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Engineered like no other car. Not a single one like it. Thankfully.


Talbot

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59 minutes ago, Stinkwheel said:

What was the next move though, thats what we all want to know, edge of our chair and all that, better then soap operas these sort of long drawn out autoshite tension moments

I know what happened next.

Used notes in a brown paper bag, all right?  Usual place...

😁

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2 hours ago, Stinkwheel said:

What was the next move though, thats what we all want to know, edge of our chair and all that, better then soap operas these sort of long drawn out autoshite tension moments

Usually though, while you're trying to leave a pregnant pause and ratchet up the tension, something else breaks 😆

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Follow up from what happened:

Where was I?  oh yes, sitting in a car with a shagged alternator, a majoritively flat battery and no breakdown cover in Telford services car park.  Not exactly ideal.

So.  Knowing that I have no breakdown cover to speak of, time to get creative.  Using google maps, call around every single motor factors and parts stores in the area trying to get hold of an alternator.  It's not a difficult one to change, and I likely have the tools with me to do it.  Or I can just buy them.. whatever gets me out of trouble.  I only need an E18 socket, a 13mm and 10mm spanner and a 6mm allen key.  Can't be that hard to find an alternator can it?  Yes, actually.  Most places could do me one for monday.  One place could do me one next day, but absolutely no-one can do me one today.  Even Mercedes (surprisingly) couldn't help me.  Fucksticks.

Next plan.  Pay the premium and join a breakdown service while needing their help.  OK, it's going to be expensive, but worth it.  Autoaid were every kind of useless on that front, but AA offered a service for a premium paid to join in a breakdown situation.  Worth it.  So paid the premium.  Bloke was out to me amazingly quickly but concluded very quickly that it was not a roadside repair, and hence it would need to be a recovery to local garage.  That's all well and good, but as he found after about 1/2hr of phone calls to local garages, no-one could do it as they couldn't get an alternator.  I already knew this, so suggested (as the person on the phone at AA had mentioned) that maybe we were looking at recovery home.

It's at that point I found out that by a lie of omission, the AA sales person had omitted to mention that recovery any further than to a local garage would be chargeable.. at FOUR POUNDS FIFTY ONE a mile.  Fuck me sideways with a cactus... how much????  Yes, for a recovery home, it's going to be somewhat north of EIGHT HUNDRED QUID.

That's clearly not happening.  I'm at a bit of a loss now as to what to do.  Thankfully, Ash (despite being a bit stressed with the situation, as we had dogs with us) suggested a hire car.  Of course, a frickin' hire car.  I was so focussed on getting the Merc home, it didn't even occur to me.  Quick google search, and there's an enterprise car hire 3 miles away.

"Enterprise car hire Telford"
"Hi.  What do you have that you can hire me *right now*"
"What class of car are you looking for?"
"Absolutely anything with 4 wheels that moves.  As long as it's available NOW!"
"We have a focus?"
"Available now?"
"Yes."
"Sold.  I'll be there in 5 minutes"

So, the very helpful and kind AA man lent me is jump pack to help get the car started again (it probably would have started, but he had it there, so makes sense to use it) and followed me the 3 miles to Enterprise.  Of course, the Merc went back on charge after about a mile,  but I knew it was short lived and would likely fail again within a few miles.

Got to Enterprise, and the AA bod was trying to encourage me to leave the Merc at a local garage for them to fix.  Not something I had any interest in doing, as not only would I end up with a bill for a very expensive alternator, and likely several hours of labour (despite it being a 20-minute change alternator) but the car is running about 80% veg at the moment, and I don't really want others dicking about with it.  So it got left in the Enterprise/general industrial estate car park, I get the keys to a 23-plate Focus estate, we move all the stuff that we needed to out of the Merc into the Focus, including 2 very well behaved dogs, a slightly-less-stressed housemate and all our luggage, point the nose of the Focus at West sussex and boot it.  We then spent the next 4 hrs of driving home being very glad of how quick and efficient Enterprise were and how handy it was they had a car available.

