Wednesday, 22 December 2004

MPG update

Date------------Cost-----Ltrs----Gal----Miles-ltrs/mile-MPG---Total Mileage--Type

Trip Computer 24.5 mpg avg :: 18.8 mph avg spd :: 20 miles to go
cough!!! I guess the mpg whilst commuting is worse than I thought......
thats a drop of 5 MPG , due solely to my changed commuting habits.
(NB : not my new airfilter because more than 3/4 of this tank was done before this conversion)
The bottom line appears to be that the MINI only returns a reasonable gas mileage when allowed to warm up and driven on longer journeys.
Short commuting , start/stop journeys really hit the MPG hard.
To be honest Im really surprised . I dont drive a car hard (only sometimes). This kind of MPG from a 1.6 supercharged car is in my opinion , pretty poor.

Merry Christmas to everyone. J

Thursday, 16 December 2004

JCW air filter thoughts part1

Well I got home last night and I looked over the original std airbox assembly that was removed to fit the kit. (remember to ask for it back from the dealer!)

1) It was news to me that the std box ALREADY sucks some air through a small hole in the area beneath the windscreen air vents !!! There is no flap (so its open all the time) and its area is about 50% or less of the opening in the JCW kit.
To me this raises the possibility of modifying the std box to increase this opening , and or add your own manually actuated flap mechanism to achieve a JCW 'like' assembly for a lot less cash. Albeit no warranty but it would be a very stealthy. In fact more so than a JCW which stands out a bit with a damn great badge on the top..........
It surprises me how much louder the whine is above 4500rpm given that the hole has only been enlarged.

2) My car had 20K miles on it and the air filter that came off was FILTHY.
If you have a std car , check it now...

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

JCW AirFilter is on

Yep , just got the car back from dealership.
They ended up needing 3.5 hrs !!! when the instructions (which I have pre-read off the web) indicate 1hr (for the JCW 210 upgrade inc injectors+remap) or 0.75hrs for just the filter assembly.
Of course I dont have a JCW kit , so it was just the airbox.
Underbonnet , nothing looks disturbed and its all still very neat , so thats a plus for the dealer. Car washed (albeit not to my standards LOL) as well.

So I hear you ask , how much and is it any good.

Initial impressions

1) Its bleeding expensive retaining your warranty. The box was £275 and I paid a further £85 today for 1hrs labour for fitting.
Thats £360 all in , for an airfilter assembly!!!!
Albeit a good quality one.

2)Ive only driven the car for a short distance (had to go back to work to pay it off LOL) , so I only went over 4500 rpm twice. In general the car seems 'perkier' throughout the rev range , with very definite 'whine' past 4500rpm.
I would describe it as 'whine' rather than induction noise.
Im pleased so far , albeit its a bit quieter than I expected , and definitely needs to be open all the time :-)
Im always aware of the 'placebo' factor , so Im trying to be objective!

Need to spend a few more days with the car for a better evaluation.
The good news is that I seem very lucky to have managed to get hold of a JCW air kit at all :-)

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Mini Cooper S Autocar Roadtest Download

Well , when buying a new car I tend to always buy lots of associated info.
So heres the 2002 roadtest of the Mini Cooper S. Its a pre-05 spec car , so remember that later cars have more hp and a revised gearbox (lower ratios) amongst other differences.

Recently moved back to our flat in Glasgow , after staying with my parents in law for 8 months! The commute before (Paisley To Glasgow) was averaging around 28MPG , but now from the much closer flat its even worse , down to 22 on the OBC which means its must be around 20 !!!!! The car just isnt getting a chance to warm up at all.
Which for a Cooper S is a killer (the cold start cycle).

Who cares really ... the Air Filter is fitted tommorrow.......

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

20k milestone / MPG update

Yep its true,20 thousand miles ,thats around 2500 since we bought the car...


Trip Com [ 30.3 avg MPG :: 26.3 avg MPH :: 7 miles to go ]

I have definitely driven the car harder on this tank. Lots of 40 mile blasts up and down the Paisley to Ayr Brae's road. Lots of twists and turns.
Have noticed that 'bump steer' when the road is bad is quiet noticable and can easily prevent you getting the power down.
Still haven't fitted the front mudflaps ! Car is absolutely filthy now , so much so that a preparatory jetwash before a had wash is now required to prevent me scratching the paintwork.....

