Friday, 29 January 2010

Kolo returns from the garage.

It has been three days since I last saw my little Audi A2.
Admittedly, today, the third day, the car was ready this morning, so it's really just two and a half.

Kolo has a strange relationship with SL. Whenever she borrows the A2 for any amount of time, whether a day or an hour, she brings the car back with some issue or other. We (Kolo and I) joked that SL can't use the Audi any more and I shouldn't drive the SportKa either.
As reported a few posts ago, the A2, after a brilliant tour of duty during the Big Freeze, or whatever that cold snap was labelled, the misfire became a major thorn in the side. So much so, the car couldn't even get above 25mph, it was also sounding like a dumper-truck. I was convinced it was down two cylinders to just the one pot, hence the dumper-truck like idle, which was visibly rocking the car on it's wheels when at traffic lights.

After dropping the ailing car off at Clydebank's AudiVW Repair Centre on Wednesday morning, I recieved a call an hour later. The mechanic had plugged in his diagnostic laptop and reported the numerous warnings. 1, cylinder #1 has a major fault, 2, the turbo is reporting a loss of pressure, 3, ABS brake issue. The mechanic went on to say that issue 2 might be to do with issue 1 and thus fixing the injector was the first port of call, even before the Audi B service.

A day later, another call, injector coil replaced with two and a half hours labour, issue 2 resolved too. But the ABS warning was due to a need to replace both front discs and pads. Hmm, with the major service and injector repair coming in at about £400, the brakes can wait.

It's starting to look like it might be a cheap year for Kolo after this visit, I mean. What else can go wrong, well after the brakes? In the year and four months that I've had the privilege of this little aluminium machine, it's had a number of major jobs done under the bonnet; cam-belt change, fuel pump in tank and high pressure fuel pump on engine, intercooler replaced and finally, front door hinges replaced too. Like I said, what else is there? Touch wood, or aluminium in this case, nothing else.

The mechanic said the brake replacement wasn't urgent but should be done this year. Well, it is still January. I'll do it when the dashboard light comes on, but with SL driving it tomorrow, it'll when she comes back then.

Ferrari v Mclaren, Round #1

Ferrari are already, just after one day, on the back foot.

Mclaren, with advice from the FIA, have a new double floor diffuser for 2010.
The Ferrari F10, launched the day before the Mclaren MP4-25, does without the double diffuser, with designers and bosses of the Italian team still thinking they're illegal.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Karma Comedian

It would seem that Kolo and I maybe cursed. Well, Kolo and my wallet.
Yes, during the dark, cold Frozen Britain of weeks gone, Kolo has been exceptional in proving safe, dependable transport to my aspiring nurse wife; SL Bartlett. But during the subsequent thraw, it's all gone wrong for the little aluminium horse. Very wrong.

You see, about November time, Kolo developed a bit of a misfire. Nothing that would last more than a second or so, just every now and then.
It turns out, according to the A2oc's Mike Skipton, to be a cheap switch or relay that controls the injectors. This thingy sits in the engine bay somewhere near all the hot bits and after five or so years, it becomes a part to replace.

Well, its now time to replace it.

During the last week, during this Big Thraw, the A2's misfire became a real feature. From a thing that barely raised it's head to a hazard at junctions in just three months. Reducing the engine to just 2 cylinders, which is almost a scooter.

It's now time to service the wounded soldier anyway, so it's forced my hand and it'll go away on Wednesday, instead of Easter or some other time in the future. Anyway this time, it to AudiVW Repair, which strangely, is in Clydebank, although a different part, to the 'fix on thing, break another' A for Audi.

Lets hope they're better. At £195 for a major service on a 3cylinder TDI A2, they better be. Still, it's not the £300+ at a dealership.

(Kolo, fore, and SouferKa, background, in BBCs Frozen Britain)

When in LA, I'll be driving...

...a car with these headlights: (c'mon, this is cool.)

'The '65 Riv'

When in LA, I'll be driving a '65 Riviera...

...when I actually get to LA

I mean, if it's good enough for...