The hire car... was a Focus 1.0 3cyl ecoboost, with a horrible touchscreen for all it's car-functions, painful seats and seemingly sod-all power.  But at that point, none of that mattered, as it was transport home.  Got back about 3hrs later than expected, which is likely quicker than any recovery would have been.  I also found out that if you ask them to, Enterprise will deliver a car to you at no extra cost, so I could have even had it delivered to us at Telford Services.  I'm not sure I'm going to bother with breakdown insurance ever again, just make sure I know where the nearest car hire place is.. far faster!

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There's very few, if any photos of this entire event, as I was rather more focussed on resolving it rather than capturing it, but the story's not entirely over.

I'm now in the situation where I've a hire car on the driveway that needs to be back in Telford on Monday, and my car is up in their car park with a fairly flat battery and a dead alternator.  I likely now cannot get an alternator for monday, as I've missed the boat on ordering one in time.  Hmmmmmm.

Enter the W202 C250 Turbodiesel that I accidentally bought about 8 months ago.  It's got an OM605 in it, which is essentially identical to an OM606 but with one less cylinder.  That means I have an alternator just sat there (which I know works) and I can borrow to get the E300 home.  Soo-fucking-perb!

Saturday was spent moving the C250 back from my work car park home (after jump starting it from the Focus.  Very handy!) and getting the alternator out.  Which was absolutely bloody filthy, as it's had an oil leak all over it, and hence it was caked in about 10mm of oily mud.  Yeugh!

So.. On sunday, load up the hire car with the alterator (now cleaned up a bit), every spare car battery I have, all straight off charge, two sets of jump leads and the tools needed.  @chaseracer had very kindly offered me a bed for the night, as I hadn't realised how close Telford is to him.. barely 25 mins up the road it turns out.

I'd already found out that the branch of Enterprise in question don't offer a key-drop service, so I had to be there Monday morning to hand the hire car back.  But, I can likely get the Merc fixed on sunday evening.  So, up to chaceracer towers, grab a spare Dave, and then up to telford.  Dump the hire car back at Enterprise, shove a big battery on the floor of the Merc (battery is under the back seat) and see if it will start.  It does, but is not on charge.  No problem.  Back to chaceracer towers as fast as is sensible, as of course the quicker I go, the less time the battery needs to hold charge.  Was noticeable that with a big battery connected on jump leads, the volts were dropping a lot more slowly than they had been with just the Merc battery on, but it was still dropping quite a bit.  I think the electrical load from items you cannot switch off is fairly significant.  It did go onto charge a couple of times, but only for a minute or two, and then dropped off again.  It's reasonable to say that if I hadn't stopped at Telford, I doubt I would have made it very much further.

Out on the road outside Chaceracer's, and 20 minutes later I have the dead alternator out and the borrowed C250 one in.  Engine started and it's solidly on to charge at a nice healthy voltage.  Phew!

Next morning, drive back to Telford, Fuel up the Focus (as I'd forgotten to the night before) hand it back to Enterprise, and then barrel back to West Sussex in the Merc so I can get to work 3 hrs late.  All on charge and all working as well as it could do.  What a palaver!

Since then I've bought a new alternator, and plan to recondition the old one and carry it as a spare.  I realised on one of my many journeys that over the years I have had more breakdowns due to failed alternators (4) than I have absolutely flat/wrecked tyres and hence needed a spare (3).  So it would actually be more prudent to carry an alternator than a spare tyre.  Actually, I'll carry both.

The C250 has it's original alternator back, and I've treated the E300 to a new (and significantly larger) battery.  The "correct" one for the car was about £120 and is a 100AH unit.  Instead, I bought a £75 130AH deep-cycle leisure battery.  It's the same footprint, and has plenty of CCAs to start the car.  In fact it starts better and charges better now than it has done in my ownership of 70k miles.  £190 (£115 alt and £75 battery) well spent.

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4 hours ago, Lacquer Peel said:

Would it be an awful job to get rid of the original fuel pipes and simplify the system?

It would not be easy.  The fuel system is entirely designed around O-ring fittings, meaning nothing has hose barbs on it.  I suppose you could remove things and tap them for a thred, to then fit hose tails everywhere, but it's a lot easier just to order some new viton O-rings from a bearing supplier and just change them.  I probably won't ever have to change them again, so it's a one-off job.  There's about two-dozen O-rings overall, and I've changed something like 18 of them now.  That's going to be the next installment.

