Patience is a virtue.

My Gran had a saying back in the day – 

“Patience is a virtue, find it if you can.

Seldom in a woman, and never in a man”

Today was example of the scarcity of the afore mentioned virtue..

On Wednesday this week, the Fabia was recalcitrant at starting, and would stall after about 15secs. Upon restart, it’d run OK.You can see what was happening here.

Being 200 miles from home, I decided to schlep it up the road asap and mess with it once home.

Today was my opportunity.

I sojourned to the local Halfords and procured what was required. The primer bulb is a boon for getting air out the system.

It went as follows:

1. Get a Golf filter from Halfords as none of the Fabia ones were available.

2. Realise outlets are at different angles.

3. Decide to reroute pipes using new fuel line.

4. Realise new fuel line is too small a diameter.

5. Elevently mph dash in Clio 172 to Halfords.

6. Arrive 7.52pm.

7. Get correct pipe.

8. Return home and fit pipe plus primer.

9. Run car after priming.

10. Marvel at instant starting.

11. Remove primer, spray diesel liberally.

12. Note Diesel not as untasty as diff oil.

13. Secure all fittings.

14. Go for test drive.

15. Go LIKE FUCK.

16. Celebrate successful 6 mile drive.

17. Return home.

18. Instant hot starting FTW.

19. Tidy up.

20. Dinner

Top service by Halfords to swap over the fuel pipe for me – great to get it back up and running tonight!

The acid test will be a cold start tomorrow.

Mind you, if I’d been patient, I’d have got the correct filter soon enough and had no crafty piping to do.

Gran was always right..

A Com-Pela-ing purchase..

It started out innocently enough, with oil filter and oil purchased for the Fabia. 

I’m currently sticking about 2500miles a month on it at the moment, so it was the least I could do..

I got myself ready one Saturday and timed my attempt between rain showers (or as close to ‘showers’ as Scotland allows).

Car jacked up, and it was immediately obvious that the undetray was held in place with a multitude of different fastenings. For additional joy, they were rusty – even the cable ties appeared to have suffered from oxidation!

Discretion therefore became the better part of valour and I retreated to the house to consider my options.

After discussions with “virtual” friends, I settled on getting an oil extraction pump – The Pela 6000.

How it arrived

This is a 6 litre contraption that uses a vacuum to extract oil from the sump via the dipstick tube. Ostensibly, this removes more oil from the sump than the traditional sump plug and drain method. The cost was similar to that of the “posh” oil the PD lump requires.

I decided to put it to the test.

Neatly packaged up, with relatively few parts

It comes with the container, a pouring spout, a tube for placing into the dipstick tube and a 2 part pump for creating the vacuum (the handle screws on and off)

It was easy to build up as each section was an interference fit- just needing pressed on to seal effectively.

Fully assembled and ready for use.

I then took the opportunity to get the Fabia out on some local back roads so I could hoon some heat into the oil before extraction:)

That done (and what a chore it was..), I returned to the house to commence my first ever ‘no jack’ oil change.

Plumbed in and ready to commence

It appeared too simple to be true, what with just removing the dipstick and inserting the tube. But I gave it a whirl anyway.

Looks like a healthy 4L pulled out

Several pumps (10-20) on the handle saw the oil drawn out and into the bowl. No dropped sump plug, no oil up the sleeve.

I topped up with fresh oil and tidied up, only getting dirty when I stupidly dropped my phone into the engine bay.
All in all, I’m impressed by the piece of kit, and think it did a good job- certainly it made me wish I’d bought one long before.

Clio Back on the Commute!

Back towards the start of January, we had ourselves a little fettle of the Clio 172 as piloted by the Burd. With the exhaust sorted, it was fired in for an MOT a couple of weeks ago.

As expected, it didn’t sail through, instead needing a fair few fixes.

  1. A rusty front disc
  2. A rusty rear disc
  3. A non functioning right rear caliper
  4. A buggered balljoint
  5. A front Spring that was cracked
  6. A rear Spring that was cracked

All in all, nothing too major – although there was plenty potential for random French based faffery.

