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Sigmund Fraud

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Everything posted by Sigmund Fraud

  1. @SiC The engine management system is smart enough to allow 95 octane fuel to be used safely. But the drop in performance and economy is such, that there's absolutely no point in doing that ! @Dj_efk People worry about the plastic parts in the cooling system, but they are pretty common VAG parts bin items so aftermarket versions are widely available and cheap. The electronically-controlled thermostat is an exception, of course, and another example of unnecessary complexity. Trust me, when mine goes it will be replaced by the venerable R5 thermostat in the top hose ! Regarding the Proboost ECU, it's hailed as some sort of panacaea for the FSi engine but I'm not convinced that it is. It also costs 60% of what my entire car cost, which I don't think I can justify. I'm not sure what people are comparing the A2 FSi with, when they make all sorts of enthusiastic comments about its performance. It's basically a "lukewarm hatch", with similar performance to a Clio II RSi (and without that car's excellent combination or ride and handling). It's probably true you can achieve 50mpg, but I can assure you it's not easy. Mine returns 48mpg if one exercises self-restraint, and a pretty decent 45mpg if one does not ! Lovely TDi's, by the way, especially the cherry red (or merlot red ?) one with the pepperpots !
  2. The 1.6 is the one everyone will tell you not to buy, and for good reason. VW have basically taken the 1990s Golf/Polo 1.6 8v block, bodged on a 16v head (two cambelts, two tensioners, two idlers - naturally !) then added further complication with VVT, variable intake lenghts, a first-generation direct injection system of questionable reliability and a myriad sensors for the engine management system. And this veritable marvel of technology just about manages to produce 110HP and returns (in the lightweight, aerodynamic A2 body) high 40s to the gallon, which is frankly not all that impressive. Basically, only a fool would buy the 1.6 ! I know, because I am such a fool.
  3. Great stuff, as always ! Also, that first Corvair picture could have easily been taken in the 1970s...
  4. A2s are absolutely brilliant ! They're basically 50% concept car, 50% Polo 9N. The Polo bits make them easy and cheap to maintain, but also mean that reliability is mediocre at best. An early, basic 1.2TDi would be the most sensible choice, combining the A2s quirkiness with frugality and simplicity. At the opposite end of the spectrum lies the fragile, over-complicated 1.6FSi, which is only suitable for masochists. Care to guess which model I own ?
  5. I'm not a chemical engineer, but isn't the petroleum distillate part of E5/E10 fuel of a lower octane rating than ye olde ethanol-free fuel ? In which case removing the ethanol may not be a good idea...
  6. Update time ! Regular readers will remember that Mrs F's Polo failed it's MoT last November, with the tester advising there was a "small hole" in the nearside sill. This is what the "small hole" looked like after I had removed plenty of structural* rubber underseal : Now, I've long fantasized about driving the terrible old heap onto the local scrapyard's weighbridge. Unfortunately, Mrs F was not keen on my plans for a final solution to the Polo question, and instructed me to repair it. With the 206 still performing faultlessly, there was no need to rush, so the Polo was parked in my workshop and basically forgotten about until last week. Then, in a mad rush of activity, this happened : I initially tried fabricating my own repair patch, but the result was pathetic. Making small patches using a vice and hammer is easy, but my bodywork skills were clearly not good enough for me to make such a large patch without a sheet metal folder. So I went out and bought a full sill, which I trimmed down to size and lap joined onto the car. A butt joint would have allowed an invisible repair, but I saw no point in this considering the state of the rest of the bodywork. Then, on the hottest day of the year, I attacked it with some filler, primer and paint to tart things up a bit : Much better ! A couple of coats of lacquer, and it will be ready to drive to the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este MoT station.
  7. TDi-tastic ! Basically, the only decent engine those 9Ns ever came with.
  8. It's typical of that generation of small VW OHC engines, and not helped by the poor design of the crankcase breather system. You're absolutely right not to worry about it.
