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83C's Shite-esque Fleet: A Matter of IMPORTance.


83C

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On 20/02/2024 at 18:33, 83C said:

Only the MoT tester will ever see them, so colour-coding the shields is entirely pointless. Much like life itself.

Yeah. I did my Maestro ones in grey. 

John-major-1175506.jpg

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  • 83C changed the title to 83C's Shite-esque Fleet: VXR8 vs. the MoT tester.

And it’s good news!

A987D0B7-F1FE-41B4-B866-369F224CB89B.jpeg.3ef824d5693df6e42708592c5ad8f4e7.jpeg

The good folk at Halfway House Garage fitted the replacement exhaust, braided brake lines, sorted out the tracking and gave it an MoT. 

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It now drives nicely, and the exhaust is mega - a proper howl at higher revs. Not the quietest though…

Need to polish these a bit.

E261FD5F-7D6A-4528-9191-44D6E860406F.jpeg.9c4ba6d7b65e36617cf672ea3063cf16.jpeg

Glad to reach the end of this stage of works on it to be honest, it’s been a bit of a mission and there’s been a few occasions when I’ve questioned my sanity for taking it on.

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Just out of interest the work so far has cost:

Walkinshaw cat-back stainless steel exhaust (secondhand): £1000

Superpro springs, dampers and front topmounts: £949

Pair of front droplinks: £70

Pair of rear droplinks: £75

New suspension arms all round, new track rods and ends, and new GM alternator from the States - £1050 including shipping and import duty.

Both rear hubs and driveshafts (secondhand): £300

Rear discs (secondhand): £150

HEL braided brake lines: £108

Rear ABS sensor: £10

Front ARB Superpro polybushes: £45

Steering rack Superpro polybush: £45

MoT + fitment of new exhaust, braided brake lines, fresh brake fluid, set up tracking: £407

Total: £4209.

Plus the parts that aren’t fitted yet:

Pair of good condition headlamps: £300

Set of alloys for refurbishment: £300

Rear subframe for refurbishment: £150

Total so far: £4959.

Still to spend:

Clutch (LS7 upgrade, fitted): £1700

Tyres: circa £600 for something decent.

Wheel refurbishment: ?

Rear subframe refurbishment (strip, blast and powdercoat), plus fitting: ?

So after all that I’ll have spent £7259 + whatever the wheels and subframe cost to refinish.

That’s a huge amount to have spent on a car, and the vast majority of that is with no labour charges. I don’t know the ‘book times’ for the work I’ve done but I’d be surprised if a pro garage didn’t book at least 2 solid days for the work I did, so that’s probably 15+ hrs at £50-£75 per hour adding another £750-£1000 at least. I’ll not count the money I spent on extra tools as they’ll get used on other things. 

So how does it compare to buying a properly nice VXR8? MWPerformance in Chester are well known for retailing good quality VXR8s, they have a red 6.0 VXR8 in at the moment for £16,995 but it is an auto. It’s somewhere close to what I will have spent including purchase, but on the upside I have a car I know is solid underneath because everything is new. That’s not to say the MWP car (or any tidy VXR8) is worn out, it’s just that those cars might need suspension work long before mine ever should. So it’s swings and roundabouts - buy the good one for an instant hit of fun and nothing to worry about immediately, or buy a rough one, spend the money putting it right and then enjoy. I could have saved money by not buying the Walkinshaw exhaust and just cocooning the crap joints on the old system in gun gum and exhaust bandage, I could just leave the subframe refresh, the spare alloys, spare headlamps and not bother changing the tyres, and the springs and dampers would have passed an MoT as they’re not cracked or leaking. But I certainly wouldn’t have been happy doing half a job, and I really dislike having to come back to something a few months later because of a job that could have been done when everything else was apart got missed for the sake of saving a few quid. 

Horses for courses, you takes your pick etc.

Hopefully I’ll pull a few quid back by selling the old exhaust backboxes, the stock springs and dampers, the old headlamps, what will become the spare set of wheels and tyres etc, and maybe someone might even want the old subframe for their own refurb/swap project. 

