'el cheapo' motor factor's own label oil to do the flushing job as this was generally simply 'recycled' engine oil with all - or most of - the impurities filtered out.

 

I would not chance using this as regular long term engine oil in view of it's history but it was certainly good enough for flushing and it always come out of a diesel engine surprising black even after just a few minutes of running time.

 

An old oil filter cleaned with a clean rag will look brand new and would be no visual proof as to whether a new one had been fitted - in fact removing, cleaning and simply refitting an old oil filter is one of the oldest 'cowboy' tricks in the book!

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An old oil filter cleaned with a clean rag will look brand new...

 

The filter on my van is very low on the engine, only a few inches above the ground. If it were a used one, it would carry nicks and abrasions from the dirt thrown up from the road and by the nearby wheel. This one is unblemished.

 

Thanks for the thought, though.

 

Roger

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Does the oil 'feel' smooth and new with an oily smell or does it feel thick and full of muck with a sort of 'burnt' smell.

 

And the answer is yes to the first. This adds to the evidence that it's new but I'm still not wholly convinced.

 

It's too late to do anything about now, anyway, as I've had to move on to Cornwall today.

 

Thanks for your help, everyone.

 

Roger

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Put a tiny dab of nail varnish on service items, oil filter, inside air filter etc where they can't be easily seen, always ask for old filters/plugs to be returned to you after service.

But beware of being given filters from someone else's vehicle, that's why you need to mark them as yours.

Mechanics, or technicians as they now like to be called, are notorious for becoming slipshod when doing mundane, repetitive servicing, and that is where your problems usually start.

 

I, like yourself would be sceptical about oil being that black after only 4o miles, but how long have they left the van in the workshop with the engine idling, as many seem to do.

 

If you are still concerned, then you should speak to the service manager and voice your concerns, you have nothing to lose.

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Slightly off thread, but when I had an oil change at a Peugeot dealer they did not put enough oil in. I only found this out before driving home because I asked a question about the dip stick.

 

On my 2005 Boxer 2.2l engine when I take out the dip stick (with vehicle on the level) the oil level is not apparent, i.e. no oil on the dip stick. When I replace the dip stick and try again - low and behold there is oil at an appropriate level. This level coincides with the electronic dashboard display of oil level. I can only asume that when the engine runs the oil level drops below the dip stick "tube", as oil gets distributed around the engine, and assuming the "tube" extends down into the sump, that the rubber seal on the handle end of the dip stick creates a "vacuum/pressure" seal which prevents oil going back up the "tube" when the engine is allowed to stand.

 

Anybody had the same problem? Any other explanation?

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If you are still concerned, then you should speak to the service manager and voice your concerns, you have nothing to lose.

 

Thanks, Donna. I of course tried that, on Saturday, but he wasn't available or in then, so I emailed him.

 

At just past 10 o'clock on Monday morning, I got a detailed and polite response. The nub of it is that, as others have said, the oil gets dirty very quickly:

 

"We have found through experience that fresh engine oil will turn black within a few miles if an emission control service which includes an engine flush is not carried out at time of service.This is due to the remains of the old dirty oil in the crankcase mixing with the fresh clean oil,however after a 40 mile journey I would still expect clean oil to be dirty even if a flush had been carried out."

 

After another message from me, I then got this:

 

"...the oil we use is a very high spec fully synthetic lubricant designed for Fiat engines.It is supplied by Fiat's lubricant partner and it is part of our business contract that this lubricant supplier and the specified lubricant is used. The oil in question is very high in detergents as a diesel engine is a lot 'dirtier' than a petrol engine.I think the sediment you have seen is a mixture of the remains of the dirty oil and new sediment cleaned and left in suspension by the new oil."

 

The latter paragraph I think qualifies as plausible waffle.

 

I didn't have time to go back there as I had to be in Cornwall yesterday, so I'll just have to leave matters as they stand.