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I've a W203 with the OM612 engine that suddenly became difficult to start a few weeks back. I've had the car for around 11 months now and aside from the electric heater booster going open circuit and draining the battery repeatedly it'd always started really easily until then.

This is my first Mercedes so I'm still learning about them, but read that the o rings are the most common problem of non starting diesels as they fail as you mentioned and allow air into the system. I also read that the plastic fuel lines get brittle with age.

I ordered some o rings from a Mercedes dealer but each fuel line I'd touched (fuel filter to low pressure pump, low pressure pump to high pressure pump) broke as soon as I touched it. The Voss fittings on the lines broke under the pressure of me trying to release them. I've ordered the replacement lines plus one from the high pressure pump to the fuel rail. They arrived this week so I'm planning on fitting them this weekend.

I'm sure you're much more knowledgeable and experienced with these things than I am, but just thought I'd mention the fragile lines on the off chance you're planning on swapping o rings on them.

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4 hours ago, drewd said:

I've a W203 with the OM612 engine that suddenly became difficult to start a few weeks back. I've had the car for around 11 months now and aside from the electric heater booster going open circuit and draining the battery repeatedly it'd always started really easily until then.

This is my first Mercedes so I'm still learning about them, but read that the o rings are the most common problem of non starting diesels as they fail as you mentioned and allow air into the system. I also read that the plastic fuel lines get brittle with age.

I ordered some o rings from a Mercedes dealer but each fuel line I'd touched (fuel filter to low pressure pump, low pressure pump to high pressure pump) broke as soon as I touched it. The Voss fittings on the lines broke under the pressure of me trying to release them. I've ordered the replacement lines plus one from the high pressure pump to the fuel rail. They arrived this week so I'm planning on fitting them this weekend.

I'm sure you're much more knowledgeable and experienced with these things than I am, but just thought I'd mention the fragile lines on the off chance you're planning on swapping o rings on them.

Did the designer of the lines also supervise the building of their new paint shop in the 1990s,  where the bacteria levels in the pipes caused a lot of cars to rust like a 1970s Fiat!?

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On 18/11/2023 at 08:09, drewd said:

thought I'd mention the fragile lines on the off chance you're planning on swapping o rings on them.

I appreciate the warning, however the OM612 that you have is about three generations newer than the OM606 in this car.  Consequently, despite being plastic lines on mine, they are really very robust.  I've already changed many sets of O-Rings on these and although you can't be rough with them, they're surprisingly robust for over 25 years old.

On 18/11/2023 at 21:08, jonathan_dyane said:

I keep thinking I should really buy a spare new regulator/brush box assembly to pop in the glovebox of the 406 for if/when I suffer this; hopefully this will encourage me to actually buy one...

Do it now.  Not next week, not even tomorrow.  Order one now and don't break down like I did! (or at least be able to get yourself out of a breakdown situation)

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1 hour ago, jonathan_dyane said:

 

Screenshot_2023-11-22-12-34-24-386_com.ebay.mobile.jpg

I'd fit it now or at least check the old brushes. Once they wear and the inner metal bits contact the comm it then causes damage. 

Experience through seeing it on hundreds of vacuum motors, same probably applies here too to a lesser degree. 

Even if their fine and you put the old one back after cleaning it up you then know how to do it when on the hard shoulder somewhere. Align any clips or fasteners to be perfectly accessible from the engine bay whilst in a mild panic etc, you'll thank yourself later! 

(is this something I should think about for mine? It might be 29 years old now... 🤔

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm never sure as to whether I should have individual threads for vehicles, or just a general "stuff I've done" thread.  I don't like making new threads for no reason, so this is going here:

Today's keeping-the-neighbour-onside work was changing the battery in his 2016 3.0V6 Touraeg.  He's had it from new and by his own admission knows very little about cars (and has no desire to know either), so when it was getting noticeably harder to start in the cold weather, I suggested a new battery would be a wise investment.  It's the original from new, so is 7+ years old and 90k miles (of mainly local and medium-length journeys) and the car has start-stop, so the battery will have had a bit of a pounding.

