3 days to get 2 screws


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Europe » Croatia
June 12th 2015
Published: June 19th 2015
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2 Screws for the Gas Hob



For a few weeks we have had only 1 of the 3 burners on the hob working reliably.

So at Trogir near Split we have taken time out to attend to some maintenance.

We had been looking out for some time for a gas fitter or SMEV appliance agent. But have not seen any. In Trogir we go actively searching.

The first point of enquiry is at the motor dealer workshop where we had a vehicle service and replaced 2 tyres. They knew of no one in the gas fitting business.

Day 1

The campground staff knew only where to swap gas bottles.

We tried BauerHaus – Its a bit like Croatia’s answer to Bunnings but with more of a slant on the domestic furniture than nuts and bolts hardware. They stock gas BBQ stuff but nothing in spare parts.

In the meantime I have had a look around the stove and it appears we need a thermocouple. Its the doover that is warmed by the flame and keeps gas supply open while its hot. If the flame goes out the thermocouple cools and cuts off the gas supply.

Day 2

Trogir has 2 huge marinas. So we head for the ship yards to find someone who might be in the business of fitting and fixing gas appliances on yachts. Many of these yachts are 50 meters long and a few much bigger. I could imagine that annual maintenance costs would be closer to millions than thousands. Some are staffed full time by crew so that the owners can fly in and be ready for a Med cruise at a moments notice.

We find workshops dealing with things like motors and rigging, even outboards for the yacht tenders. But no gas appliance fella.

The works manager at one marina suggests we go to a certain suburb where he knows of a business that fills ( rather than swaps) gas bottles and has someone who might be able to help.

He is not able to give an address but points on a map to the general area.

So we head off- literally into the hills.

Eventually we find signs to AUTO PLIN GAS. Following the signs is easy and the last sign in the sequence promises Auto Plin Gas is 700 meters further. We drive for about double that distance. And did not find it. We retrace our path. Still no sign. Turn around and do it again measuring as we go. At the 700 meter call there is a narrow pathway leading to a workshop at the side and rear of a building. Busy little place . We see the gas filling apparatus and know we are near our target. A very helpful manager has a look at our problem and says that a “boss” ( meaning technician) who can look at that is away today and suggest the best time to get him would be 8 am tomorrow morning.

Day 3

We have become used to business ( other than bakeries ) not opening before 9 am.

But we head off to arrive at Auto Plin Gas by 8 am. Unfortunately the man has gone out for a while but he manager soon returns with a technician and with the manager acting as interpreter we are told they can not help us.

But the manager advises another business to try. He can not provide an address but advises it is 9 kilometres along a certain road.

We set off measuring.

At the 9klm point we see gas bottles and know we have found our man.

And he does indeed turn out to be skilled and helpful.

Despite not having a thermocouple ( or even the knowledge of how to get one) he takes the stove out and gives the jets a thorough clean with compressed air.

Each burner has a cap which is bolted to the body of the stove. All the bolts are seized and can not be undone. Eventually I persuade our gas fitter to drill out two of the bolts. There is no way of loosening them. He is concerned that he does not have the same sort of bolt to refit with.

When I produce a small box of spare bolts and screws he confirms that we do not have the right size. But he sees that we carry lots of spares and agrees to drill out the stubborn bolts, advising that he can point us to a business in Split that sells nuts and bolts etc.

He gets the cap off and cleans out 3 years worth of accumulated gunk.

He has a bit of a fiddle with the thermocouple and now everything is working perfectly – just needs two 5mm bolts.

Our gas saviour provides us with a map on how to get to the hardware store selling bolts.

Its no easy to follow the map and we enlist the doubtful guidance of James the GPS. Between James and the original map we eventually find the location.

The business itself is located in the basement of an apartment block and sells only nuts and bolts.

Maybe washers and screws too but nothing else.

We get the 2 screws and a fist full of spares for just a few coins.

By the time we gat back to cam its well into the afternoon. Half the day was spent getting 2 self tapping screws.

I am left wondering if Croatia has no integrated hardware store like a Mitre 10. BauerHaus looks like a Bunnings but does no appear to stock those hardware things like hack saw blades, door hinges, bits of rope, nuts and bolts etc.

The impression I get is that if you want a saw blade, then you go to a business that sells only saw blades and if you want a nail then you go to a place that sells only nails.

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