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I'd be interested in your follow-up, Peps, after a while or a long trip (not likely in your Combo, I know). Much as I like the look, not having CC is bad enough without making things more uncomfortable. Do you mean slipperier or slightly more annoying angle/harshness through the feet?
 

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Discussion Starter #342
I'd be interested in your follow-up, Peps, after a while or a long trip (not likely in your Combo, I know). Much as I like the look, not having CC is bad enough without making things more uncomfortable. Do you mean slipperier or slightly more annoying angle/harshness through the feet?
As in my shoes slide a bit against the pedals. I will be taking the van to Devon in a few weeks so it will get a very long journey!
 

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Thanks on both counts. Slidey is less of a deal than harsh/awkward, partly because I'm usually grippy-booted and partly that Hamilton seller's brake + clutch pads are quite rubbery still. The acc is usually smoothed down but you don't exactly facepalm the windscreen if your throttle foot slips off with a diesel.

Post-Devon opinion will have at least one guaranteed reader :wave:
 

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Discussion Starter #344
Smooooooth....

While I usually disagree with any modification performed by insufferable morons that stance their cars, I can definitely get on board with the idea of making a car look less cluttered. So, much the same as my Corsa, I decided to remove the bump strips on the Combo. I mean, they're hardly functional are they? The Corsa picked up its fair share of dents over the years and those bump strips did nothing! So, somewhat crudely, I used a nylon pry tool to get the peeling started, before slowly pulling the strips off the rest of the way by hand.





With the strips off, some moss buildup and glue residue was leftover, so I soaked it all with tar remover, gently wiping away any loose dirt.



With the remaining glue residue I repeatedly soaked it before scraping off another layer with a nylon razor, repeating until a cloth and the tar remover could wipe away the rest.



I plan on giving the van a wash this weekend, so hopefully will have some better photos then!

Corsa

Very minor update on the Corsa - as long as I've had the old bag of nails, the bonnet prop holder has been broken. Finally decided to replace it today!



 

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Do you think you'll get away without polishing the Combo? I'm thinking "that's where the picture used to hang in the smoking room" syndrome. Coincidentally, a friend I know that definitely wasn't me jumped into my, I mean his, steamed up Focus and rolled it back down his brother's driveway into the side of a van that wasn't there earlier. Fortunately, it was one of those Movano-sized jobs with the brick-like plastics down the side. At <5mph, neither vehicle had any ill effects from the kiss and off to the takeaway with clean conscience. The Combo strips barely protect from a curious dachshund, admittedly.
 

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Discussion Starter #346 (Edited)
Ironically a labrador did put in a nice scratch when I first got the van. God I hate labradors...

As for polishing, I'm not sure. There is a bit of yellowing underneath, so we shall see how it looks when it's had a wash.
 

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Perhaps it mistook your cabin cleaning wipes for a jumbo toilet roll. So, you have the opposite problem - the nicotine colour is where the strip once was? Probably a thin residue of, or clearcoat reaction to, glue. If the wash won't, I imagine a hand job with fine compound would do it - no need to DA the whole thing. But then, you'll know better than I do; it's not like I've done more than 3 cars in my life (including 1980s T-cut, chamois and earwax days).
 

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Discussion Starter #348
To be honest I haven't really come across this sort of thing before so you're as clued up as I am. I read somewhere that it's caused by moisture being held in, but we'll see how it looks tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter #349
So, I had a tyre blowout in July and then procrastinated. I spent four months rolling around on the horrid-looking spare wheel.



This month, I finally got it fixed! I had taken it to one alloy wheel refurbishment company who claimed it was too far gone. I wasn't keen on taking it back to Aerocoat after the substandard job they had done of powder coating them in the first place. So, that left one more small business that was fairly local. I took it to them and a week later it was fixed! So, at the end of last week I took the Combo, the wheel and my new tyre to Shaun's to get it all fitted.





With the alloy back on, I unceremoniously shoved the spare in its rusty cage where it belongs.