All of the above is probably applicable to any performance car, it’s the old triangle of choice; you can have something that is a combination of fast, reliable, cheap. Pick any two…

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8 hours ago, 83C said:

Just out of interest the work so far has cost:

Walkinshaw cat-back stainless steel exhaust (secondhand): £1000

Superpro springs, dampers and front topmounts: £949

Pair of front droplinks: £70

Pair of rear droplinks: £75

New suspension arms all round, new track rods and ends, and new GM alternator from the States - £1050 including shipping and import duty.

Both rear hubs and driveshafts (secondhand): £300

Rear discs (secondhand): £150

HEL braided brake lines: £108

Rear ABS sensor: £10

Front ARB Superpro polybushes: £45

Steering rack Superpro polybush: £45

MoT + fitment of new exhaust, braided brake lines, fresh brake fluid, set up tracking: £407

Total: £4209.

Plus the parts that aren’t fitted yet:

Pair of good condition headlamps: £300

Set of alloys for refurbishment: £300

Rear subframe for refurbishment: £150

Total so far: £4959.

Still to spend:

Clutch (LS7 upgrade, fitted): £1700

Tyres: circa £600 for something decent.

Wheel refurbishment: ?

Rear subframe refurbishment (strip, blast and powdercoat), plus fitting: ?

So after all that I’ll have spent £7259 + whatever the wheels and subframe cost to refinish.

That’s a huge amount to have spent on a car, and the vast majority of that is with no labour charges. I don’t know the ‘book times’ for the work I’ve done but I’d be surprised if a pro garage didn’t book at least 2 solid days for the work I did, so that’s probably 15+ hrs at £50-£75 per hour adding another £750-£1000 at least. I’ll not count the money I spent on extra tools as they’ll get used on other things. 

So how does it compare to buying a properly nice VXR8? MWPerformance in Chester are well known for retailing good quality VXR8s, they have a red 6.0 VXR8 in at the moment for £16,995 but it is an auto. It’s somewhere close to what I will have spent including purchase, but on the upside I have a car I know is solid underneath because everything is new. That’s not to say the MWP car (or any tidy VXR8) is worn out, it’s just that those cars might need suspension work long before mine ever should. So it’s swings and roundabouts - buy the good one for an instant hit of fun and nothing to worry about immediately, or buy a rough one, spend the money putting it right and then enjoy. I could have saved money by not buying the Walkinshaw exhaust and just cocooning the crap joints on the old system in gun gum and exhaust bandage, I could just leave the subframe refresh, the spare alloys, spare headlamps and not bother changing the tyres, and the springs and dampers would have passed an MoT as they’re not cracked or leaking. But I certainly wouldn’t have been happy doing half a job, and I really dislike having to come back to something a few months later because of a job that could have been done when everything else was apart got missed for the sake of saving a few quid. 

Horses for courses, you takes your pick etc.

Hopefully I’ll pull a few quid back by selling the old exhaust backboxes, the stock springs and dampers, the old headlamps, what will become the spare set of wheels and tyres etc, and maybe someone might even want the old subframe for their own refurb/swap project. 

All of the above is probably applicable to any performance car, it’s the old triangle of choice; you can have something that is a combination of fast, reliable, cheap. Pick any two…

The costs soon add up don't they, but you've got the well sorted car you wanted, you know everythings correct and just how you want it.

If you'd spent more on a perceived 'nicer' example there is a strong chance you would have still been spending big money on refreshing/upgrading things.

It has been a enjoyable read too - well done, I'd take great satisfaction out of doing all that and it looks a cracking motor.

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On 24/03/2024 at 14:35, 83C said:

Update - new studs welded to the underside of the Skoda so the fuel cooler is back where it ought to be. 

 

 

Slight derailment on the thread, but the same has happened to my caddy van, though the cooler is hanging on for dear life by 1 bolt and the one where it has detached, its down to the bracket on the cooler side failing, any ideas for a fix without a welder?😬

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17 minutes ago, robt100 said:

Slight derailment on the thread, but the same has happened to my caddy van, though the cooler is hanging on for dear life by 1 bolt and the one where it has detached, its down to the bracket on the cooler side failing, any ideas for a fix without a welder?😬

Extra long ratchet strap* right around the body?

If the mounting is similar to the Skoda there isn’t really much else you can do other than find a tame welder to add a new stud.

*Don’t laugh, I nearly did this as an emergency fix with the Skoda before I managed to find the bungee cord box. It would have also held the front doors closed which would have made getting in and out a bit tricky.