  9. Time for another irregularly irregular update from FRAUD GARAGES ! As one would expect from its low mileage, Mrs F's new 206 has been no* trouble at all : At least, it flew through its MoT with a single advisory, which was straightforward to address : As a reward, she treated it to a full set of Michelin Crossclimates and an alignment. The Michelins cost an eye-watering amount of money, but are admittedly excellent. Typically, I haven't had much time to spend on my own cars. The Chevywoo Tacuma formerly owned by @andyberg has taken over family car duties. As documented elsewhere in this fine forum, Andy had done a brilliant job recommissioning the Tacuma and there was very little left for me to do. So I replaced the ancient rear tyres with a pair of ATS' finest* Chinese ditchfinders... ...replaced the pollen filter(s)... ...topped up the screenwash and took it for a short* drive :
  10. VWs use a similar design, with hex bolts that are extremely easy to round off. I normally remove them with an impact driver and the largest hammer I can find. You may also want to try some heat, in case some fool (or, in some cases, the factory !) has previously loctited the bolts into place.
  11. What can I say, you're a much, much braver man than I am ! My reaction would have been along these lines :
  12. Automatic adjusters on this one, a pretty smart design that unfortunately is very unreliable : If the adjuster teeth are not worn out, a good clean may get them working again. They're pretty cheap, though, so I normally just replace because taking drum brakes apart over and over again is soul destroying !
  13. I'm also a big fan of Millyard ! It's amazing that someone can make the stuff he makes in a small garage, using simple hand tools and a basic lathe ! It's a shame he doesn't do four wheels. The Beardmores (remember them ?) had a similar "made in a shed with simple tools" approach back in the 90s, but they usually kept the running gear side of things pretty conventional.
  14. I know nothing about BMWs, but a drain and refill of the 206 box should require around 4 litres. Opie lists the correct LT 71141 fluid for £12/litre. This should leave you with enough change from your £500 to buy another roadworthy 206 as a backup !
  15. PSA says "sealed for life", but I'd replace the ATF every 60k because it's easier and cheaper than replacing the box. For more info on how to do it, see here.
  16. You're right that the units are different for conventional and CANBUS wired cars, but IIRC there are also differences between model years and trim levels. Being Peugeot, it would not surprise me if none of them are interchangeable. Is your current unit beyond repair ? Sometimes all they need is new bulbs, sometimes you need to change the ribbon cable which is fiddly but not impossible.
  17. Hmmm... One possibility is that the garage didn't follow the correct procedure to bleed the cooling system. It eventually self-bleeds, which could explain the coolant level going down after a few days of using the car. The other possibility is that there is a leak somewhere in the system. Common culprits are the stupid plastic housing on the right hand side of the head (I now know to use half a tube of Reinzosil to seal it !) and the OEM spring clips (I now know to replace them with Jubilee clips !).
  18. "Sometimes a dropped washer is just a dropped washer." Great work, by the way. I'd never thought I'd find those Vespoids interesting, until I began reading this topic !
  19. Mr Castro's post above may seem cryptic, but it's based on a true story ! The moral of said story is : if you buy a silver 206, you will most certainly buy another (or, possibly, the same) silver 206 in the future. There's clearly something irresistible about them !
  20. And, to finally get things fully up-to-date, here's the story of the X-Trail ! It was spring 2020, and the Astra had been my only road-legal car for nearly six months. It had almost everything I needed : it was comfortable, frugal and completely dependable. What it did not have was sufficient luggage space, even with the rear seats folded. With a continental holiday approaching, I decided to have a quick look on ebay and see if I could find something more spacious within my meagre budget. To my great surprise, I found this : A first-generation X-Trail, that was both reasonably priced and not completely knackered ! It had spent its early life in a posh London neighbourhood, but had later fallen on hard times, moved to the countryside, and was now being used as a farm hand's company car. But it was... erm... reasonably priced, and not completely knackered, so I collected it from a remote Dorsetian farm and set about getting it ready for my planned 1000 mile trip to the low countries. As one would expect from a farm hack, the underside was caked in the finest West Country mud, and there was sufficient dog hair in the interior to assemble a couple of Golden Retrievers from scratch. But the running gear had clearly been looked after, and the car drove much better than one would expect from the mileage. The EML was on, but I didn't have the DS150 to hand. So I made do with my cheapo handheld Autel scanner, which displayed a camshaft sensor code. Now, those QR engines are notorious for stretching their cam chains, which require replacement at intervals not too dissimilar to those of a cambelt. A most irritating problem, in an otherwise well-designed car. But it is extremely uncommon for the chains to snap, so I chose to delete the code