Goodbye MR2

So, the red 2-seater Japanese sports car has left my possession. It had been sitting awaiting bodywork repair to replace areas eaten by the dreaded tinworm, and was not going to be back on the road in the near future. The tinworm had caused a failed NCT, the first NCT it failed since I bought it some 8 or 9 years ago.
I had it stored out at my parents and one of the neighbours there decided they liked the look and wanted a project car, so they gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Still doesn’t come anywhere near what I’ve spent on the car in the past few years in keeping it right, in insurance and tax and things like replacement of timing belt and brakes and the like. Cost per mile actually driven was fairly high, smiles per mile were very cost effective though!

I will definitely miss that car, but glad to have had it to drive when I had it. I’ll miss 100mph in 3rd gear!

Maybe I’ll keep a look out for a decent turbo, or a 3-series convertible at some time in the future as a fun car..

New car for me!!

It became time to upgrade my car from the A4 estate I’ve been driving for the past 10 years, to something a bit more suitable for my needs.

I travelled to Swords in Dublin last weekend to pick myself up a very nice and shiny beast of a bus!Q7

  • 2007 Mugello Blue Pearl Audi Q7S-line Quattro.
  • 3.0 V6 Tdi engine, 230BHP (so far! Maybe a 300bhp update to come soon)
  • 20″ 5-Spoke S-Line alloy wheels
  • Adjustable air suspension
  • 6-speed Tiptronic automatic, with paddle-shifters on steering wheel
  • Black leather/alcantara S-Line heated electric sports seats
  • Panoramic roof
  • Bi-Xenon auto headlights
  • Auto wipers
  • Park sensors front and rear with graphical output
  • Built-in Audi SatNav
  • Privacy glass
  • 7 seats
  • Thule tow-bar with correct electrics module
  • Audi S-Line side steps
  • MMI 2g High entertainment with bluetooth
  • Power open and close rear hatch
  • Updated rear lights from 2010- model

It’s a big machine, over 5m long, 1.9m high and 2300kg. Definitely a fairly quick machine even with that mass to move. I’ve ordered the Thule wing roofbars as my previous ones from the A4 don’t fit, and I’ve also got a Thule tow-hitch bike carrier to simplify things for my biking.

Luxurious inside, lovely and quiet, beautiful sound from the V6 under acceleration, a very smooth gearbox in D. A very good place to spend time. And, when setting the suspension in Dynamic and the gearbox in either manual-select or Sport it moves!

Nice! NCT passed no issues!

After failing the last Nct in May, and being out of the country for a while kayaking, the earliest date they could give me for the next test was today..
So I dropped the silver car in to be examined. I was a little apprehensive about the little ‘scratch’, but they didn’t consider that an issue thankfully! Everything was in order, and the car drives very well for a car with 334,000kms on it!
Given what I’ve invested in it to keep it running, I’ve no immediate need to change it, but I’m always window shopping for a nice German v8 estate.. Maybe after Christmas?

Red car back on the road.

After getting a silly quote for the insurance renewal for the MR2, I did a bit of shopping around, and I got a quote for €200 less than the previous company was going to cost me, so I’ve gone for that. So, the red car is back on the road, just in time for the supposedly fine weather for our summer.

It’s really good to give it its legs again after a while sitting up. Next thing for it is to make it properly glossy deep red again!

Wiper fix

Finally, I now have wipers that work. The replacement CECM (central electrics control module) arrived this morning, so I unplugged the faulty one and plugged in the new one. Much better behaviour from the wipers! After a reset of the start position for the motor, it all now works.. Lovely when a plan comes together..

And it passed :-D

So the red car is now once again fully legal on the road, after passing its NCT today, with a clean bill of health. Taxed, insured and road legal. :-D

Wiper woes

It’s a fun job changing out the wiper motor on an A4. Not a lot of room in there to remove the motor and linkage, had to disassemble it in situ and remove piecemeal. However, reassembly and reinsertion was trivial. Obviously did something wrong with the extraction. The motor failed during a rainstorm. which made it interesting getting home! At least it’s now fixed. Swish-swish :D

Addendum: Since I posted the above, the wipers are now on. Permanently. Replacement motor arrives Tuesday. Poo.

