Clio Diagnosis

Thursday night was the time to see if the Clio issues could be diagnosed.

I summoned a mate to help (step forward Dome) and bought a shiny new jack.

As luck would have it, the weather held, and we had the chance to work in warm, dry weather – a rarity in Scotland in September.

We headed out for a short test drive, to see if we could fathom out some more. No thumps could be felt through the car (like a driveshaft that is failing). Despite Dome’s best “dug hingin oot a car windae” impression, we also couldn’t detect any significant untoward movement in the front wheels.

Back at base, it was time to haul out the new jack and get to work.

Ooh, whits that?

First, some good news! New discs and pads, and there are also some new rear pads in the boot.

Then some not so good:

That looks awffy like sealant

But hey, it holds some oil and the engine pulls well.

Back on track..

We couldn’t find any real play in either drive shaft

Moar shiny diskage, and a lack of driveshaft play

So we moved onto the next stage- trying to replicate the fault.

We removed the caliper and disk off one side, and stuck it in gear.

Then it was time for a swift video:

part 1 Diagnosis

As can be seen, this looks like damn odd behaviour.

Part two was highly scientific, and used Mr Dome(s foot) as the glamorous assistant.

Part 2 Diagnosis

As can be seen, it’s violent enough to hammer the engine. Again this points to a problem in the gearbox.

Best guess is that a planet gear has lost a tooth or two – it definitely looks like something a driveshaft change ain’t gunna fix.

Best get sourcing a box then..


Cannock Clio Conundrum

Back at the very start of September, I was idly browsing my Facebook stream. As one would expect, it is heavily laden with car based feed content.

The issue with this is that it brings obvious bargains directly under your nose, along with direct access to contact the vendor. Once that contact is made, things can escalate quickly..

The same device also had skyscanner and my banking app – by now you should know where this is going.

Prior to buying the 320i e36, I’d had a close run thing with a Renault Clio 172. Now I had a sensible daily driver, I was free to fulfill such desires.

Say hello to my little friend.

However, this purchase was a touch more protracted. I stay near Glasgow, the car was in Dudley and had some sort of drive line issue. Help was needed.

This, ladies and gentlemen is where good mates come in. I fired off a message or two and within one evening had the following sorted:

Someone to take the money over, collect the car and store it

Someone to arrange for a tame mechanic to diagnose

Forthwith, a purchasing did indeed happen.

So what had I bought?

A 53 plate Clio 172, with 110k miles, belts and dephaser pully done in 2015. Mot’d until June 18.

I also knew it had no rear interior, and some sort of clunk when turning left..

As you can imagine, the burd was exstatic*

A couple of weeks passed before I was up at OGod O’Clock for a Saturday flight to Birmingham International. 

I’d never flown into Brum before, and was immediately struck by its magnificence. It looks like a test set build for Blade runner.

I met one of the afore mentioned chaps and was taken to the collection chariot of choice.

Start as you mean to go on..

Thereafter a short journey to the tame mechanic in Cannock was completed without incident.

Travelling through the 70s

Cheers to this lot at Martindale for the diagnostics

The tame mechanic had opined that all was not well with the gearbox, so I knew that this was likely to be the repair requirement. I also knew it was unlikely to make it up the road in one piece.

Whilst waiting for Dave with the key, we perused the purchase – it looked much better than I expected!

Dave finally arrived and was his shy, retiring usual self

Then it was time for the first drive. By God did it clunk! But it clunked and drove, so it seemed only fair to celebrate by heading to a well known eatery for a congratulatory breaking of the fast.

If you don’t know where this is, you’re missing a treat!

A fine repast was had, and a couple of potential plans were formed. Plan A was to visit Cannock Auctions. Maybe I could send the Clio up on a transporter, and buy another conveyance home?

It was not to be, as the compound was full of much dreariness and total loss tat. The only glimmer of hope – a Fiat Marea Weekend, was extinguished due to a 1.9 4 cyl jtd, rather than the fruity 2.4 5 cyl.

Not suitable for traversing past the House of York

Crushed by such slim pickings, and emboldened by a radio that worked AND received MW, I decided to venture forth in the Cannock Clio of many Clunks.

£50 of finest shell products were wazzed in the tank, and sustenance procured!

Thankfully the clunking was most evident during low speed, high steering angle events, and it was almost clunk free in straight line driving.

