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Your coolant fribulator needs replacing madam and it's expensive!

Updated on June 8, 2011

It was just an oil change and air filter her boyfriend said she needed.

She booked her auto in for a service at 8am Tuesday morning to give herself time to get the kids to school in her boyfriend's car and still get to work.

All easy enough until the phone call from the service manager that ruined what was only going to be an otherwise fair to lousy day.

"Hello Ms Gillable. I have some bad news I'm afraid." said the workshop manager.

"The coolant fribulator that controls the flow to your headlight brake condenser has somehow gotten itself jammed in your crown pinion gear wheel, It happens sometimes because of the weather in Africa or if you drive past a lot of oak trees.

Our workshop vehicle, made on site from extruded fribulators.
Our workshop vehicle, made on site from extruded fribulators.

Coolant fribulator.

Looking for the coolant fribulator. Not here,  It must be hidden inside the engine inner bearing fuse, behind the instigator pre-valve assembly
Looking for the coolant fribulator. Not here, It must be hidden inside the engine inner bearing fuse, behind the instigator pre-valve assembly

"Oh goodness! Is it expensive?" gasps Ms. Gillable.

"Not really" says the service manager who is examining his fingernails while looking through the catalogue of new golf clubs.

Thank god she doesn't have a bloody video phone he thought, clamping his hand over the mouthpiece, grateful to be able to lift one leg and fart savagely in the face of his poor old Labrador. "Vengeance is sweet! he hissed at the dog. You bloody near wiped me out this morning ya mongrel. What the hell did you eat?"

He uncovered the mouthpiece, his voice full of the reassuring yet authoritative tone so common to service managers all over the world.

"The problem is it is located inside the engine inner bearing fuse, behind the instigator pre-valve assembly and the labour cost is gonna be a killer to get to it and have it out to replace it. Then we have to re assemble the whole thing through the fuel supply rod enclosure. A lot like brain surgery really."

"Well I guess you have to do it then, so how much is it going to cost?" asked Ms Gillable.

"I can get it done by next Thursday week for around $900 dollars by using a refurbished unit, or I could use a new one I have in stock for my own car and have it finished today for $1,200 if you could pay me in cash so I can replace it later. I'm only offering to do this because you are a new customer and I like you. You can call me John"

It's always nice to see our female motorists getting first class treatment such as this from their helpful auto repair shop manager!

I would like to dedicate this hub to all the wonderful service and workshop managers who are working for the good of their customers, taking care to inform them and keep them safe from such potentially disastrous breakdowns as those that can come about by allowing a coolant fribulator to remain non functional for any extended time.

Where would we be without these selfless professionals to help us to keep ourselves and loved ones safe on the roads by performing generous acts of kindness as these.

I am in awe of the great work many of them do........ for their bottom line that is!

Have you ever had your coolant fribulator replaced?

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    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I followed the saga Eric, and wish I could say I am amazed. Hell, I'm not even surprised. I did make a note of who they are in my little book of mechanical bastards though!

      Cheers mate, and thanks for the very relevant comment.

      I'm just finishing the job on my trans, the Nissan I mentioned they wanted $1700 to fix. So far I can see about $100 worth of parts and an hours labor. The sump of the trans has to come off. 10 minutes on a hoist.... $1700? I already sent ABS an "informative" email.

    • Eric Graudins profile image

      Eric Graudins 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Remember the $3,400 transmission repair I spoke about earlier?

      I received some help from someone who knows about these vans.

      Took me 5 minutes with a couple of spanners to fix the problem. Overdrive band needed tightening. that's all.

      Have made several longish, high speed trips to check that all is OK.

      This dealer is either incompetent or dishonest.

      Either way, it's a total act of bastardry.

      I feel really sorry for the people who trust them.

      So next time you see these big dealers showrooms, just remember what type of activities pay for them.

      These car dealers operate on fear and intimidation.

      Just like many representatives of the religion industry who frequent hubpages.

      (Do I get banned now ??? :-)


      Eric G.

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks agvulpes. I see we agree on the value of these dedicated individuals.

      The reason they're not afraid of the law is that they assume their customers are all mugs!

      I'm writing as much as I can about their slimy ways on my other auto hubs and will continue to do so.

    • agvulpes profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      What a marvelous tribute Hub to all of those dedicated and generous Service Managers and Fault Assessors who can't wait to help all of the Ms Gillables out there who need help with their cars. There should be a law against it!

      Oh wait a minute there is?

      But it still goes on doesn't it?

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      dallas I hope you got the problem solved. I was fuming when I read your exhaustive comment! The muffler bearing lubrication system is notoriously difficult to resolve.

      I usually fit an after-market spoffulator to the bearing seal where the manifold meets the centrefold.

      I can send you a complete kit to fix the problem and no fitting is needed! You just leave it in the trunk!

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      True, Hello, hello! The thing that get's up my nose is that in almost every case it is the inability of the trades person to do the job thoroughly and quickly that is the source of the excessive charges. Many mechanics learn about your make and model on your car, then charge you for them not knowing how to get the gearbox out, or remove a pump or whatever the right way.

      I saw a clutch replacement the other day that cost $1,200 to replace. It was a really easy one.

      I can buy the clutch pressure and driven plates together with the thrust bearing for $187. They did not replace the thrust bearing and it seized.