I then took the van out for a drive to check for noise and vibrations, and thankfully it was all okay! That's a bit of a relief seeing as I'm about to drive this little bus from Suffolk to Devon!

Next, I rewarded the wagon with a wash. First I tackled the door shuts since they hadn't been done for an age.













The rear doors had about two years buildup of moss and pine needles, so it was much needed. I used a little hand-pumped pressure sprayer bottle as a miniature hose to rinse inside the shuts, before agitating with some APC and a detailing brush. Next I used a wash mitten and soapy water to get what the brush missed. I also did this in the door hinges before drying with a large microfibre towel.









With the shuts and hinges cleaner than they've ever been, I then washed the exterior - it took about two hours and thanks to the van being white, the photos show next to no difference!





In person, the difference was much more stark. Next, I polished the fake exhaust tip.





With it finished, I took some final photos...





I'm happy to finally have the dirty diesel box looking decent once again, ready for me to take on a 600 mile round trip and ruin it!
 

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Four months procrastinating after your tyre blew out? No wonder the alloy looked bent - I'd have changed it straight away ;) You're a top valet, but you've now sussed the photographer's trick that you need a bit of warm, low sun to get all that work to show up on the film/CCD with a white car. The plastics look darker, too, but I guess (?) that it's a result of the contrast and suds rather than any specific product.
I bought a 52mm version of your pipe (Singapore) that was too narrow and got relegated to the Modus so a 62mm (China) was waiting for me and it gets on the pipe but so tight I'll need longer bolts than the ones supplied to clamp it on. Sigh, I really ought to bother to measure, sometimes.
Safe trip, and I hope the Collinite helps the crud slide off (the ceramics did the trick for me on my trek).
 

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Discussion Starter #351
Four months procrastinating after your tyre blew out? No wonder the alloy looked bent - I'd have changed it straight away ;) You're a top valet, but you've now sussed the photographer's trick that you need a bit of warm, low sun to get all that work to show up on the film/CCD with a white car. The plastics look darker, too, but I guess (?) that it's a result of the contrast and suds rather than any specific product.
I bought a 52mm version of your pipe (Singapore) that was too narrow and got relegated to the Modus so a 62mm (China) was waiting for me and it gets on the pipe but so tight I'll need longer bolts than the ones supplied to clamp it on. Sigh, I really ought to bother to measure, sometimes.
Safe trip, and I hope the Collinite helps the crud slide off (the ceramics did the trick for me on my trek).
Well half the battle was finding someone who'd fix it without charging the earth.

Yeah that photo was taken at the job directly after I cleaned the van, too good an opportunity to miss. Plastics? Nope. I clean them and that's it. I'm not fond of plastic products.

50mm fits the 1.3 so the 1.7 must have a bigger bore. You could always just weld it on.

Because I'd left the van so long, the wax didn't bead water until AFTER I cleaned the van. It was so caked in mud, although the photo doesn't really show that, that the wax was basically covered. So yeah, it's back to beading nicely, now!
 

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Discussion Starter #352
The Next Addition to the Fleet

It's been a while. The Volvo is still sitting in a garage, the Corsa is still full of water and the van is very muddy after a trip to Devon. The reason for that trip was to pick up my other half; we've been in a long-distance relationship for around 6 months, and she bravely decided to take the plunge and move in with me, so we now have a place together, and I'm the happiest I've been my entire life. We'll see how much she regrets that decision in a few months...

So, with her moving 300 miles away and having given back a 2018 Yaris Hybrid that was on PCP, we needed to find her a new car. An automatic car. Now, in the UK, the market for used automatic cars is absurd. Our budget was £2000. Around 25% of all the listings were Mercedes-Benz, or Volvo. Big cars. Katherine wanted a small car. The prices were horrific.

