Since Clara has had a fair bit done to her in the last year I'm not too concerned about this year's test. Hmmm!


There were the usual few items that will need doing but have only come up as advisories but there was one item that really needed attending to as soon as possible:

I love the understatement here...

Rusty Underside

Still, it's not that big a hole, is it? I should think that £200 - £300 should cover it... Maybe a bit more? It does need doing both sides, though...

I'm a bit shocked that this wasn't picked up by the company (who shall remain nameless) that did the MOT in 2017: there is no way that that hole is fewer than 12 months old!

I'm also not happy at the amount of water that could be getting in, so this is going to get fixed absolutely as soon as possible. For this and other reasons we decided not to take Clara on her second foreign trip - at least in my ownership - and to use a different car. Disappointing, but there will be other occasions! (The other car is lovely, though!)

I was warned that the hole could be bigger than first thought as Mercedes' underseal does a great job of hiding bad news! Indeed I had a call from Paulo at Silchester Garage (who are doing the work for me) with the news that there was more work to be done than we originally thought... No worries, please go ahead: I'm in this for the long haul with Clara and I'm a great believer in fixing the essentials - chassis, brakes etc - before doing the pretty stuff. Which explains why I still have two rusty wings and a rear wheel arch with a noticeable blemish on it...!

Paulo sent me a photo of the hole after it had been excavated and made ready to weld:

Ready To Weld

and I took one of the finished result:

Welded And Sealed

I reckon that this is now the strongest part of the underside!

While the car was there they kindly checked out a couple of rattles for me and had a look at the propshaft couplings to ensure that they weren't about to go - fortunately, these are fine still.

The really nice thing was that Paulo very kindly did what he could to keep the bill down as far as possible - bearing in mind that there was a LOT of preparation involved in this: the carpets had to come out and every precaution had to be taken to ensure that the heat from the welding didn't set fire to anything inside the car!

My hoped for figures were still way under, though! But hey, another job done to make Clara as sound as possible - and the savings that Silchester managed to make for me will be spent there on other things! (As they well know by now!)

Oh, and she's had a new puddle light in the driver's door. The old one must have come loose, dropped out and been crushed when I shut the door. £12 from my ever patient and incredibly helpful local dealer. One of those jobs that is so simple, easy and cheap yet provides so much satisfaction when done!

I really think that I might be getting to the point where I can start doing the pretty things to Clara and get some of the niggles sorted out - read head rests don't drop, interior lights don't come on when the door opens... I'm still debating getting the valve stem oil seals replaced to see if that will cure the slightly higher than normal oil consumption, too...

18 Maintenance And Travel