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Good result in the circs, that, Peps. Good of you to clear it out; imagine a welding spark going straight through a hole and turning it into a Wicker Man Micra. It's not even November.

It looked like I was stuck with my chrome/rubber covers not going in unless I changed the whole pedals - at least clutch and throttle. CBA with that, but they've gone to a good home. Delta Romeo has been without a throttle cover for ages. That was sorted in half a minute; just prise the clip off with a screwdriver and slide off, fitting the snazzier one being the time-honoured reverse procedure. He's got the smaller covers for when his brake and/or clutch rubber bobbles wear down.

Bit disappointing though. I've just fitted some ST ones to my Focus and they look very nice. I shall have to fit the whole throttle pedal (which I have) but it'll be worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #382 ·
Can't work out why that would be the case - all brake and clutch pedals are identical. Maybe the previous owner glued the clutch pedal on?
 

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I was stunned, too, but they're just one big lump of one-piece plastic, no rubber slip over except maybe the brake. Either something odd was fitted one time or, more likely, this particular vehicle for the Iberian market got el cheapo, hardwearing (I'll give them that) jobbies for the Mon-Fri decorator taking the family to the beach at weekends. Just my usual luck. At least some tart ups have been successful; I've popped on an exhaust faker like yours, and more smarties to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #384 ·
The Corsa; Lockdown 2020

So, the Corsa is a noisy s***box. Of course it is - it hasn't got any rear seats or trim. I wanted to make the road noise a bit quieter so the exhaust noise wasn't drowned out as much, and just so it was a bit quieter in general, all while not adding too much weight. I bought an eight metre reel of van insulation from Amazon and proceeded to shove it in all the gaps in the chassis.



Next was a pointless modification I've always wanted to do - tarty wing mirrors.

I always thought the originals looked like elephant ears.



I found some nice, cheap, rally-style mirrors for the Corsa. They're manual mirrors, which you have to push by hand to adjust. They were also nice and easy to fit.







Naturally the visibility through them is terrible, but then it's a Corsa; it was never going to be particularly difficult to park. I'm very pleased with the look, and wind noise has been improved a little.
 

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Yay, been waiting for a bit of tinkering news. I'd like to pull up the Tour carpet and insulate out some of that non-common-rail diesel noise but I've had a vile time today just with the door cards so I guess Mrs Oz will be shouting conversation and music at 17+ on the stereo all the way to Malaga again this year. I'd like less goofy mirrors on the Tour, but they're a different plate to the C (and it's hard to live without all that rear-vis from those massive lugs).

btw, I've seen a full set of 1.8 suspension in Suffolk going unsold at £20 - visually good nick. I don't know if it's worth the effort on yours but if you see a potential flipper again with MOT-failed shocks, I'll point them out to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #389 ·
Reckon I'll stick to the standard seats, then. Can't see myself taking a 1 litre to the track anytime soon :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #390 ·
The 240; July 2020

So after a few months of hibernation, I decided it'd be nice to fire the old girl up and have her out for a week. In that time I've done two small things.

Firstly, as long as I've had the car, the original mats/trays have had a hole in them. I finally found a replacement driver's mat and swapped them over.



Next, I resprayed another part under the bonnet. This time, it was the bracket holding in the airbox. Originally, it had a brass finish, which was long gone.



So, I sanded it, along with the retaining bolt, primed it, and sprayed it silver, while the bolt was sprayed in gloss black for some contrast.





With hindsight, I'm thinking perhaps I should have sprayed the bracket black and the bolt silver, like the radiator brackets (being done soon too), to contrast against the Volvo's silver paint. Oh well, small things for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #391 ·
The Combo; Interior Upgrades

The valeting van has been crying out for something to tart up the interior lately. One such upgrade I've gone for is Tigra boomerangs. Allow me to explain. The Vauxhall/Opel Tigra is a Corsa C dressed up in mid-2000s drag with a metal folding roof. Realising the Corsa's interior was... well, horrid, GM wanted to do something to set it apart from the Corsa. So, they made most of the trim silver instead of black, gave it a bigger central display (where the ambient temperature, date/time and radio station were displayed), leather seats, and also put in silver, boomerang-shaped trims either side of the centre console.

Honestly, I was never very keen on these clinical silver trims, until someone gave me the idea to colour-code them to match the van's white exterior. So, I did exactly that, and also found an ashtray from a Corsa (Combo vans never had ashtrays), painted the lid white, and added all three to the van.



My job of respraying was fairly atrocious, but from more than a foot away, it looks pretty good. Perhaps at some point I'll respray them, but for now they do liven up the interior nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #392 ·
The Fifth Vauxhall

So, I bought another project.



Laugh all you like, I absolutely love it!

So, it's a 2000 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 8V with an asthmatic 84BHP. It's pretty much base spec, with the only options being aircon. No CD player, no alloys, nothing much at all. The previous owner was a customer of mine, who was having his replacement car cleaned. He mentioned the scrapyard were coming to take this Astra away. For £70. Thing is, it had only done 51,800 miles. Nearly full service history, and passed its last MOT with no advisories. Does that sound like scrapyard material to you?

His logic was that during lockdown, nobody would buy the car without being able to test drive it. Clearly wrong because I gave him £175 for it, with the promise that it'll stay on the road. There was some wear, including surface corrosion on the driver's door, and a big scuff on the corner of the front bumper. The rear wiper arm was missing, as was the radio antennae. The seats had a few cigarette burns and the headlining was sagging at the back.

After getting Shaun to check it over, we found that there was no rust underneath, and the suspension was all in good order. So basically I got very lucky with this one! That meant all I had to do was clean it!

So, first, I got a new rear wiper arm and blade.





