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Stanky's Car Fixing Thread - A Clear Improvement 24/5


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So, today I set to with the headlight cleaning on the new-to-me Toyota. The only downside (found so far) is that the headlight lenses have suffered with age and gone cloudy and yellow. Thanks to the colour of the bodywork this looks less bad than it would on a flat colour, but still not ideal.




As you can see, they aren't very clear. I;ve not yet driven it at night but suspect the vision is a bit sub-optimal.


So, First of all the passenger side one. I had a look at removing them and doing the polishing on my workbench but couldn't work out how they came off and didn't want to break anything so tried it in-situ.




I masked it off to prevent me accidentally polishing through the paint on the bumper




Then went and retrieved the drill-mounted buffing pads I bought months ago




And the autosol metal polish which is supposed to be pretty good for this sort of thing




Here it is attached to the drill. Because it was cheap you have to run the drill backwards otherwise the pad backing thing just unscrews which is shit design but then it was only about £6 for the whole set so serves me right




Next, a splodge of autosol




Then set to with the drill. I set it to the slowest speed nd kept it moving the whole time to prevent it burning the plastic, I gave it about 10 minutes with regular re-applications of polish, followed by the flat pad slightly wet, then a wipe over with a damp towel and finally a buff with the lambswool attachment.


This was the end result:




You can see the difference between the 'done' one and the 'not done' one here:




Next, I masked off the drivers side one and repeated the process. Here is the end result:




And both of them finished here:




I gave them a wipe over and buff off with some wax to see if it staves off the return of the yellowing but time will tell.


I then spent 20 minutres cleaning speckles of autosol off everything within a 10m radius of where I'd been working! It does make a bit of a mess but looks to be well worth it. Total time taken was about 1 hour and total cost was zero as I already had all the bits. Even if I hadn't, the polish was about £4 from halfords and the buffer set was £6 from ebay so £10 all in. A lot cheaper than new lights!


I also swapped the driver-side tyres front to rear so the newer matching tyres with lots of tread are on the back axle and the less good, non-matching, more worn ones are on the front.


Soz for boring modern content, but shows how good a result you can get doing this on anything else I suppose.

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MrsD has the 1.0 litre version of this also on an 03... great little cars there is a handle on the boot side of the rear seat in the middle you pull that and the seat moves forward or back... its great with seat forward the boot is huge....good little cars and surprisingly quick if you use all the revs... not much power under 4,000 though....after 10 years owning it, she has still not needed any major work just routine mot and service once a year... well perchased....

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  • 1 month later...

Not a whole lot been going on, I had a go at polishing up the passenger side headlight on the Saab which required removal of the front bumper (WHY?!) and had a shot at working out why the headlight washer jets didn't work but neither of these jobs went well. The headlight is better, but didn't come up as well as the Toyota's did so I have my eyes peeled for a less haggard one. The washer jets seem to be bunged up in the tank somewhere and I couldn't be bothered to remove a wheel and the arch liner as I was already soaking wet from screenwash and freezing cold so maybe look at that when its warmer. The ones for the windscreen work fine, its just the circuit that feeds the headlight washers which is blocked somewhere between the tank and the non-return valve.


Its not losing coolant any more which is good, or at least if it is, it is very very slow and I can live with that. There was no damage to the radiator I could see with the bumper off and none of the joins I can get my hand to in the engine bay are wet either. Might just be the cap wasn't done up tight?


I managed to screw up the refitting of the undertray thing which then caught on a kerb in a restaurant car park on Monday, my wife looked horrified as we reversed off the kerb, accompanied by a horrible scraping sound but I knew exactly what it was as soon as it happened and set to with my little socket set, restoring it to its correct position. I seem to have missed doing up a couple of screws when refitting everything after having the bumper off and it hung down too far. Screws are now back in and its only cracked a bit where it got flipped the wrong way which was fortunate. No pics as it was pissing with rain at the time and I had the family on board.