The first leg up to Tebay was OK, bar horrendous traffic from J14-19 on the m6. I got rapidly accustomed to pulling away without shunts due to 20miles of stop/start traffic.

At rest at Tebay

I was pleasantly surprised by the fuel consumption according to the obc, despite clipping along at the limit.

Fed and watered, I set off again. Almost immediately I was rewarded with an EML popping up. But the car was still running well, so I carried on the 130 miles to home.

I’ll read it at some point, but to be honest I was just glad to get it home!

Exploratory fettling is likely this week – so hopefully I’ll update soon!

Thanks again to the folks who helped- much appreciated!

Return of the Mojo?

I’m unsure whether its as a direct result of having a non squeeking daily conveyance, blessed with a silky smooth 6cylinder powered by fuel other than that used by the majority of tractors or if it’s simply the fact I’ve managed to get some sleep.

Either way, the car fettling bug is back and solving some long term issues!

First up was the bane of French motoring life that is the burd’s Clio 172. Approx 2 years ago, I was somewhat overzealous with the electric window switch on the passenger side.

This resulted in a loud pop, and the window dropping  independently of any user input on the button. It also resulted in “Persona non Grata” status for me, as my temporary* repair with gaff tape left much to desire.

A couple of false starts despite careful searching and communicating (with EBay vendors sending PH2 172 motors and regs with the wrong plugs) meant that it remained inoperative until last weekend.

By chance I spied a PH1 172 breaking on mugjotter and sent off a hopeful message. The chap was a pleasure to deal with- plenty information, good prices and fast delivery.

So to work.

Doorcard AFF!

Doorcard removal is simple – a fair few screws, some levering and a speaker to remove.

Then remove the clip holding the glass onto the runner, and wedge the glass up.

Glass Clip AFF

The motor and runnerbcomrnout simply enough.

1. Remove the 3x 10mm nuts holding the motor on

2. Disconnect the wiring clip on the motor

3. Undo the 2x 10mm nuts holding the runner in place

4. Wangle the whole contraption out the hole in the door

Motor AFF

Then we compare new and old


Install the new motor and runner by doing steps 1-4 in reverse order. Then connect up the switch and wang the ignition on.
You should now have updownativity!

The next task was a long overdue service on the e36 320i. It has been on fleet a month and covered about 2000 miles. I try to service new cars when I get them, but this was just pressed into service.

A new air filter was fitted – the old one looking as if it were original

Aye, thats needit!

Then it was oil and filter time. The poor Pela pump was pushed to capacity by the 6L of oil extracted

Thon is Fu’Gutty

The filter is a nice civilised affair on the m50 engine – located at the top, to the front of the engine and secured by a single 13mm bolt.

If only every oil filter.. 

Were this simple!

New filter in, and 6L of finest 5w30 fully synth slurped in = super sewing machine smooth six and a happy owner!

There’s still plenty to do on the e36 but it felt good to make a start!

Post Summer Malaise

Hello readers! Apologies for the distinct lack of bloggery by myself over the past 6 weeks. A new job, coupled with some swift, short holiday action has precluded putting virtual pen to paper.

Where to begin? First letter of the Alfa-bet.. The 156 2.4JTD is no longer of this parish. I grew tired of it’s incessant groaning and creaking (and lacked the time to adequately resolve it!). A sneaky pothole on the A1 produced a bizzare occasional boost leak, and signaled the end of the relationship.
A friend decided that it was high time for some Italian flair in his life, and took it on as a load lugger. The lesson learned for me is this – “Buy an Alfa that some other bugger has spent out on to repair”. You’d do well to remember these words of wisdom!

The letter B brought a couple of surprises to the fleet this month – firstly, a new-fangled* e36 coupe in 320i Auto flavour brought much needed modernity and a pleasant lack of squeak.

Oh, Hello! e36 joins the fleet

This is A NICE THING. Tremendous speccing by the first owner sees the pilot provided with:

An analogue clock

An armrest

A switchable autobox coupled to a silky smooth 150bhp 2.0 6cyl

Cruise control and a sunroof.

No air con, no trip computer, and certainly no performance.

This makes it pretty damn good at doing the job of two cars- comfortable and lazy to drive on the long commute, yet frugal(ish) and fun when needed on back roads.

