Halfords prices

I just saw a bill for a service and MoT from Halfords, the car a plain low mileage Astra petrol:
Service and MoT including oil £189 (not too terrible)
Front brake pads £151 (ridiculous) Rear brake pads £128 (see above) Ign coil £308 (bizarre) Spark Plugs £53 (dearer than 6 Lexus Iridiums) Fuel system cleaner £20 Oil system flush ? £17.95 Brake fluid change £37 (the only reasonable part of the whole job)
but the Road test .....Free!
and she paid it!
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On 17/05/2019 08:58, MrCheerful wrote:

I wonder if some of those items are also works of fiction. Did the prices include VAT or was that extra?
If the front and rear brake pads were replaced was there a fail on the MOT brake testing?
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On 17/05/2019 11:10, alan_m wrote:

that included vat and there was no failure as it was worked on first. the oil flush and petrol treatment were probable fiction, they stung her for the fuel treatment the year before as well.
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On 17/05/2019 12:12, MrCheerful wrote:

Just wonder about the ignition coil. The high price suggests that it's an ignition cassette covering all 4 cyl. If the cassette fails, that usually means sudden death; the engine can't run. E.g. Saabs.
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On 26/05/2019 08:02, johannes wrote:

On my previous car a single combined coil pack only took out one cylinder when it failed.
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On 26/05/2019 08:49, alan_m wrote:

Most coil "packs" these days on 4 cyl are twin coils running a wasted spark. So if one fails it takes out 2 cylinders.
Ford had a cunning single coil system for 4 cyl. The coil was fired by a bridge of transistors so could be fired +ve or -ve polarity and the HT had diodes to direct the "+ve" spark to 1+4 and "-ve" spark to 2+3.
Transistors and diodes are much cheaper than coils.
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On 26/05/2019 11:30, Peter Hill wrote:

But you still need coils to get up to the final high voltage for the plugs. On my saab, there is an electronic module (transistors etc.) giving 400 Volt which is then plugged into the ignition cassette with the four coils. I assume this is usually the system. A burned coil will take the whole cassette down.
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On 26/05/2019 18:06, johannes wrote:

Ford used ONE coil, 4 transistors, 4 HT diodes and 1 diode + resistor snubber. Wasted spark uses 2 coils, 2 transistors and 2 diode + resistor snubbers. COP uses 4 coils, 4 transistors and 4 diode + resistor snubbers.
If you have ever priced a wound component you would know that even a wire wound resistor costs much more than a transistor.
SAAB ionization detection system is unique to SAAB. No other car maker uses it as it's expensive and I think patented (but now over 20 years old so expired?). Additional cost 2 capacitors, 4 SCRs, 4 resistors, 3 DC-DC convertors (pulse transformer, chopper transistor, driver circuit), one for 400V feed to coil primary, 2 at 70V for knock detector connected to secondary. https://www.autozone.com/repairguides/9-3-1999/Components-Systems/Ignition-Discharge-Module/_/P-0996b43f821a4b8f
Everyone else uses a piezo knock detector (or 2 for 6 inline and V engines) bolted to the block. Basically a high frequency microphone.
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On 27/05/2019 02:03, Peter Hill wrote:

Seems to work well on my 9000 Turbo. Always starts instantly, runs smoothly and never had fuel cut out even under hard acceleration.
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On 27/05/2019 04:36, johannes wrote:

We're talking of pre-ignition or pinking. I suspect UK fuels are such it's not something you would hear in your Saab.
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On 27/05/2019 14:05, Fredxx wrote:

The ignition cassette was for the old" generation Saab engines, these engines were later replaced with GM derived engines for the later 9-3 and also the latest 9-5. I don't know how it works on 'modern' Saabs.
The latest 9-5 is now very rare since Saab was already in trouble when it was launched. But the old B engines had timing chains rather than timing belt.
It was well known in the Saab community :) that you should never be tempted to use any other spark plugs than the specific NGK type, the ignition system was designed around that plug.
The ignition cassette can fail as it sits in harsh environment with heat and vibrations. When it fails, then there may be little or no advance warning, the engine just stops and you're stuck. I took mine apart, and you could immediately smell burn from one of the coils, enough to take the whole system down. Some Saabists keep a spare cassette in the boot since they are straightforward to replace if is happens. However, the cassette normally lasts 100k miles or so.
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On 27/05/2019 02:03, Peter Hill wrote:

That's interesting, I wasn't aware of the system, it's a neat way to detect ionised gas before the spark. I would have thought the same system would work with wasted spark as well as inductive discharge systems. I think EU patents now last 25 years?

But there's the cost in sensor, drilling and tapping of a hole and some fancy amplification and filtering. Plus another cable.
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Don't people ask for a quote these days before getting such non routine work done?
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*Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 17/05/2019 13:38, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

yes, they gave her a quote, she had paid upfront online for the service/mot, then they produce a list with RED and AMBER warnings of what needs doing, the customer is then on the spot, without a car 'THAT IS DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL TO DRIVE' and the poor sap caves in, in this particular case they arranged interest free finance on the spot, so it didn't seem so painful to her. Her mother then suggested me to do the daughter's repairs, bit late, but whatever.
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On 17/05/2019 16:08, MrCheerful wrote:

Did it fail the MOT?
What was the "DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL TO DRIVE" reason?
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On 17/05/2019 19:15, Fredxx wrote:

No the MoT passed after the work, the red items were the coil and the pads, these are described orally to the customer as dangerous and illegal. On the imvoice they are 'require immediate attention'
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On 17/05/2019 22:48, MrCheerful wrote:

How does an ignition coil make the car dangerous or illegal? Presumably the car was driven into Halfords without ignition problems.
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On 17/05/2019 23:27, alan_m wrote:

Not called Hal frauds for nothing are they.
Quoted a mate £148 to replace a broken front spring.
Also offered to replace the 1 year old one on other side.
Unable to quote for rear radius arm bush. Can only assume they are unable to the do the job. The book says remove rear suspension beam and use a f-off big press.
What you do is support beam under spring, remove the bolt, pry the radius arm down and use a cheap e-bay f-off big threaded bar, double length nuts and big washers to pull the bush out and pull the new one in. Bushes replaced for £125 including bushes.
Pair of springs off e-bay were under £30. Cost of getting the spring replaced £25.
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On 17/05/2019 23:27, alan_m wrote:

The emissions could be wrong, it had the warning light on and misfire was diagnosed.
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On 18/05/2019 06:53, MrCheerful wrote:

Shouldn't Halfords have first given the customer a choice of which of the coil packs they stock? They appear to have 3 (from different manufacturers) with the same specification, one at £112, one at £191 and one at £315? Having multiple selections in stock could be lead to another form of scamming. Fit the cheapest and charge for the most expensive.
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