The first car we viewed was a 2006 Volkswagen Polo with 132,000 miles on it. It had dents in every panel, missing paint on the bumpers, cracked number plates, chipped windscreen, kerbed alloys, missing interior parts, a blowing exhaust, and rust starting on one of the sills. None of this was photographed, and the dealer was asking £1600 for it. So we said no, naturally.

That was rather annoying. So I kept on looking and found a different car for £995. 2001, No rust, 74,000 miles, 1.4 litre. Offered £875 and got the car. So, what was it?

A Renault Clio II.



Never thought I would have a French car in my name...

So, good points are low mileage, decent bodywork, no rust and clean interior. Bad points are squeaky drive belt, patchy service history and the fact that it's French. Naturally, my first job was cleaning the interior...













The rear seats in a second-gen Clio are very easy to remove, so of course I took the straight out...





I also removed the fuel tank cover to clean inside...





I also removed the boot carpet to shampoo...





The spare wheel also came out...







With daylight fading I finished with the door shuts.







So, the interior is nice and clean. Next on my list is to shampoo the seats, clean the exterior and replace all the wipers. In terms of changes, I've only made one so far - I removed the rear headrests so my other half has slightly better rearward visibility.



So, I'm back up to four cars!
 

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Congrats on your persuasive techniques, although I also shall pop a cork for your purchasing and valeting exploits. I hate to pour a little cold sauce on the tablecloth, but suggest (you might know already, from your Peugeot time) a read-up on the potential nasties of the DP0 gearbox. Whereas Renault's Quickshi(f)t and Vauxhall's Easychronic SAs are identical down to their numerous failures, the two makes diverge on their fully-autos. Afaik, the Vauxhall autobox is largely problem free whereas the Renault/PSA DP0 has its own gremlins. I read somewhere on t'net an article that, should problems arise, a ~€200 fix should solve the problem. Given that your Clio is a darn sight better value than the alternatives you had (Suffolk is a much tougher buyer's market than the NW), it still makes sense.

I did think about an SA, then trad auto, with the long yomps to Malaga but the stories (and the pretty poor mpg of the 1.6 auto Clio/Modus) reigned me in. Most of the drive is pretty constant top gear, anyway - wish I had even a single CC-upgradeable car.
 

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Discussion Starter #354
To be honest I hear horror stories about every auto gearbox. Only thing for it is to just see how one goes. If I had my way I'd be finding a manual Corsa or even an auto Corsa but there' so little choice for auto hatchbacks.
 

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I think every car/engine/gearbox has its "never buy one again" share of the internet that would stop you getting anything, true. The DP0 (AL4 in PSA speak) has a very high headcount, though - I had a quick glance again and some auto-trans specialist reckoned C,RaP (Citroen, Renault and Peugeot) kept him in business.The plus side is that it's mostly a dodgy solenoid which, if it hasn't happened inside 60k, suggests you have a relatively lucky box without the duff component.

I don't know if such an animal exists, but a Pug 307 1.6HDi with the AL4 gearbox must have been a russian roulette with five of the chambers loaded for any unsuspecting buyer.
 

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Discussion Starter #356
The Combo November 2019 - January 2020

November 2019; Journey to the West Country

So, as previously mentioned, I drove the Combo van to Devon to pick up my other half. On the way, the right-hand rear brake caliper seized, and started to scream at me. I stopped, hammered it free and finished the last 70 miles of my 300 miles journey. Whilst in Devon, I took the van to a workshop that my new mother-in-law told me to go to; she was friends with the owner. They told me the caliper was completely seized and needed replacing, so I had them do it. They also told me that the rear brake pads were low (around 1000 miles of life left), so I should get them replaced as well, also suggesting I have the discs replaced at the same time. I said no, preferring for Shaun to do it when I got back to Suffolk.

So, the rear caliper was replaced, costing me £125. About £40 too much for my liking... Oh well, not much could be done about that, and at the end of the day, getting Katherine back to Suffolk safely was the priority.

December 2019; MORE AIRFLOW!

