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Rob Bell

The Hated ULEZ - getting your shitecar exempted

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10 hours ago, lesapandre said:

Which routes into London? Seems unlikely? ūüôĄ

I know you can drive into London along the M4, come off at J4 and get into Heathrow T3 without getting picked up, for one example. 

@Rob Bell I know someone who works at Tfl on the ULEZ - more policy stuff, but I'll see if he can give me any advice. 

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On 12/3/2019 at 9:17 AM, angle said:

I know you can drive into London along the M4, come off at J4 and get into Heathrow T3 without getting picked up, for one example. 

@Rob Bell I know someone who works at Tfl on the ULEZ - more policy stuff, but I'll see if he can give me any advice. 

Awesome, that'd be handy! Thanks @angle, that would be really helpful.

Thanks for all the suggestions chaps. You'll not be surprised if I hadn't already thought of a few of them ;) I've looked into hiring a lock up on the other side of the north circular (I'm not that far from this road, which makes the charge feel particularly punitive), and I have a hunch that there may be gaps in camera coverage, but I don't know until they're installed. Heck, I've even thought about rotating number plates! ;)

 

A little sit rep. I've had a few conversations and some great ideas. Unfortunately Riverbank Motorcycles were not able to provide me with contacts with TfL with whom they collaborate with to get the TfL database updated for retrograde compliance on older 'bikes. Slightly disappointing, but I can understand the various reasons why they can't do that, but at least they took the trouble of responding to me!

 

Where I am now is waiting for a response from one of the privately owned IVA test centres - this could be a potentially nice little earner for them. 

My feeling is that we shouldn't be trying to change the V5 details, as I get the impression that the DVLA will not be interested in retrospectively altering homologation details of older cars - but since the London ULEZ (and other proposed ULEZ) are not directly controlled by the DVLA and are only using a 0.08g/km NOx threshold, this could meet the green credentials required (and not require more carbon in the manufacture of a new car in Asia). 

 

 

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According to SMMT the average life span of a car in the UK is about 8 years. I would have thought the number of cars deemed too polluting will rapidly dwindle just through the passing of time. 

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1 hour ago, The_Equalizer said:

According to SMMT the average life span of a car in the UK is about 8 years. I would have thought the number of cars deemed too polluting will rapidly dwindle just through the passing of time. 

/timharfordhaton

That's bollocks, 8 years is the average age of a vehicle. The average lifespan of a vehicle is about 14 years. Two different things.

https://www.smmt.co.uk/industry-topics/sustainability/average-vehicle-age/

/timharfordhatoff

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4 hours ago, Eddie Honda said:

/timharfordhaton

That's bollocks, 8 years is the average age of a vehicle. The average lifespan of a vehicle is about 14 years. Two different things.

https://www.smmt.co.uk/industry-topics/sustainability/average-vehicle-age/

/timharfordhatoff

Good point (well made*), but the principle still stands. Natural wastage would do the job. Also, I would love to see figures on annual mileage compared to the age of a vehicle. Are 10-year-old cars covering the same distance as that of a new car?

If London's population hadn't increased from approximately 6 to 9 million people in 30 years then there wouldn't be the same problem either.

 

 

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On 12/4/2019 at 10:31 AM, Rob Bell said:

I've even thought about rotating number plates! ;)

I was at a Barons auction back in about 2006 which had a W126 Merc with exactly that. Someone had gone to great effort and it would swap between three different number plates.

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2 hours ago, The_Equalizer said:

.... a W126 Merc with exactly that. Someone had gone to great effort and it would swap between three different number plates.

The Russians are flogging a rotating mechanism....but it only does two plates, by the look of the thing.

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Rob you say that your pre Euro 4 emissions MGF probably meets the NOx levels anyway but are you sure?

From messing about with your Freelander it seemed to me that there are differences, namely that the compliant one have a pre cat lamba sensor and a post cat lambda sensor.  Does your early MGF have that?  I suspect that actually to get it under the numbers you will need a newer ECU, a newer cat (and probably a good quality one) and the extra lambda sensor.

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On 12/3/2019 at 3:59 AM, Fabergé Greggs said:

I’ve anecdotally heard that you can update the database if your manufacturer holds emissions info, you just submit letter-headed paper from the manufacturer, so it’s definitely update-able.

Yes, this is possible. Someone on Insight Central did it recently. Link: https://www.insightcentral.net/threads/ulez-london-ultra-low-emission-charge.124013/

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On 12/6/2019 at 11:45 AM, dieselnutjob said:

Rob you say that your pre Euro 4 emissions MGF probably meets the NOx levels anyway but are you sure?

From messing about with your Freelander it seemed to me that there are differences, namely that the compliant one have a pre cat lamba sensor and a post cat lambda sensor.  Does your early MGF have that?  I suspect that actually to get it under the numbers you will need a newer ECU, a newer cat (and probably a good quality one) and the extra lambda sensor.