Cant wait for the airbox :-)
Also found a set of vents that replace the pollen vents below the windscreen.
These are like mini subaru air scoops,may help to direct more air into the area the new filter will suck air from.

Also noticed that the sealing strip for the windscreen has come loose at the top and is contributing to excessive wind noise at speed.
My sisters hubby to be , also got an X5 4.4 V8 this week , what a machine !
Waaaay faster than I expected , superb for pimping round Ayr on a Saturday night (joke :-) )

Friday, 3 December 2004

Air Filter : Part 2

Well , contrary to my doubts the part has arrived :-)
Sadly Henry Bros cant fit my car in til 15th Dec !!! and its only a 1 hr job.
Anyway who cares I cant wait ......

Thursday, 2 December 2004

JCW AirFilter Part 1 : Buying

Yep , well I couldn't resist and have ordered the air filter kit from John Cooper Works :-) Only just released ...
Heres the spiel off the website.....
"The unforgettably throaty sound of the engine will register instantly in your ears.
There is a second air intake controlled by means of an electronically actuated flap,
which opens during acceleration at 4500 rpm.
The result is a significantly improved performance curve and an even more distinctive sound."

Basically there are lots of options out there but I wanted to retain the warranty so it has to be a JCW part and must be fitted by a BMW dealer.
Part No is M13.72.0.391.513 234.05 (exc VAT) = 275 (incVAT) !!!!
Plus theres the labour still to be added to that.....

Its the same part that is included in the upgrade kit for converting the 200 BHP JCW kit to 210BHP.
The upgrade also adds slightly larger flow injectors and an ECU remap which I wont be getting (although it does seem better value and you could flog the larger injectors on ebay .....)
Reading on the forums the part alone does NOT need a remap for the rpm flap controller to function.
Expected BHP gains on a std S (which mine is) should be around 5bhp in the upper rev range. But Im getting it as much for the supposedly great sound as for power increase.
Next step once its fitted is to look at being able to manually adjust the secondary flap below 4500 rpm :-)

Car is filthy and needs a clean ......


Monday, 29 November 2004

yet another MPG update / ECU software / Carchip

MPG update
Date---------------Cost----Ltrs--Gallons--Miles--ltrs/ml--MPG---Total Mileage--Type

Trip Comp 31.2MPG : 27.6 avgMPH : 8 mls to go

ECU Software
Read some more on the forums about the 'stumble' when applying throttle from idle.
Seems linked to earlier software versions. I have downloaded the procedure to check the cars version and take it from there.

CarChip DataLogger
Managed to buy a power adaptor from Maplin. Installed a newer version of the software and tested it out.
Looks good , no fault codes recorded. Although quite how useful it is Im not sure LOL.
Maybe I'll sell it on..

Also my first ebay sale , the rear light rings from a fiat coupe group buy arrived last week , so I have put them on a 10day listing to see how it goes...

Roll on Christmas.... Ho Ho Ho......

Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Date-------Cost-----Litres-Gallons-Mileage-ltrs/mile-mls/gallon-Total Mileage--Type

Trip Data
31.7 MPG
25.7 MPH avg
40 miles to go

Bought a pair of front mudlaps and a carchip datalogger from
Mudlaps are functional and non exciting , the carchip looks like fun.
The only downside I can see is that you are limited to recording 4 channels and the interval is 5 secs minimum. Plus it arrived with a 110V US plug which aint no good.....

I've plugged it in (under the steering wheel on the MINI) so it can record until I find an AC adaptor LOL. Its supposed to record for 300hrs !

Mudflaps on ASAP with the way the weathers going just now!

Thursday, 18 November 2004

MPG update / Ramblings / Sis gets a Cooper

MPG Update
Date------Cost--Litres-Gallons-Mileage-ltrs/ml-mls/gallon-Total Mileage--Type

Trip Comp suggested 31.7 MPG , 26.2 Avg Speed , 12 miles to go before empty.
I reset the MPG and avg speed at each fill up so its not a cumulative average over all tanks.
It seems that the 'real' MPG is around 2mpg less than the computer suggests.
Car now has done 1700 miles since we bought it , and its the first time I've had to add oil! (0.25 litres). Like water it is too!(0W30) , I thought reading a fiat coupe dipstick was a black art , but the MINI is worse :-) esp just after an oil change.

