After a lot of phone calls and debating with mechanics over the last week, I today found someone to fix my cylinder head without removing it. Im so happy, as some garages said Id have to junk my lovely moded head - and I certainly couldnt afford a new one.
So I got a £42 tow to the place on the back of a lorry - ouch! If you judge garages by their premises, then youd have walked straight away from this one. It was like a time warp - business cards from the 1970s, old Morgans everywhere, and a guy who seemed older than time itself.
Fortunately, not even a helicoil was needed to fix my old spark plug thread. The guy just threaded a slightly bigger hole into the head and then placed a kind of threaded gromit between it and the new spark plug. All the local dealers and garages use him - the tow truck bloke said he was the best in Cardiff, but he only goes on word of mouth and mainly to the trade.
The car is now idling perfectly and has just been on a 50-mile spin from my home in Wales back to Bristol.
And how lovely it was to thrash an Audi TT off some lights! I dont usually get drawn in, but I was a little curious to see whether it was any faster. Besides, he was asking for it: revving loads and creeping forward on the clutch. I thought hed get a better launch as it was a Quattro, but we seemed to be level in 1st, then I pulled ahead by two car lenghts. We stayed at that distance apart as the speed picked up too. Was definitely a 225bhp variant: had the twin tail pipes.
Nice to be back in business!