As such, another fleet member was redundant, but more on that later.

The second B of the summer was provided by another 320i – my trusty e30 has been awoken from its slumber!


It has sat for the best part of a year, with dogy fuel pump wiring sealing its fate as a car park ornament until such times as I could remain calm for long enough to try and sort it.

A jiggle of wires, and a sip of electrikery from its younger brother saw it burst into life in it’s usual throaty manner

Its actually fairly mechanically sound, and the sorting will likely revolve around cleaning with some fuel pump wiring repair thrown in. I’m pleased it lives!

The letter C is for Corsa – that which was inflicted on me when I travelled to Jersey. The pic below should sum up the situation:

Enough said, I think

That moves us on to the letter L. One car but two meanings:

Firstly, L stands for Luxury – the art of convivial conveyance to Aberdeen for some business meetings was easily undertaken by the Lexus. A 4Litre v8, automatic gearbox with cruise control and a an arm rest is the perfect long distance cruiser.

It also made short work of showing a mate’s triumph Toledo how to have street presence..

L also stands for leaving, as the big LS400 is the other casualty of the e36 arrival. Its a beautiful big barge, but it is just too large, cumbersome and thirsty for the role of daily commuter to the new job. Despite being cheaper than the train for the 450 mile weekly work run, it struggles to cope with the rough and tumble in the city centre, or the laughably small parking bay (yes, singular) at work.

I’ve had tremendous fun with it, and would like to have another some day when money, time, space and requirements all align.

Get one whilst you can!

Lastly, this blog is brought to you by the letter W for Waverley.  

I got the opportunity to ride on this Splendiferous paddle steamer with its triple expansion engine, and a free bar.

I really recommend the experience, but am unable to guarantee the free bar!

Here’s hoping I can get another blog done shortly! Thanks for reading.

Oilfa Romeo 156

Yesterday evening as I schlepped the 5th tank of the devil’s fuel into this tub, it occurred to me that it was overdue some loving..

We’re about 2400 miles in now and the car has done sterling service – the oil level was OK, but it hoacheth avec les carcinogens.

Duly this morn, I dialled the pet motor factor and secured a £4 oil filter for later collection.

Left work at 4, and got the lump plenty hot on the 45 mile commute in the blazing sunshine.

Arrived at the factors and had to make the cost up to £10 so I could use my card. Overdue wiper blade purchasing tipped it over the line.

Home thereafter, and after a brief ‘diet coke’ moment, I was out the work claes and into the oilwrangling gear.

At that precise moment, God did look down upon me and smite me for my lack of Busso. Much rain, many moist.

I persevered and marvelled at the access. 

The dipstick is handily* placed pretty much at the scuttle- luckily the Pela tube reached.
The filter, not so much. Hot exhaust coupled with the need for double jointed elbows meant slow progress to get it loosened, and a good schlep of oil on the floor.
New filter fitted, I lobbed in some of Asda’s finest 5w30 – the same super duper low ash vw507 spec fully synth as used with the ole Fabia.

Started her up and its about 100db quieter.


The 156 – 1000 miles in.

It’s two weeks today since the sleekly shaped Italian beauty came onto the Fu’Gutty fleet – how has it fared so far?

The initial 250 miles home from Chester showed the two faces of the beast straight off.

First up, the poor steering lock and heavy derv lump make it a ponderous thing to pilot around conurbations. 

Certainly its something I have adapted to, but the propensity for squeaking from the front suspension just adds to the irritation.

Get her out the towns though, and the magic happens! Motorways are but a comfortable inconvenience as you thunder along to the 5cyl thrum, miles dissapearing without notice.

This is the car I should have bought when commuting to Blackburn. Too late to resolve that, so time to move onto its other party trick.

FWD+ DERV+ 5cyl = understeer? Not so with the 156! Instead it makes for a scalpel sharp way of barrelling cross country.

It revs more like a petrol than any other diesel I’ve encountered, and pulls strongly even when not boosting. This makes it a joyous thing to drive in a spirited manner!

Its schlepped many miles, carted the occasional book case, and even attended it’s first Motorsport event in my care.

Despite having no failures to proceed, there are (as ever) a fair few issues that need resolved:

Front suspension squeaks and clunks (likely replacement needed).

4 different makes of tyre (at least they are all the same size now..)

