Relating to my previous post about my new acquisition, I have worked out the fuel consumption.
I have only put 30 litres in the car so far, and have done mainly short trips, but so far, it is returning about 49.6 mpg.
I am very pleased with this result, with petrol hitting £129.90 per litre.
I have given the little Peugeot (see previous post) a good look over. I have driven it and I like it.
I will be sorry to let the Scoobie go, but it is, in all honesty a bit too small for my needs, and the non-standard exhaust would suit someone 40 years younger than me – it is loud.
The only problem with the Pug is that it misfires when cold, when accelerating or when the engine is under load such as going uphill.
So I changed the spark plugs – when I eventually found them, hidden as they are at the rear of the transverse engine and under the coil pack.
This is the first petrol engine I have worked on that does not have a coil, distributor and individual HT leads to each plug. The coil pack sits on top of the spark plugs and is connected to all of them rigidly.
Working with a wrist that was until recently, broken, and torn tendons in both shoulders does not make bending over the small and low engine compartment any easier, but as the last new plug went in, I got a sense of satisfaction. IT was short-lived as the engine still misfires. So it has to be the coil pack.
At least I now know what it is and how to get it off the car!
I have mentioned before my little Scoobi car, a Subaru Justy. It is a nice little car, economical to run and quite nice to drive. It is a bit tatty, but looks do not detract from the ability of a car to get me from where I am to where I want to be. And this car has four-wheel drive, which was very useful during the snows last year.
But I have been offered a Peugeot 306, 1998 model. It is a year newer than the Scoobie, a bit bigger, more comfortable and a lot tidier. It has been standing for over a year, so there is no MoT, VEL and the battery was rather non-responsive.
I now have the car at home. The battery is charged but the car misfires occasionally. The electronic odometer doesn’t work and I need the code to get the in-built radio working.
Being a 1600cc petrol engine, the car attracts a higher rate of VEL than the Scoobie and I guess the fuel consumption will not be as good. Insurance may be higher as well.
But, it is a lot tidier, much more comfortable, and that little bit bigger, meaning that I do not have to struggle to get Mum’s wheelchair in the boot.
So, this is my dilemma. Do I keep the very cheap-to-run Scoobie, or go for the newer, more comfortable and more expensive-to-run Pug?
Oh yes, and the Scoobie has a non-standard exhaust system which I have to weld up from time to time, whereas the Pug is standard in every way.
I always dread the sound that precedes the Scoobie’s exhaust falling apart, but it is not worth getting a new standard system. It would cost more than I paid for the car!
So, I could sell the Pug for the owner and receive a 10% commission on the sale, or sell the Scoobie and pay for the Pug for myself.
Of course, the Pug might fail the MoT big time, in which case there will be no decision to make, but I cannot find much wrong with it, so I think it will get through.
Due to an ongoing medical condition, my mother has to have an injection every day. As the procedure is quite complex, I am not allowed to do is so the community nurse calls round.
Yesterday, when the snow was quite thick on the roads, the nurse on duty managed to get someone with a 4×4 vehicle to take her around her calls, including us.
Today, when all main roads are clear (we live on a main road), the nurse telephoned to say that she could not get to us because of the weather, so could I take my mother to the local hospital to have the injection administered.
So, in other words, it is OK to put a frail old lady into my car (see previous posts) and take her the 6 miles to the hospital and back, but it is not alright for the community nurse to come to us – along the same roads.
Oh well, maybe it is a back-handed compliment to my ability to drive in adverse conditions, or it might have been if there had been any snow on the roads!
We have snow! Not a lot of snow, but as the temperature has been hovering at or below 0°C all day and will plunge to -9°C tonight, getting about is not too easy.
But my little Scoobie, with its clever all-wheel-drive system is brilliant. I was a bit dubious at first, but it will get up inclines covered with compacted snow where other classier cars have failed. In fact the only problem I have is weaving through abandoned cars. Another advantage is that it is not too powerful, so it cannot put a lot of power to the wheels when pulling away.
The Subaru Justy, it goes where other cars fear to tread (except Land Rovers, Pajeros, Troopers, Discos, Hilux, etc).
I am still running around in my little Subaru.
In the UK, cars over 3 years old have to be submitted for a road worthiness test. The Subaru was submitted on 30 September and it passed with no real problem. OK, the tyres won’t last another year, but the mechanics and bodywork did not pose any problems.
It is the best £100 I have spent on a car in a very long time!
If you have read previous posts, you will know that I swapped my Mazda Bongo, 8-seat MPV for a Subaru, not a rally-winning Impreza, but its smaller brother, a Justy.
Although it has been well abused by previous owners, this brave little machine is still going strong. In fact, we drove a 200 mile round trip last weekend.
It is not the most comfortable car in the world, having a very short wheelbase, rather stiff suspension and small wheels, but it did not cripple me in the same way as some small cars do. The exhaust is noisy, due to the non-standard rear box fitted (and re-fitted after it fell off). But it is at its worst at 3,000 to 3,500 rpm at full throttle. I rarely use full throttle.