Car continues to run great.
Traction control way too intrusive in the wet which really impedes rapid progress.
Its a good job you can turn it off :-)
I continue to be surprised by the pre-05 'S' gearbox ratios !!!
1st is way too long , 2nd not much better and 3rd to 6th are way too close .....
Car will pull 6th at 30mph and yet car parks and crawling in rush hour traffic can be troublesome in 1st. Its not a big problem but certainly something that doesnt utilise the MINI's engine to its full.

With a bit more info under my belt , it seems that normal tyres DO fit on the std wheels , so that may be a future option (including a can of tyre weld :-))
Perhaps some nice sexy Goodyear GSD3's ? mmmm

Seen several Minis over the last few days..A big wave to them..
A cool (and relatively rare) pepper white 'S' at Heathfield roundabout in Ayr.
A superb black Cooper with Arospeed rims at St Georges Cross in Glasgow.

I have to say , coming from a 'classic' mini background I prefer ye olde side exit exhaust :-) with a nice rolled edge...
On a big plus side , it appears that you can buy the Works AirBox seperately :-)
I also picked up the touch up paint from the local dealer this week.

Family Affair
Sis gets a new MINI Cooper. Yes its true there are now 2 MINIS in the family..
A brand new 05 spec Cooper Chilli Red/White Roof+mirrors. It looks stunning and has all the new fancy bits. I especially like the MPH readout on the rev counter and the lights in the inner door handles. She was really excited and I hope she enjoys it.

Heres a quick pic of the Mini Cooper 04 Red/White roof + mirrors and an arty version of the same pic for fun....

Monday, 8 November 2004

MPG update


Trip--29.4-MPG,30mls-to-go , as ever the figures differ more than a little LOL.

Car runs great , but short commuting is not good for high mpg!
Also beginning to get annoyed with the 'stutter' that always happens the first time you press the accelerator from cold....

Sadly the super sexy Apexi AVCR which I had planned to fit into the old Fiat Coupe has now been sold (sorry Allan!) , need it to pay for fuel....

Also bought a MINI parts list from ebay. Also bid on a short shifter because it was sooo cheap.....

Wish list : MicroRoadPilot(in silver) [GPS speed trap detector]
: Ipod Mini or Ipod
: Replace Boost Cassette with Boost CD player (none yet on ebay!)
: More Power ! (BBR / West Tuning or JCW are current favourites)


Friday, 29 October 2004



First mpg report for the new car.
Calculations say 31.8MPG whereas the Trip Computer stated
35.1MPG (avg) :: 31.2mph (avg) :: 21miles est to empty
Apparently you can adjust the trip comp's adjustment factor....
Whatever its still good.

MINI seems to drink fuel when driven spiritedly or during the warmup phase from cold.
Once warm and cruising tho the mileage seems excellent.

FlyByWire throttle can be annoying. It seems to have 3 positions.
Off/Middle/Full Throttle. Mapping for the car from cold is awful , you can feel the car go through huge flat spots at 1500 and 2200 rpms.

Did some research about run-flat tyres for 17 inch wheels.
First thing that strikes me is the sheer weight of them!!!!!
The good news is that I can get my favourite tyre (Goodyear Eagle F1) in a run flat config.
Autocar reported that Pirelli's give a hard ride compared to Dunlop or Goodyear equivalents.
I have the Chilli Pack so I run...(data courtesy of
17" x 7" alloys fitted with 205/45 run flat tires:
R85 S-spoke (aka LeMans, S-lite) ET50 25.1lb (11.4kg)
which have OEM options of

205/45-17 TIRE WEIGHT (*)
------------------------- --------------- ---
Dunlop SP Sport 9000 DSST 21.8lb ( 9.9kg) P
Pirelli Eufori@ 22.0lb (10.0kg) P
Goodyear Eagle RS-A EMT 30.4lb (13.8kg) A
P = performance (summer) tire
A = all-season tire

I run Pirelli Eufori all round with 2 new fronts put on when we bought the car.
I simply cannot believe the unsprung weights!!!!!
If I choose to go to F1's then I add 4kg per corner which as unsprung is massive.
A MINI with new wheels and non run flats must be truly amazing as the car is it is feels great.
Need to find normal wheel and tyre weights to compare.
The pirelli's are good but let go too soon in the wet and provide little feedback at the limit.
I have yet to try the dry weather limits!


