Life from an outsider's perspective…

Engine swap operation successful! After six weeks in the mechanics, Molly is finally back on the road.

2004 Ford Transit connect, with a 1.8L turbo diesel engine delivering 75ps.We’ve become quite fond of our our official delivery van since getting it late last year. It’s a 2004 Ford Transit connect, with a 1.8L turbo diesel engine delivering 75ps. This is an ex-rental van from Molina rentacar. We have since fixed up the interior a bit and added the Pro Bike Hire signwriting and then not long after, the name “Molly” stuck. We’ve tried out a number of similar small vans like the Citroen berlingo and VW caddy, but they are just not as practical as the transit connect.

Unfortunately, about six weeks ago, Molly’s engine exploded. Here’s basically what happened: The day before, we heard an unusual sound coming from the engine bay. We stopped as soon as we could and checked the engine temperature & oil level, both seemingly ok, but the sound grew worse as we came home. The very next day, we had another delivery to do in the South of Tenerife. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have taken the van that day, we should’ve taken it straight to the mechanics. But we assumed it was the fanbelt and that another hundred kilometres or so wouldn’t be detrimental.

Anyway, coming back home from the South, Les decided to go directly to Leonardos Mechanic in La Florida, taking a “shortcut” up a steep incline through La Orotava (thinking that being stuck in heat in the traffic would be worse). Les got to a false flat and the engine just died with a little bang, spewing practically all the engine oil out onto the middle of the road. Les with his Materials Science background instinctively circled around the accident scene and collected four or five chunks of metal from the engine block scattered about the place. Not good!

So we called the tow truck, who arrived pretty quickly considering the pouring rain. It turned out to be a broken conrod, a linkage part which connects each piston to the main crankshaft. Since they transmit virtually all the force coming from the pistons, that blew a 2″ hole in the side of the engine block. We tried ringing around all the wreckers that we knew of in Tenerife to no avail. Nobody had a spare Ford transit connect engine lying about. Apparantly there weren’t even any engines in mainland Spain! Les was not pleased with this news, a veritable understatement – losing his temper with the local mechanic after about 10 days of waiting. So for the last month or so, we have patiently been waiting for a totally new engine block to arrive from Germany.

Tenerife is a small island, so I’ve heard on the grape vine that Molly is back on the road. My partner Chiqui actually asked her work colleague who also lives in La Florida to have a look out his balcony and check if they were working on a white van with a big orange cog logo… hehehe. I rung the mechanic and he’s been testing her out for the past few days, going off for coffee trips and whatnot (I personally would rather not know what he’s been up to in it). So it looks like the engine swap has been a success. Leonardo tells me that he thinks she’ll be ready be ready by tomorrow. Let’s hope so. Total repair bill will exceed €2000…

2 Responses to “Engine swap operation successful! After six weeks in the mechanics, Molly is finally back on the road.”

  1. Yes indeed Dr. Les, most machinery gives some warning signs when it’s about to fail, like a change of sound etc.

    It’s always a good idea to pay attention to such rather than ignore it and “hope for the best”. Oh well, here’s hoping ol’ Leonardo did a good job on the rebuild :)

  2. Total repair bill ended up being €3400 with a few other minor bits such as brake pads!!

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