Random Thoughts... [Automotive Edition]

public

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Like I've posted earlier, my current job requires me to commute quite a bit. Some days I'll be doing 150km to get to work and back, while some days I can do with less. But in any case, I'm now commuting further than picking my laptop from the floor next to my bed. Ahem.

Anyway, I'm now driving my dad's C180K wagon. It's very nice and fits the bill perfectly: it's good to drive, it has A/C and cruise control and it works. However, as winter is approaching there are a couple things that I'd like to think about. Firstly, I don't want to bathe the S203 in salt because it will rust. They all will do that, but I want to put off the inevitable brown specks as long as possible. The Benz is a good, durable car that sits happily on the road, but I’d hate to run it to the ground just getting to work and back.

Secondly, I could use a little less fuel. The 1.8-liter, supercharged Benz with an autobox usually averages 7l/100km, or 33.6 MPG. I can do a little better if the winds and stoplights are in my favor, but as it's still just about commuting and I pay for the fuel, I’d like to do it with as little fuel as possible.

So, if I can swing it, I could feasibly justify getting a diesel beater for the winter. Finland is full of people running diesel beaters to the ground, but I don’t really know what to get. Since this is about saving money, the car should be both cheap and reliable. Diesel fuel isn’t as cheap here as it used to be, but just achieving lower fuel consumption already helps. A W203 C200 CDI does about 6,7l combined, so the savings are really marginal.

What am I considering, then? A Smart ForFour! The car combines both late rad era/1999 design aesthetics and a reasonably durable sounding M-B drivetrain. Three pot 1.5-liter diesel, as much as 95 hp, and it can achieve less than 4l/100km on the road or 60 MPG – significant difference to the Benz. The yearly diesel tax would put road tax costs to 500 eur/year compared to the 340eur/year Benz that runs on gasoline. The semi-auto is apparently bad when it works and bad when it doesn’t.

I don’t know how they are on the road. Bouncy? Hatch-backy? I know GT1750 has a gasoline ForFour, but I haven’t driven one.

Cost-wise, I believe ForFours are sub-2k in Central Europe, and I’d have to import one to get one after my taste, That means some hundreds in import tax and plating costs. 2k buys a 1.1 gasoline ForFour here that also goes around with little fuel, but they have half the torque of a diesel. I could just buy Lastsoul’s Panda 169 at that point.

If comfort is what I’d be going after, I’d probably just get a super cheap Xsara with the 2.0 hot dog. Those are completely worthless here, but not unreliable. I can see them advertised for some hundreds, too.

But the ForFour! I love the looks and the cabin design. They are available with red seats and red cloth dash. Four-spoke wheels. Absolute win!
 

Der Stig

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I'm excited to see the next chapter of Bangernomics unfold! Did they ever do a ridiculous bus seat pattern?
 

gaasc

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I forget, have you ever owned a Megane? One of those should do for beaternomics and commuting duties. For extra points ditch the compacts, get a Laguna Diesel. French diesel couches should eat the km's away. Later 2.0 Laguna II's will even do 100 in under 10.
 

Tram13

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First-generation Lagunas are dirt cheap, but I know next to nothing about them, even if my uncle had one since it was new in 1996-ish, until 2012. Meganes are good but unless you go for a first generation coupe or some sporty model, they are a bit boring. Nothing special about them.

Xsara seems to work fine as well, my other uncle has a Xsara, but it's the facelift model, which people seem to have split opinions on. I've driven that one, it's decent to drive, if a bit uninspiring with the 1.9 HDi engine. But it is comfortable, I'll give it that.

I don't know anything about the ForFour, however. I do have to say, of all the Smart models, I like it best. Yes, that includes the Roadster. Sorry, but I just can't forgive the lack of a proper manual to that one, as cheap as they are. You did make me wonder if the ForFour is a good option, as it doesn't seem too expensive compared to its contemporary competition, and 4 l/100 km is intriguing.
 

Perc

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While it's true that diesel fuel isn't as cheap as it used to be, last time I did the math I came to the conclusion that I saved 400 euros over a year of driving. I do about 15000km. This was of course apples-to-apples math, I used official figures for my car and an otherwise identical 2.0T.

Let's just ignore the fact that a glow plug costs about 200€ and I had to replace one last winter. :p
 

public

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I forget, have you ever owned a Megane? One of those should do for beaternomics and commuting duties. For extra points ditch the compacts, get a Laguna Diesel. French diesel couches should eat the km's away. Later 2.0 Laguna II's will even do 100 in under 10.
I don't really have any incentive to own a Megane of any kind, tbh. At least with a Xsara I can use parts I already have, including wheels, tires and shocks. But the Meganes I've driven have felt pretty horrible, and I'd rather have a Kangoo or a Clio at the very least.