Wednesday, 27 October 2004

The artist in me....

Leaving work last night it just so happened to look like this........

What a picture if I do say so myself !

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Its a Mini Adventure : The Lake District / Insurance /Plates

Well lots to say so heres a summary...

New Car
Car buying 08/10/04 from Henry Bros in Glasgow.
Excellent service (aside from only half a tank of fuel when a full tank was agreed !)
Twas a lovely day and the car looked fab.

Car is an Aug03 Mini Cooper S in Electric Blue (roof in body colour) with chrome mirrors.
Car has Chilli Pack /Xenons/Visibility Pack/Full AirCon/HK Stereo/CD changer/MFSW with Cruise Control

I have been with Greenlight Insurance for the Fiat coupe and previously my Mk2 Golf GTI,
they provided excellent service no question.
However they obviously dont want a Mini on the books as they quoted over 1k for a years insurance.
Soooo I looked elsewhere , using the website as a start.
Quotes were surprisingly high , especially as in my eyes the performance was way below the coupe levels!!!!!
The cheapest was Admiral , so I arranged cover online and went with them.....
All was fine until I was searching through the mini forums
[ and] and noted that there may be a problem with Admiral and mini cover.
Specifically coverage of the many extras available. My heart sank.....
So I phoned Admiral....
1st call : Yes , they only replace with std parts but if I declare modifications (which are all manufacturer optional extras!!!) they are covered...added chilli pack(130 UKP more!) and decided to phone back to confirm all car options...
2nd call : Total muppet on the phone answered , no idea about cars let alone the options. I detailed all the options on the car which took ages , then he debited my card for another 30UKP...
then I go away for a week in the lake district....on returning my adjusted details have arrived , which state chilli pack(correct)and only one other option which is 'modification due to disability' FFS !!
(For what its worth , my 'disability' was cruise control on the steering wheel ie its not a fecking disability ........)
At this point Im getting really annoyed.
So I phone up again
3rd call : I ask them to tell me what modifications I have stated on the policy to see if they have the right details. The answer is 'chilli pack and disability mod' nothing about ANY of the options I had previously spent ages confirming!!!!!!
Useless , not only that they had charged me for mods , but couldnt even tell me what they were. I re-asked if the car would be fully covered.This time they said NO and that even though I declared options(mods) AND the policy was loaded accordingly THEY WOULD BE REPLACED WITH STANDARD PARTS ONLY!!!

It was at this point I decided to go elsewhere.....ESURE to be precise.
Good quote and a friendly person who actually listed all my mods on file and that they would be covered AND told me that even though the covernote may state slightly diffferent text , that they had a full list of options on file.
Job done and changed over , not only that but also a UK call centre.

If you want my advice NEVER deal with ADMIRAL insurance. ESPECIALLY if you have a new mini.
I will only receive an 80% refund from them when cancelling my policy but Id much rather that , than deal with useless idiots.

Lake District holiday
A week away with friends at Boot in the Lake District.
Car went really well and is surprisingly spacious. Averaged 38mpg
Also went up the steepest road in britain a 1 in 3 !
My only complaint is the lack of overtaking ooomph on back roads compared to the 20VT coupe.
Heres a quick pick taken near the top of Hardknott pass.

Decided to take a risk and order a 3/4 sized front and full sized rear plates from
I removed the standard mini front plinth which is enormous! and stuck on the plate.
Only downside is that I had to refit 2 outer screws to cover plinth holes.
Looks superb though

Thursday, 7 October 2004

The End.....

Yep , thats it finished :-(
My coupe days for now are over SOB.
The first person to actually come see the car bought it , and who wouldnt ? She looked superb driving away for the last time. All polished up and fancy free LOL.
Coupes really do look superb when seen driving past ......

Good Luck and I hope the new owner enjoys her as much as I did.

And so onto my new car a Mini Cooper S ....... guess I might have to rename this blog !!!!

