Turbo diesel can cost

I WANT to buy an Isuzu double cab turbo diesel 280KB LX, 1998 - 2001. My only concern is the turbo. I hear it is very expensive to replace when it packs up. Is there any cheaper and better way to get around this problem? Malatsi

I WANT to buy an Isuzu double cab turbo diesel 280KB LX, 1998 - 2001. My only concern is the turbo. I hear it is very expensive to replace when it packs up. Is there any cheaper and better way to get around this problem? Malatsi

MALATSI, I am afraid the stories you have heard are true. My enquiries at an Isuzu dealer revealed that the turbocharger unit for that engine costs R10301, and the labour to remove and refit the unit will be a further R1409.

By the time the turbo goes you don't know how much wear the rest of the engine has suffered, so it might be advisable to go for a factory remanufactured engine, which costs R40871 plus R5636 for fitting.

The problem with a turbocharger is that it gives you no indication of wear or overheating it might have been subjected to until it suddenly packs up one day.

The problems just build up unnoticed, while the owner is blissfully unaware. An expert examining the engine will therefore have no way of telling whether the turbo will last another 600km or another 60000km.

An additional problem with a turbo diesel bakkie is that the engine has so much torque at low revs that the temptation is there to let it "lug", that is, work hard at full throttle at low revs.

Lugging puts great strain on engine and drive train components, in particular on the main and big-end bearings.

A driver with mechanical sympathies will avoid prolonged lugging, but with a used bakkie you never know how it was driven.

For the reasons outlined above, and in view of the repair costs, many people take the cynical view that a turbo diesel vehicle should only be bought new, and sold as soon as possible after its warranty expires.

My recommendation to you, if you prefer to buy second-hand, is to shop around for a petrol-engined vehicle, or one with a naturally-aspirated diesel engine (no turbo). On these it's possible for an expert to gauge the engine's condition fairly accurately.

I BOUGHT a 2003 VW Polo 1,4 from a dealer in Roodepoort in 2007. A year later I got a call from the police advising me to bring in my car as they were investigating a series of organised car thefts in which people steal cars and fix code 3 accident-damaged cars with stolen parts.

The police took my car and gave me a letter to take to the dealer, but the dealer said they didn't know anything since they had bought the car from another dealer. Whose fault is it ?Melusi

Melusi, while gathering information to answer your question I got a glimpse into the world of organised car theft. It's a world where diabolically clever men have developed schemes (and skills) of forgery and deceit that only a trained police operative can detect.

There is only one way to be sure you don't fall prey to their schemes: always insist that the vehicle be taken for police clearance, and that a clearance certificate is issued, before any money changes hands.

My sources are unanimous in their view that the dealer from whom you bought the car was responsible for ensuring that it did not contain parts from stolen vehicles. The onus was on him, not on you.

You can therefore institute legal proceedings against the dealer. The amount of the claim will probably exceed the R7000 limit of the small claims court, so I recommend that you get yourself an attorney to sue the dealer for the full amount you paid for the car, as well as your legal costs.

Don't settle for an offer of a similar vehicle - you don't want to have anything to do with that dealer again.

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