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shoddybanger

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About shoddybanger

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  1. Fehita the Astra has proven to be mostly sound, so some fettling is in order. I did an oil + filter change a couple of weeks ago, and today it was time for new spark plugs and an air filter. The old plugs proved to be on there quite tight, but number 2 felt like it absolutely wouldn't budge at all, so I changed the other plugs and stopped for a minute to weigh my options. I knew that if number 2 would take the threads with it, it would essentially render the car useless. The X16SZR engine in Fehita is relatively easy to take head off of for a rethread/helicoil, but it wasn't something I'd necessarily want to do right now. I then remembered that there's a sweet 1990 Honda Accord for sale locally for 300 euro, so that would be my backup plan if it all went to sh*t, so I pressed on. The plug fought me pretty much all the way out, but luckily it didn't kill the threads. It looks like everyone before me wasn't as brave (or stupid?), as the no. 2 plug was indeed an OEM GM plug while the others were Champions. Makes me wonder whether this plug has ever been changed. Can plugs last 250k km? Anyway, I threw in some Denso K20TT's. I changed the air filter and proceeded to open the valve cover to change the seal I assumed to be leaking oil. However, once I had everything open I realized that the seal I had bought was a cork-type, while the OEM seal is a rubber one, so I buttoned everything back after taking a gander at the camshaft. There's a certain beauty in a simple, single-camshaft, single-point injection engine. Now that I'm writing this I'm thinking that the cork seal might have in fact worked fine, as it's the right size. Hmm.
  2. Agree with garethj. And it does sound like you need a break, really. Maybe try not to overthink it - just walk into a dealer's and drive out with a fairly new car that you happen to fancy as pure transportation. There will always be shite available, when you feel the need to delve in again.
  3. And that is the honest truth. Times are grim and we cockroachers are doomed.
  4. On Mazdas: a mate has a fairly recent Mazda 5 with 112k miles on the clock, and it just shat its engine. I think it had something to do with the DPF tossing all its post-regeneration gunk into the oil circulation, unfiltered bits getting into bearings and destroying the engine. He was not very happy. I think that's just shocking. Edit: Barry Cade, I understand where you're coming from. Sorry to see you've had bad luck.. sometimes you just get lemon after lemon. I just don't know if newer is better, to be honest. I just hate the financial risk, as I've had an expensive lesson once.
  5. I've had good luck with cheap shite that does fulfil the requirement of reliable transportation. They also have the advantage of not holding you hostage (see: sunk cost fallacy). When they eventually break beyond an easy fix, despite proper maintenance, replace with another cheap runner, rinse & repeat. I loathe throwing big bucks at a motor and then continue throwing big bucks at it to keep it running.
  6. My friend's father owned a construction company, so I learned to drive in some rather unexpected vehicles: a second generation Isuzu KB (a Bedford KB in the UK?), a first generation Volkswagen LT Doppelkabine and an Isuzu Campo. I also practiced driving in my mother's 1982 rwd Corolla and my father's 1971 beetle. This was in 1994 or thereabouts. Good times. The car I took driving lessons and took my test in was a Volvo 440 1.8 pez. This was in 1998.
  7. Maybe consider a... Suzuki Grand Vitara Kia Sportage Hyundai Santa Fe / Terracan Nissan X-Trail Honda CR-V Edit: or a Mitsubishi Outlander even..
  8. The cars have basically become an excuse to hoard kit at this point..
  9. That is a good plan of attack. The fittings appear to be threaded on the volvo, but I've ordered a cheap kit of bits and bobs and tees, so I shall commence testing when they arrive. In the meantime I've figured out that I need to cycle the ignition on a couple of times before starting from cold to bring up the pressure sufficiently for a trouble-free start, so all is good re/ conveyance.