Funds were marshalled, motor factors and ebay was scoured, and a pile of parts was amassed.

Usually with the Clio, seeing how the simple parts of the job go gives a good overview of how the whole thing will go.

That meant front discs first:

Unlike normal Renault procedures, all 4 disc retaining screws ( with allen key heads) came out without issue, and the front discs were removed easily. Grateful for such mercy, I wasted no time in fitting the new discs and getting the calipers bolted back on.

Next up was the buggernated balljoint. On this 2001 Clio,it appeared to be original, and severely worse for wear.

There appeared to be 2 potential balljoint types available for the car – ones with 10mm bolt holes and ones with 12mm bolt holes. I bought 2x of the 12mm ones, but hedged my bet with a 10mm one being purchased too.

2 18mm bolts/nuts hold the balljoint into the bottom arm, and 1x 16mm nut and bolt is used to pinch the balljoint into the hub. In preperation for tackling this job, I’d liberally dowsed the bolts with penetrating fluid over the course of a few days.

this worked a treat, and despite difficult access due to the driveshaft, the bolts all came apart, and the balljoint hammered out easily.

For future reference, it was the 12mm hole balljoint that was needed. I have the other side to do shortly, but as it was not an MOT fail, I focused my efforts elsewhere.

The snapped front spring was plain to see, and as luck would have it, my mate Brian had recently updated the suspension on his Clio 182, allowing me to blag the front strut I needed to change the unit complete (Cheers Brian!).

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Yeah, I’d say that has sprung..

Having a complete unit to swap in made this task nice and easy – a 21mm nut on the topmount, plus 2x 21mm bolts at the hub end were all that required removal. A combination of breaker bar, ratchet and buzz gun made short work of the job!

 

With the front end back together it was time to start on the rear.

The clio 17/82 use a single piston caliper, with seperate pad holder and a lever operated handbrake. Such a set up is surely the work of a masochist – making even the “drum in disc” set up on the rear of my e30s seem like a sensible and effective engineering solution.

The sliders for the for the right rear caliper were as stubborn as my good lady, and despite significant persuasion with a hammer, refused to yield or slide.

After a touch of too and fro, a replacemet caliper was located and fitted. The arrangement for getting the brake fluid to the caliper is Gallic in extremis. 2 front to rear solid pipes run to just before the rear axle, before going into short flexis. The flexis then connect to yet more solid pipe at the Axle, before turning back into flexi (crimped) and finally returning to solid line into the caliper, via way of an 11mm/13mm fitting. Utterly bizzare.

Regardless, the caliper bled up ok, and there was a handbrake.

Next up were the rear discs – a single 30mm nut holds the disc on the rear stub axle, and once loosened the discs and wheel bearings just tap off. Replacement discs were sourced cheaply from Ebay (Mintex brand, with rear bearings already pressed in and ABS rings on). they fitted well, and have reduced rear end noise, whilst improving the rear braking.

These done, it was time to sort the rear spring that was broken – a simple affair involving unding the bottom shock bolt, and having someone stand on the hub. this allowed the old spring to be wiggled out, and the new one fitted.

A couple of days later, and Babette won a new MOT certificate – rapidly replacing the Fabia as commuter of choice for the burd.

This was good news for me, as I can now focus some attention on my cars!

 

 

Gentleman’s Club arrival.

Since the Great fire of the unit, Fu’Gutty cars has been languishing in a state of despair. Not a single member of the fleet fulfilled the brief of being a sofa on wheels.

The CX was like a Monaco casino inside – conjouring up images of glamour, comfort and sophistication as palatial as the exterior promised.

If there is one thing we like more than most at this establishment, it’s the the overwhelming sense of satisfaction that one can draw from a large engined, leather seated automobile.

It was time to do something abut the lack of such splendour..

Enter the Daimler.

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Daim, what a good looking car!

Regular readers will recognise this as the self same Daimler Sovereign as previously owned by my brother.

Since it left the Fu’Gutty stable the first time round, it has resided at the other side of the country with a friend. He has had it through another MOT, and it is still running beautifully.