Looked over the car quickly, and couldn't find the battery.  Found a jumping post under the bonnet, so it's clearly buried somewhere.  Ah well, lets have a look on youtube for someone who's done it.  Predictably, it was all videos from the USA, and the battery is under the driver's seat.  Eh?  Not in the boot (accessible), not under the back seat (accessible), but under the driver's seat, and hence utterly inaccessible.  Bollocks.  Then of course there is the question of whether a RHD model has it moved to under the right-hand front seat, or is it still under the left-hand seat, and hence the passenger one?

A quick look at the touraeg forums, and it would appear it's under the left hand seat regardless of drive type side, which is good as it means I've a little more space to work with being the passenger side.  Except I've now also discovered that touraegs came with both AGM and flooded lead-acid batterys.  Some youtube videos show normal lead-acids, some AGM.  The fact that it's Start-Stop would strongly suggest it's an AGM, but I want to be sure, so first issue is the need for a 10mm spline drive bit, as that is what the seat runners are bolted in with.

Got one of them, and started investigating the seat arrangement.  Turns out it's fairly conventional, but there is the added amusement and jeopardy that the seats are electric, so you have to be sure the battery can move the seats about enough to get it unbolted before fitting the replacement battery.  Not an issue here as the battery is still not that bad, just struggles a bit in the cold.

So.  what battery is in there?

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Yep, that'll be an AGM one then.  Clearly factory too, as it's got VAG group codes marked on the battery posts, and it's got a date code in 2016.

So, on to ebay to find a direct replacement or equivalent.  Got a VARTA one to replace it, as given how much of a complete arsehole it is to get to, it makes no sense putting a cheapo one on there.  Turns out that an 020AGM type battery is bloody expensive, and a genuine VARTA one even more so.  A bit north of £200 to be precise, although having discovered how big and heavy that battery is, there's probably about £50 of lead in there.

That ordered, I waited for it to turn up.

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Got a message at work:  "There's a very heavy parcel for you".  Yep.  I know what that is.

So.  To get on with fitting:  first things first.  To prevent the car from losing power to all it's ECUs, a recommended method of changing the battery is to put a slave battery on the jumping posts and keep the car alive.  It means you don't have to go resetting a thousand things that have reverted to factory, and is just less risky overall.  It also means I won't need to reset the battery charging profile information, as the car will not see a battery change.  Apparently as the old battery wasn't too bad, the charging profile will simply re-learn over a few journeys.  It's only if the old battery was totally knackered that you must tell the car it has a new battery, and hence it can default to factory charging profile as otherwise it risks overcharging the new battery.  But I can avoid that, which is good as I have no way of communicating with this (or indeed any other) car in that way.

I'd apologise for how utterly boring this might seem.. changing a frigging battery, but this is probably the most complex procedure I've ever seen for simply changing a battery!

First, apply slave battery.

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Left that connected as long as possible to allow the voltages between the on-board one and this one to stabilise.  That way you don't get a step-change in voltage when the old battery is disconnected.  The jumping posts on this were a bit small, but worked OK.  Nice to have a negative one as well as a positive:

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Seat unbolted and moved backwards out of the way.  Thankfully the electrical connections can be left connected.  The carpet has to be cut in a couple of places, clearly the battery is fitted in the factory before the carpets are fitted.

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Next there's a small vent that is screwed into the battery box that has to have the screw taken out.  The vent can be just moved to one side, but you have to take the screw out.  Torx20:

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Next the battery box.  There's 4 over-centre catches holding the cover on.  Access is fairly awkward, but with a pokey stick they can be undone without too much issue:

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It was about this point I realised I was barely able to see what was going on, and a torch on a phone just didn't cut it.  LED floodlamp set up.  Much better:

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Cover removed, and we're back to that Varta AGM battery:

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Clamp out:

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There's also another steel clamp shown to the left.  This one has to come out after the negative post has been disconnected.  Very odd design.  Were it my car, I'd probably not bother putting it back in as it seems to serve very little purpose:

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Positive off (and of course kept away from anything conductive, as it's still live due to the slave battery) and heave about 25kg of lead out of the car.  Old an new together:

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So then it's just a case of reversing that procedure to put it all back together.  Vent pipe on the battery has to be reconnected (forgot to mention that above)

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The main clamp has a lovely long extension to it.  It's a nice bit of design in an otherwise absurd location:

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Cover back on, clips done up, carpet back in, seat back in, and then (again, after a suitable period) slave battery removed.

