Doctor Diesel

It’s that man Bill Shepherd again…!

Web03Hi Doc – me, again!
Last Friday, my wife was setting off to the shops in her 53-plate 49,000 miles Peugeot 307 estate. As she moved off, something sounded just like a road hammer, very loud, and very expensive! I’ve heard that sound before, I thought, but at the time, I couldn’t remember when or what it had been. My wife called the AA, who said it would be an hour, but “the man” was with us in 40 minutes. Very quickly he said “you’ve got a front nearside spring gone, and it’s rubbing on the wheel. I will have to call for AA Relay” who then said it would be an hour and a half, but were with us in half that time.
The first AA man managed to secure the spring so that it would not wreck the tyre, although what he did I have no idea, but it worked! At 11:15 I telephoned my garage, told them what had happened, and they said that it would be Monday or Tuesday before they could sort it. I then escorted the AA Relay man through two miles of lanes to the garage, where they unloaded the car. The garage then ordered the new spring. At 12:15 I got home, and then set about getting some brunch (having missed breakfast) but, before I had finished eating it, the phone rang and the garage asked me to come and pick up my car! How about that? The other work they had in at the time was going to run over onto Monday anyway, so as soon as the spring arrived, two of them fitted it. So, in four and a half hours, my wife had the breakdown, we called two different AA men, and my garage had fixed the car! I had expected to need a new tyre as well and a bill of over £300, but they saved the tyre and the bill was under £160 – what an unbelievable service!
That’s when I remembered where I had heard the noise before. Christmas Eve 2013, I was on the way to the garage just to wish the festive greetings, and the front offside spring went, and ripped the tyre to shreds. Again it was AA to the rescue, lift and tow to the garage (So I got to wish them a Merry Christmas) and called my wife to come and help get me back home. Both of the AA men and my garage say that they have seen quite a number of 307 front springs go, and they seem to agree that it’s due to all the potholes. Is it something of which you have heard? The only other bad fault that my wife has had with it was a clutch failure at about 30,000 miles, twin plate design (dual mass flywheel. Doc.) which was then replaced with a single plate job, and there have been no further problems. Apart from that, my wife is very pleased with the 307 which she has had since 2005.
Best wishes,
Bill Shepherd

Hello again Bill, Your wife’s experiences are not abnormal, but full marks to the AA and your garage! Although people do like to blame the state of the roads, in this case I’m afraid it’s partly an example of shoddy manufacture. Honest John in The Daily Telegraph says that coil springs for European built cars are made cheaply. The load carried by a spring should be spread at each end and, if the spring is not around a strut, this is usually done by pig-tailing the end of the spring, which means bending it at right angles across the base of the spring. If it is around a strut, the load can be spread by flattening or tapering the end. Badly finished European made coil springs often sit badly in suspension cups, that fill with dirt and road salt and encourage corrosion, and potholes, speed humps, and speed cushions can often finish them off at an early age. Springs on Far Eastern cars are more commonly properly finished off, and generally last much longer. But then your Peugeot didn’t do badly over almost 10 years, did it?
Interesting to hear about replacement of the dual mass flywheel – this sort of conversion is not unusual, cheaper than replacing the dual mass flywheel (DMF) type, and few people seemingly complain about any loss of refinement, or transmission line vibrations, which is what the DMF was originally designed for. It would be interesting to have some more input on this subject.
Thanks again Bill,
Doc Diesel

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