In his posession, it has had some welding completed, and some bodywork repairs carried out – hence the lack of chrome strips on the rear doors -they were removed as it was due to be painted. She’s also had a new bumper at the back and looks much more suave in the derriere department.

With plenty MOT, and a fair few repairs completed since the last time I saw it, it proved to be an irrisistable buy! There are a few foibles still to sort, but it is an excellent car- just being back in it rekindles the memories of comfort and effortless speed – the 4.0 AJ6 gives a good account of itself with 245bhp.

I’ll add her to the list of things to get completed this year..

I’ll leave you with some pics of it in all its glory!

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Front wing requires some attention

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Like a stylish Gentlemans club

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The dining room (with hints of Allegro Vanden Plas)

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This motors along nicely

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The cockpit and a sea of buttons

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This will need some work and paint

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A replacement Sunroof panel was supplied with the car

 

 

Clio challenges

After the last month or so, the mojo for motoring machinations has been minimal.

With the turn of the year, we thought we better start to build it back up!

Starting off fairly simply, We decided to get round to repairing the exhaust on the Clio 172. This task was intially started at the beginning of November 2016, but a broken exhaust mount and snapped bolts stopped play.

Fast forward to January, and the replacement back box, centre section and mount had been procured. all that stood between us and success was the small matter of being arsed.

Chavspec backbox was on the car when bought.

Chavspec backbox was on the car when bought.

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The cable ties were only there to hold the backbox off the ground.

All that was left of the factory mount, and additional backbox mount.

All that was left of the factory mount, and additional backbox mount.

Centre section not looking too clever either.

Centre section not looking too clever either.

Jusicious application of the grider took care of the centre section to cat bolts, and also reduced the captive nut with broken bolt to a piece of roadside detritus.

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We checked the new centre section against the old, as the centre section for these early 172s are different from the later cars with triangular headlamps. Convinced it was the correct part, it was lobbed on with new bolts, gasket and rubber mount.

Huzzah Correct Part FTW!

Huzzah Correct Part FTW!

Next up was the part that looked no fun – getting the new rear mount fitted up.

First step was to wire brush the section, and apply some rust killer to it- making it a bit cleaner and hopefully delaying any serious rot.

Next step was a cup of coffee, with the attendant failure to successfully install the coffee filter, resulting in the requirement for a double brew shift.

Lets hope this holds the rust at bay..

Lets hope this holds the rust at bay..

We applied some bolts and a technical “Repair Washer” to the new mount, and it all lined up lovely with the new backbox.

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New mount with all that was left of the old.

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A touch of shuftery and precision* hammering later and we had an exhaust that appeared to transport the engine gasses from the front to the rear of the car with no leakage. A success!

Whilst we were awaiting for the anti-rust to dry on the 172, we took the opportunity to fettle a much newer clio -an 06 plate 1.4 Dynamique no less.

Said conveyance belongs to Al, a mate of my brother.

For want of a better description, the symptoms resembled a passible impersonation of what you’d get if you crossed the Exxon Valdez and a dog shitting razorblades.

The engine idled poorly, and wouldn’t pull properly in high load situations, and there was an almighty oil leak from somewhere under the bonnet.

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That was from pulling up and parking.

We jacked it up and pulled a wheel off to have a look about underneath – access/visibility from the top was almost impossible.

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Mainly inner wings and plastics in there..

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This done we quickly established that the leak was not from the sump/sump plug. Looking from the side it was apparent that the leak was somewhere at the back of the block.

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There is even oil on the rear bush of the suspension arm.

We cleaned up as much as possible and started the car –  fairly rapidly we could see a drip forming and dropping onto the driveshaft – which was then obviously launching the oil far and wide.

Its coming from just to the left of the first bend in the brake line

Its coming from just to the left of the first bend in the brake line

The car had previously had a timing belt failure, so has had the head removed to replace the valves that were damaged. Utilising the old “dry kitchen roll” test, we worked out that the leak seemed to be from the back right of the head -likely a weep from the gasket.

We didn’t have the time or the tools to attend to it today, and wanted to ensure the car was still functioning so Al could use it.

