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Looking For Reputable Mechanic / Service Garage


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I've owned my 1991 Celica 2.0 GT for three years, and i've had a good run with it. around 120,000 miles on the clock when i bought it, and i've wacked that up to over 150,000 since then. Cosmetically, the bodywork isn't in good shape - but i have to live with that as i can't afford to be vain.

unimportant background drivel:

Mechanically, the car wasn't in bad condition back then, but it had it's problems which needed to be fixed. Overall though, i've never had a major problem while running (apart from a relentless power streering fluid leek), and it's never broken down on me until now - unlike all my previous cars - but then you'd expect to have a lot of problems when you pay next to nothing for a piece of crap! I've had it serviced twice along with other work carried out, and it is overdue a third service. I've made the fatal costly error of (being ripped-off) having the vehicle serviced by Toyota previously, and being charged a fortune. I used Toyota because i figured, despite the cost, they would at least do their job properly (yeah right!)

I've had the car looked at by three different places including Toyota (and also on one seperate occasion by a family friend) - and the first two of those were due to the power steering leak. The first one (not long after the leak first occurred probably a couple of years ago) was supposed to fix it, but instead bodged it by replacing the pump with a second hand one and not much else, i doubt. The leak seemed to be cured though, for a while, but eventually returned. I had it looked at by a second place more recently, and they weren't impressed by the bodgejob done previously, but could not even find why it was leaking themselves either. As for Toyota themselves: they also didn't even identify that there was a power steering leak any time they'd worked on the vehicle before - and only picked up on it when they had the vehicle at the end of last year! On a side note: they even left a bolt out of a brake caliper one time, and after a few times braking when i collected the vehicle i could hear clonking where the caliper was opening up and hitting the wheel! Had to get a new bolt from them and replace it myself... (and they weren't too quick getting hold of a new bolt for me neither!).

The car still has a power steering leak but i CAN live with it right now and have been since it first started. The fluid level only seems to go down fast when the steering is at full lock, otherwise it is much slower. Toyota reckon it could cost a hell of a lot to fis because they can't identify the cause; and would have to replace all the pipes in order to check if that fizes it - which it may not!! Dunno what to think of that! :rolleyes:

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Enough of the background... down to business:

The car broke down for the first time the other day from overheating as it has a water leak and also looks like the head gasket has gone because the water leaking out is extremely oily. It looks like it is probably a "hard" pipe that has corroded over time and eventually split. The leak is in a position that can't be reached without the head being taken off. So that is the work I'm looking to have done immediately but I also need to get the car serviced as it is overdue.

I'm not happy with the work i've had from different places, and so I am desperate to find reputable recommendations that will do their job properly and not cost a fortune like Toyota! I live in Romford near London and Essex. Whoever I go to, I do need an idea from them on price for the work/labour of fixing the car, and also whatever other work may need doing... because if there is much other unforseen work needed on the car and it will be expensive then I'll have to hold fire, or maybe even look at buying another temporary run-around car for the time being if it will cost that much. The car is also due for its MOT very soon.

Any advice/recommendations appreciated! Cheers.

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