Back in November I told the story of how to purchase a vehicle in the Philippines, complete with dealing with sellers that will lie about everything to the point where you should just reverse everything they say to be on the safe side. Well, the story included how the well fed baboons had not only used a completely fake picture, lied about the year model, color, location, the fact that they were private sellers instead of a car lot like the ad claimed (probably just copied and pasted someone else’s ad), and the dang vehicle turned out to have a drivability problem when it got hot.
And the sad part was the vehicle was the best I’d found all day….problem appeared to be intermittent, likely a ignition module, an overheating coil, or a weak fuel pump, so I bought the vehicle anyway intending on having it fixed. It was a multicab after all, one of the most common vehicles in the country.
But the beast would run fine for days on end and when it did act up it was for a few moments and a quick shut down and restart would reset the computer and off it would go. Then around March it started getting progressively worse till it stalled every few kilometers once it warmed up after ten to fifteen kilometers driving. Was stateside so I relied on a description from my filipina… God help us all when that happens. Still it was one of three things, coil, ignition module controlling the fuel pump, or the fuel pump.
The instructions were pretty simple and were to be done in this order. 1. Check the trouble codes as it was fuel injected and had a computer. If they didn’t know how, find another mechanic as they were idiots. 2. Have a mechanic replace the coil if it had only one; if it had one per cylinder never mind as all three wouldn’t fail at once. 3. Ask the mechanic to check the ignition module if it had one in the distributor or mounted somewhere else if the mechanic found that the fuel pump had an auto shut off fuel pump. 4. Replace the fuel pump after they checked the fuel filter in the line and at the pickup end in the tank.
After about six mechanics telling her a variety of “reasons” or “fixing” it, ranging from saying it was a blown head gasket (wasn’t using water or overheating), “the engine is just old and weak sir, it needs to rest every few kilometers”, unbolting the three ignition coils because “they were grounding out sir”, to removing the auto thermostat on the auxillary electrical radiator fan, to rewiring the auxillary electrical radiator fan to run only when the A.C. was turned on (really…they were that stupid), I finally gave up and told her to just get by till I arrived around the first of April. Trouble codes? Not one of the morons knew how to read the codes, or didn’t have a reader, and was too stupid to understand written instructions on how to use a jumper wire and watch the oil light to read the codes.
Come in using a car service as usual from Manila in the middle of the night and the next morning we head into the shop to check on things. Runs flawless in the 7 am cool temperatures, 60 km hr, no stalling. But after lunch it starts acting up. Would idle all day but about 20 km per hour was the top speed and it would buck and jump, starving for fuel obviously, not electrical.
Of course the three coils were dangling on the engine block after one of the monkeys had unbolted them and thrown away the bolts to prevent them from “grounding”. Finally found a foreign owned repair shop that had a code reader but the computer didn’t have a trouble code for fuel pressure as it didn’t track it. But it was obvious it was the fuel pump so the mechanic started looking for a Mitsubishi fuel pump.
Nothing, zip, nada, not in the entire damn country. Suzuki, sure… no Mitsubishi fuel pumps for a multicab even in Manila. Foreigner owned shop said they would keep looking and put the tank back on and we continued a search for a mechanic that could fix it. Three days wasted of a seven day trip so finally it was time to rent a vehicle to attend to business and leave it at another mechanic shop.
Three days they said, sincere promises to have it ready. Thursday, Friday, Saturday… guaranteed to be ready by 2pm so I could return the rental car. Kept texting and calling…. working on it sir… almost finished…. So Saturday morning we show up at 9 am. Tank still on the damn thing, Dong still asleep… copious promises it would be ready by 2 pm.
Nope, and Dong was nowhere to be found, hiding from the kano. But they did have the pump off at last. Jeepney back to the condo that night, early morning car service trip back to Manila for the flight out. Screw it…
A week later I find a pump and DHL it in country. Fixes the problem, runs like a new one. Weak pump, got hot running and the capacity declined to where it would run 20 km per hour tops.
In all we probably went through twenty mechanics ranging from professional looking, well equiped shops to Dong on a tricycle who was recommended by a friend, neighbor, or associate and not a damned one except the foreigner knew what a trouble code was or that they even existed on fuel injected computerized cars. Couple that with a parts system that depends mostly on salvage parts or china junk crap imported for the most common Japanese models and you have a recipie for frustration once a car breaks down if it is computerized. The most common end to a conversation with a mechanic was “Sir, when it finaly quits running bring it in and we can fix it.”Published in