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51 minutes ago, Popsicle said:

The costs soon add up don't they, but you've got the well sorted car you wanted, you know everythings correct and just how you want it.

If you'd spent more on a perceived 'nicer' example there is a strong chance you would have still been spending big money on refreshing/upgrading things.

It has been a enjoyable read too - well done, I'd take great satisfaction out of doing all that and it looks a cracking motor.

Thanks, this was pretty much my thinking (having done it in the past with a couple of other cars), but there were still a few curveballs that I really didn’t expect with this one such as the missing n/s handbrake. 

There is a plan for an ongoing program of improvements including the rear subframe which will be sorted over the summer for fitting during next winter, and at some point I’ll have to face up to getting the small bubbles in the paint along the rear wing/bumper join sorted out. 

Still, that’s all for the future, it’s time to give a few other vehicles in the fleet some attention.

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6 minutes ago, 83C said:

Thanks, this was pretty much my thinking (having done it in the past with a couple of other cars), but there were still a few curveballs that I really didn’t expect with this one such as the missing n/s handbrake. 

There is a plan for an ongoing program of improvements including the rear subframe which will be sorted over the summer for fitting during next winter, and at some point I’ll have to face up to getting the small bubbles in the paint along the rear wing/bumper join sorted out. 

Still, that’s all for the future, it’s time to give a few other vehicles in the fleet some attention.

I like the 'ongoing program of improvements' quote, I'm the same with things to do down the line, some I achieve, some I don't. I keep all costings and a to do list on a spreadsheet (sad I know). Trouble is my to do lists are getting longer at the mo.....

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A couple of weeks ago I bought a spare set of wheels with the intention of stripping the old tyres off and then having them powdercoated and new tyres fitted. The wheels that were on the car have a mix of budget brands thoroughly unsuited to the car.

These wheels that I fitted today are neither the originals or the spare set:

7B6E2759-B976-4B02-BA26-9049CE8C4E5E.jpeg.7caa23765a074023bfeaf6ba65c96b6e.jpeg

They’re a set that came up for sale locally in excellent condition with almost new Pirelli P-Zeros fitted, so now I have three sets of wheels. Anyone want a set of VXR8 19’s? 

Speaking of wheels I also managed to get the hubcaps kindly sent by @AnnoyingPentium onto the Skoda:

14D2F894-D588-4A7C-A7DD-B5D3690B2495.jpeg.c0bfe4336d325176abcf3ad402123ceb.jpeg

Note the quality* repair to the hole in the rear bumper.

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27 minutes ago, 83C said:

Speaking of wheels I also managed to get the hubcaps kindly sent by @AnnoyingPentium onto the Skoda:

14D2F894-D588-4A7C-A7DD-B5D3690B2495.jpeg.c0bfe4336d325176abcf3ad402123ceb.jpeg

Note the quality* repair to the hole in the rear bumper.

Yay! Looks good with those hubcaps on.

Loving the bumper repair as well, mine had a chunk of paint out it so there's a Scotland sticker over it.

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  • 83C changed the title to 83C's Shite-esque Fleet: VXR8 - the Saga Continues.

Whilst the VXR8 is technically roadworthy, it handles like a greased bag of particularly oily spanners. 

When the car was MoT’d the garage did the front tracking and everything was fine. 60 miles later and it’s an appalling mess. What I suspect is that all the new suspension has settled in a bit and in doing so, caused the geometry to be all out of alignment again. There’s also an alarming ‘hop’ that the back end does every half mile or so, like the wheels suddenly change direction by a few degrees and then return. Having watched the wheels via the mirrors they’re certainly not changing position or angle relative to the bodywork, so I’m beginning to wonder if the LSD needs fresh oil - theory being that the back end wobble is being caused by the diff locking very slightly on at least one side. Of course it’s a specialist oil, not widely available but apparently Land Rover also use it on certain diffs and most dealers should stock it. 

I’m also going to have a full four wheel alignment done to try and set the car up properly.

Still, at least it looks good:

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F6B96260-B431-40E6-96F9-ECF79723AD8D.jpeg.f5f2f12d34435bb50a54f396be06c433.jpeg

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In more fleet news the Range Rover passed its MoT today, making 6/7 of the fleet this year. Just the Arnage to go, maybe later this month. I’m always glad to see the back of MoT season.

