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Rave's Charade - 13/8/19 MOT pass and fuel consumption query

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She's got something like 4 holidays booked this year already, despite not having a job. Bit of a sore point TBH.

 

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Anyway we've broken the journey at my uncle's house (of fiesta welding fame), more or less exactly half way. The car's been fine TBH, the four alloys in the back have been rattling and squeaking over unsettled roads but the engine is whisper quiet, and wind noise/tyre roar acceptable if not exactly hushed. The seats are dead comfy too, up to Mondeo standards I'd say, better than the Passat which always causes arse pain after a few hours. Mrs R slept much of the way having struggled to get any kip on the bus, so it can't be too unrelaxing. Fuel gauge is showing a smidge under halfway, so I suspect getting all the way home on one tank will be a stretch, but we'll see.

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Just got home safely a mere 26 hours after setting off last night, not bad for a 900 mile round trip I reckon. Bit of drama right at the death as the A12 was closed at Stratford and so we had to go on a snaking diversion through the Olympic Park, but it probably only added 15 or 20 minutes.

 

The car really is fine for long distance driving, it doesn't really feel small at all, it just takes a long time to get from 60 to 70 to go round trucks if you don't shift down from 5th. I had one guy in a pickup truck tailgating me on full beams to express his displeasure at my interrupting his progress, but he really was just being a total bellend, he need only have let off the throttle for 5 seconds to tuck in behind me as I got up to 70, no way was there any need for him to use the brakes.

 

When it became clear that it wasn't going to make it on one tank I stopped for a fill up and did the maths in my head, which revealed a slightly disappointing average of about 54mpg from Cumbernauld. I was hoping for more like 60 as I'd pretty much been hypermiling it. I then began to wonder if the engine doesn't run very efficiently below 3k RPM, and found that it doesn't really take a great deal more throttle to get it to sit at 70 rather than 60. So from then on, as it was getting late and I was getting a bit fed up I sat at 70-75, which didn't seem to faze it at all. I might go and top it up again tomorrow just to see what it's managed at that sort of speed. I guess it's also quite tall and probably not all that aerodynamic, so maybe I was just hoping for too much; I was rather hoping it would have at least matched my much larger, heavier and faster diesel Passat for economy though. I daresay it will around town.

 

I was delighted to find that the Kia steelies on it had four pretty decent tyres on them, I think they're three Hankooks and a Barum. The alloys have four Goodyear Efficient Grips with plenty of tread on them too, so I'm sorted for tyres for the foreseeable! No sign of the EML that Tiff mentioned in his original ad, I guess a good run was all it needed, so that's a touch as well :) .

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Having removed the alloys from the boot, stashed them in my shed, and reinstated the back seats, I took the Charade out to my brother's birthday meal on Sunday so I could give my wife and my in-laws a ride home. In a slightly unexpected turn of events my mother-in-law took an immediate shine to it and asked me get her an insurance quote on it with a view to selling it to her. Might have been the wine talking, she's not mentioned it since. I'd be happy enough to do it though as I could still borrow it as necessary.

Yesterday I loaded my mountain bike and all my gear (track pump, full face helmet, body armour and knee pads as I'm dangerously incompetent) into the ST170 as I fancied giving it a run out to try and grind the rest of the rust off the brake discs, and to generally have some fun driving it before I flog it. Then it failed to start. I really didn't want to spunk over two gallons of fuel for two hours of incompetent jumping by taking the Mondeo, so I shoved the seats down in the Charade, removed both wheels, and tried my luck. Turns out you've got to either put the passenger seat backrest forward (or push the whole seat forward, it goes a ludicrously long way) but a 6" travel 27.5" wheel enduro bike does go in!

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Unfortunately going through Tunbridge Wells I got a bit frustrated after having been stuck behind yet another incompetent weekend driver and gave it a good thrash through first and second when the road finally cleared, which pinged the EML on. That was accompanied by a burning smell, but I think that might have been from the lorry that was really labouring up the hill in front of me. It seemed fine on the way home. Just read the code, it was the lambda sensor as expected.

This morning my wife insisted that we take the cat to the vets as he's been off his food and listless for a few days now (nothing obviously wrong with him, they took a blood sample just to check). Managed to save a lot of arseache by slotting the Charade into a space that can't have been more than about 4.5m long on the "park on this red route for a max of 1 hour" section outside. Happened to ping over from the trip to the odo when I got home:

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Then I had a look under the bonnet. Look how cute it is, I especially like the tiny little battery!

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I've had a few months of use out of this now, and it's been impressive TBH. It took us down to Hastings 4-up and we even managed to sling three bags of discounted compost in the boot for the ride home. It's absolutely brilliant round town; the suspension soaks up speed bumps, the turning circle is frankly ridiculous, and being so narrow and short it slots into parking spaces with gay abandon. It's even good fun on country roads due to the narrowness and compliant suspension, you can get a good lick on since you're less worried about meeting an oncoming car in the middle of the road. My only complaint there is body roll and a concurrent severe lack of front end grip; chuck it into a corner and it just understeers where a Pug 106 would be darting in and begging for more throttle.