My MGF is EU2, so no post-cat Lambda sensor - but the function of that sensor is to confirm that the catalyst is working correctly and has no bearing on the emissions the vehicle emits (that's the function of the pre-catalyst sensor). The K16 engine was actually homologated in both EU3 and EU4 form (the latter work undertaken by Riccardo, paid for by the Chinese) - there's next to no hardware difference between the two.


For my EU2 engine, I have absolutely no idea what its NOx emissions are like. My hunch is that there is little material difference between the early and later catalyst - the principle difference being the later one has a boss for the post-cat Lambda. Interestingly, on the earlier car's ECU, fuel and timing advance trim can be set through software, which is why I am speculating whether the engine could be made to duck under the 0.08g/km NOx threshold? The engine was designed to learn burn and run without a catalyst (before the German manufacturers lobbied for compulsory cat fitment). NOx goes up with a lean burn, down when you enrich. Might be worth a punt to see whether the standard or slightly altered fuel/ignition could get it through. Otherwise, I'd be happy to convert over to the later ECU (and different fuel injectors etc.) - not a too difficult task if you take the necessary parts from a later, scrapped car :)

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On 12/6/2019 at 6:19 AM, The_Equalizer said:

Good point (well made*), but the principle still stands. Natural wastage would do the job. Also, I would love to see figures on annual mileage compared to the age of a vehicle. Are 10-year-old cars covering the same distance as that of a new car?

If London's population hadn't increased from approximately 6 to 9 million people in 30 years then there wouldn't be the same problem either.

 

 

Greater London's population 1931 to 1961 was always around 8 million. Public policy then sought to dedensify it.  It's gone back up because of various factors but that in itself is no bad thing as you can then afford plenty of effective public transport. Getting emissions down is overall a good thing  - smog has come back to London etc.  But on the other hand none of my cars are compliant....

20191210_230008.jpg

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9 hours ago, dieselnutjob said:

Are all Rover 25s ULEZ compliant? I think I can get one for scrap money. Only issue is that the owner has lost the keys (and fobs). I'm hoping it's a 5AS one and not Pektron and that it's ULEZ. 

The Government website seems fine with petrol Y reg 2001 onwards 25s. X & W plates seem to be a no no.  Google Technozen for security issues on a 25. He's very good.

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Yes. Any 4-cylinder K-series from 2001 is ULEZ compliant. If TfL ever gets antsy and demands Eu4, then the Chinese built TF was Eu4 compliant and the hardware is essentially the same. Just need to re-flash the EU with the later calibration. 

Of course the problem could prove to be getting the DVLA to accept the changes?

Sit Rep on the current ULEZ situation:

  1. Been discussing things with Charlie at CCW - he's going to run some more articles on the ULEZ situation that could lead to some clarification on how to move things forward in terms of retrospective exemption. (That may not be for the better to be honest - this is officialdom we're talking about here, but who knows?)
  2. I've finally had a reply from the federation of vintage and historic vehicles. They're not really interested in modern classics that are less than 30 years old, but at least they did give a detailed response - albeit one that tells me what I knew already... I'll let them know when I make progress (in one direction or other!)
  3. I've still not heard from the private IVA testing centre. This may be an "email thing" - when I get a chance I'll pick up the phone in office hours and corner them that way. However, there is a chance they don't have NOx analysis equipment. This is available, but I guess not cheap - but since they certify import vehicles under IVA rules, I would have thought that they would have the kit necessary?

Basically, I am still chipping away. As things stand, I've nothing to lose and everything to gain *if* retrospective exemption can be extended to cars as well as motorcycles.

[PS is it me, or does anyone else thing that there is someone in TfL who is a classic motorcycle nut and as engineered a loop hole for two-wheeled motor vehicles? Question is, how rigid is this hole and can it be enlarged to include cars?]

 

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13 hours ago, Skut said:

Google Technozen for security issues on a 25. He's very good.

This - Paul sorted out my Streetwise BCU and I had it back within two days. Top bloke. What he doesn't know about shonky MGR electronics ain't worth knowing. If you're a subscriber (tenner a year) on the MG-R forums he'll do it cut price and do some stuff for free such as enabling/disabling features, if its a Pektron BCU.

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I know Paul quite well so yes if I get this Rover I will get his help. 

Saw the car. 

It's a 1.6

No coolant in the header tank but no sign of water in the oil. The dribble of coolant in the tank was still pink and no sign of oil in there. 

Oil level on the dipstick correct and oily. 

Recent MOT. Good tyres. 

Checks out as ULEZ. 

Does have a key. One fob stopped working and the owner chucked it in a draw and used the other one. Then he dropped that one down a drain. It was retrieved but no longer works.