It cruised happily at 70mph down the many motorways I drove along last week, and most important, is used less than £20 of petrol. When I had previously done this same trip in the Bongo, it cost me £40 in diesel, so I am happy.
Most importantly, I checked the oil level at the end of the trip and the car had not used any.
There are still little DIY jobs to do on it, which I will get around to one day, like fixing the dash lights, which don’t work at the moment, fixing the driver’s door window, which doesn’t work properly, and getting some more fixings to stop the interior trim from vibrating.
So, after a couple of months, I am still very pleased with my little car.
I acquired a satnav or GPS at Christmas. I wanted a particular make, apparently the only make that is compatible with a South African digital map organisation, T4A, which is steadily mapping the whole of Africa, but this make is more expensive than the others, so I was forced to get the base model – no matter.
So I happily played around with it, pressing the various touch-screen buttons, and then eventually read some of the user manual. This is my usual practice, reading the manual after playing with a gadget. That is, if I ever read the manual at all.
Anyway, this satnav has a facility to enter a place by its longitude and latitude coordinates.
‘Oh what fun,’ I thought, being a bit of a nerd when it comes to playing with gadgets.
I opened up GoogleEarth on my computer and found the coordinates for the main junction in Kisii, called, funnily enough, the Junction.
I pumped the coordinates into the satnav. It thought for a while and then invited me to either look at the map or start my journey. I was a little surprised.
I elected to look at the map and, to my astonishment, it showed the confluence of the A1 and B3 roads in Kisii.
‘OK,’ I thought, if you are so clever, plan me the route!
The savnav thought for quite a long time before announcing that the route was 6,392 miles and would take 127 hours and 44 minutes. It displayed a map comprising Europe and most of Africa with a magenta line wiggling across it. I was astounded. I checked the system set-up which confirmed that the only maps loaded were for UK and Northern Ireland.
The next thing for a nerd to do would be to check the route. It took me through Europe to Istanbul, Turkey, on to Ankara, then Damascus. This is where it got a bit fuzzy, through Jordan and into Israel.
From there it took me down the west bank of the Red Sea, traversing Egypt north-south, into Sudan, Ethiopia, and then Kenya, where I started to recognise town names, Marsabit, Isiolo, Nanyuki, Nakuru, Kericho and finally, Kisii.
To me, this was impressive. I saved the coordinates for Kisii Junction and wondered what other places I should put in.
I eventually decided to enter the salient points of the route from Nairobi to Kisii, there are a couple of junctions I always nearly miss when I am driving, particularly onto the B3 from the A104, and a little later where the B3 hangs a left off the Old Naivasha Road at Mai Mahiu. From there on, it is plain sailing all the way to the junction with the C23, near Sotik.
I put in Keroka, as I have a friend who lives there. I entered the coordinates for Kisumu, Kakamega and Bungoma, all places I have driven through or to, and probably will again.
Now all I have to do is to find out if it actually works in Kenya. There is not reason why it shouldn’t. The satellites are up there, just looking for my little satnav to talk to.
I may get a chance later this year, when I hope to go to Kenya to continue working on my anaerobic digester, drum up some more business and “network” with organisations in the field.
My original intention, when choosing this particular make of satnav was to also buy the CD of East African maps from Tracks4Africa and load it. But will I need to?
OK, I don’t have all the off-road tracks and minor roads on my gadget, but do I really need them? I am not going on safari. If I do hire a car to go somewhere, I will want to get there quickly and safely – and not get lost like I did on my last trip.
I expect that I will eventually get the CD and all the software that comes with it. After all, I am a bit of a nerd, but I will take my satnav with me to Kenya and see just what it has to offer me in the meantime.
And I also hope that GoogleEarth will reinstate the Tracks4Africa overlay that used to be available.
This blog was originally posted at Baba Mzungu
I’ve had it for a few days now and I am happy to say that I still like this little car. It is not the most comfortable car I’ve ever driven, nor is it the quietest – but then it does have a non-standard, large-bore exhaust fitted.
I’ve had a fiddle around with it, changed a few illegal bulbs for legal ones, fitted a few interior panel fixings to reduce the rattles and it has had a good clean, after which I realised that the paintwork is blue metallic!
A friend with a dent puller has pulled out the more serious dents and I have given the interior a serious vacuuming.
I haven’t finished. There are five air horns fitted to the car – with cable ties, not very secure. And do I really need five? I will be pruning them and fitting them with real nuts and bolts. The compressor needs to be fitted properly as well. It needs to be oiled from time to time but it is impossible at the moment. But that will be for a nice warm day, which it isn’t today.
I have been monitoring the fuel and engine oil consumption. It is returning about 36 miles/gal. which is not bad as most of my driving is on very short trips, and it has used no oil since I topped it up when I first acquired it, which is good news.
And finally, I have stuck my little Kenyan flag in the rear window – now I know it is my car.