Like I was never* here.  You'd just never know there is such a huge battery under here:

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Car started up, no untoward warnings, charging voltage seemed reasonable, although I'm not overly familiar with AGM charging voltages.  I know they're similar to flooded Lead-acid, but not identical.  Took it for a 5-ish mile drive and everything working OK.  Even the start-stop was absolutely fine, which clearly indicates that the car is happy with the battery voltage and the charging profile, as that's one of the first things to stop working when a battery voltage is a bit iffy.

As for the car itself.. not really my cup of tea.  Surprisingly hard suspension and rubber-band tyres on bloody massive wheels means it rides very hard.  Slightly dead steering, although nicely accurate.  I suspect it's also got electric PAS, certainly felt like it (IE a bit dead).  Gearbox feels a bit all-over-the-place, but then I think it's about 7 or 8 speeds, hence it seems to be forever changing gear, although those gearchanges are very fast.  As a 3.0 turbodiesel, it felt a bit more powerful than the 3.0 turbodiesel in the merc (not hard.. this car is 20 years newer) but was also blunted by the very obvious significant weight of the VW.  It was OK to drive, had lots of functions and toys, and was noticeably very quiet.  I wouldn't want to own one, but glad I got a chance to drive this one.

Jobbed.

As an aside.. I called up a dealer to ask how much it would be to change the battery in a 3.0 Touareg.  After a lot of the usual waffle "we'd need to see the car" and "we can't give you an exact price", they eventually told me the battery is nearly £400, and it's "at least" an hour's labour to change it, their labour rate being something like £150/hr.

Gone are the days of £50 for a battery from the local factors and 10 mins to change it.  Certainly for modernz like this anyway.

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I hope know you've kept the old one to weigh in!

You're right about the stop/start functionality - Lana's Honda lost that without us really noticing (given the lack of scenarios locally that trigger it) before the battery failed after an hour of ignition on and engine off. It's still been able to crank over my XUD BX for the last 5 months though!

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3 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

I hope know you've kept the old one to weigh in!

Indeed, although I might see if I can make use of it.  I suspect it will be ideal to take to 2cv racing meets, as I can lob some solar panels up to keep it charged and it's big enough to run a small inverter from, meaning we can have power when out in the paddock, well away from mains.

I probably won't be charging/discharging it "correctly", but as it's free and otherwise scrap, I may as well see if it can be useful before it gets weighed in.

I'm assuming AGM charging profiles are similar to non-spillable SLA-type batteries, which I think the solar controllers I have do understand, so it won't be too far off what the battery needs.

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I'm unsure whether the peak current output or the capacity (at a low current draw) decline at the same sort of rate, so may well be suited to that task for a while. Think they require a slightly higher float voltage to charge *fully*, but like you say for a freebie, worth making use of.

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IIRC, the solar controllers I have "understand" lead-acid batteries, and have three different charging profiles, one of which has a "top out" voltage of 14.6 rather than the usual 14.4 volts, which would tie in exactly with your thoughts.

TBH the battery isn't even that bad.. in 10c weather, it started the Touareg just fine, it was only when it hit -3c recently that it was only just turning it over fast enough to start.  I've a feeling that if it had been left on, this winter would have utterly killed it, leaving the car unable to start in cold weather.   I'll likely get a few years of standby/low current service out of it.  It just can't do the 600+ amps in cold weather to start a V6 with 18:1 compression ratio.

It will also serve as a good weigh-down anchor for one of the paddock shelters...

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Quick update on the Merc-o-barge while we're at it.

A couple of weeks ago it started spluttering like a bellend on cold starts.  This was instantly recogniseable as a failed glowplug.  Not only due to the running-on-five-cylinders and the horrendous knocking from that cylinder as it tries to join in, but also the rather handy tell-tale that these engines have of the glowplug lamp coming back on and remaining on for the entire post-heat period (about 45 seconds).  The extra-stinky clag from the exhaust was a bit of a giveaway too...