  10. Thanks, hairymel! Eric O. is my usual source of car diagnostics info, but I noped out of that video a couple days ago as soon as he whipped out that full-blown diagnostic kit. Now that I've watched the video again, I guess I just need to source some kit to make it happen.. so I need to be able to tee into the fuel line before the fuel rail to be able to control the flow, and I need to be able to cut off the return loop as well. And then it's just a process of elimination. Ah, where's my mojo at, when I need it...
  11. Right, I've been lazily trying to get the Volvo to behave with its starting inconsistencies, and my meandering, stab-in-the-dark diagnostics have led me to the conclusion that I am losing fuel pressure somewhere. I hooked up a fuel pressure gauge on the end of the fuel rail, and when I stop the engine, fuel pressure drops to zero in 30 seconds or less. I don't think it's supposed to do that. So I checked the injectors visually for any signs of leaks, and couldn't see anything suspicious. I then unhooked the vacuum pipe from the fuel regulator, and it was dry, so any fuel isn't getting past the regulator diaphragm at least. Hum. What next... Could the fuel pump letting fuel flow back into the tank and losing the pressure? I wonder how I should go about testing that.. Halp...?
  12. We've picked up Fehita, and she has easily slipped into the daily conveyance routines of the shoddybanger family. Some notes: - I much like the old OHC, single point FI engine in all its slowness. It's everything but a vivacious, happy rev machine. More an old codger of an engine that likes to lay low. It pulls from idle and would really like the next gear at 2.5 k rpms, please. It's very phlegmatic but gets there without fuss. My BIL had an identical Astra estate complete with the same engine, and he drove it through 2000 to 2018, putting on over 200k km. He liked it a lot. Not much went wrong with it through those years either. - The interior is in very nice condition. You wouldn't really believe it's 20 years old and done 1/4 million km. It still has the typical Astra smell, too. - The chassis and driveline have held up very well. Everything still feels tight and composed. Gears slip on easily and car goes straight. There is a bit of clunking coming from the back, though. I am suspecting that either the rear shock bushings or rear subframe bushes have gone. Hoping it's the shocks.. they're much easier to replace. And now for the most aggravating design feature ever: the shoddy adjustment rod on the seat back rests. The adjustment rod pulls out very easily with the knob, it's a pain to insert back into place, and everything goes wonky thereafter. I noticed this after carting the kids from point A to B. When they had climbed out from the back seat, both seat back adjustment knobs plus a length of rod were protruding from either side, and they wouldn't go back in. The rod is held in place with a stupid plastic plug that pulls off when you so much as look at it, and the rod is now free to pull out from the gearwheel. I bodged a fix by drilling a perpendicular hole on the end of the rod and putting a split pin through it to prevent it from pulling out. No more shonky back rests and telling everyone to stay away from the knob, lest it be pulled off. This probably isn't that much of a problem in the 5 door and estate models, but I'm certain I'm not the first one to experience this on a 3 door model.
  13. Very nice. Obviously lots of life left in it.
  14. Is it true that the 1.6 8v engine in Fehita is a non-interference design? Oh happy day! I shall never change the cambelt!
  15. An update, yet again. I went and bought an Astra today. I wasn't planning to get an Astra, but this popped up for sale yesterday at a local car dealership with an asking price of 490 euro, so I thought I'd go and take a look. It runs and drives, 250k km (155k miles) on the clock, has valid test until next June, comes with two good sets of tires and a towbar, so it ticks a few boxes, despite not being an estate. There was no mention of the last cam belt change, there's rust, the engine has an oil leak and we couldn't get the boot to open, so I offered 400, which was accepted. We have to wait until next week to pick it up, as the dealership had just got it as a trade-in and they were still waiting for the papers. The salesman called me up an hour later and told me he had managed to get the boot lock working again with a spritz of WD40, which was nice. What a helpful dealership. So, here's Fehita, the new fleet member. With rust spots and all. She shall perform Trajet duties while Trajet is out of order. In other news, it appears that the intermittent starting problems of the Volvo haven't been cured after all. Bollocks.
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