Tried replacement motor, no difference. Tried replacement stalk, no difference. Dug the VAG-COM out of storage, interrogated the various computer bits and lo and behold the CECM is sending signal to the motor without receiving signal from the stalk. Problem located, now to source a replacement..

Update, after a busy busy time.

So, it’s November. Wow the time is flying! So much has happened. So little time to play with.

Masters: Week 10 has just ended. Loads of assignments to complete for the next fortnight, then study for the exams that will complete the 5 modules that will constitute the first semester of the Masters of Engineering in “Information and Network Security” that I am currently pursuing in UL. It’s been good so far to get back to UL as a student but this time with an appetite for success that wasn’t really there in the past (for whatever reasons..). There’s a desire now to get through this with good results. I like the subjects, I’ve got a good crew of classmates and the craic is good enough. It’s tough for sure with time management being the hardest part so far. I have no spare time to relax this year. At all. It’s fun learning how to use Maple, MSProject and things like that. Weird having to buy textbooks again, but good to have them to refer to anyway.

Work: I’ve completed probation, and am now a fully fledged employee. The shift is not the easiest to manage but it’s not that bad – I still get to sleep at a somewhat sane time and it’s consistent at least. Some shifts of course I’m up the walls and I mightn’t get back to the house till gone half 2 or 3 o’clock with lectures at 9 or 10 in the morning and another night’s work the following night. Learning a lot, still got so much to learn. Trying not to forget what I learned at the start – that’s kinda hard.

Car: The Audi is paid off. Finally. It’s now just a car, with no intention from me of making it any better. It’s got too much mileage to consider tarting it up any bit, and it’s a useful tool to use instead of a pursuit in its own right. I don’t have the time to do anything really useful to it other than put diesel in every month or so. At least my driving mileage has severely decreased now that I’m back in Limerick full time. Due another tyre change soon, may but top-tier all-season tyres on it to safeguard me through the winter.

Sport: Very little time to get out on the Reign for a cycle. :( No time in a boat in quite a while – no free weekend gets in the way of that, but that is what I’ve signed up for! Put a deposit down for a good road bike for the Bike-to-Work scheme – a 2011 Trek Madone 4.5, secondhand, with uprated lighter Mavic wheels with the blade spokes. I’ll upgrade a few bits and pieces on that bike, including as good tyres as I can get. I will cycle to work on it at least once ;) and I’ll have to cycle home for lunch to get the car to drive home when the shift is over. It’s not good to be physically pumped at 2am trying to get to sleep. It’ll be useful to have that bike for the cycle around northwest France next summer just before Dave’s french wedding.

Other stuff: 5 years since fun and games, so that’s an interesting milestone passed. Nothing else of note there that I’ll put down here ;)

Astro: been out maybe 3 times since the start of the summer. Been pretty crap for astronomers in Ireland recently – and pretty crap for someone that works evenings and has college during the day! Starting to see the utility of a good quality grab and go setup that will give good views without needing to cooldown – maybe a 100mm short refractor on an alt-az mount?

Sarah: She passed her Viva with flying colours, a very positive impression from the examiners and a trivially small number of corrections before final submission of the thesis document. Her hard work and perseverance (and slight craziness) paid off big time. She’ll get the hood in January.


Car problems, car problem resolution

The A4 gave me a bit of a fright recently, and led me to believe that I had a big enough prospective bill that scrapping was a probability.
The symptoms were simple enough. A few minutes into a journey starting with a cold engine, the engine would stutter and misfire. The ASR light would come on, and the car would be significantly down on power (barely making it to motorway speeds) and the fuel economy went through the floor.
The VAG-Com scanner showed up a problem with the control of injector 4, and a misfire on cylinder 4. Pricing the spare parts was looking at over 1000 euro, with a big labour bill on top too. As the car is c. 180,000 miles on the clock this was not really economically feasible, so I went browsing the car review sites and small ads for cars to suit what I was looking for in a replacement.
I asked a few questions on some forums I frequent, and it was suggested by some of the regulars on to try changing out the injector loom in the head as this is a known problem with the PD engines as they age. So I phoned up Western Motors, they had a loom in stock at €70, I picked it up at lunchtime and went digging in the engine after work. Not the easiest of jobs, but the new loom is now in and connected, and the car is back running on 4 cylinders again.
Now to organise the timing belt for another 60,000 miles of paid off and hopefully reliable mileage.