Random Thoughts... [Automotive Edition]

Oh yes, this probably belongs more to Random Thoughts again than Post Your Car, since it is again going to be extremely temporary. I've bought some more hot garbage for the icetrack meet, very much in the tradition of previous beaters.


The car this year is a Mercedes W203 C180 in Classic trim and metallic green-black. Despite being badged C180, these early cars had the M111 2.0-liter engine as seen in the W202 C200, but with a six-speed manual. It is spectacularly rusty, dented and tragic after 400,000 km, but that just means we will feel less bad when parts inevitably fall off.




It has an alternating amount of warning messages in the center display, between one, none and 12, no working brake lights, various issues which can be explained by faulty SAM modules, so on and so on. But it turns, brakes and goes forward and sideways, which is what we expect. On the road it's completely fine and actually comfortable, plus the trip computer claims it does just 7l/100km. 129hp is also quite surprisingly enough to move it briskly. Tires are not great, but I might have the old W202 set put under it as they are only a little too small (185/65R15 vs stock 195/65R15).

Incredibly this hunk of junk cost something like 65,000 eur new depending of options, despite being the cheapest W203 sedan for sale. It's also one of the earliest cars here as it dates back to Sept 2000. That might explain some of the rust.
It usually takes a firm hand to slap the plastic a few times, then there's enough of an edge to pull the flap open. The Kona one has worked far better this winter than the Niro one did for the two winters we had it, even if it is basically the same design.
Lots of things can be solved with a firm hand slap on the bottom.


Had the DOT 2010 Michelins swapped to DOT 2015 Goodyears, with tire size going down from slightly oversized 205/60R16 to slightly undersized 185/65R15. Stock is 195/65R15. Both sets are too old, but the Goodyears have a better stud count.



Have some rust.
I am SOOOOO glad that I don't have any reason to EVER live in California!!
I was stationed there for basic training back in '72. It was a much nicer place then...
Incredibly the Mercedes survived the ice track meet and might join us for next year's outing, whenever and wherever that is held.

[Long photo dump coming. Not dump area. Do not dump here]


On Thursday we picked up @DaHitch who piloted the car east to the meet location. The Merc proved to be surprisingly economical as it claimed a solid 6,4l/100km for the journey. Even if the trip computer's reading could be taken with a pinch of salt, it easily bested the Corolla which took 7,7l/100km for the same drive. I would say the Merc performed without complaints, but the amount of complaints on the dash continuously varied between 1 and 12.


On the track the car proved to be a very good choice. The 2.0-liter M111 is a good fit for the car with the 6spd manual, providing good power and easy slide control on the ice. And importantly, despite the Merc getting banked and beached several times the cooling system kept its fluids to itself, unlike BMWs we have had. Even the front bumper never got worse than it was, only some undertray parts got bent out of shape and rubbed the front left tire.




However, an issue we had was that you could not open the trunk, where the towing eye was located. Despite attempts, it remained jammed shut and we even tried to access it by removing most of the third brake light by hand and hammer.


Later on, after a spin a more significant problem arise: the car lost reverse, 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th. You could still drive it in 3rd and 4th, but that's not great. The centre console and associated plastics were removed for access, but you had to take a look underneath instead. We were able to secure a lift spot for it for that evening, and drove it 100km away to a garage where the problem was traced to a popped off gear linkage.


To make future access to the linkage easier, a service hatch was created on the side of the transmission tunnel.



The problem with the non opening trunk was also rectified and the towing eye retrieved.


With the gearshift fixed the car returned to the track for a full day.





It has to be said the winters probably made a difference as the car didn't spend that much time getting yanked from the bank, but the handling was also very logical and easy to figure out on the constantly more slippery track. We've had meets where the cars have been stuck time after time, but this year we didn't really have to bother the tractor every five minutes, and at no point did the car become undriveable.

It did develop an intermittent starting issue which is probably related to an ailing cam position sensor, but it did always eventually start. @Posmo also commented how it felt down on power and immediately drove it hardest to the bank so far. It might have fixed something as an earlier misfire was no longer present. Over the course of the meet I probably put 1,5l of brake fluid in it one gulp at a time, so the brakes probably need help or ignoring.


The CD player also worked when the car drove the worst, but later on stopped reading the disc while the misfire was gone. These things might be related. I'd love to see the full list of fault codes stored.


All in all, I can only recommend the W203 as an ice track platform in manual form. It was far closer to the Omegas we have had than the BMWs, only missing a limited slip diff for the full experience.


We parked the Benz at the garage where we fixed it and look forward to meeting it again!
The internet really wants me to buy a Mitsubishi Colt right now. It’s everywhere. And exactly every comment under every ad is along the lines of “LOL Clio”.
The internet really wants me to buy a Mitsubishi Colt right now. It’s everywhere. And exactly every comment under every ad is along the lines of “LOL Clio”.
The new one is an abomination, like a Corsa rear ended a Clio so hard they fused. Clearly the only small car option is the GR Yaris, as the Finnmeet pictures are above I'd love to try a Grrr Yaris on the ice track.
Finalgear hivemind! It's been ages since I needed to change tyres on my personal cars (as in, 6 years) but the time has come for my wife's Kona.

Trouble is, I don't know what's good anymore.
I thought out of the premium brands (Michelin, Goodyear, etc) you were never supposed to take the Pirellis because they used to be more asspensive and also blow up after 40k kms.

Now, however, this seems to be my cheapest option?

Browsing around seems to give me the Pirelli Powergy as a best option (size is 235/45/R18 is anyone cares), while Michelin, Continental and Goodyear are about 50€ more per corner....


(bytheway, the tyres only have 40 something k kms on them, but as they are 6 years old and were the tyres the car came with, I'm not waiting and swapping them now. I have once had an old/worn/crusty tyre blow out on me @ 130 kph, it wasn't fun)
Given the unbelievable amount of ads I've seen for it, the Honda Prolonged has to suuuuck right?
Where the fuck did the Subaru Solterra come from? I've heard not a single thing about it but when I opened Auto Trader to look at EV6s it was on the front page.

I can't decide if it looks good or fugly, lots of Ford and MG influence in the design (kind of like an MG4 crashed into a Mach-E) but I'm also getting Pontiac Aztec vibes from it. :-o


Interior appears to have a decent mix of dedicated touch controls and proper toggles for the HVAC, with some real buttons. I would shit on the centre volume up/down buttons instead of a knob as they can't be found by touch, but the steering wheel controls resolve that issue. The buttons between the steering wheel and centre console look awfully small and far away though.

Of course it's all disgusting piano black, which as a style needs to fuck right off. I mean think how stylish and Swedish it would look if that centre panel was a nice wood grain in black, grey or any shade of brown? It would hide scratches too due to the texture. :dunno:

Overall though I actually like it and wouldn't mind trying one.
Where the fuck did the Subaru Solterra come from?

It's a twin/co-production with the Toyota BZ4x. I think they both have flown under the radar because of their lackluster range for the size/price. At least at launch. No idea if things have improved...