Been a long time coming but I’m returning to this thread to give my review of Murray Lotus, and the assessment of the service and work I had completed. It’s long but I want to be as detailed as I can be so I fairly relate my experience with Murray.
I have a friend who’s a mechanic that I trust and I initially asked if he could do the belt change. He investigated the process and said it was beyond the equipment range of his garage and advised going to Murray Lotus as he believed them to have an excellent reputation.
So I contacted Murray and the car was booked in for June 6th for A service and belts change, but after Murray got the car inspected it over a fortnight, the following assessment of repairs were identified:
Cost to carry out B Service + Belts (Required) £1800
Additional Parts required to complete B + Belts Service (Required) £370.45
Noise when engine running (Required) £345.05
Earth Strap (Required) £19.58
Radiator and T piece Junction corroded and Leaking (Required) £586.66
Both Turbo Actuators required (Required) £198
Oil leaks from drive shaft seals and gear selector seal (Required) £145.68
Both Turbo chargers outer casings split and internal damage to Fins (Required) £1120.8
Turbo charger p&p £21.59
Oil Cooler Split pipe (Required/Advise) £220.8
Alternator & water pump £292.8
Abs warning Light on (As a safety matter I would recommend that this is carried out) £129.76
Replace defective Alarm Fob (Advise) £83.77
Air conditioning suction pipe and condenser replacement (Advise) £876
All four tyres perished and worn (Advise recheck replaced 3 Months depending on use) £850
Front and rear Brake discs corroded (Advise recheck replaced 3 Months depending on use) £1279.2
Refurbishing alloys £125
Bodywork repair to rear guard (wheel cover) £120
The first section details what was described as required or essential, and the second what could be called optional if finances allowed. In the event I requested all the above to be undertaken.
Given the bill, and my complete ignorance when it comes to car mechanics I asked the following question of Craig prior to work commencing (copied from our email exchanges):
Me: And since I’m considering all this(!), and as I’m a completely mechanical naïve and thinking surely that’s all the car would need to take it back up again…
Craig: Yes the car would be a good mechanical example , There are some items that have wear and tear but nothing to cause concern.
I took Craig at his word and authorised the above work to go ahead.
I don’t believe I was advised to undertake any work that Murray didn’t genuinely believe required attention. I don’t believe they indulged in unnecessary padding of the bill and I believe Craig did his utmost to keep costs from rising. Murray were able to obtain significant discounts on Lotus parts and these savings were passed onto me. Also a number of checks and fixes were absorbed by other costs or just attended to as a matter of course. I had my alloys refurbished at cost to Murray, at a price I wouldn’t have been able to attain anywhere else. I also ran everything past my mechanic friend and he saw nothing amiss or unreasonable in his opinion.
During the course of this work Craig called to update me just about everyday. I was never in the dark in regards to any aspect of the repairs or stage of work.
After nearly two months I collected the car on Sunday 24th July.
Initially I was very happy. The only ‘problem’ I did note later was that the exhaust pipe on the left had side was hanging very visibly lower than the pipe to the right. The car hadn’t gone in like that and it certainly looked ‘off’ to the rear. If I could see it, I did have to wonder why no one else at Murray didn’t and they were happy to release the car like that, given from what I’ve read their attention to detail? However I had to return for a check-up a month later and was booked in for August 24th. I noted the exhaust issue to Craig ahead of this and was assured it would be addressed.
Prior to setting off I checked the oil, I always do as a matter of course after cleaning my car, and found it was reading around half full? That struck me as odd as I’d only had the car back a month, driven only as far as Edinburgh to Aberdeen and then around town in the few weeks or so I’d had the car…and ensuring the oil level is correct is surely a fundamental of a (£1,800) service? I noted that on arrival at Murray and Craig said it was due to new turbos being in place that guzzle oil as they bed in? I quizzed that with my mechanic friend and whilst he said that could be the case he doubted they’d drink half of it, especially given my use of the car.
I collected my car at the end of the next day. The exhaust pipes had been secured, and I’ve no doubt they’re fine…but they are not as were, and do hang lower on the car than originally. That would be my only ‘complaint’ but other than that I was satisfied. Provided the oil level had been topped-up, and it was, I wasn’t overly concerned with the explanation.
Over the course of the next few weeks though, a niggle started to get worse and worse, and perhaps that was my tuning in to it – and that was a rattling/buzzing sound from the rear that was very noticeable in town driving or anything under 40mph. It sounds like it’s coming from the engine and is more pronounced as the accelerator is engaged so that’s where I imagined it stemmed from, though I am as I’ve said completely mechanically ignorant: there’s nothing wrong with my hearing though.
I had a wedding to attend in Cheltenham in September and elected to drive. Did it in 3 legs during the course of the day and arrived without incident at my destination. My partner had cause to get out and ask directions in Cheltenham and when she got back in said the car did not sound well! She said it was making an “awful noise from the back”. When we got to the hotel I parked out and got out to check what she meant before turning the engine off and she was quite right – that car did not sound healthy!
We stayed two days and on leaving on the Sunday afternoon I started up and the car struggled to start like the battery was going flat and the head lights popped up too?! I’d just driven that car 800 miles a day and a half before…and it reacts like I’m starting it up after a fortnight undriven in the cold?? That wasn’t right.