5th gear can be grumpy to engage if hustling along – there are a couple of potential causes.

Suspected battery drain – the classic “bulb out” light issue in the rev counter.

Boot carpets and load covers are manky and need replaced.

Interior could do with a proper clean- I may have to crack out the Rug Doctor.

60% split of folding rear seat won’t fold down.

Bottom of the front wings are holy enough for the Vatican City.
Overall though, its a world away from the Fabia, engaging to drive and characterful to own. I like it!

Super Touring Sunday

Last Sunday, two miracles occurred.

Firstly, Knockhill Racing Circuit was to be found bathed in 20degrees worth of sunshine and 0mm of precipitation. 

This may not sound much, but those who know the circuit will understand that this is akin to catering a large event with but a couple of fish and some bread.

I haven’t been to Knockhill properly for a couple of years, and I must say I was properly impressed by the improvements to facilities trackside – the new round circuit path and seating has made a massive difference!

The second miracle could likely be better defined as a small rip on the time/space continuum – the 1990s arrived just after lunch!

Supertourings were out to play in force!

The back of one legend, and the front of another

For anyone too young to remember these cars the first time round, the Supertourings represent the pinnacle of the BTCC racing series in my opinion – they are essentially the Group B of saloon circuit racing!

Huge fields with direct factory teams from a diverse range of manufacturers were the epitome on the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” approach to retailing.

Battles were waged on the track, and on the open road by legions of rep- mobile driving fans. If you had a Vectra, you WERE John Cleland!

If only the 1.4L came with these brakes..

In the 1980s, the Touring Cars were hairy chested rwd oversteery beasts. The 90s ushered in a technical arms race – started by the wholesale shift towards FWD platforms by most manufacturers.

You can see just how crazy it got by looking at the location of the engine in the Volvo v40 below

It may be FWD but its practically Mid-Engined

The sight and sound of the assembled pack making their way to the grid was something to behold!

You can watch it here:

Besides the Supertourings, there was a full programme of racing from a myriad of different series, each filled with drivers pushing (and sometimes rolling ) the limits of their cars. 

Furthermore, there were some properly lovely things in the car park!

Anyway, enough of my inane chatter – time to let the pics do the talking

Another Alfa Arrives

The Fabia covered over 12,500 miles with Fu’Gutty cars in less than 7 full months – mostly with aplomb, and with considerable frugality. That said, it hardly filled its pilot with joy, being a staid and sensible conveyance for undertaking the mundane “Adulting Adult” type tasks oft expected of those in their mid 30s.

With the MOT due in September, I was beginning to consider replacing it with something a touch more characterful, even if it meant an increase in inconvenience and fuel consumption. My fairwell review to the Fabia can be found here: Fu’Gutty Fabia Review

I didn’t want to hobble myself too much though, so had a scout about for something I could swap the Fabia for.

Ideally, I needed:

  1. More MOT
  2. Decent MPG (40+)
  3. The practicality of an estate.
  4. The ability to Part ex the Fabia (I’m currently lacking the time to answer inane questions on Gumtree at 3am;)

What better than to combine the vendor of the Peugeot 306 Dturbo, and the unfinished business of the first Alfa 156 Fu’Gutty cars has owned?

With that, the trusty jump pack was prepped and I set out on an adventure.

240 miles to target – range says 265 miles..will I make it?

A Handy thing to have charged up -useful for jump starts or for phone charging

The m74 was dispatched easily, and sustenance was procured at Tebay, as per. During this imbibing, the massed ranks of “ALL THE TRAFFIC IN BRITAIN” converged on the m6 and m56.  Less than 100 miles to go, yet the sat nag was saying over 2.5hrs.

A touch of jiggery pokery saw me escape the gridlock at the Warrington junction, and take the A49 cross country to the m56. With the fuel light on, I crept through rush hour traffic, slowly edging my way to the destination.

The Green doors of dreams!

In case you had not guessed, its the silver Alfa we’re after, not the Suzuki Ignis..

The usual pleasantries were exchanged, and the brief test drive revealed the usual Alfa squeaks and rattles, but a mechanically sound motor car none the less.

Deal concluded, it was time to fuel up for the long schlep North – bound for Hame.