The engine light fault code is a P0136, which is the post-cat Lambda. Switch it off with an ELM327 and it stays off for a while, long enough to pass an MOT at any rate, which is good, because it expired a few days ago. I stuck it in yesterday and it passed, with only an advisory for worn brake discs- the tester said to wait until the pads wear out, but having poked my finger through the wheel and given the discs a poke I'm actually inclined to replace them- ECP will do me a set of Eicher discs and pads for 38 quid at the moment (assuming they're the larger 247mm ones), which is tempting, as I reckon it might also harden up the pedal a bit.

So now I'm wondering what to do about the oxygen sensor. I watched them doing the emissions test; the numbers on the screen were, near as damnit, 0 for both HC and CO, and it initially read over 1.03 for Lambda, before sneaking down to 1.027 and thus passing. So apparently, it's actually running lean (the exhaust pipe is quite rusty, but they didn't advise me of any leaks). This surprises me, as I'm of the opinion that a car rated for 108g CO2/KM should do a lot more than the 54mpg it managed at a very steady 55-60mph cruise on the way back from collecting it, especially given the high gearing. It also takes a few rotations to start when its hot, not so that it ever gives the impression that it won't catch, but a lot more than any of my other petrol cars need. I'm going to pull one of the spark plugs out in a minute for a look, I think, as I can get a set of three iridium Densos for 21 quid delivered off ebay. Then I'm wondering about replacing the pre-cat lambda just because it looks original and the car's done 90,000 miles. Perhaps I'm being unreasonable, but I can still to this day remember that the Nissan Micra K10 brochure I got from the dealer when my parents bought a Prarie in the late 80s reckoned the 1 litre would do 80mpg at a constant 56, and that's from a slightly larger car with a carbed engine, so near on 30% more fuel consumption from something smaller and more modern seems off. I like to think I'm pretty good at hypermiling, I've managed over 40mpg from my 3 litre Mondeo on several occasions. I guess I'll do the post-cat lambda at the same time just to shut the engine light up and in case it makes any difference. Would an exhaust leak cause poor fuel consumption? Any other ideas what might be wrong, or whether I'm just being unrealistic?

Edit: checked the plugs, they are a set of Bosch twin-electrode ones and look absolutely fine.

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Quote

 

get them bosch out,theyre are shite,denso plugs kh20tt set for only £10,blue print discs "£20 pair,pads /9,00,piss easy to change,just make sure sliders are free,use silcon grease,i got my automatic one,upto ton on the way back from bexhill on sea,has reversing sensors,aircon,sl model

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Exhaust leak before lambda sensor could cause overfuelling. Im sure you know but o2 reading ideally is 1 or close to it.  to be honest I'd be happy with 54 mpg. A 3 pot has to work harder. 

 

Id take the old brochure figures with a pinch of salt.  

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I've got 2 of these and think I've never had a better car for almost all purposes except towing stuff , the one pictured took in that v8 like it was the weeks shopping and even has proper lashing points on the floor for ratchet straps, that particular trip to pick that engine up cost 15quid to do 155miles which is around 64mpg, my wifes car is slightly better on the juice but then it feels abit flatter than mine so doesn't reward reving it out through the gears, also whilst in advert mode these take 3litres of engine oil so a 20litre drum lasts like 6 full changes plus a smidge for refill haha, also the burning smell and eml light after a thrash, mine both do that despite vastly disparate mileages.

 

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4 ratchet straps suffice as consumable engine mounts and a fan belt through the floor to a lashed up diff nose with a tensioner pulled away by the clutch pedal would be an hours work if ignoring the finer details like 110kw  transmitted via a 12mm V belt so eminently doable and should positively effect economy and relaxing driving dynamics to boot ! 

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found a squilty q h timing belt in amazon £3.,fun to chxnge,remove,drivers headlight,bend bumper ,to get at bolts on ac, remove engine mounts,belts,timing case after you remove waterpump pulley 10mm 4 bolt,quite tight after 15 yrs,etc tippex timing marks,worth doing as interferance engine....

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2 hours ago, theshadow said:

get them bosch out,theyre are shite,denso plugs kh20tt set for only £10,blue print discs "£20 pair,pads /9,00,piss easy to change,just make sure sliders are free,use silcon grease,i got my automatic one,upto ton on the way back from bexhill on sea,has reversing sensors,aircon,sl model

Where do you buy all these bits, then? Never heard of blue print but for 29 quid I guess I'll give them a go...

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20 hours ago, Egrvalve said:

A 3 pot has to work harder. 