He says he knows the EKA but I couldn't get it to work. I have done this with other cars so I don't think it's me. Owners dad is a Rover licker and spent two hours yesterday trying to enter the EKA. 

One front wing has a slightly different colour and the leading edge of the door has a crease in it, he says he had a knock and it was bodged back together, but it isn't as bad as what I sound like here. Small dent in tailgate. 

It's only done 50000 miles apparently. 

I think I will see if I can unpin the wire from the Pektron and temporarily bodge in my lab 5AS instead. I can code the MEMS3 to my 5AS and start it and see if it runs right, get warmed up and see what's up with the coolant. If it has omghgf then I'll walk away. 

If it's worth having/saving then I can pull the Pektron and send it with the two fobs to Paul and I'm sure he will sort it. 

I could store even store it at my Mums house and leave it there until ULEZ goes out to the North Circular and I actually need it. 

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Getting the BCU out is great fun*, especially if the car has aircon....

Might be better if you can get the car to Paul if you buy it, as he has them out in seconds. Took me much swearing , grunting and contortion to get the swine out on mine. It now lives in the passenger footwell under the floor mat cos I wasn't putting it back in where it came from.

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Missing coolant but no emulsification suggests the inlet manifold gasket may be away which is a cheap part and not too awful to replace.  I'd poke the jiggle valve oot whilst your at it to make it easier to bleed. 

At least being a Pektron car it should be cheaper to insure than their 5as predecessors. The ZR versions certainly are. 

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Coolant leak could be many things - but the bad bit is that the coolant tank is empty and has likely been driven like this for a period of time. This can quickly = scrap head - but fingers crossed this isn't the case.

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PS - I had this back from the Federation of historic and veteran vehicles. Executive summary: if its modern shite, they're not interested and won't help (but you knew that already ;))

Hi Rob

Regarding your query, please note Emma's comment below. Our remit is Historic Vehicles and our emphasis to date has been to get historic vehicles exempted from the ULEZ and CAZ/LEZ. your MGF falls outside our remit and perhaps you'll appreciate we cannot offer support to all modern vehicle owners, as this would just be overwhelming, as well as outside our brief.

Having said that, I hope the following observations are something you might find useful and can possibly take up with your classic car club.

We've had several enquiries of this sort and I anticipate more, so I have done some research. Please however bear in mind these are just early research findings, and I cannot vouch for their completeness. I'd also caution that the ULEZ/CAZ/LEZ schemes are all either formative or at a very early stage and people are only just starting to look at retro-fitting. This is still a developing issue.

In the London ULEZ and some others (I haven't done a full trawl) there are legal options for retrofit applications to be deemed compliant. To do this, you'd have to be compliant on the NOX levels for a Euro 4 petrol engine.

So you'd have to re-engineer your K series engine to be NOX-compliant, and have it tested and certified to that effect on a rolling road. You'd then have to get its DVLA details changed using the emissions certificate, then apply to Transport for London to have the vehicle registered as compliant, which would be based on the DVLA's record.

https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone/ways-to-meet-the-standards

I know from a previous enquiry involving a Jag V12 that there are LPG converters who claim they can achieve NOX compliance with an LPG conversion in some cases (probably not the V12 Jag). Transport for London have however said they wouldn't accept LPG conversions. Whether they can legally do this if your vehicle is certified to comply is open to question. What is clear is that they wouldn't look favourably on it.

My search on Google came up with the fact that the Chinese did produce a Euro 4 compliant variant of the K Series, so in theory, if you can get one (rare) adapt it and fit it, including the control system and catalyst/emissions system (sounds expensive and technically difficult) then again, you could apply for exemption. Fitting a later Euro 4 engine would also be a theoretical option but again, these days it's not so easy as the whole control and emissions system has to be grafted in, apart from the engineering.

I rather suspect that simple measures to modify the existing engine - e.g lowering the compression ratio, reprofiling the cam etc. wouldn't work, but I really don't know. There is an agency accrediting fleet vehicle conversions so there are "approved" retro-fit conversions being carried out, but to taxis and buses.

There are of course people offering electric conversions and these are ULEZ compliant but how much it would cost and what range you might get is open to question.

All of this seems likely to cost more than the value of the vehicle.

I'd stress again that this is all theoretical. I don't know of anyone who's done it. It would require convincing two sets of Civil Servants (DVLA and TfL) of your plan and I don't think anyone is going to give you an assurance it will be accepted, and because it involves something unusual and outside the perceived policy of getting you to buy an electric car, there's probably going to be reluctance to make a decision to accept it.

There are quite a few classic car clubs whose members are running variants of this engine, so perhaps there is an option for some shared research and development work to test the options?

Regards

 

So nothing terribly new here. 

 

I've still not heard a peep from the IVA place, which is disappointing. If I get a chance to pick up the phone, I'll call 'em!

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