I went to the header tank to have a quick look at the coolant, and as I was unscrewing the cap, noticed a pipe that was disconnected from the air intake. We got the pipe back on, and upon start up, the idle was perfik!

It must have been drawing unmetered air in to the intake, causing it to run lean and hunt at idle. Either way, it left better than it arrived- so we’ll take that as a second win!

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2016

Apologies for the short and bittersweet blog – I thought it apt to offer up a bit of info on how the Fu’Gutty year ended..

Early in December, I was woken by a phonecall from the Landlords of the Unit that Fu’gutty cars shares with several good mates. I thought it odd as they never ever call, unless there is an issue.

And boy was there an issue. Some utter fucknugget had set a fire at the building that housed the unit. Due to its construction, the building went up immediatly, and all the units there were destroyed.

Massive thanks go out to the fire crews who attended, facing a huge blaze and the added complication of asbestos in panels throught the building.

We recently went over to see the aftermath. The pictures are not pretty. Everything is damaged beyond redemption, It got hot enough to melt the roof beams, and melt the engine blocks and heads that were sitting about.

Total loss was

Bmw e34 535i

Bmw e30 325i Sport (Tech 1)

Citroen CX Prestige 2400 Auto

LTI Fairway Driver Taxi

Mk1 Golf GTi Convertible

BMW e39

Toyota Avensis 2.0 CDX Auto

VW 1303 Beetle

AJS motorcycle

Lister diesel Genset

and a considerable number of parts including engines.

A bit of a pisser to be honest! Thankfully no one was injured, and we still have the mates and memories of the times we spent there.

Onwards and upwards! Need to get the car working Mojo back up and running.

For the morbid amonst you, here are the pictures..

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Multiple Fleet Machinations

15 days after my last writings, I present to you some fairly fundamental fleet changes.

First up, the replacement for the Lupo was sourced.. What better than another VAG product?

Step forward a 2004 Skoda Fabia 1.9TDi Elegance.

151k miles on the clock, with MOT til Sept 2017 and even 4 decent tyres!

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When I bought it, it had a couple of things that needed fixing. Firstly, an intermittent electrical fault apparently meant that it’d cut out on occasion. Secondly, the fuel gauge went the wrong way.

In its defense, it has a 100bhp PD lump with service history til 2014, and being the elegance model, it also has heated front seats:)

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To sort the intermittent issue, a scan revealed issues with the camshaft sensor. Midweek, I popped over to my mate Brian’s house for a “Fabia Fondle”.

We pulled the engine cover off, and disconnected the EGR Pipe. This gave access to the cambelt top cover, which was removed by undoing the 2 spring clips.

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This revealed the Cam sensor – and the 10mm bolt that holds it in. Incidentally, the cambelt looked in decent condition, and the history shows it was replaced in 2012. No doubt it’s about due another one, but that can come once she’s not grumpy.

Removal of the 10mm bolt showed that the sensor and wiring appeared in good condition.

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You can just about see the nick..

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A look at the loom side of the connector showed that one of the wires was nicked, so we taped it up. I’ll seek a replacement connector and wire off of a car, and get it soldered in – potentially leaving a bit more length on the connector.

Next up, it was time to sort the fuel pump and sender. The pump fitted made the gauge read in the opposite direction – moving further up the gauge the emptier the tank got. Additionally, the low fuel warning buzzer and light did not work.

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This means that the car is almost empty

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Lurking under the rear seat we find the culprit

It’s pretty much the same set up as the Octavia I had last year, with a collar that screws down to hold the pump in the tank.

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The fuel pipes clip off, and need to be pushed out the way to allow the pump and sender unit to lift out.

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Fitting the new pump is the reverse process, and once done gave a low fuel warning, fuel light and the correct reading on the gauge.

The car, however was not too keen to start – and I traced it back to a fuel line that wasn’t quite clipped home. That resolved , she was away for her first full tank. I’ll keep you upto date on her progress.

Vectra SRi

With the Clio 172 being dug out a while back, we needed to make room for it to come back into active service. This meant that the Vectra had to depart.