Petrol engines theoretically get more thermally efficient at wider throttle openings. It works in practice too; the diesel Audi Le Mans cars only used about 10-15% less fuel over the course of a race than the petrol ones, because the petrol ones were WOT for much of the lap. On the flip side, friction losses in the engine increase with the square of the engine speed, so it is true that a larger engined car with higher gear ratios can get surprisingly good fuel efficiency compared to a smaller engined model in the same range even though they're probably not extracting as much energy from the fuel at the point it's burned. Stick the high ratio gearbox on the small engine though, and you should do even better, assuming that it actually has enough torque to do the speed you want in top gear, and you can put up with sluggish acceleration to get there. 5th gear in the Charade is pretty high though, the engine only does about 3200rpm at 70 from memory (and struggles to accelerate and maintain speed up hills as a result).

Anyway, theoretical thermodynamics ramblings aside, does anyone know if the EJ-VE engine has a dizzy, or if I can adjust the ignition timing some other way? I'm wondering why the timing information is both in the handbook and on a plate under the bonnet, and hence whether it's worth checking. For the sake of 20 quid I think I'll follow TS's advice and bin the Bosch plugs and get some iridium Densos in there, but Jikovron's report that he got over 60mpg with a v8 in the boot makes me think that mine could definitely do better, and I don't think I'm likely to get a 10%+ improvement from new plugs (though fingers crossed, you never know).

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No dizzy on these, but it does have a double cam sensor setup controlling 3 coil on plug sparklers as it's got a variable advance inlet cam so needs to reference its advance , any problems with the timing setup pings on the eml straight away and makes it run despicably rough.

These can blow through petrol, if I keep up with the 3rd and 4th lane traffic on the M1 i can drop it into the late 40s mpg wise usually as you say dropping into 4th or even third to keep it responsive up inclines, I get decent economy by essentially just letting it slow on inclines in 5th as it will maintain 65 with very little throttle input, but wants full throttle to gradually get to 70 .

 

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OK thanks, good to know. I'll change the plugs and see about doing the lambda sensors, then I'll just have to be happy that it's running as well as it can.

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Hi,

Above are my two Charades, the red and the silver; third car, the four door, was a loan car.

Both red and silver were bought with around 4 to 5000 miles on each, so were in fairly 'as new' condition.

Red one was chopped in for a Smart Roadster - big mistake, the Roadster is a fairly useless car, nowhere near as much fun as a Cappuccino or a MR2, not to mention being temperamental and difficult to work on.

Still have the silver Charade, getting on for 9 years now, and its recently passed the 35k mile mark.

Spent most of its life in Brighton, but has been used for regular long distance runs up to Staffs, Mid Wales and Tyneside. 

Totally reliable, no issues, except the EML light has been 'on' for a few years. Now that the light is MoT fail, will need to get it sorted. As with Rave's example, its the second downstream sensor that's indicated, so will have to switch it off come the test, and see what happens.

Heaviest load its carried so far is a 2CV engine from Redditch to North Staffs, nee botha, man.

In a hurry one lunchtime, I jacked it up in the wrong place, and damaged the radiator, so replacement was fitted. Eventually.

The 4 door loan car was from Clarion Cars in West Worthing, who were once Daihatsu dealers. At the time in 2014, it had covered 130 odd thousand miles, and was still as sweet as a nut; brilliant. An automatic, too; just like driving an old Issigonis auto Mini, or a dodgem car; really really great fun around town. Last time I checked on line, it's still on the road with around 145k on it!

They're all great fun cars, very well made, characterful, comfortable, easy to work on, spacious inside, and very very cheap to run.

Genuinely found both to be more real world fun than a nearly new Panda 100 I owned some time ago; mind, my boggo 950cc AX was much more fun than the bloody Panda, FFS!

Have kept careful mpg records over the years, here are some findings:

Medium to fast run Brighton to North Staffs, up the A5 = 58mpg

Mid Wales mountain road tour in winter conditions = 62mpg

Local touring around East Sussex/Romney Marsh = 61mpg

Fast run Sunderland to Brighton = 47mpg

M40 motorway flat out, full throttle (not exceeding 70mph) = 42mpg

thanks,

BBCM

 

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Thanks for that BBCM, especially the MPG figures. It does sound as if they're a bit inconsistent; perhaps I just had a headwind on the one occasion I've actually measured the MPG scientifically! I can well believe that being light and tall, wind would make a bigger difference than most cars to how it goes.

I just slung the new iridium plugs in, which went fine until I found that I couldn't get the last coil pack on- this turned out to be because the plastic insert in my Halfords Advanced plug socket had come off and got stuck on the plug ceramic. I had to hammer it back in to get it onto the plug flats, which in turn hammered the bottom bit of the insert right over the plug base and severed it, and stuck the rest of it on very firmly. Fortunately I managed to prise it all off without doing any apparent damage to the plug ceramic. The car doesn't start any better than before, as I rather expected.

I'm now half wondering whether I should try sending the injectors off for a test and clean in an ASNU machine- apparently this will cost less than 50 quid, and will be quite interesting apart from anything else. I've never taken a fuel rail off or removed an injector before, is it a tricky job? It's certainly not urgent, I need to get on with fixing and selling my various other wrecks now, will turn my attention back to the Charade if I run out of more important jobs, I reckon!

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