      I had to do it myself as I have learned that they will mess it up the second time on most occasions. The job took under 2 hours which included replacing the clutch again with higher quality after-market clutch assembly as this model is a notorious clutch eater and not knowing they had replaced both plates with the same make of clutch that failed the first time.

      When reassembling I had to repair broken wire retainers, re-tighten all the engine bolt-ons that were about to fall off, and clean up the mess they left under the bonnet generally.

      Both alternator and air conditioning belts had been over tensioned and would have caused more damage to the car and damage to the alternator and compressor bearings. These "cowboys" are fools and thieves.

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      True gqgirl.. I always had stacks of female customers.

      SOME women may know little about cars, but I know quite a few who auto shops would not want to try it on!

      A lot of women have enjoyed my hubs on understanding the basics of cars so you don't get ripped off.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      ...I have this "muffler bearing" problem... My dealer says I would have to purchase an oil fitting for muffler bearings... He said it was a dealer only item. This does not "sound" good. I am exhausted. Does the muffler bearing fitting have any "bearing" or relevancy to my problem? I do not want to make a lot of "noise," but I want to be sure and ask if you could "pipe-in" with "sound" advice....

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Isn't that a familiar story. I am sure everyone had heard something like that. Not only with garages but plumbers, electricians and builders.

    • gqgirl profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      Sadly women get this crap all the time!

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I do hope so Stacie! It is crucial to have your coolant fribulating!

      Thanks for reading, I did enjoy my attempt at automotive mechanical humour!

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      8 years ago

      I had to read this a few times before realizing that you were kidding..maybe someone would take you seriously?


    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Yep! I like your plan. Whenever you can get good information from good sources you can get a good result.

      Thanks Steve, I think you're idea is a beauty!

      These small expert repair shops will always survive and most locations have one if you can locate them. Great detective work.That is a huge saving

    • SteveoMc profile image


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      I discovered an amazing plan that seems to work really well. I took my car to a dealership to have work done that was quoted at $1200. I said I would think about it. Then I went to three parts stores and talked to the parts specialists. I asked, "Is there an honest reasonably priced mechanic in town?" The parts guy said to stay away from the dealers unless it is a dealer service only problem. He said there is a guy down the road that has a good reputation for charging reasonable prices and moving vehicles out. The second place recommended the same guy. His shop was a little one with no fancy waiting room, but he looked at the problem and said that he could do the job for $350 and had it ready at the end of the day. I saved $800 bucks and and the job was well done.

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Can't help in Tassie, in fact I can't help on the mainland either.

      All the decent auto transmission places have been replaced by changeover merchants who take your old box and give you a worse one!

      I would drop the bottom off it if it is an old C6 box and check the magnetic plug for metal or any broken bits of valve springs, clean it out replace the fluid and any broken components. That should cost less than $3,400 and only require buying a manual, and a couple of hours of time.

      Unless a clutch is stuffed it is unlikely to be anything serious in any of the Ford Transits.

      I am about to do one of my vehicles myself after a $1700 quote for what will be 3 hours and $90 for all the bits including D3 hydraulic oil.

    • Eric Graudins profile image

      Eric Graudins 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Earnest, it's not just the ladies that they try this on with.

      Last week I took a transit van into the local ford dealer to have the auto transmission checked.

      It suddently stopped shifting into overdrive when the engine was warm.

      Works find when cold - but wont shift from 3rd to overdrive when the engine is warmed up.

      My initial thoughts were a faulty sensor, or solenoid or something.

      After a brief inspection, they confitrmed the problem and announced that there was a "gearbox malfunction", and that the only solution was a reconditioned gearbox at a cost of $3,400.

      When I pressed the point about possible component failure and my thoughts, he just repeated the "gearbox malfunciton" line, and said that it was not possible to determine any cause.

      To get rid of me, he promised that one of their master mechanics would contact me the next day to discuss it further. Didn't happen, and my follow up call re this remains unanswered.

      this is the reason that I have done all my own mechanical work for most of my life. Every time I take it somewhere either the job is not done properly, or I get ripped off.

      I don't want much. Just honesty with the people I deal with.

      So Earnest, if you have any clues, or contacts for automatic transmission experts in Tasmaniaq I'd like to hear about them.

      This van belongs to out Taiko drumming group, and $3,400 for a new gearbox is just not in the budget.


      Eric G.

    • earnestshub profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      ...happy you enjoyed it SOH. The ban has about another week to run. I do miss being able to help the nice newbies though, and making inane comments on "the last one to post is the winner" thread and other such frivolity!

      I swear that among the hundreds of guys I have met when selling them equipment for their workshops at least 10% of them would fit this profile! Bloody crooks!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      8 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Oh that's funny, and so true to life! I had a mechanic tell me one time that my car needed a new spleen ...

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


      8 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      ...loved the part about him looking through the catalogue of golf clubs....and the bit about drivin' in Africa or by oak trees....ha ha ha....

      too bad you got banned...that's a long time btw.....a few others have been banned recently.....????....i'm thinking about doing a send off thread to AP...he can't post anymore...something about China Man and AP not being able to post ....both of AP is gone from the threads....i liked AP's pic...oh least China Man is still around.....

      see ya later....


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