I saw fit to dispose of it in a time honoured  process on the beige forum, and the lucky buyer Mike came to collect it last week. We conducted a horrific double Woollard to celebrate the change of ownership.

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Wibbly Wobbly Woollard!

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Tata Vectra

She was a damn good steed, reliable and cheap to run if somewhat uninspiring. The new owner put it in for an MOT and it only needed some minor work (a front spring and Rear ARB bush) to be legal for another year.

I’d recommend it to anyone after a sensible daily brief that lacks hassle – I’d have another if I needed to!

OMG RACECAR MEGANE

Mid- November, an ideal time to attend a track day at Knockhill in Fife.. nevertheless, I made the trek north to attend an all day session last Sunday.

The Burd gave me a lift in the Vectra (one of its last missions) and I was duly deposited at my mate Will’s Mother-in-Laws. This was where my racecar for the day was stabled.

Sweet Dreams are made of these..

Sweet Dreams are made of these..

Will is an avid pilot of the Starlet seen in front of the Vectra, but I was to be racing the Megane in front of that. 1.6 16v of raw french power. With an ABS fault. Watch out Jean Alesi..

We took a run to the circuit where it appears that all the Panda owners in Autoshite had turned out for the day

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100HP and unpronounceable tyres- should be a right laugh..

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Half the power but twice the spins..

First session out saw my co- pilot John doing the driving – the Megane proving more than a match for the circuit. Sufficient power for the weather conditions meant that the car was sure footed where more powerful vehicles had to tread lightly.

Highlight of the first session was a full spin by the driver of the gold Panda above- you can marvel at it in all its glory at the following link Here

My session was to be the last of the day as a heavy fog put paid to any notion of sessions in the afternoon. Despite this, the Megane is likely to see another outing this year at my hands – it really is ludicrous fun for what is supposed to be a mundane family hatch. The engine revs beautifully, the gearchange is positive and the steering and front suspension communicate significantly more that then daily driver Skoda introduced elsewhere in this blog.

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Before you ask, no the Toledo was not taking part in the track day

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Until the next Blog!

Not before time Fleet update..

Apologies again for the lack of communication on my part recently – despite the best of intentions, it has been a month since my last update.

In payment of dues, please let me assure you that things (both vehicular and in other facets of life) have been progressing apace. This short ditty shall endevour to update you on the motorised conveyance consternations contained in the last few weeks.

Lupo

After having the front suspension arms replaced last month, the plucky little Lupo passed its MOT with flying colours and was pressed directly into service straight away. Despite being initially discombobulated by the modern feel, and mild disconnection from the task of driving, I soon settled into it and figured out its little quirks (like being approx 1/2 the length of a parking space..)

I gave it a good clean too!

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It became my daily – covering at least 300 miles a week for work, and it also managed to fit in trips up to Wick, and down to Cannock (including RAF Cosford) – all done in relative comfort, and at a happy 50mpg.

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Wick, Orkney and the remenants of a Series 2a Landrover Chassis

Wick, Orkney and the remenants of a Series 2a Landrover Chassis

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A beautiful Rover P6 v8, The carpark at RAF Cosford, and a stop at the world's smallest burgerking on the return trip from Cannock

A beautiful Rover P6 v8, The carpark at RAF Cosford, and a stop at the world’s smallest burgerking on the return trip from Cannock

I managed to stick 2400 miles on it during October –  a very capable performance! Obviously then, I had to do something odd, didn’t I? An impending new job meant that I needed something a bit more stout for the old M-way driving, so the Lupo was stuck up for sale. It went quickly to a couple north of Inverness, and I waved it off earlier this week. I’d have another!

Bye By Lupo:(

Bye By Lupo:(

Toledo

With the Lupo out of the equation rather rapidly, it was time for the slumbering Toledo to step up. I’d parked it at the end of September with the intention of getting her rust proofed before any winter use. Suffice to say, she’s done a week’s worth of commuting, and the rust proofing has only just been ordered.

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A leafy slumber

A leafy slumber

Despite this, she continues to provide dependable service, with much improved performance after an overdue service. Recently I have acquired a replacement passenger mirror and spare hubcap to improve the aesthetics (and rearward visibility!).

