This is the first in a series of posts all surrounding my latest purchase, first let me give you some background info.
Due to my “flamboyant” driving style the powers that be decided to kindly request I didn’t drive for a couple of years. After that time was served and then some more I decided financially we were secure and it was time for me to get back on the car ladder and so far I’ve had no luck at all.
1999 Volvo S40 1.8T SE (Blue)
So the first car I was looking for had to be big (2 kids 2 adults) around 1.8cc and be safe. So after a hunt we found a Volvo S40 SE 1.8T, this seemed to be a great car albeit a bit under equipped for a Volvo. The bodywork was clean, mechanically seemed fine and the car had just flew through an MOT, so I parted with £1000 and took the car home. I enjoyed this car for around 4-5 months until I started to notice blue smoke coming out of the exhaust when I drove off from a stand still, when the engine was warm. Ok so I changed the oil and ensured plugs, leads and top end of the engine were clean all looked ok until I took the oil cap off when the car was running. It looked like I had struck oil, it was squirting out like a good ‘un’, this told me that the car had back pressure and was probably on its way out.
Then the next problem came along, it started drinking a lot of oil then throwing it out of the exhaust in clouds of smoke under hard acceleration. So after some investigation it turned out that there were some perished oil seals somewhere, I then started getting my wallet ready for a big repair bill. That was before I went round a corner and started this clunking noise, in fact every bump, there was a metal on metal knocking sound. Originally I thought it was the exhaust, or the spare wheel so we chucked the car on a ramp, secured the exhaust and ensured the spare wheel was locked in place. Whilst it was up there I hung off the wishbones and checked nearly every part of the suspension and found it was all solid as a rock. The knock never went away so we thought its time to trade up and get a new car.
2002 Renault Laguna, 1.8 Sport (Red)
The Renault was a great car, I managed to pick it up for a little under £1000 (plus £600 from the Volvo trade in). This car had nearly every conceivable extra (no leather or satnav) and was a lovely deep red, I think it was titan red. It had 43,000 miles on the clock and looked very well looked after but didn’t cost a lot so I was naturally wary. However the car was great on fuel (45mpg average), it was fairly rapid, had keyless entry and the best driving position of any car I had driven previously (there have been many). The only problem that I had from the start with this car was the ground clearance, as it was a sport model it was a bit lower to the ground and used to grind over the speed bumps around my house. I was really happy with this car, especially when it out handled most cars on my 40 mile journey to work down crazy country roads. However after 12 months, 60,000 more miles and no major service, the car started to misfire at 2500rpm. So I changed the plugs and leads and did the usual top end clean up and strip down, I ensured the airflow was ok and flushed the oil out and replaced with some fully synthetic. This didn’t solve the problem so I took it to a garage who diagnosed the fault as being a dodgy ECU which would cost me around £900 to replace so it was back to the classified ad’s.
So that’s the first part of my tale of woe, click here for part 2…