With some time on my hands and Katherine interested in learning a little about working on cars, we made a small modification to the van in December. The factory airbox on the Vauxhall Corsa/Combo has a small piece of cowling inside which supposedly restricts some of the airflow.



Using a cordless drill, I drilled through the plastic rivets holding the cowling in place to remove it.



The idea of this is that it increases airflow, and by that I mean noise, without compromising any reliability by drilling holes in the airbox or putting a cone filter on. Yep, pointless I know, but it killed half an hour so why not? When it was all back together I took it for a quick test drive, and it does have a slightly more throaty noise under heavy acceleration. Power? Maybe a fractional increase, but it could just be a placebo effect.

January 2020; Almost Ripped Off

Back in Devon, I was told the rear discs and pads needed replacing, and yesterday, Shaun finally had a slot to do just that. I got some rear discs, pads and a caliper for the other side, figuring if one caliper seized, the other wouldn't be very far behind. Once Shaun took the wheels off, however, he had a closer look at the brakes, finding that the pads were barely even half-worn. So, the garage in Devon had tried to sell me parts that I didn't need. I feel a bit stupid for taking them on their word and not checking the brakes myself, but when it comes to pad thickness, I'm not really sure what I'm looking at. Well, I am now. After Shaun had saved me a good £60, he fitted just the caliper. I didn't bother with photos.

Next, I had a few interior upgrades to fit. The steering wheel was a standard plastic/foam material, which thanks to 10 years of exposure, was starting to deteriorate. Having found a leather steering wheel on eBay for a decent price, I figured I'd go for an upgrade!



The steering wheel controls don't work, and I can't really say I care all that much. Next, the door handles. They were a horrid textured black plastic. I found some silver replacements and got Shaun to fit them, lifting the interior a little more...







Next, I went on Wish to buy some tatty sh**e. For £2.70, I found a chrome gear knob for a higher trim Vauxhall Corsa, and decided to buy it, along with some Vauxhall-branded tyre valves.





The last item on the list was one of two water leaks. For once, it wasn't the brake servo seal, like so many Corsas and Combos. The one I have hopefully fixed is the radio antennae. The rubber base had perished and was letting in rain water. With Katherine's help, I replaced it with a rubber eBay special, because Vauxhall don't sell them!





So, lots of little changes lately, and I'm happy with all of them! This old tractor is slowly getting a little more me with every change. Here's a little before and after, showing the new wheel, gearknob, door handles and pedals from last year.





Next on the list will be the other water leak - the body control module cover.
 

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Very minor update on the Corsa - as long as I've had the old bag of nails, the bonnet prop holder has been broken. Finally decided to replace it today!




Don't suppose you happen to have the part number/eBay link? Mine's died and I have a rattle
 

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Careful, Peps. You're turning into me and I'll start flagging up "you don't need it, but it's cheap" PMs as I do to Delta Romeo too much for his sanity. Mine already had the leather steering wheel and a leather knob but I did get hold of the alloy inner handles this summer. The driver side was easy DIY; I've had it off more often than Katie Price, thanks to the dodgy leccy window. The passenger door card is not budging easily so that handle will have to wait for the better weather rather than risk an outdoor petulant tearing off in this permanent drizzle.

My Focus plastic wheel (and the cloth seats) looked horrible after just a month of winter standing. I am going to order a leather wheel for it; should have done so years ago. I also saw some ST225 alloy pedals (got some for the Tour) unbid at £14.50 incl and thought I might as well.

Were you getting a bit of dripping from the interior light and a small puddle in your gearstick gaiter? My Tour's recently developed that and I also suspect the aerial seal. A link to the ebay item would be a handy favour, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #360
Yep, dripping from the light. I couldn't find one for a Combo, resorting to stretching a Corsa C/Astra rubber one. Here.

Second pair of hands is necessary. My other half had to stand over the van and hold the aerial in place while I screwed it back on from inside. It's very fiddly, requires a 17mm spanner/socket. Because the wire is in the way, I had to use a 17mm spanner sideways. Nightmare.
 
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