and defer any further investigation for when it absolutely needed to take place ! Isn't this the Autoshite way, after all ? Happy that the EML was now fixed*, I gave the thing a full service, with no expense spared : T30 fanboys will tell you that the oil of choice is 5W30 but I beg to differ, especially for an engine with 115k miles on the clock and timing chain tensioners that need all the help they can get ! The middle section of the exhaust was pretty rotten, so it was replaced and the car was finally silent as a fish ! This meant I could enjoy some music, so the non-working OEM radio-CD was replaced with a mechless Kenwood and I could listen to Kazumi Watanabe albums at full volume when driving around ! I also got the climate control working again, by replacing this box of magic that had leaked out all its Lucas smoke : I then spent a most frustrating afternoon tracing the cause of an irritating battery drain. The culprit turned out to be the driver's door central locking motor - the locking sensor was activating itself randomly, so the car would keep re-locking the (already locked) doors, draining the battery. The sensor was thankfully easy to bypass by unplugging a single wire, and I made a mental note to buy a replacement motor when I next visited the local scrapyard. The final problem was the tyres, which were both ancient and low on tread. After a bit of searching, I found a decent set of Qashqai wheels shod in Bridgestones locally, which I duly swapped onto the car. Typically, the pandemic led to my continental holiday being cancelled, so all this work was completely in vain... Over the past year, the X-Trail was only used for runs to the shops and occasional commuting, which is really not what large SUVs are for. So, after months of procrastinating, I have bought something far better suited to my needs, and the X-Trail will be moving to the hands of a capable new owner !
  21. The 206's OMGHGF trouble meant that the Polo was granted a stay of execution, and by late 2020 the 100k milestone was finally reached : A few days later, its Covid MoT extension was coming to an end, so it went in for its test. I expected the worst, but was surprised to find it had only failed on a "small hole" in the nearside sill. So I drove it to the workshop one evening after work, hoping that a couple of hours' work would be enough for a small MoT-standard patch. Typically, it was the coldest, windiest, most miserable evening possible, and I had to work outdoors : Even more typically, the more I poked around, the more rot I found : I soon came to the realisation that a new sill would be required - a task that was promptly added to the very bottom of my long, car-related "to do" list.
  22. You may recall that Mrs F had been very, very impressed with the 206 she had briefly owned. So much so, that she decided she wanted another one, as a permanent replacement for the Polo : Now, you may remember what I had said back in early 2019 : For that reason, I spent several weeks intensively searching for the best, low-mileage 206 that I could possibly find. And this was it ! Just 26k on the odometer, and truly looking like a million dollars francs ! I collected it from The Smoke, and drove it straight into the workshop for a proper check and a replacement of the cambelt (which was well overdue on age) : Now, when I drained the coolant I thought it looked a bit suspicious. But I just assumed that some twit had topped it up with non-OAT, as often happens. Such a low-mileage, well-looked-after car couldn't possibly suffer from headgasket issues ! I was, of course, wrong. And over the course of the following weeks I watched as the lovely pink coolant I had filled the system with turned into something that Costa could easily sell to hipsters for £10 a cup. So the car was driven back to Fraud Garages, where this happened : I forgot to take a picture of the blown gasket, but it had gone at the bottom left hand corner, allowing high-pressure oil to leak into low-pressure coolant. This is an extremely common fault in the later TU engines, due to a weakness in the OEM gasket. Using a good aftermarket gasket makes sense (I am a fan of BGA), as most use a different, stronger design. Anyway, reassembly was the reversal of disassembly, and the 206 has been running like a swiss french watch ever since !
  23. The purchase of the Astra meant that my daily wheels were sorted for the foreseeable future. It also made Mrs F jealous, as she was still driving around in this : A truly shining* example of the engineering perfection* that VAG is renowned for. Bought with 40k miles on the odometer in December 2015, it was approaching 100k in December 2019. Regular readers will remember what a paragon of reliability* this car has been, though a big part of this has admittedly been due to neglectful previous owners. Over the past five years, it's had : two cambelt kits, three thermostats, two temperature sensors, two sets of ignition consumables (spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor arm), an ignition switch, two clutch kits, one replacement gearbox, two sets of front brakes (discs, pads, sliders), one set of rear brake shoes, two rear wheel bearings, four sets of tyres, exhaust middle and rear sections, two cam cover gaskets (and two sets of their stupid bolts). Despite the above, it was starting to look and feel rather knackered, and Mrs F was starting to wonder whether it was time to begin looking for a replacement...
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