Going to take the RAC Warranty to small claims
Basically guys I purchased an RAC Warranty when I bought my 147. The only condition of the warranty (£130 per annum) was that the car was serviced within the last 6 months or if not, to be serviced within 2 weeks of the warranty being taken out. Which I did.
The big end went after 700 miles.
The RAC have claimed, on the advise of an idependant engineer, that this is due to it being run on low or poor oil over the last 700 miles and will not pay out the warranty for repairs. This is not true.
West Sussex Alfa inspected it for me at 87058 before I purchased the car and did not note any concerns over the oil levels or quality (in writing), I personally inspected on several occasions, and it was serviced at 87510 at Alfa Tecnico (200 miles prior to failure). It also has a full service history and was serviced 11,000 miles prior.
Upon break down, the RAC engineer noted the oil level was fine, as did the garage it was towed to at 87715 miles. It was then towed back to Alfa Tecnico, Lewis states that the oil levels were fine and was the quality.
I therefore hope to prove that there has been no neglect over the period the engineer has claimed. Any advise? What else can be the cause?
Ive got a report from the person who inspected the car at 700 miles prior to failure, report from ALfa Tecnico 200 miles prior to failure and also Alfa Technico and the RAC breakdown engineer at breakdown milage. Im planning to get an Alfa Specialist to compile a report to draw these facts together to dismiss the RAC claim.
The report from the RAC engineer states -
Inspection Date: 16-8-2011
Inspection Time: 15:00
Inspection Mileage: 87715
No service book with the vehicle.
Last service from repairer on 02.08.11 @ 87510 miles.
Condition of vehicle prior to inspection:
Generally in good condition, parked in front of the workshop with the engine removed.
Repairer comments and general observations:
We were advised by Lewis the vehicle was recovered to their premises by the RAC with
abnormal engine knock.
The RAC patrol advised there was adequate oil in the engine.
On arrival at the repairers the engineer was escorted to the vehicle.
A visual inspection took place, the engineers observations were thus:
The engine had been removed from the vehicle and had been partially dismantled with the
removal of the cylinder head, sump and number 3 piston with connecting rod.
Extensive damage was evident to the crankshaft big end journal on number 3 cylinder.
Extensive damage/wear was evident to the corresponding big end bearing shells, one half of
the bearing had turned over.
The bearing shells had turned within the connecting rod.
Impact damage is evident to the piston crown indicating impact to the cylinder head
combustion chamber resulting from the wear/movement of the big end bearing shells.
Number 2 big end bearing cap was removed to inspect the bearing shells, these were found
be undamaged with no indication of abnormal wear other than debris damage.
The oil pump strainer was clear from any blockage.
The internal parts and surfaces of the engine are generally stained and discoloured due to
prolonged operation with poor quality and depleted oil level.
Recommendation & conclusion:
In the engineer's opinion, being based on evidence written reported and observed during this
assessment of the above vehicles engine, the following can be concluded:
Excessive damage/wear was evident to number 3 cylinder big end bearing shells, crankshaft
journal and connecting rod.
The damage/wear is restricted to only one cylinder.
This is indicative of the engine running short of oil at some time in the past.
There has been metal to metal contact between the big end bearings and crankshaft journal
resulting in wear due to high temperature culminating in eventual failure of the bearings.
The usual cause of this type of occurrence is a failure to ensure an adequate quantity of
lubricating engine oil within the engine sump. The oil swills around in service/engine operation
within the confines of the sump baffles (due to vehicle motion, braking, cornering etc) and if theoil level is too low, due to depletion, a sudden temporary loss of oil pick up can occur and the oil pump and pick up scavenges for oil. The oil becomes cavitated (i.e. the pressurised oil is interrupted with air which has been drawn in). The air causing a momentary lack of correctlubrication pressure coating on the bearing surfaces, which instantly causes scoring/pick up to occur. Repeated engine revolution/operation then causes the bearing surface to be worn way quickly resulting in bearing free play and further over heating and damage. The low oil level can cause the oil to burn /boil slightly and cause localised over heating generally, again effecting the oil lubrication and cooling characteristics.
The bearings are quickly damaged by running dry of oil, friction increase and temperature
increase occurs and then total failure occurs. This can take place in matter of seconds and
sometimes before the vehicle oil pressure warning devise is activated, as in this case.
We would conclude therefore that a lack of adequate oil supply/level in the engine has causedthe above-described damage. There was no evidence of a mechanical defect.
This type of damage can be avoided by a driver checking the oil level at very regular intervalsand topping up accordingly.
In all probabilities this has occurred within the last 700 miles.