Next question, I ought to look at getting some rear suspension bushes replaced it clonks a bit over bumps and there is quite a bit of vertical movement on the driver side rear wheel when the car is jacked up. Should I stick to rubber, or look at polybushes? I have heard mixed reviews of poly, some saying they are great but others saying they are too hard and make the car miserable to drive. Since Hampshire Council haven't spent a penny on the roads since about 1783, comfort is important to me. I think you can get different levels of compliance in polybushes, are the most pliable ones noticably stiffer than rubber? I'd rather do the job once then have to replace bushes annually because aftermarket rubber is shit. Finally, I assume you have to work through all the bushes if you go down the poly route? Can you mix poly and rubber or is that a recipe for disaster?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Exciting teaser for next installment. MIL has a 2009 Suzuki Alto which needs a new rad. Guess who got nominated yesterday evening. Hooray!


£75 before discount at ECP so not too bad and I need to go there for bits for the Yaris anyway as its due a service after its MOT later this week anyway. They'll be paying too so not all bad.


I tried googling the procedure but it has turned up nothing of any use. I shall have to see what I can do next weekend, luckily the car is small enough to drive halfway into my garage so I don't have to do the job is the pissing rain. Anyone ever done one of these? Can the rad come out the top? I'd like to think its a relatively pain-free job but would be handy to find out where the hidden catches and things are before I snap them all off and have to cable-tie the new one in...

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I have always replaced bushes in sets but still have a mix on the car itself.    Unless Saab replacement bushes are particularly good quality I would suggest poly for longevity.   Rubber ones I have used on the Minor lasted about three dinner times - but BMC parts suppliers specialise in selling shit rubber.    Poly will be stiffer but possibly not as crash-banging as knackered rubber ones.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yaris MOT today, last one ran out on monday but not had a chance to get it booked in until today. BET NAO on outcome.


assuming it passes without serious issue I'll get the service bits for it at the weekend.


Took the aforementioned Suzuki to work on tuesday and its a happy little thing. its a 996cc triple so ultimate poor mans V6. no rev counter but revs well, i took it to work on the back roads as i was worried about it boiling up on the A3, especially as it also lacks a coolant temp light - it just has a 'game over, its fucked' light which comes on presumably just after its boiled dry, blown the HG and warped the head. anyway, it didn't lose any noticeable coolant on a 30 mile B-road run so the rad fix might be on hold for now. I forgot how much fun driving little three-cylinder cars on windy roads is. doubt I topped 60mph the whole way but it was a lot of fun not braking at all and just revving it out in every gear on the way home once I deduced it wasn't losing coolant.


Updates to follow (though less interesting than Beko's Xantia updates)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Suzuki fettling has been put off since it doesn't seem to use coolant, suspect billy bullshit at the MOT place was trying it on (after taking £160 for a change of brake pads!).


Today we had a situation which as far as I am aware is unprecedented in the history of humanity. Something broke on our Toyota. Just take a moment to digest that.









So, wife_Stanky said the fuel filler cap had broken, I went out in the freezing cold and dark to see what was up and lo and behold it indeed was inoperative. Pulling the lever in the drivers footwell had no resistance and caused no discernable change to the current position of the filler cap. bumhats.


So, suspicion is the cable has snapped, looks like its not at the lever end (drivers footwell) and I can't get to the other end yet, or see what the hell is going on so I've popped the cap open with a screwdriver and pushed the actuator thing back inside the bodywork so the cap doesn't lock any more, but it will open on demand.


Anyone done one of these before? Any suggestions? Or just leave the effing thing alone now and have a non-locking filler cap. Its not exactly a high-crime area and to be fair even when locked it didn't put up much of a fight when I levered it open with a plastic spatula.

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I had a quick look at it this morning and it goes under the rear light cluster and then disappears off under the rear seats so I'll need to trace where it goes to and probably get a whole new cable, though it shouldn't cost much I hope. For now its been popped through so the filler flap doesn't sit quite flush with the rear quarter panel and doesn't lock, but can easily be opened to access the screw cap.


