Category: Cars

The Red Rover Mini Restoration Project… Part 2 (Cars)

Posted by – May 21, 2009

After respraying the front I decided the back needed some attention as the paintwork was in very poor condition. Some of these first pictures should give you a general idea as to how poor the paint surface was…

Mini Restoration Mini Restoration

Sanding and stripping the back. The boot particularly had a lot of bubbles in the paint.

Mini Restoration Mini Restoration

Filling and kurusting holes and prepping for spraying (Masking tape and brown parcel wrap used).

Mini Restoration Mini Restoration

Grey primer, and red primer sanded smooth. Lots of sanding and priming done on the boot due to all the bubbles in the paint. Sprayed inside of boot with primer and Flame red (89) as well.

Mini Restoration Mini Restoration

Final coat of red and rebuilding. To “finish” the paint I sanded with 1500 wet and dry, T-Cut, and then polished with Zymol Cleaner Wax. Once ready I took it for a drive and charged the battery and made sure all the lights were working.

You can follow the Mini Project Log at Hexus, and view large photos in the Red Mini gallery (on

The Red Rover Mini Restoration Project… Part 1 (Cars)

Posted by – May 21, 2009

Red Mini Mini Interior

So I’m very very slowly bringing the Mini back to it’s former glory. So far I’ve beefed up the sound system with a subwoofer, and front speakers, although I do need to mount these all properly, so this is just at the testing stage at the moment. The head unit is very nice though – a Sony GT420U – with USB and AUX in it supports pen drives, and USB hard drives!

rusty front Mini Rocker arms and springs

I’ve also been looking at the front of the Mini as there’s a lot of surface rust under the bubbling paint. Very little of it has gone through so with some elbow grease and some sanding it should smooth out okay, ready for a respray. I’ve also decided to respray the rocker cover, as that was suffering from some rust.

Rocker Cover Before Rocker Cover After - Red

Here’s the before and after shots of the rocker cover, now that it’s been painted red. I’ve sanded the rusty bits with a B+Q Mouse Sander, and covered the rusty bits with Hammerite Kurust from Halfords. Next I should be able to fill any dents, and smooth ready for the primer.

Mini Sanded Sprayed

Most of the front of the car now smoothed and sprayed with two coats of primer.

Mini Sprayed Red Ready to drive

Once the front was put back together, I changed the oil, and took it for a drive. When it got back, I decided it was time to do something about the back of the car, follow links below for pics.

You can follow the Mini Project Log at Hexus, and view large photos in the Red Mini gallery. (originally posted on joshwaller)

VW Passat Common Faults 1.9TDI Sport Estate… (Cars)

Posted by – March 30, 2009

VW Passat common faults / problems: plenum drains blocked – can cause expensive problems, brake pads wearing quickly, brake servo, filling with water, water leaks, etc. check with dealer to see if yours is affected by a recall (US class action). MAF Sensor – fails may need replacing, can cause performance problems. Waterpump fails and should be replaced at the same time as the Cambelt. Glow plugs on high mileage cars (£80 to replace). ISOFIX not necessarily standard but can be fitted at a later date (guide here). Changing brake pads not necessarily a DIY job, but cheap at independant garages. PD engines need VW PD Spec oil (VW 505.01). Drive shafts. Turbo failure at high mileage. More details at 800pixel wide photo uploaded using gallery2.

Skoda Fabia MK2 1.2 HTP (70bhp) Estate Thoughts (Cars)

Posted by – March 27, 2009

(IMG: 400pixels x 2 wide blogger hosted) Engine / Performance: Performance isn’t the right word for this car, however, the engine does have a gruff growley sound when pushed, it’s just a shame the car doesn’t accellerate in the same way as it sounds. When idle the engine has a wobbley character about it that wobbles the car, this is especially noticable when stopped at traffic lights (most likely due to the 3 cylinder engine). The engine is adequate to set off from lights in a nippy enough way, and keeps up with traffic.

Handling and Driving: The biggest problem I found when driving this car was the general feeling that I was driving a van – the car seems to tower over similar class cars, and you can’t see the front of the car. There seemed to be little feedback from the steering or wheels. The car has a light steering and a light clutch so is easy to drive.

Interior and space: Suprisingly spacious – seemed more spacious inside than the MK1 Octavia – makes me wonder why cars are different sizes when the insides always seem the same – ie they almost always easily fit 4 people in them. ISOFIX as standard in rear – large car seats and toddlers fit with space for their feet, even with a 6foot tall person in the front. Unfortunately the front passenger seat isn’t adjustable for height. The interior ceiling is high with lots of head room.

Sound System: This was probably the base model (Fabia 1) as it only had speakers in the front – but these sounded suprisingly capable with good bass and treble. The CD unit is the same that is in the VW Golf, with seperate treble, mid, bass controls and loudness settings and radio text, so was quite impressive, however there was only AUX in (next to the handbrake), and no USB in.

Other things: Doesn’t seem to have a temperature guage on the display – how do you know when the engine’s at normal running temperature? ISOFIX labelled up nicely, but one of the fixings is inbetween the seat belt sockets (which could be a little awkward). Full size spare wheel provided (Bridgestone) – cars go on about safety and 5 star euroncap ratings, and then provide a space saver spare wheel which in my opinion makes the car unsafe! AC provided, ands works well.

Overall: Priced at around £9.5k, and considering it’s a nice enough car, but nothing particularly stands out about it, I’d be considering a KIA Ceed or Hyundai i30 for a similar price, especially as these come with 7 or 5 year warranties. But I suppose if you want a “smaller” car from a quality “budget” manufacturer then it could be a good choice.

More pics: (click to embiggen)