I also changed the diff oil in the VXR8 to try and help solve the issues when it’s on the move. At the moment it’s suffering from some very wayward steering which is booked to be corrected tomorrow morning with a full 4w alignment on a Hunter machine. It’s also exhibited some odd behaviour where it feels like the diff is very slightly locking up and causing the back of the car to wander every so often, as well as making the odd click when turning tightly. I was relieved to see ‘nice’ black/brown used oil drain out rather than a silvery goop that would indicate something really badly wrong, and it’s been refilled with fresh oil which happens to be specific to the VXR8 and a few Land Rovers with electronic diffs. £42 for a litre bottle from the local LR dealer is the cheapest I found it, and I needed 1.2L…

Still, I’ll only need to buy one bottle at the end of the summer to refill the diff when I swap the subframes over. Small mercies and all that.

I keep thinking of selling the Fabia, not because there’s anything wrong with it, I just fancy something with a bit more ground clearance and chunkier tyres. But not the Range Rover. The roads around Shropshire are utterly shit and getting worse, especially where I am. The Skoda is a cracking little car, economical, goes well, handles alright and stops ok, as well as being a doddle to park and comfortable for me. But it gets lost in some of the bigger holes and my dog will soon outgrow the boot space unless I start folding the back seats down. I did consider the E320 that was for sale as it would tick the comfort and dog space boxes, but really I want something with really chunky 70-80 profile tyres, lots of ground clearance and ideally slightly shorter than a cruise liner. Something like a short wheel base Frontera diesel or a Mk.1 3dr Freelander Td4. I’d really like a Jimny but I doubt I’d fit in it and finding a non-rotten example cheap would be a bit of a mission.

Ho hum.

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Today the VXR8 went for proper 4w alignment.

EE82D89F-74B5-4048-9E19-416BB678CFA2.jpeg.f48f34d4ea31779b88d1f8f566ef7eac.jpeg

This all went well until the nearside leading lower arm on the rear axle (which is adjustable on the HSV variants of the VE Commodore) sheared. The garage had tried penetrating oil, heat, and then sheer force to get the outer adjusting nut to free off (having already successfully managed the inner), and the arm gave way instead 🤦🏻‍♂️

Got a lift back home, then had the fun* of extracting the spare arm off the spare subframe (lucky I bought that…) which put up a fair old fight. Fortunately it came around to my way of thinking before I went full fat gorilla on it. Back to the garage, dropped the replacement arm off and let them get on with it. Collected the car a few hours later and it drives so much better, but still isn’t exactly perfect. There was an adjustment bolt on one of the rear arms that they were understandably reticent about messing with, having already had the experience with the leading arm, so it’s good enough for now. With the spare rear subframe available to refurbish and fit later this year it’s something I’ll live with, once that is all on everything will be new and easy to adjust.

Back home and it got treated to a bit of an engine bay wash and brush up:

1C285B63-D559-4AD0-B701-CD655866F6BD.jpeg.b95e5160f610308c2c248f05d86915a2.jpeg

A close up of the vital details:

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I have to be honest and say I’m pretty satisfied with how this has turned out, it was a proper wreck when I bought it and now it’s a damn good car. The cosmetics still need attention and the clutch can judder a bit away from standstill, but they can wait for now.

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If the geo figures happen to be the same as the Omega (could well be the case) I can supply an alternative set of figures which make the car handle much better when it has a few miles on the clock and settled suspension.

These figures were arrived at by Wheels in Motion (Chesham) owner, when the Omega owners forum was quite a big thing, quite a few years ago, and  gave him a lot of business.

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The previous generation (VT-VZ) Commodore was based on the same floorpan as the Omega, the old GM V platform. The VE was a clean sheet design by Holden that gave GM the Zeta platform and is very different to the V platform. 

I wonder if those alternative geometry figures were influenced at all by the HSV Clubsport variants of the VT-VZ? 

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  • 83C changed the title to 83C's Shite-esque Fleet: Mundane Maintenance.

Gave the Range Rover some long overdue attention today, with an oil and filter change.  0252772C-FFAB-44EA-AC8D-F0397BDB8E17.jpeg.8708a6c4ca64ba810ef05c7239c8ebf2.jpeg

Also found the air con belt has shredded itself, probably because the compressor is seized. Think I might have to do something about that. 