Monday, 27 September 2004

SOB : car goes up for sale on FCCUK

Right well , its all very sad but today my 20VT went up for sale on fccuk forum.


Lets hope somebody buys it !

Thursday, 23 September 2004

oh no! / possible car change looms.../ mpg update

Well the car runs great after the recent enormous spend.
Brakes are much better and Ive now started to 'push' them a bit more ....

Annoyingly I managed to bump into a very low bollard while parking at work this week !!!
What a muppet , a moments carelessness not thinking while reversing
Damage limited to some lower bumper scratches thankfully.

On a side note we are now considering a new mini cooper s !
My wife wants to drive again and thinks they are really cool :-)
So I guess we will get a test drive soon and take it from there......

21/09/04-44.05--51.28--11.28-----308---0.2------------27.3--------60805 -----OPTIMAX

wahey , now up to 27 MPG after the manifold replacement , and Im telling you thats good for the last week or so as Ive really been pushing the car hard. Had a training course which required some high speed back road testing LOL...
Lets just say I needed a 6th gear more than once ......

Re : Manifold failure..
For other coupe owners , I bought the car with a new style (ribbed) manifold already fitted.
This had failed at the base where all the ports join into one. Just a small hairline crack.
From the fccuk forum it appears that this is the common failure point for later style manifolds.
This has been replaced with the same style which should hopefully last at least a year.

While I remember the noise it made when cracked was a lot like a bearing / low oil pressure problem!!!
Symptoms were a loud tick under light load when cold. At idle is was quiet.
This would go away after 10 mins driving. But return after even a very short stop (even if oil was warm) , presumably because the exhaust cooled very quickly.

Thankfully the car is now silent (and no tappet noise either) when started from cold.


Tuesday, 14 September 2004

GoodNews/Bad News....

Yeah , well the good news is the cars fixed. The bad news is I'm destitute ....
Well what can I say?
After the MOT failure I considered many options.
However with a manifold needing done I decided that I would drive my car to Wigan Paul
(I reckon I have driven the car for at least 4months with a cracked manifold)
Not a 'quick' drive from Glasgow ! (4 hrs each way)
So down and back in one day (with my lovely wife shopping inbetween LOL)
I was very worried but hey its turned out great so Im pleased ...

Heres a breakdown of the final bill (or should I say open wallet surgery).
In fact its actually pretty reasonable for the work done to a good standard.
Plus knowing Paul has wide experience in coupes was a big reason for going.

Exhaust Manifold 293.86
Exhaust Manifold Gasket 10.32
Labour (replace manifold) (6hrs)180
Front discs drilled 130
Front brake pads 36.96
Rear discs 22.84
Rear pads 19.23
Labour (brakes)(3 hrs) 90
Top engine mount 16.25
Bottom engine mount 55.06
Bottom engine mount bracket 16.43
Labour(moutings)(1.5hrs) 45
Full Service 95
Pollen Filter 16.51
Sub Total 1027.46
VAT 179.8055
MOT 32
Total 1239.27

In summary
+ Great standard of work and confidence in knowing the job will be right
- Distance , Dont know if I should have got more off for FCCUK membership...

Would I do it again? YES (and probably for a clutch!)

It has however brought home the cost of running a coupe.Ive only had it for a year.
This recent cost alone averages at £100/month
Totting up other costs(insurance/petrol/tyres) thats at least another £100/month
So I need to earn over £200/month just to run this car..............!!!!!!
For now Im just gonna run the brakes in and enjoy no engine movement :-)
Car feels superb..........

TODO : Manifold photos

Thursday, 9 September 2004

tank runs dry...

Ok so yesterday was a bad day cos the car failed its MOT ...
But today I go to drive into work and the car misfires only 50 yrds down the road !!!!!!!!
Yep , you guessed it Id ran out of fuel.. I usually run it down quite low but the additional extra idleing time for the MOT mustve burned off a few quid!!! cos it was bone dry...
A long walk to the garage and Im back with 5 litres to pour into the tank...
turn the key and .... chug/chug/chug ...stall....WTF!!!!!!
Even manouever car into various positions in case the pickup isnt touching fuel....still no joy !!!!!!!
So I walk back down to a surprised garage attendant for another 5 litres LOL
Once thats in she fires up almost straight away and I drive into work .... go figure......
I ran it that dry that not even 5 ltrs was enough to reprime it....

