Diesel car woes

Our transport is heavily oil-based. What are the alternatives?

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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Sigh.

My efficient, energy and money saving diesel car is back in the garage, and I am facing another large repair bill.

It's getting to the point where it would have been cheaper to sell for scrap (at 4 years old) and replace if I had known what the repair would cost up front.

It will need an MOT and 2 new tires when I get it back.

My next car will be electric.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Make & model, Ralph (the clunker, I mean)?
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Fabia II greenline
diesel 1.2 engine. 3 cylinders. turbo. Engine is fine, all the problems are on
the exhaust/electronics side. Diesel particulate filters are a bit of a cludge to start with, and tacked on to a very small engine driven in urban setting using hypermilling techniques is more than they can handle long term. An early mis-fuelling probably didn't help.

current problem is in the EGR unit. Already repaired under warranty once.

A family review of transport options in the offing. My electric bike is holding up well after 2000 miles.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Right. I have the same model but as a VW Polo. I wonder how many components they have in common.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

A friend who works in an independent garage reckons current cars have a design life of 6 years... :shock:

Apparently one may now drive around in whatever takes one's fancy, warrantied and all, as a hedge against the hideous complexity, after all it's only a few hundred quid a month, on a rolling contract much like a fancy mobile phone. :roll:

Until the money stops. :twisted:

Also have had Skoda diesels since 99. The latest models need a good steady run to clear out the DPF, and if the electronics are iffy, you're stuffed.
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Little John
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Post by Little John »

PS_RalphW wrote:Sigh.

My efficient, energy and money saving diesel car is back in the garage, and I am facing another large repair bill.

It's getting to the point where it would have been cheaper to sell for scrap (at 4 years old) and replace if I had known what the repair would cost up front.

It will need an MOT and 2 new tires when I get it back.

My next car will be electric.
I've often toyed with the idea of getting hold of a really lightweight, small, cheap donor petrol car and stripping out the engine and retrofitting it with an electric motor.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

We've had Ford diesels for years and haven't had problems with the engines.
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Catweazle
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Post by Catweazle »

stevecook172001 wrote:I've often toyed with the idea of getting hold of a really lightweight, small, cheap donor petrol car and stripping out the engine and retrofitting it with an electric motor.
Just getting a really light car is a good start. A popular conversion is the old Suzuki SJ13 with Peugeot 1.9 diesel. Awesome off-road and good on fuel too, would make a great bug-out car.
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BritDownUnder
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Post by BritDownUnder »

Catweazle wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote:I've often toyed with the idea of getting hold of a really lightweight, small, cheap donor petrol car and stripping out the engine and retrofitting it with an electric motor.
Just getting a really light car is a good start. A popular conversion is the old Suzuki SJ13 with Peugeot 1.9 diesel. Awesome off-road and good on fuel too, would make a great bug-out car.
In Australia I have read that people have done this with small petrol pickups that are quite common over here, known as utes. With a payload of of approximately 500kg you even have capacity for some serious lead acid batteries. Have fun! If I had the time I would be doing this by now but in all likelihood I will buy a Leaf.

As a nod to the original poster I also drive a pickup of the diesel variety and with the 30 to 40 km runs between towns here I have not had problems.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

BritDownUnder wrote:
As a nod to the original poster I also drive a pickup of the diesel variety and with the 30 to 40 km runs between towns here I have not had problems.
G'day

The problem up here is that newer European diesels have Diesel Particulate Filters and associated electronics. They are complex and need to be run at high temps regularly to cook to soot off, all governed by electronics.

Easy with your recycled simple stuff...

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Post by Tarrel »

PS_RalphW wrote:Fabia II greenline
diesel 1.2 engine. 3 cylinders. turbo. Engine is fine, all the problems are on
the exhaust/electronics side. Diesel particulate filters are a bit of a cludge to start with, and tacked on to a very small engine driven in urban setting using hypermilling techniques is more than they can handle long term. An early mis-fuelling probably didn't help.

current problem is in the EGR unit. Already repaired under warranty once.

A family review of transport options in the offing. My electric bike is holding up well after 2000 miles.
Could you not manage with the bike(s) day-to-day and rent a car when needed? Absolutely no worries about insurance, road tax or maintenance. I think Europcar even deliver to your house.

When you add up the annual True Cost of running a car, including tax, insurance, planned and unplanned maintenance and depreciation, it would buy a lot of weekends of hire.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

We do have bikes of course. I commute by bike. However, village life with kids and no car is limiting. One food shop. Our village is better provided than most with services, but cycling is also limited by many of the narrow twisty roads being full of dangerously fast cars. Getting the kids to all the events and activities without car is a non starter. My mum is 130 miles away. If I get a new job I will almost certainly need a second car to commute to it, unless it is on a safe cycle route.
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Post by Tarrel »

Hmm..Does sound like you're tied to motoring for now. From what you describe, apart from the trip to your Mum, electric would seem to be viable for you. I'm guessing most of the children's activities and the main shop would be within an electric car's travel radius?

I like Steve's idea of retrofitting an electric drive into an older, lighter weight car. There must be a business opportunity there for someone with some electrical knowledge and auto-mechanic experience. Not unlike the LPG conversions that sprung up a few years ago. I remember reading about a company that takes classic British sports cars (e.g. Jaguar E-type) and refits them with up-to-date technology, such as new engines, suspension, ABS brakes, etc. So you have the style of the old with the comfort / reliability / efficiency of the new.

"If you're going to build an electric car out of an old wreck, why not do it with some style?"
(Borrowed from Doc in "Back To The Future"!)

A firm retrofitting electric drives into older cars could boast reasonably green credentials IMO; extending the life of a vehicle and therefore making better use of the embedded energy therein, and/or taking an inefficient burner of fossil fuels and turning it into a lower-carbon form of transport (depending on how you get the electricity). Such a firm could also do an all-round refurb. to critical reliability / maintenance items such as brakes, wheel-bearings, bushes, etc.

An old model Fiat Cinquecento or Citroen AX comes to mind as a potential donor vehicle.

At the moment, would-be electric car purchasers don't have a lot of choice except to go for the highly expensive, highly advanced and high embedded energy new models being produced by the mainstream manufacturers, or to go for some kind of hybrid bike/tricycle with canopy arrangement. A retro-fitted old car would allow purchasers to go electric for those local journeys where electric is suitable, thus avoiding the need for the electric car to try to emulate a normal one, with extended range, auxiliary petrol engines, fast-charging, etc.
It could potentially be cheap enough to run one alongside a normal car if needed, or to run one and hire a normal car for those times when an extended journey has to be made.

Potential for a crowd-funded start-up??

Sorry. Getting carried away..
:)
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

I've already costed that a 1-2 yo Leaf would save more in fuel costs than it would cost in insurance, servicing and MOT overheads of running a second car. Of course, I still have to fork out for the initial purchase.

90 % of journeys and 80% of miles could be done using the leaf. If we become a 2 car household, a leaf is the obvious choice.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

A jammed steering linkage has added another £200 to the final bill, and that assumes the MOT does not generate extra cost.

[edit]

Last week my cycle home was not delayed by the crash and vehicle fire when a legally (but unwisely) parked car was plowed into by a in inattentive SUV driver. It was just round the corner from the speed camera and flashing 30mph warning sign that never stops flashing in the rush hour, and the road was busier than usual due to another blockage sending rat runners through the villages.

Still, makes my repair bill seem small compared to two write-offs and the road repair bill.
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