The current weather has highlighted a deficiency in rear screen clearing – this will likely need chasing with a blue peter, alongside the faults with the temp gauge and Rev counter.

The brakes couild do with another bleed, and I may fit 4 matching tyres, rather than the plastic circles currently present – other wise I think it’s ok at the moment, although it could do with some mechanical refreshing.

Vectra

What to say? it just trundles on and on. Occasionally chewing some oil, yet never failing. Obviously, with that being the case it is high time it was disposed of – its up for sale and should be departing shorty with some luck.. This is a necessary situation to stir both myself and the Burd into action on the Clio 172..

Clio 172

This has been removed from the hedge whence it has resided for quite some time. After a serious de-leafing, and a srcub it is up for inspection and MOT fettling this weekend. Intial viewing suggests rear pads plus a backbox/centre section should be the majority of the work..

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No doubt I’ll have moe info shortly once I’ve had a Rate Guid Raid Aboot It:)

Citroen CX

This has languished in the lockup for man a month. I have finally taken up the guantlet and procured a welder – now all I need to do is learn how to glue metal together, rather than set fire to things, and we’ll be golden..

A Couple of Quick Collections..

 

Despite appearances to the contrary, car related shenanigans at Fu’Gutty Towers have been developing apace.

The Toledo of terrific tenacity trundles on with updates long overdue, but this blog is about more fleet additions, both direct and indirect.

Lupo

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AWWW Look at its WITTLE face!

 

I’m known as the “Car bloke” in my work – occasionally providing apparently wise council to colleagues in need. I attempt to translate the mystical mechanical mutterings from garages into layman’s language for my dear co-workers. I’ve even helped raise cars from the deid.

What I’ve never done to date was assist by either buying a car from a colleague or helping someone from work to buy a car. That was all to change with the Lupo.

The conversation went thusly:

Colleague: “Do you want to buy my car?”

Me:”I’ll come to see it after work”

C: “What do you think?”

Me: “SHUTUPANDTAKEMYMONEY”

This exceptionally simple transaction over, and it was time to figure out what to do with the bloody thing. First up, I had to get the train up to collect it – no great chore as it was only 2 stops past the one for my work. When collected it handily had 1/2 a tank of petrol (for it is the MIGHTY 1.4S model) and a few days MOT.

Pressed straight into service it was. Verily impressed was I. So much so, I even stuck it in for an MOT – and it only needed the 2 lower arm rear bushes changing to obtain one. Less than £60 of parts, plus a Sunday of swearing later, and it had the full test.

For info, its easiest to just swap in whole new arms rather than faff about pressing bushes in.No special tools are needed, but some patience with a ratchet is required to avoid detaching any of the captive nuts in the subframe.

I gave her a good clean out too, and even broke out the wax- the resultant shine causing friends to question if I was feeling alright. She scrubs up well, and the low miles (73k) mean that she’s hardly broken in.

I’ll need to think long and hard as to what the future will hold.

 

Ford Focus 1.6i

Having broken one duck, it was time to move onto the second. Another colleague had asked me for assistance re finding a new car to replace his current steed.

We sent a fair old time debating the relative merits of buying an expensive nearly new car, vs a “Waitrose” approach to bangernomics. He eventually arrived at the conclusion that acquiring a car that could be paid for in one lump sum was the better approach for his circumstances.

The brief was simple – Good MOT, relatively new (almost brand new by my standard!), with a 1.6 or above petrol, and the budget was generous compared to my usual arena.

After spending some time researching and discussing his likes and dislikes, we settled on the idea of a Mazda 3. As any car person knows, Mazdas can have some weakness with their resistance to corrosion. Despite this it was felt that at least a test drive of a 3 was in order.

We left after work today and arrived just past 6pm. The Mazda 3 was pulled out and ready for us to look at. Immediately I noticed bolts where the missing spoiler should have been, and a rear arch well past its best. Coupled to MOT advisories for inner sill corrosion, and it was time to walk away.

But not before a wee daunner roon the lot..

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Oh, Hello!