Now, as I'm running a reasonably stiff blend of veg, this needs sorting pronto.  The reason being that the cylinder with the failed glowplug is having fuel injected into it which isn't burning.  Given that it can take 20-30 seconds for that cylinder to join the party, that's a reasonable amount of unburned fuel that has been blathered all over the piston crown.  That fuel will also tend to run down into the rings and end up in the sump.  When running on Diesel, that's less of an issue as a few ml of diesel around the rings and in the sump won't hurt it.  When that unburned fuel is veg, problems can occur.  If you mix Veg and engine oil at high pressure, it forms a solid gel.  This can make the engine oil turn into what looks like Jelly, and can cause significant issues with ring gumming, something the OM606 is slightly susceptible to already, without me making things worse.

So.  This bloody pipe-organ of an inlet manifold off again.  At least I don't have to jack the car up and get to the bastard bolt anymore to do this job.

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Same view as always.  Cables off (push fit in this case) to the glowplugs, and use a meter to find the dead one.

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Turns out it was the rearmost cylinder.  Hmmmm... really?  I'm sure I've done that one before.

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Turns out, yes.  I have done that one before, so the plug came out really easily, still with a load of copperslip all over it.  OM606 are notorious for their glowplugs seizing into the head.  There's various reasons for this, so I'm always very careful to copperslip any replacements like mad.

Dead one out.  New one checked:

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Yep, that's working fine.  I have a feeling the ones I bought a few years ago are not premium quality, although if that means I have to change them a bit more regularly and hence they don't stay in the engine for hundreds of thousands of miles, that's not the worst thing.

Shove it in, all back together again and we're back to starting on six.  Much better.

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This comes close, but I think the award for worst battery placement on a modern will have to be the MK8 transit.. a pure insane level of stupidity. It's under the seats but about ten times more awkward and fiddly than a typical under seat placement on a car

I recall W638 Vitos being quite awkward but not too bad in comparison!

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A good friend of mine's golf has the 'wrong battery' in it and the stop/start is disabled. 

He loves it, barely drives it 25 miles a week then a frequent trip to east kent so doesn't want stop/start anyway. Was a fairly new battery when he bought the car too (slightly cheaper due to said non functional stop/start. He went to a local vag licker specialist who confirmed it was all working fine, just the wrong battery) 

Had a friends kia not start at all when the battery went too low. Said battery barely fired the Xsara over but my battery made his car work so he had an easy fix there

Wonder how much fun it'll be in a hybrid/eV of the 12v battery conks out

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2 minutes ago, beko1987 said:

Wonder how much fun it'll be in a hybrid/eV of the 12v battery conks out

It's fairly common, because car batteries are not designed to be charged and discharged in the way that EVs use them.  It's the big advantage of the cybertruck's 48v system.  

I think some EVs have the 12 volt battery as a 3 year service item.

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1 hour ago, loserone said:

It's fairly common, because car batteries are not designed to be charged and discharged in the way that EVs use them.  It's the big advantage of the cybertruck's 48v system.  

I think some EVs have the 12 volt battery as a 3 year service item.

I guess that makes sense, another big tick in the 'why I'd never want to own one' box... 

I say it more and more, anything truly modern and it's better as a pcp/rental/company car, basically any method of being able to hand the keys to someone else for a few days to sort when it goes wrong with no bill your way. 

In dad's ioniq hybrid after 20 minutes of sat with the radio on it fires the engine for 15 mins then shuts it off again for the next 20..

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22 hours ago, RoverFolkUs said:

This comes close, but I think the award for worst battery placement on a modern will have to be the MK8 transit.. a pure insane level of stupidity. It's under the seats but about ten times more awkward and fiddly than a typical under seat placement on a car

I recall W638 Vitos being quite awkward but not too bad in comparison!

this

after 90k of not being treated well the 21 plate 3.5 transit

doing 120 miles at least a day since new after being used all day the previous day then used by someone to go home in

unfrosted then moved while stuff was put in it

moved again to put even heavier shit in it

then all of a sudden to move it outta the way *click

wtf?

jump started it using the post under the bonnet (like your toerag theres a post and a fusebox and not much else)

found out after 10 mins the battery is under the seat and is a pita to change (props to daz in the workshop)

round to ford for a batt - £338!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thankfully no telling it it has a new whatever

been fine since

fuck modern vehicles

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