 

At one point, this chap said:

 

"I can understand your concerns and can only assure you we cannot afford to mislead customers and rip them off. We pride ourselves on our service and our advice and recommendations are part of that service."

 

That's as may be but he has not assuaged my doubts.

 

Roger

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RogerGW - 2009-11-24 12:01 PM

 

If you are still concerned, then you should speak to the service manager and voice your concerns, you have nothing to lose.

 

Thanks, Donna. I of course tried that, on Saturday, but he wasn't available or in then, so I emailed him.

 

At just past 10 o'clock on Monday morning, I got a detailed and polite response. The nub of it is that, as others have said, the oil gets dirty very quickly:

 

"We have found through experience that fresh engine oil will turn black within a few miles if an emission control service which includes an engine flush is not carried out at time of service.This is due to the remains of the old dirty oil in the crankcase mixing with the fresh clean oil,however after a 40 mile journey I would still expect clean oil to be dirty even if a flush had been carried out."

 

After another message from me, I then got this:

 

"...the oil we use is a very high spec fully synthetic lubricant designed for Fiat engines.It is supplied by Fiat's lubricant partner and it is part of our business contract that this lubricant supplier and the specified lubricant is used. The oil in question is very high in detergents as a diesel engine is a lot 'dirtier' than a petrol engine.I think the sediment you have seen is a mixture of the remains of the dirty oil and new sediment cleaned and left in suspension by the new oil."

 

The latter paragraph I think qualifies as plausible waffle.

 

I didn't have time to go back there as I had to be in Cornwall yesterday, so I'll just have to leave matters as they stand.

 

At one point, this chap said:

 

"I can understand your concerns and can only assure you we cannot afford to mislead customers and rip them off. We pride ourselves on our service and our advice and recommendations are part of that service."

 

That's as may be but he has not assuaged my doubts.

 

Roger

 

Roger, I'm perplexed ... what EXACTLY did you WANT him to say? :-S

 

If he doesn't look after his customers he won't have a business, so it's not in his interests, as he says, to rip off people. You either believe him or you don't, and that applies to some of us forum members too. If you just want to NOT believe him that's up to you, but I can't see what point there is in that, he's not going to offer to re-do the job as he is saying it is fine.

 

If you're not happy then simply do not use the garage again. Keep a check on your 'van and if you are concerned then change the oil again at some point. :-|

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I agree with Mel. We all have times when we have a gut feel that something is not right. For that reason I think Roger's query is perfectly sensible and the responses prove that. Now Roger knows that oil does get dirty quickly, especially if the sump was not fully drained, and the dealer is not intentionally out to cheat him (mistakes do happen though), he has to deal with his residual gut feel.

 

If he's like me, no amount of rational explanation will deal with an irrational gut feel. The only way I know to deal with such a gut feel is a face to face discussion and then to ask, "Do I trust this person?" Usually I can't be bothered and just move on in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This thread reminds me why I do most of my servicing myself, You never get those 'suspicions that something isnt 'right'. It is also very satisfying (to me anyway). Only problem as I am getting older (stiffer) I am able to do less of the more 'Involved' stuff. Luckily I have found a local 'Real Mechanic' whom I DO trust, and he does the MOT's and things like Cam-Belt changes, he ALWAYS shows me the old Cambelt/Corroded brake disks etc., as a matter of course. If you find one,Use Him, He will be grateful for the business. Unlike a lot of the 'Main Dealers'. :D :D Ray
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For what it is worth I have found Chelston to be helpful and professional in their response to any problems I have encountered. I am a satisfied customer who at the moment is awaiting a response from them on a non performing battery charger, but that is not of their making but rests with Autotrail. I believe them to be a genuine company who value their customers.

 

Roy Fuller

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For what it is worth I have found Chelston to be helpful and professional in their response to any problems I have encountered. I am a satisfied customer who at the moment is awaiting a response from them on a non performing battery charger, but that is not of their making but rests with Autotrail. I believe them to be a genuine company who value their customers.

 

Roy Fuller

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