I also found the old radio antennae from my Corsa that's been kicking around for about 3 years, so fitted that. Then, I used some RTV sealant and glued the headlining back up.



I then cleaned the interior and bought a new set of fitted mats from Amazon.





It was then onto the exterior. I started by cleaning the engine. Basically I coated it with snowfoam, used some "GUNK" engine degreaser and a brush, rinsed it and then sprayed some water based dressing on as I dried it to leave a more natural finish.





Lastly, the body. I started with the fuel cap.



Then, I tackled the large scuff on the driver side rear door.





It's not perfect but it's a lot better. I'm still learning with the machine polisher.

So, finally, the before and after on the outside. It was washed, treated with tar remover, quickly clay detailed, dried and polished. I machine polished the bonnet and top half of the doors, and hand polished the roof (nobody's really looking at it are they?), along with the more curvy bumpers, and the less noticeable bottom half of the doors.









Considering the wear and tear it's scrubbed up pretty well I think!

So, what does the Astra owe me?
I bought it for £175
Insurance cost me £25 to get it to Shaun's
The wiper arm and blade cost me £16
The mats cost me £20
The aerial was free
I spent somewhere around 6 hours cleaning it
So, the total is £236. I looked up some other Astras to figure out pricing, and saw plenty of similar examples at around £800. So I've advertised it for £695. Should hopefully find a buyer!
 

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Nice work on the Astra and you've got to take it at that price with mileage and history. I think there's a LHD estate with the 1.7DTi on ebay but it's too high-priced and won't come down. Plus, UK-plated cars are not so handy for me nowadays.

Out of interest, I PM'd you on some boomerangs going low with no bids. They sold on a single bid - was it you? £12 or so - a good price. I do like mine for keeping all my 12V and USB leads contained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #394 ·
Not me, when you messaged me I already had some boomerangs by then - it took me about a month to get around to spraying them. I got mine for £20 if I remember correctly. Functionally it doesn't really make a difference to me - only thing I ever plug in is a sat nav to get us to Devon when we go to see my mother in law. But in white it does add something to the overall look I think. I've come around to the boomerangs!
 

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I paid about £15 because a fixing hole had snapped off a bit too wide and a simple washer fixed that but I hate it when a cheaper one comes up later. I like them aesthetically but even a Devon run means satnav, phone-to-radio Bluetooth thing and ecig charging. Once a dashcam and 12V fridge (fab) gets added, it's like spaghetti down there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #396 ·
The Combo; ECU Remap

So, on June the 13th, I had a chap come out and remap the van for £200 as a birthday present to myself. I went for an economy remap with an electronic EGR delete, figuring that the little Fiat tractor engine and it's flimsy clutch wouldn't handle the extra power of a stage 1 remap.

I had always been fairly sceptical towards remaps, so I tested my Combo's acceleration. I decided to test it by timing myself accelerating from 40-60mph in 4th gear, eliminating any differences in gear changes, plus I figured this would be a more realistic test of how well the van would overtake.

Before: 9.2 seconds
After: 6.9 seconds

Quite a difference. I must admit, the Combo feels much more lively, throttle response is much more instant, and the turbo seems less laggy. This does make it a little more difficult to drive smoothly in 1st or 2nd gear however, as the accelerator has become a bit of an on/off switch. I did get used to it after about a week though. The engine management light relating to the disconnected EGR valve is also sorted as well, which is nice.

But fuel economy? Up to 10% better fuel economy was touted. My average MPG has remained almost unchanged, however. My best was 59MPG after the remap, which is barely an improvement on before. A bit of a disappointment to be honest.

Still, my EGR fault is sorted for less than the cost of a new EGR valve, and the van has an extra 20BHP to play with, at no cost to fuel economy, so I suppose we can call that a win.
 

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I can understand the scepticism out there of the mpg claims in particular (GM board meeting: "why don't we program the car to have weaker performance and poorer economy? Sounds like a plan...") but a broadly similar mpg with that kind of boost to a real-world acceleration is a good result in my book.

I do consider a mild boost from 75 to ~90hp on my 1.7 DTi. An ebayer in Cheshire who used to offer it @ £80 done has now switched to £50 file-only (because of Covid?), which is an annoyance because I don't have any relevant equipment or skills. I know my insurer got the willies at any mention of doing stuff like that, despite me saying it's roughly equivalent to having a 1.7 CDTi in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #398 ·
Very small update with no photos today;

  • I sold the Astra for £550 for a nice profit.
  • I tested the fuel economy on the Clio, and was surprised to find it does 42 to the gallon. Not bad for an automatic! Shame the fuel tank is tiny. It takes about 30 litres to brim it.
  • The Volvo will be getting lowered in a few weeks!
 

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I know the Renault Modus 1.6 auto has catastrophic mpg compared to the manual 1.6 (which is little different to my 1.4, annoyingly), like 28 vs 40, so well done. I think I mentioned the DPO gearbox? I'd forgotten about it, if I had - glad that it's not giving you any trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #400 ·
We did have an issue with the gear selector cable a few months ago. It's a two-piece item which came apart, locking the gear selector in 'D', making the car undriveable. Luckily Shaun had come across this exact problem before on another Clio automatic, using a nut and washer to hold the two pieces of the cable together. Replacing the cables would have cost hundreds, and would have gone wrong again sometime down the line. Shaun's fix cost us £20, took half an hour and is a permanent solution.

But yes, fuel economy surprised us. Shaun used to have a Scenic with the same 1.4 engine, but manual. It did about 32mpg. I know the Clio is lighter, but you'd expect the gearbox to cancel out the difference. So 42mpg was a very nice surprise.
 
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