We spied this – a 2008 Focus 1.6 petrol

110k, full service history and 2 previous owners. Full MOT as of today. Initial examination of the car suggested it seemed sound and warranted further investigation.

We took it round the “handling” course a few times, where it went well and displayed no obvious issues. All warning lights remained off, and there were no concerning noises emanating from the nether regions.

Back at the vendors, we “ummed” and “aaahed” whilst running an MOT check plus reg check. All came back sound, and even better it appeared to have rear arches too (given that the Mazda 3 and Focus of this age share the same platform, it made sense to check).

A modicum of polite bargaining saw the achievement of a mutually agreeable price, plus a swift call to his insurance to swap the car over. We also managed to wangle a new tyre for the one that was an MOT advisory.

The 60+mile run home passed without incident, and he seems most pleased with it- I’ll try to get it in for a check at somepoint for a bit more of a look. I have to say, it seems a good lot of car for the money, especially if you’re just after something capable.

Lets hope it’s happy motoring from here on in!

 

Toledo Triumphant Return

In the late 1990s, the family weapon of choice was a 1991 Seat Toledo 1.8 GL – J588 HDS. Liberated from the local Seat dealers at my behest, this Moon Ray silver beast did several years sterling service as the family hack.

Blessed with a boot (accessed via a “hidden hatchback”) that would take a full pallet and a half of bricks at one time, comfortable seating for 4 adults and a frugal 1.8 litre petrol 4cyl up front, it was all a family could want or need.

In time, I was to reach an age where I could get my grubby mitts on the golf inspired wheel – learning my roadcraft in a car significantly faster than anything a right minded instructor would provide.

Test passed, and the Toledo passed to me full time – I was a king amongst men with 90bhp and 5 doors on my wagon! Not for me the way of the small engined 3dr hatchback, mine was a path of comfort, performance and cruising ability. Carlisle was a short hop down the road if I decided to go for the hell of it. The Toledo was my independence, taking me where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go.

The first set of brake pads I changed was on that car, the first radio install (with attendant CG multichanger!) and the first full service including sparkplugs. Skint knuckles and good times all round.

Then came the fateful day, when the MOT man, he said “NO”. The prognosis was bad – much welding was required to the sills fore and aft, and I with my limited skills and income was unable to keep the Toledo from the jaws of the scrappy.

I have rued that day ever since, or at least I did until the 24th of August 2016.

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LOOK AT IT!

That was the date where I finally recaptured my youth!

A well know internet auction site had a 1993 Toledo 1.6 CL available for bidding. The location said London, the pictures told a different story and the MOT website said no dice.

It was the right colour, and had all the desirable features – especially the black bumpers (later mk1 Toledos had body coloured bumpers). The mileage was very low at circa 46k, and the listing pictures were poor.

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Bonus Black Bumper Bonanza

Obviously it went straight onto the watch list, and I started to plan my strategy. Firstly,  I showed the good lady the pictures whilst making encouraging “ooh, I had one of those” type noises. A lack of being assaulted meant that the purchase was deemed viable.

Next up, the vendor was contacted to establish the exact whereabouts of the veeehikcles – this transpired to be a small town approx 1.5 hrs north of where I work, and handily serviced by frequent trains.

Days passed, during which I had more and more recollections of the previous car – remembering all the odd little details,like the pins that provided power to the lights in the tailgate, and the hazard light switch placed on the steering column where you couldn’t quite see it. But more than anything else, I remembered the handling!

It came to the last day of the auction and my bid won out – t’was mine to do with as I pleased!

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The business end – a mixture of Mk3 golf and Passat bits

I got the train up one night after work and saw it for the first time in the flesh. bar a missing 200CCs and a slightly different seat fabric pattern it was the absolute spit of my first one -I was a very happy chap.

Levels checked, money passed over and a warning re the brake condition being poor, I was good to go. Despite oil like tar, the 1.6 75bhp lump seemed keen,though hampered by a recalcitrant gearshift. The addition of some petrol to the tank and air to the tyres was all that was needed for a successful run home.

The very next day she went for an MOT.. the outcome of which I’ll write up shortly

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What did the Man from the Ministry say?