Our first year

This time last year we were just working though our first month with lots of unresolved issues after the rapid acquisition of the business to satisfy the needs of the previous tenants. So a belated Happy Birthday to Star Autocare Ltd and well done the team for making it a very positive first year of trading.

As a team Hywel, Doug, Sion and Tom have achieved a great deal over the year and have developed into a well balanced team with enthusiasm and passion for the work we do. Having passed his refresher course Doug has joined Hywel as the two testers we have on site. With the variation in work that we see coming through the door Hywel gets to do lots of specialist welding and Doug loves machining parts that are not readily available. Tom has now completed his apprenticeship and has developed a keen interest in the complex electronics that are found in new vehicles, along with his abilities as a very skilled MIG welder he has a broad spectrum of work within his grasp. Sion’s mechanical skills and fastidious nature in servicing keeps that side of our business moving well and as he has quickly got to grips with the garage software he is one of our best customer facing members of staff.

Our new 4wheel alignment kit
We’ve updated a lot of the equipment in Star Workshops since we took over, including a new ramp and our new 4 wheel alignment kit.
Low sports cars

We’ve had an incredible range of vehicles in the workshop over this year from mint classics such as an MGBGT to a Toyota Supra that we upgraded to about 450RWHP. We currently are involved in building several special projects, a Reliant Scimitar GTC being fitted with a Jaguar engine and a Vauxhall Astra MK1 SRi fitted with a 4.0l V8 from a lexus and more waiting to come in. We care for lots of lowered and customised cars and also care for many classics all of which are cherished by their owners and by us!
Replacing an engine in a Renault Traffic

Vans too have been a consistent line of work from preparing a Classic VW Camper for a several thousand mile journey across Europe to fitting a replacement engine in a Renault Traffic and we have had lots of 4×4 vehicles and several pieces of towed equipment to repair. We are currently starting to branch out into creating specialist exhausts in stainless exhaust either TIG or MIG welded too.

Quite a varied workload!

Bespoke Fabrication

When faced with a requirement for a new bespoke part Hywel will just knuckle down and make one to suit. Here is an example; a turbo intake pipe created from straight tube and TIG welded in a technique called “pie cuts” or “lobster backing”. You get the impression he loved doing this kind of fabrication!

Ssanyong Gearbox Failure Fixed

28 FEBRUARY 2018

We recently had a SSANYONG KYRON brought to us with a fault occurring when the vehicle was at operating temperature, as we are one of the few garages locally able to plug diagnostic equipment into the Ssangyong electronic control systems. The symptoms the customer required to be solved was the gearbox defaulting into limp mode when the vehicle got “hot”. On our initial fault code check we noted a lack of communication between the gear shift lever and the transmission control module.

Due to initial budgetary constraints at the customer’s request we changed a seal on the loom plug into the gearbox, apparently being a common cause for such issues often seeing oil wicking up to the transmission control unit. We cleaned and checked all the wiring and changing the seal as requested but we did not see a change, the fault was still there; in fact after completing this procedure and driving the vehicle 20 yards to the parking area it decided not to drive at all!

In discussion with the customer about the problem persisting and following further research, it was decided that the contact plate may have degraded or broken resulting in the lack of communication. Again, this didn’t solve the problem! With a 3rd party auto electrician confirming that we were missing a 12v feed to the gearbox solenoids from the Transmission Control Unit, we were now looking at the possibility that either the Selector or the TCU were faulty.

Frustrating!

After taking the bull by the horns, many more hours of research later we decided to purchase a replacement Transmission Gear Selector and try that fix. We had repeatedly been told by relevant technicians and auto electrical specialists, that this particular Mercedes-Benz 5G-Tronic automatic transmission fitted as the gearbox in the Ssangyong Kyron is effectively “bullet proof” and even without any electrical input should still have drive. Humm little do they know!

Well it only went and worked! Proving that sometimes other people’s experience can stop you looking at the problem from your own perspective and seeing the most obvious answer! Another difficult job completed at Star Autocare Limited.