Hey, I might even have enough to get this '65 riv (scroll down, passed the bike) but not this one sadly, wrong colour anyway

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Oh, I'd forgotten about BD03 OZN

'See, it ain't that bad!'
(M6 southbound south of Carlisle)

Oh, I'd forgotten about BD03 OZN

Yes, maybe it was an over reaction about a silly little thing like parking on a pavement, between two zebra crossings, but.... it me, or has everyone forgotten how to drive on motorways?

Over the holiday period, travelling from Glasgow to Eastbourne via Rugby and then back with SL and myself at the wheel of Kolo, we covered 1078 miles. The first leg down to the Rugby midpoint was driven in snow and the much hyped UK winter white out. It wasn't too bad. Yes the third, overtaking lane on the motorway wasn't always gritted and we'd forgotten that it's the snow falling, blocking vision that's an added hazard, not just the white (and black) stuff on the road that can cause a call to the insurance company. Yet after all that was said and done, it was other motorway users than caused the most alarm.

You see, when was it, that grey-haired old men lost all memory of driving in the snow? In fact, when had everyone lost the ability to override their sat-navs with common sense? When TomTom says keep right at a junction on a motorway, it doesn't mean;
'by all means, forget your mirrors and dive into the third, fast lane and sit there for 7 miles until next instructed to do something next!'
Yes, driving in the snow is hazardous but being confident and physically able to look over both shoulders without risk of spinal injury, I drive quickly but not stupidly in bad weather. That does require, just like in the dry, to change lanes. Oh yes, it's not a lottery; you don't pick a lane then use only that one lane for the whole 500 miles of your journey. No, you keep left if there's nothing else there, then if you see something slower in the left lane, you, with plenty of time, move to the right, to the next available lane, sometimes to the most right hand lane if there is another vehicle overtaking a slower vehicle already. And then return the the most left available lane once cleared of slower traffic.
But it isn't. One problem is the 'with plenty of time' business. When I say that, I don't mean, 'oh, yep, with my bi-noc-u-lars (in the Guy Richie Snatch way of saying it) I can just about see a lorry on the horizon' plenty of time. Nor do I mean in the, 'look our numberplates are kissing' sense either. There is the 'common' sense of, 'yep, look in my mirrors Maureen, nothing there, indicate right, overtake, indicate left, move back. Yes it's a tad nerdy and oh so anal but that's how you use the motorway. You don't mis-use your sky+ box by balancing it on a pogo stick, no, you put it on a table next to open liquid containers.
It's common sense!
An isn't common sense one of the national traits we Brits pride ourselves on?
Or has the Dutch firm of sat-nav makers stolen that off us?
No, they have plenty of common sense and savvy themselves, that's why their architecture and urban design is about 25 years ahead of ours.

Maybe it's a translation thing, maybe TomTom doesn't realise that 'keep right' and the worst instruction; 'keep in the right hand lane' has been taken so literary. Remember two things, the Dutch, like all of Europe drive on the right and of course, language. But maybe they didn't see how thick we Brits have all become.

They didn't see the whole, 'take the next available left (or right)' thing, when even taxi drivers went onto railway lines, ponds, private driveways and random posts and street furniture. The taxi driver's worry me the most, as it's their living to drive and to know where they're going. What next, surgeons with a laptop in front of them when they operate. Killing patients because they've lost the ability to think on their feet and can only do what the computer says.

One grumpy old man on tele said it well, 'it's a sat-nav, not a computer-game, you can still see out of the windows, you should know it's a pond before you drive into it!'
Here, here. Yes, I might be only 24, cough, but really, I don't want to be injured or killed by someone who can't think without the voice of the little colour touch screen telling them what to do next.

Only 30 minutes separated me from an accident at my junction of the M8, when someone entered the motorway the wrong way, travelling in the wrong direction and taking out three other cars before a head on smash killed the old man but injured terribly the driver and passenger of the other car.
This as at 11pm at night too, just think, what if it was rush hour.

Oh this so isn't the way I wanted to start the new year, or in fact, the new decade. Yet just because it's gone midnight a couple of nights ago, doesn't mean it's all changed on the roads.
If only it had.