Since the diesel tax is based on vehicle weight, the smaller the better in this case. A big wafty car will offer no savings over the Benz, so a hatch is ideal. I could also drive a wagon that's registered as a two seater van, but I might as well have a van then.

But, the ForFour and the Multipla are justifiable for design reasons: I'd really want them for what they are. Anything else would just be a temporary solution to keep miles and rust off the Benz. And the rest of my fleet is far too fragile for commuting in the winter.
 

Dr_Grip

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@public as mentioned earlier, Mk2 Golf diesel (non-turbo) fits the bill perfectly.
 

katwalk

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Whelp it finally has begun. Was dropping off my friend in Gloucester today and went to accelerate at the second rotary... and the power cut out to the point i thought it might've stalled, pull over in breakdown lane, restart car, fine until a point on the way back, the same thing happens.THIS TIME "service engine" pops up on the screen as well as the CEL. I am pretty sure it's the turbo because the boost gauge doesn't go up anymore.

Now I get to deal with warrenty service yaaay 🙃

Well this is why I still have the bug. Also somewhat ironically given Gloucester > Beverly is really highway only I basically had to drive home in half limp mode by driving it like the beetle.
 

Spectre

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Whelp it finally has begun. Was dropping off my friend in Gloucester today and went to accelerate at the second rotary... and the power cut out to the point i thought it might've stalled, pull over in breakdown lane, restart car, fine until a point on the way back, the same thing happens.THIS TIME "service engine" pops up on the screen as well as the CEL. I am pretty sure it's the turbo because the boost gauge doesn't go up anymore.

Now I get to deal with warrenty service yaaay 🙃

Well this is why I still have the bug. Also somewhat ironically given Gloucester > Beverly is really highway only I basically had to drive home in half limp mode by driving it like the beetle.

Most likely a boost leak. But hey, remember, Cellos88GT keeps telling us that these new Italian cars never break and don't have the issues people are reporting, so you must be hallucinating. :rolleyes: :lmao:

Have you considered getting an OBD2 code scanner or reader and keeping it in the vehicle? I do that with every OBD2 car I've gotten - if nothing else, it can tell you if it is safe to proceed or not. They're cheap too.
 

katwalk

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Most likely a boost leak. But hey, remember, Cellos88GT keeps telling us that these new Italian cars never break and don't have the issues people are reporting, so you must be hallucinating. :rolleyes::lmao:

Have you considered getting an OBD2 code scanner or reader and keeping it in the vehicle? I do that with every OBD2 car I've gotten - if nothing else, it can tell you if it is safe to proceed or not. They're cheap too.
I start my auto mechanics course this week and will probably pick one up once I am less... stupid.

YEAH boost leak sounds right. It seems to trigger limp mode if I try to accelerate enough to make it need the turbo.
 

prizrak

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I start my auto mechanics course this week and will probably pick one up once I am less... stupid.
Doesn't require any real intelligence, cheaper stuff will just give you the code that you can then google, fancier stuff might actually tell you what the code means.

I had a weird with the Xterra today, on the way from dropping in laws off at the airport it developed a squeak that sounded rotational in nature. After some testing it was only happening when the wheels were moving so likely nothing driveline related, no effect on drivability. After some time the squeak went away... Guessing maybe something got caught somewhere and eventually fell out :dunno:
 

93Flareside

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Wagon still sits on jackstands. This is because I haven’t found an adapter with the correct fitting to change the rear brake splitter that is 1/4” to 3/16” that’s on the wheel cylinder. I had the bright idea back in June to fix the rear brakes on the wagon and refresh all the hardware back there. This quickly turned into a Very Bad Idea.
 

Spectre

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Wagon still sits on jackstands. This is because I haven’t found an adapter with the correct fitting to change the rear brake splitter that is 1/4” to 3/16” that’s on the wheel cylinder. I had the bright idea back in June to fix the rear brakes on the wagon and refresh all the hardware back there. This quickly turned into a Very Bad Idea.
Sounds like you have the wrong hardware.
 

93Flareside

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Sounds like you have the wrong hardware.
If that were the case, it would mean there’s a Ford factory part where they offer a brake line that has two different fittings on them because that’s what the old line is. I could try and get a new splitter but I have no idea what the actual name of it is.
 

Spectre

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If that were the case, it would mean there’s a Ford factory part where they offer a brake line that has two different fittings on them because that’s what the old line is. I could try and get a new splitter but I have no idea what the actual name of it is.
That wouldn't be the first time. However, what is this splitter? Is it dividing the system into front and rear brake circuits?

Also, brake line adapters exist: https://www.dormanproducts.com/c-176-brake-line-adapters.aspx
 
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