Annoyed you bet...but its better than having to call a tow truck.

Next stop Wigan Pauls on Mon (hopefully)


Yep its that time of year again...

Kinda snuck up on me , so it was a last minute thing. Booked into local fiat dealer for an MOT.
Ok so I was taking a chance but it was the easiest way...
Over 8 hours later (!!!!) my car has failed on the following....
1) Rear brake discs corroded and pitted
2) Poor handbrake efficiency
3) Ineffective rear brake bias valve
4) High CO emissions fail due to misfire

Ok so not to bad and pretty much easy DIY stuff but in addition to this I knew the car needed

1) Exhaust manifold
2) Full service
3) New Front brakes also

So Ive bitten the bullet and booked the car into Wigan Pauls (James Twist Garage) , a trusted FCCUK garage.
Its a pain but hey its only 3 hrs each way (Glasgow to Warrington!)

Really wanted to wait for a custom manifold but the wait could go on forever so Im just gonna solve it now.


Tuesday, 31 August 2004

mpg update

31/08/04 50.45--58.05--12.77---308--------0.2----24.1-----60497-------OPTIMAX

Wednesday, 25 August 2004

60k milestone...

Yes , its true...
My lovely car passed the big six-o this morning on the way to work.

Monday, 23 August 2004

Integrale Pics / MPG update

Fiat Coupe not enough for you?? Well here's Dave's Integrale Evo II with a new set of wheels....

Date------------Cost--Litres-Gallons-Mileage-ltrs/mile-miles/gallon-Total Mileage-Type

Actually my starting mileage must be off as the mileage was actually 59920 today.
But alas the big SixO beckons......

Tuesday, 17 August 2004

Lord of the Rings : Return of the 5cyl warrior

More tarty bits thanks to Fergie. Interior aluminium rings for heater controls and dials. And also exterior indicator and rear lamp surrounds.

Heater ones I love and went straight on. Instrument seems a bit too OTT for my tastes along with heater (maybe just one or other is OK). The rear light ones , I'm as yet undecided about.
Kinda makes the car look a lot higher (being on std suspension) than it does without. I think this is an eye line thing.

For now they stay off.

Anyway heres a pic..... Add a comment and tell me your preference....

Sunday, 15 August 2004

temptation ...

Oh dear , had a quick look through autotrader and Im VERY tempted with a late model Plus!!!
LE is nice but a bit OTT for my tastes. A Plus with about 40K should do nicely........
Colour would be Green / Black / Silver me thinks.
only one small problem , I would need to find lots of cash. So for now its a pipe dream.

Also on the radar is an updated digital camera. Current favourite is the Minolta Dimage Z2.
Its a bit bulky but I like to be different!!

Friday, 13 August 2004

mpg update

Date----------Cost- Litres- -Gallons- Mileage -ltr/mile- MPG -Total Mileage-Type
12/08/04 --54.2- 62.37- -13.72 -----339------- 0.2- ---24.7- 59891 -------OPTIMAX

Tuesday, 10 August 2004

Throttle cable
They must have made some throttle cables in italy , as I've now picked up the new item from the local FIAT dealer.
Top marks again for Reg Vardy phoning me to let me know it had arrived!

Dont plan to remove the 'generic' cable fix , the new item looks an even bigger pain to fit..

Anti Squeal Brake Shims
FCCUK forum arranged another manufacture run of anti-squeal brake shims , so theyve arrived too . Ready for when I get around to fitting new brakes all round.

Shiny bits
Fergie tells me that the chrome ring set has arrived from abroad , so if I get the time Ill goo get them and see his new FMIC and installed APEXI :-)

Car polisher
Went into B+Q for some stuff for laying laminate into our bathroom.
Turned a corner and staring me in the face was a mains powered polisher reduced to 14.99 ! I couldnt resist ....
Needless to say it makes a mess , but boy what a result ..
The lacquer is now like glass :-)
Next stop is to do Allans MR2 soon.......