It was bright sunny day on the way home and caught in traffic, and with the sun streaming in, I turned on the aircon. We’d used it a couple times since getting the car back and each time would only have it on a few minutes before the car felt like an icebox – which is just as you’d expect it. On this occasion it was just a light cooling breeze coming out the vents and even before I said it my partner said, “That’s not working!” And it wasn’t. Given what I’d paid to get the aircon repaired I wasn’t too happy with that either! However other than that we travelled home without incident.
On the Monday following this I emailed Craig to report these issues and he agreed the car needed another check over. However I don’t exactly live next door to Murray Lotus so would have to come down at a later date to have these problems addressed. I also reported the buzzing/rattling sound that seemed to me much like the engine noise that I was billed £345 as above to rectify.
I returned to Murray on Friday 18th November to have these issues addressed. Craig told me he’d had problems with the quality of gas from the supplier re the aircon and that was probably the cause. My mechanic friend has since told me it’s one type of gas that’s used and the only thing that could’ve caused my aircon to stop working in such a short space of time is a leak, not the ‘quality’ of gas. I don’t know. I’d like to think I wasn’t getting flannelled, but in all honesty I was starting to wonder given the issues I’d experienced and the explanations I was getting from Murray…
Craig called me on the Friday evening and his initial diagnosis of the engine noise was a drive or crankshaft something? I don’t recall exactly now and don’t want to misquote him. I joked about the price and he assured me that if that was the source he was mindful of what I’d already spent this year and would do his best to keep the cost down.
I left the car with Murray for the week and during that time Craig called me to say the aircon was fixed, and that doing that had also cured the rattling/buzzing noise(!) I admit I was sceptical on hearing that, but he assured me there was “no noise now”. So I accepted his explanation and word on the matter.
I collected the car on the Sunday afternoon. As soon as I started pulling out of Murray car park I could hear the exact same rattling/buzzing noise coming from the rear. To call me and tell me, “there’s no noises now”, and then have that happen… *shakes head* If Murray couldn’t hear that and were happy to put the car out and on its way to a customer like that…then I wasn’t arguing further with them… To be honest, I can’t say I was surprised. Topping up the gas in the aircon as a fix…?
The car was due its MOT on 11th Jan this month. I returned to the garage that my friend works for and he assured me it would ‘pass’. He knew what I’d spent on the car in the last year and the work I’d had done on it, so was confident before he even tested it that it’d pass with flying colours. If it didn’t he said, then there’s something up with Murray Lotus!
My friend said he’d taken it easy on the car, but he couldn’t pass it. It failed on the following issues:
001: Nearside headlamp aim too high
002: Offside headlamp aim too high and too far to the right
003: Offside front (to hose) brake pipe excessively corroded.
Point 003 was noted as an advisory in my previous MOT.
The garage made the repairs, it was retested it and it subsequently passed. The following advisories were noted:
Brake Advisories: RBT Front Brake Imbalance: 20% corrected by garage.
001: Nearside front (to hose) brake pipe slightly corroded.
002: Nearside rear brake pipe slightly corroded.
003: Nearside rear (both hoses) brake hose has slight corrosion to ferrules.
004: Offside rear (both hoses) brake hose has slight corrosion to ferrules.
005: Power steering pipe(s) or hoses(s) slightly corroded.
006: Offiside outer front track rod end ball joint dust cover deteriorated, but preventing the ingress of dirt.
007: Nearside outer front track rod end ball joint dust cover, but preventing the ingress of dirt.
008: Nearside rear (at joint to tail section) exhaust has minor leak of exhaust gases.
009:Offside rear (at joint to tail section) exhaust has minor leak of exhaust gases.
010: Nearside coil spring corroded.
011: Offside side coil spring corroded.
012: Nearside outer front anti-roll bar has slight play in a pin/bush.
013: Offside outer front anti-roll bar has slight play in a pin/bush.
014: Front brakes only just met the front brake imbalance requirements. It would appear that the braking system requires adjustment or repair.
015: front wiper blade torn at ends but still cleaning screen.
016: Oil leak at gearbox appears to be from both driveshaft seals.
017: Slight oil leak from oil cooler pipes beside filter housing.
018: Seepage of coolant from front rubber hose to metal front to rear pipes.
Text re this from my friend: “Yeah, I thought exactly that when MOTing it. I was very easy on it as well. As you u can see from the list of advisories its far from perfect & I also would have thought Lotus would have picked it all up!!!!”
So, after less than 6mths, and paying a bill of £8.5k, I have a car that initially failed its MOT, a host of advisories that never should have been there, many on work I'd paid Murray significant sums to correct/repair, and a buzzing/rattle from the rear that if I tried to sell that car tomorrow would be the first question any prospective buyer would enquire about.
I’ve tried to be as fair and honest as I can, have given kudos to Murray where due, but that’s my story. Take from it what you will. Would I return? I’d have to say not unless I absolutely had to. Repairs allowing I’d stick to my friend. Anything larger…well, I did consider it last summer, but I think I’d have the car transported to PNM Engineering and try them in future. Right now, I’m afraid the trust and confidence just aren’t there for me with Murray Lotus.