Purveyor of Petrol’s canopy just visible in the distance

Despite the tired suspension, I confess its nice to be back in a FWD car that communicates well with the driver, and handles confidently. No doubt, I’ll be cursing the same suspension at a later date..

After some swift seat adjusting, I was well in my zone – completely at home with the controls and the driving experience. Even the myriad squeaks and rattles were tholeable due to the engine.

12345 Senses working Overtime!

The 2.4 JTD 10V as fitted to this car in 140bhp format is a delight. 5 Cylindered, and blessed with a massive WHUMP of torque, it hustles the lithe 156 along beautifully. The driving experience could scarcely be more different from the VW TDi PD I’d driven down in.

Tractable from no revs, you can drive it all day using only the 500rpm from 1250 -1750 rpm- its like having a mini truck! 1750rpm in 5th is an indicated 50mph and just about to start getting interesting.

Alternatively, the 5k readline can be reached most promptly, should you use the pedal with the subltly of Trump on a State visit. The turbo cuts in early and hard, with the engine pulling like a petrol all the way to the red line. Me Likely!

As always, with Alfas, there are a few niggles to resolve. At least with this one the engine  is a crowning glory, rather than a tremendous dissapointment.


Tune in for more mishaps soon (gotta love #Alfalife)

Tartan Tarmac May 28th

Sometimes, just sometimes, its nice to actually go out and do stuff with cars that doesn’t involve copious levels of swearing and skint knuckles.

Driving can be quite a rewarding experience – especially if you get the chance to meet up with other like-minded folk, and also scoff a roll n slice at the same time. This is where Tartan Tarmac’s meet in Motherwell comes into its own.

Held in a college car park, with plenty of space for a menagerie of cars, its a laid back Sunday morning of a car meet.

Ordinarily, static car shows can be a bit humdrum – with many boring stands, and adenoidal chit chat over “obscure trim revisions in November 1967”. Tartan Tarmac is not like that at all.

Instead, you park where you can, next to godknowswhat and get chatting! The range of cars on show was really diverse – with a multitude of countries represented throughout the show. This also made it easy to fill the couple of hours we spent there – I think my brother and I now have a “Want one of those” gallery in our phones..

A pretty mixed lot of cars here..

We bumped into some good mates, and had a natter before aquiring sustenance from the chuck wagon – shortly thereafter, we stumbled upon some absolute stunners from Italy.  The Montecarlo in particular tickled my fancy – such a purposeful yet elegant design.

OOOOFT! old italian tin for the win!

As regular readers of thes blog will know, we at Fu’utty have a penchant for fast Renaults – the meet aforded me the opportunity to see one of the best up close –  the Clio v6. take a small fwd supermini, and fit it with a v6. In the boot/back seat. Driving the rear wheels.


Yes, Yes, I would indeed have one!

Another bonkers car from a generally sane manufacturer was to be found nearby. Imagine your Gran owned this Honda?

More reliable than Alonso’s steeds of late..

From a megacorp’s supercar, to something a little more niche – a Quantum kitcar.  Not omly that, but the owner was advertising a Rickman Ranger project for sale too – truly living the dream!

Mildly obscure, but definately cool- a Quantum

From the rediculous to the sublime- an LHM and spheres equipped Xantia was on hand to show the modders how to do LOWZ

a “green Goo” Citroen – even Xantias are becoming cool now;)

Lastly, and by no means least – the car of the show for me.

Not a 911, nor any BMW M car. No.


A Buick Skylark. running a 318ci v8 and 2 speed (!) auto.

behold it in this video :

I very nearly had a WANTGASM..

The v8 I want, next to the v8 I have.

All in all, a great meet!

Lovvin the Lexus!

In the last blog, I gave a tantalising glimpse of the Daimler’s replacement- a 1995 Lexus LS400 lovingly known as “Mason”.

Having had such a fine beast for almost a month, allow me to share some observations with you regarding ownership.

Where to start.. Ah yes!

The Engine

I’ll be the first to admit that I like a v8 to be a gazillion litres and fed with as big a carb as one can fashion out a conveniently nearby dustbin. Safe to say I like coughing, snarling, spitting cast iron hulks hell bent on putting you through the nearest hedge backwards.

On paper, then, the modest 4.0 1UZ-FE doesn’t sound like my kind of v8 – too many valves (32 of the blighters!) and the usual Japanese clinical precision seem at odds with what I’m after..

