Damn all these workshops

Called the workshop today to find that the new baas hasn’t yet reported to work. That means the car has literally been in the same state for nearly a month. Getting really annoyed

බාස් උන්නැහේ

බාස් උන්නැහේ (Baas Unnahe) is the term that’s applied in Sinhala to a tradesman or rather a skilled tradesman. Thus carpenters, masons, plumbers and motor mechanics are known as Baas Unnahe. Their apprentices and trainees  are known as ගෝලයා (Golayaa). It should be noted that the term is not used on unskilled or inexperienced technicians. It is believed that the word is an adaptation of the Dutch word baas – which today means boss or leader, however it’s believed that during the time that the Dutch invaded and ruled the coastal belt of Sri Lanka  (1656 – 1796) the word may have meant carpenter or craftsmen (I am hoping a Dutch historian sees this and corrects me if I am wrong).

Kingsley located but the news is bad.

The mechanic is heading off to Japan

Kingsley found and lost

Kingsley, the technician working on the car has been located but it doesn’t automatically translate into good news. He is quitting his job at the garage in Piliyandala. Kingsley has suddenly found himself a job in Japan. You can really blame him for seeking greener pasture but it would have been really nice if he had finished off what he started. Now we are kind of up the creek and the peddle is in Japan.

Desperately seeking Kingsley

Have you seen him

Have you seen him?

Yesterday, when we visited the garage we were quite annoyed to find no work has been done on the car since the last visit. This is not the first time it has happened either. Worryingly Kingsley, the mechanic who is working on the body hasn’t reported to work for 3 or 4 days and his phone is off. The mechanic working on the engine was around but there’s nothing that he can do until the cylinder head is fixed by Avinda’s contractor and that got delayed because the valves had not been handed over to them with the cylinder head. We were planning to deliver it ourselves to avoid further delay but the workshop owner was just about to leave for Panchikawatte at the time and he promised to take it there.

Cylinder Head

The cylinder head is being worked on by a contractor for Avinda Enterprises but they need to the valves and the valves are still stuck in Piliyandala. When the workshop owner unloaded the cylinder head at Avinda, he had forgotten to hand over the valves. He later promised to have them delivered but that hasn’t happened either. So we are heading out to Piliyandala in the morning today to collect them and hand them over to Avinda so that the work can resume.  In the meantime, a look under the hood will leave you with an empty feeling.

An empty feeling

Open the bonnet (hang on a second where is the bonnet?) and you get an empty feeling.

While modern Mercedes engines probably have a dozen valves per cylinder, this old lady has only two valves per cylinder yet she still manages to get about 13 Kilometers per liter – or at least the book says it can. The 210 with all it’s electronics is only slightly ahead when it comes to fuel consumption. Right now, I am guessing that she probably does less than 10km/l but I hope that improves after the engine repair is completed.

The Engine

Engine Block of the 200D after being overhauled

Cylinder Block of the 200D after being overhauled

Work on the body is progressing at a snail’s pace but at least the work on the engine overhaul as been completed. Pictured here is the cylinder block with the freshly installed sleeves. The Pistons haven’t been put back in because the cylinder head is not ready yet. As mentioned earlier there appears to be a pressure drop with the head. Finding a replacement isn’t all that easy. Avinda Enterprises has offered to help up repair it, and the workshop owner has now handed over the head to them. Let’s see how it goes.

Work Stoppage.

On the weekend of the 28th and 29th, we couldn’t visit the workshop to checkup on the progress, As a result what we found when we visited last Saturday was that no work had been done. That’s typical of a Sri Lankan Garage. If you don’t follow up with them and keep nagging at them continuously no work get’s done.

W123 covered in dust

The car is covered in dust, no work done.

Perhaps it’s unfair to say no work has been done at all because they have worked on the engine overhaul, but the engine overhaul is something that is outsourced. Even then the news is not good. Apparently there is a leak in the engine head. Looks like we might have been better off replacing the engine altogether, because now, we need to look for an engine head.

Where the heck is the engine?

There used be a 200D engine right here

Hey where's my engine?

The engine in this W123 has been removed to be overhauled. There was quite a bit of smoke coming out of the exhaust when we bought this car. It’s not good for the environment or the purse to have the engine in that state.

Initially we thought about replacing the engine all together. The godfather however advice against it. He did have a few W123 engines lying around including a 300 TD (yeah!). In the end we decided to go with the overhaul and when the engine was taken out it turned out to be not as bad as initially feared. Even then it’s going to cost at least 75,000 bucks to get it done.

Broken Tail lights.

When we went to see the car last Saturday, we were supposed to have taken a pair of tail lights with us but had only one. The rear most panel of the car needs to be tinckered with since there is a touch of corrosion on it. The existing tail lights are in bad shape. The lens are discolored and the places where the screws go in are also damaged.

Tail lights on the W123

These lights have to be replaced.

Because the corrosion needs to be attended to we need the complete light instead of just the lens. However turns out the tail light for the left is currently not readily available. This is a great surprise. The semi retired godfather had at least 10 right side tail lights and he could provide us with a lens for the left side but he didn’t have a complete assembly. The same could be said about Avinda and the importer from Gampaha. So it seems that the rear end of the car cannot be attended to right now. But no big deal, there is plenty of work still to be done.

The new doors

The new doors have been attached and immediately the car is looking a lot better. Earlier, all the lines that were supposed to be straight were crooked and all the lines that were supposed to be curved were straight! Now the workers have realigned the body parts using jacks and props so that the lines are as they should be. This is why new doors had to be installed. The old set had been worked on once too often and as a result they were out of shape and worse still the metal had very low tensile strength.

Gold colored doors on a white Mercedes

Gold colored doors on a white Mercedes

There are small spots of corrosion on the new doors as well. Though we say new, they are not exactly new but parts that were pulled off another W123. This rust can be patched up easily and painted over with out loss of body shape.

Also missing on the new doors are electric window regulators. Here we made a mistake, we didn’t check properly and ended up with a set of doors equipped with mechanical winders. But then again, with the price that we paid for these doors , we can’t be complaining. It’s just a matter of removing the electric winders from the old set of doors and attaching them to this one.