The lever has always been a bit stiff since we've had the car so its probably got wet or something in the past and now its snapped. Oh well, it can stay like this until it warms up a bit outside.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I spent some time at the neighbours fixing their fleet.


First request was to try and diagnose why the 2006 Bini that I told them specifically not to buy as they go expensively wrong, had gone wrong. It was showing the Brake warning light, the ABS warning light and the ESP warning light - the manual suggested this was not terminal, but that 'caution should be exercised' when driving as the ABS and ESP were probably non-operational. I suggested that if the manual doesn't say specifically to stop driving it immediately then it was probably safe to keep using it but to get it looked at by a garage at some point soon. My diagnosis was a failed ABS sensor, since the brake fluid was the right colour (lager colour) and at the right level. I plugged in my OBD scanner and it didn't find anything, so I suspect it might be a non-standard OBD error code. I whacked all 4 brake calipers with a hammer for good measure so we'll see what the garage say. Any other suggestions?


Then the son's corsa C had shat a bulb and he couldn't change it on account of of it 'looking complicated in the manual'. He was brandishing the bulb that Halfords had sold him which looked like a giant 503 bulb, and certainly not like a headlight bulb. The job itself was horrible, there is no room at all and on reflection it would probably be easier to take the whole light out to do the job. Once the filler neck of the washer bottle is removed, the fuse box cover is removed, the wierd cover plate is removed you can just feel the back of the bulb holder, this then slides out sideways then you can pull it all out the back fo the light unit. I asked him to turn the lights on to make sure I' got the right one and the sodding thing lit up fine. bastard.


Next I reasembled it all, got him to do a final test and it didn't light up. double bastard. Managed to get my hand in the back of the light unit and gave iut a poke and it lit up again so clearly a shit connection. I then fought to get the backing plate back on the effing thing which I managed eventually. I told him it would probably fail again soon and to give me a knock as the light that Halfords had sold him was clearly wrong but that I had a few spares which I could fit for him if he then bought me a replacement, so I give it 48 hours before I'm back out there refitting a new bulb.


Corsa C's are shit to work on, I've done a few jobs on it now and despite being only 7 years old and with a tiny mileage its just hateful. No pics because not really very interesting but there.

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That's depressing. I've just taken responsibility for Mrs CW's Corsa C badermatic, other driving school steer. AND it's seen some minor giffer action with a PO so the bumper and both front wings are a bit mangled next to the light assembly... If it likes to lunch bulbs like some other cars I've had, I may have to kill it with fire.


"Really sorry, dearest - that cheap Corsa we bought so you can do automatic lessons in? It's just spontaneously combusted!....... I know! Just like that!..... Shame.....  Can we go and get something from Japan now?"

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I can't believe I'd forgotten about this thread. I almost shed a tear for the Almera when I read it could no longer justify its existence, especially as its story is the epitome of Autoshite:


two men from different generations applied their combined experience, considerable capacity for innovation and no shortage of tools (but not ramps, lift or pit), using second hand parts of uncertain condition, to the redemption of a car that itself defined dull and was almost completely devoid of noteworthiness, let alone capital value.


And they documented the enterprise in graphic detail, for the edification of others. And edify it did, for they garnered 64 likes from the first post.




A friend not of this parish was extolling the virtues of a long-in-the-tooth Yaris to me today, and not for the first time. His partner has a history of abusing said car, it being hers from before they were united, and she holds it in no respect at all, yet he has dissuaded her from chopping it in for countless old Beetles, some of which (and these being the ones that she lusts after most) have been sticker bombed, lowered and generally rat-looked to points far beyond decency. Such is the wont of this woman. No - he has found the Yaris to be fast (80) yet frugal (58) and evidently hardy, as it has not died at her hands despite what I suspect to be a distinct lack of mechanical sympathy.


I think I may have to try one...

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  • 2 months later...

Right, possible stupid question amnesty thread but hopefully a resident Saab expert will be able to help here.