Let me tell you though- WHAT AN ENGINE! It revs like a bastard, hurtling the big saloon forward with suprising ferocity, yet maintains a dignified silence at idle, or on a steady cruise.

Not the v8 I was looking for- but certainly one I’m glad I own!

Putting out between 250-260bhp (i’m not sure if mine is earlier or later spec) it never seems to labour, and makes short work of flattening hills. The wide torque curve is also ideal for the mating to an Autobox – both work in harmony to provide a smooth and serene transition along the road.

The super-duper multivalve nonsense and modest capacity has another advantage- on a recent work trip, this Leviathan Lexus returned a most pleasing 28.48 mpg (imp) over 500 miles. Phenomenal for such a large car cruising at the legal limit.


Designed specifically to compete with the 7 series and S class offerings from the pesky Germans, the LS400 had to do several things competently.

On the motorway, progress is swift and assured – the car feeling stable and purposeful as you waft along on Cruise Control. Its easily as composed as an e32 7 series. Overall visibility is grand- this was the tail end of the era when designers were able to use thin a/b/c pillars for better visibility, as opposed to thick ones required for modern crash structures.

On A roads, the bumps are soaked up as you thread between bends – the auspicious grunt allowing for the “slow in, fast out” technique to serve up repeated v8 howlings with no discernable impact on progress. The gearbox performs well here- eager to kick down and spur on.

On B roads, the width and weight of the car becomes a touch telling, as does the disconnection in feel betwixt driver and controls. Keen to hear the v8 scream, I’ve found myself fast approaching a corner with a touch more pace than grace. Thankfully, its a docile big bugger and helming it in is no hard task – I’m working on being slightly more sensible when on the Duke’s Pass though!

Its not quite as comfortable as an XJ40 Jag, or as nimble as the BMW e32 but it is definately a compromise that does not leave you feeling frustrated! A large exec saloon you can schlep 400 miles in, and then play with down the lanes on the last few miles to home is a wonderous thing!


Again, the LS400 is not my normal cup of tea – indeed it apes much more of the slab- sided drudgery of the e38 BMW 7 series, over the the “Cad in a good suit” looks of the earlier e32.

Slab sided salaciousness

However, where Lexus have suceeded is in creating that sence of imposition that apes the menacing presence of a good exec saloon. If Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels was filmed in Tokyo, then “Big Chris” would have driven an LS400. A v8 and heavy doors are key to his requirements.

The rear of the car is superbly bland, giving little away of the nature of the Beast, whereas the front wears its scars with pride. The straight lines convey a certain arrogance and appear mightily effective at chaperoning those sans v8 out the way. I’ll get those gawdawful talepipes rectified ASAP!

Menacing at the front- wnough to get a 5 Series Scared!

Back’s a bit boring, mind!

Hangin’ With the JDMSKIDZ crowd!


Interiors are a very important thing to get right in an Exec saloon – after all, they’re where your buyer (and their driver!) will spend most of their time.

Here’s where the old Lexus falls a bit behind. If I’d paid £49k in 1995 for one of these, I’d expect to get something a little better than Carina E/Avensis indicator/wiper stalks and wood so plastic, it looks like it came out a pound store.

Additionally, it’d be bloody handy if the cruise control stalk was to be found in the one location, rather than orbiting like a demented moon in relation to the steering wheel.

The leather is not as supple as you’d like, but has stood up to the passing of time incredibly well, so I’ll let it off. The seats are well sprung, and electrically adjusted in the front. Combine this with an electrically adjustible (reach and height) steering column and it is easy to get a comfortable driving position.

The cupholders blocking the ability to open the lower storage compartment in the armrest is a minor irritation.

The ultimate “cool gadget” award is split between the Dashboard and the electrically adjustable Seatbelt height (yes, really!).

I think the Seatbelt adjustment just shades it though,as the dash is woeful at communicating any extra information the driver may need. You get 2 trip ODOs and the main car Mileometer – no trip computer.

A technological tour-de-force dash, let down by no trip comp, and the world’s smallest “LOW FUEL” light.


A worthy contender for your hard earned bargain barge cash – strongest point is definately the engine, luckily the chassis and ride comfort back it up, taking your mind off the less than glamourous interior.

I can see it being on the Fu’gutty fleet for a while!