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Went to a Cars & Coffee type meet this morning in Wrectwm. Some decent cars on show including:

44A27D82-7E0D-4066-A11F-789A4189BBA2.jpeg.3712b900351edc371955a336e0eefc03.jpeg

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I was never much of a Nova fan but these days I’m beginning to appreciate them a bit more. The Capri was a bit interesting too, at first glance it’s a standard 280 Brooklands but it sounds too smooth to be a Cologne and barely visible behind the 15s was a 4-pot brake setup on the front and a disc conversion on the rear. Sadly never saw the owner to ask what was hiding under the bonnet, though I suspect maybe a 2.9 24v conversion.

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  • 83C changed the title to 83C's Shite-esque Fleet: Collection Mission No. 174.

Right then, todays mission is a collection from far away (or just down the road compared to @Mr_Bo11ox’s impending odyssey) but still, it’s a day out to a nice part of the U.K. 

The plan, from National Rail:

F43E0405-6A07-4FC9-889E-FF40AE7F529F.jpeg.8be04fb961ad0e937521c5820a3038c9.jpeg
 

The second connection is the only slightly iffy bit, I’d have liked a bit more than 7 minutes but it’s either that or a 1h 7m connection. Oh well.

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The next chariot has arrived:

3663F46D-6FF8-4EBA-8F00-982A48614C93.jpeg.138c2dbd28ff264738981282681e3521.jpeg

I’m on board for a while now. 

Supplies:

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And reading material:

D825A0D9-402D-42BF-93A3-456BC5A0C95A.jpeg.1d4545e787997e566c50dd06913a0b43.jpeg

More than anything else, I’m probably best defined as someone happiest when travelling, and like most travellers a good book is invariably part of the kit required. I’ve never gotten on with Kindles and the like, whilst I am more than happy to agree that they have significant space-saving advantages there’s nothing quite like holding a proper book.

Command is a step away from what most people know Al Murray for, and much closer to a proper history book but without the Atacama-like dryness of a Max Hastings tome. For those who don’t know, Murray is a major WWII fanatic and co-hosts a podcast called We Have Ways of Making You Talk with James Holland, and they’re not afraid of bursting a few myths and untruths that have become part of accepted wisdom about the events of 1939-1945, as well as bringing to the fore names that simply haven’t received the limelight that they probably should have. The book is written in a similar style, and based on where I’ve got to so far I’d highly recommend it (and the podcast) to anyone with an interest in WWII.

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Connection made, just. No station picture because I had to do that most undignified of things; run. Here’s a picture of a flat and near-featureless land, except the camera will only autofocus on the raindrops so you’ll just have to imagine a flat green thing:

73833669-2AE9-486E-8EAF-62C202D752DC.jpeg.2e97a83df1d7013866b80f78838ec739.jpeg

The inbound was 6 minutes late, and the booked connection time was 7 minutes. Given the next train is in an hour’s time, and showing as a rail replacement bus, this was all the incentive I needed to expend considerable energy moving rather more quickly than I would prefer. But I’m nearly at my destination, so all will be revealed soon.

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Finally got home. 5 hours to do 170 miles, traffic everywhere, a smash on the M6 with trucks, vans and cars, and the usual Friday night nonsense. 

Thanks again to @JJ0063, 11/10 would buy from again. 

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2 minutes ago, 83C said:

Finally got home. 5 hours to do 170 miles, traffic everywhere, a smash on the M6 with trucks, vans and cars, and the usual Friday night nonsense. 

Thanks again to @JJ0063, 11/10 would buy from again. 

Jesus! Glad you came earlier than first planned!

Hope the Ibiza drove well and didn’t cause any issues. 
 

Thanks again for a simple sale, I do love this forum.

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20 minutes ago, JJ0063 said:

Jesus! Glad you came earlier than first planned!

Hope the Ibiza drove well and didn’t cause any issues. 
 

Thanks again for a simple sale, I do love this forum.

I did wonder if I’d have actually been better leaving later and avoiding the rush hour, but then I’d hoped to be nearly home before it started.

Car drives very well, I’ll get a service and a few bits done and it’ll be decent.

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  • 83C changed the title to 83C's Shite-esque Fleet: More, I need more!

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