The Saab (2004 9-3 1.8t petrol, YS3F) only blows cold air, regardless of what setting the temp knob is set at. This is pootling about town or at 70mph on an A-road. Its only just started doing this but it was pretty cold on the drive to London tonight. So far i have checked:


1. The temp gauge sits resolutely in the centre of the dial. The car has never overheated. It stays put even when decelerating from motorway speeds to a dead stop.


2. The coolant is up to the 'max' level - has been spot on since I tightened the header tank cap right up.


3. The inlet and outlet pipes for the heater matrix are both hot, fingerprint removingly so.


Any other suggestions? It has done 135k miles now, 37k in my ownership. Fuel consumption is normal at 38mpg on a run, the interior fan blows on all speeds, just only cold/ambient air. AC will only blow cold. Can adjust where the blowers point fine, can switch between screen, feet, face etc no problem.


I had a look at the manual and it looks like the fuse that controls the heater adjustment also controls the fan operating so I have tentatively ruled that out as the fan works find on all speeds.


What have I missed?

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Sorry no idea!


but if it is electrically operated worth moving temp control from max to min a few times to wake it up.


Failing that Google for the motor.......take it off and move the flap manually to free off.

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Thanks Alf,


I've tried moving the knob from hot to cold several times to no avail - only cold air blows out. i can make it extra cold by turning on the AC (its not auto climate control) but this is not particularly desirable!


I need to re-grease the blower motor bottom bearing anyway so I'll take it to bits next weekend and see if I can find the actuator and give it a prod. It seems like this is the most obvious culprit.

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Thanks Vantman! I'll have a good look at the weekend and see what i can see. Did it ever do this in your tenure? (not angling for a warranty claim here! :-D )


I don't remember it ever happening,it was a while ago though!

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Thanks for the info - much appreciated! I'll see what I can do with it, thinking it through it seems that the blender flap is the most likely culprit here - certainly all the really worrying things have been ruled out! MOT due next week :)


I might try the recirculating air too just in case that nerdles it free.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, its fixed itself. I'm not sure how but I have heating restored again. It fixed itself the following day so I suspect it just jammed shut somehow.




New blower motor and a set of a-pillar trims to replace the one that blew off on the A3 the other day following my most recent windscreen replacement. The trims looks easy enough to attach but I have a question for Saab people. The blower motor came from a car equipped with ACC, mine is MCC. The ramifications of this are that the snail-shell shaped house that the blower motor lives in is different, however the motor itself looks the same to me. Does anyone know whether the actual motor is different? The 2-pin plug looks the same having dismantled it, and I can just put the new motor in the old housing by the looks of it, but will it work?


Looking at the pics of my dismantling and this motor, the motor has slightly different numbers on it - the new one is Siemens MGA 773-70142-02 0990475R-1 The old one is MGA 773-70156-01 007089B-2


The old part is dated Sept 2003, the new part is dated August 2005. Both are Siemens parts.


I'll go home and have a play but in the meantime does anyone know? All I could find by googling is that the snail-shell housing is different and not interchangeable due to the variable speed resistor hedgehog thing slot not existing on the ACC one which is blindingly obvious, there is no info on the actual motor that lives inside though.

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Those who are still reading, well done.


It turns out the blower motor for an ACC car will fit an MCC housing , and the MCC blower power plug fits the ACC motor - however it doesn't work the other way around. A blower motor (part MGA 773-70142-02) will work in a car without automagic climate control, but a blower motor (part MGA 773-70156-01) will not fit a car with automagic climate control as the plug is wrong. These are strictly for cars with manual air con and a temperature dial.


I also fitted the replacement screen trim bit and made bloody sure it was securely attached. The car is now over 40% better.


No pics because its basically just like my dismantling and re-greasing post from a year ago.

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Quite possible that the flap motor positions got out of sync. The re-circulation control motor is a known weak point - the teeth go on the cog inside it. However you can push the cog off and turn it 180 degrees for some more life out of it.

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