Friday, 6 August 2004

mpg update

     Date                Cost   Litres   Gallons Mileage miles/gallon Total Mileage Type
06/08/2004  48.39   55.69   12.25      290           23.7                   59552      OPTIMAX

No real news as such.
MPG down due to air-con being on most of the time.
Car still goes well when warm , couple of times this week Ive been up to 140km/h(wink). Car definitely slower in warm conditions which is echoed by the lower boost limits seen on gauge. At night an extra 0.2 bar or more is achieved.

Still awaiting manifold news.

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

mpg update / more pics

      Date         Cost    Litres     Mileage  ltrs/mile   MPG   Total Mileage  Type
28/07/04   43.72  50.31        263        0.19       23.76      59262         OPTIMAX

oops guess Ive been applying too much right foot lately........
[Car polished  on Sunday so here are MORE Fiat Coupe Pics... because Im sad :-)]

Saturday, 24 July 2004

kenwood display / ipod mini / manifold update

Well after changing to a top kenwood cd unit I'm now well hacked off.
The display claims to be 'customizable' , which it is but only for the wallpapers/movies that kenwood supply ..... For a current head unit this is unacceptable IMHO. The old units used to be (kenwood in fact supply software to build the .kbm files required) but for some reason they have stopped this.
From what I can tell they have changed from 4 tone grayscale(old model) to 8 tone for the new one. They also add additional encoding to prevent you just renaming the file........
It may just be possible to break this but Im not sure its worth the effort.
Whatever the outcome ,kenwood are very 'devious' for not openly explaining this.  Ok so I mostly use the graphic eq display but thats not the point!
Aside from this issue the new stereo continues to perform great.

Ok so its not coupe related but I bought my lovely wife a new ipod mini that was released today (in a rather fetching pink!) . Very nice but more of a 'style' item LOL. Will set it up tommorrow and copy songs onto it , may report back later.

A sample unit from South Africa is on its way for evaluation. If all goes well I may get one soon......

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

mpg update / pillar pod in / planned mods

This week I shall be mostly getting...
Date                      Cost   Litres   Gallons   Mileage    mpg   Total Mileage         Type
19/07/2004    45.44   52.9     11.64    302           26.0       58999        BPULTIMATE

Sadly the tractor impression just gets worse :-( , The group buy on fccuk forum is looking more promising but theres still lots of R&D to be done first .........
Managed to open out the 52mm hole to 60mm within the single nomad pillar pod to allow fitment of my greddy boost gauge. Not a job for the fainthearted I can tell you ! Brittle fibreglass , one small slip and it was all over .....
However its now done and looks ace . Wasn't sure initially (as I think pods can look a bit too Fast+Furious stylee) but I really like it now . Plus I get my drivers side airvent back :-)  
Next gauges will be ExhaustGasTemp (EGT) and AirFuelRatio(AFR) , both Greddy (must have matching) .
But they are really expensive , so I will wait or maybe buy off ebay.

Other things to buy are Forge dump valve FMDV006 (recirc) , K+N air filter and Sparco strut brace.
Brakes and suspension are also long term buys LOL.
I always promised I wouldnt touch my car , but Ive now thrown that dummy well and truly out the pram........

Priority is still the manifold tho. 

Click on the image for more pics (and a couple of the a pillar pod)

Thursday, 15 July 2004

modification envy strikes ...

Well , just when I thought I'd spent enough on my car , I go meet up with Fergie and Kenny at Drivers today!!!!
Fergus with his new suspension and cool as fccuk pace radiator (what a piece of workmanship) and Kenny with his new Momo wheels and kit.
I felt distinctly too standard LOL.
Nice to meet new faces and talk coup.......

The good news is I now have the pillar pod (cheers Ferg).
All this talk of new suspension also has me very interested.....
First things first though , the manifold is fccuked so its first.

Monday, 12 July 2004

mpg update

12/07/2004   58.99ltrs   335miles   25.8mpg   58697   BPULTIMATE

Well first tank of BPUltimate completed. MPG seems same as normal. Car seems to be slightly less keen.Manifold continues its demise , I suspect its now leaking even when fully warmed up. Overboost getting a bit out of hand at 1.4bar recorded on my greddy guage.
Run home from Ayr last night in cool night air :-) Car just loves it. Oil consumption seems minimal and definitely better as the proportion of Mobil 1 15W50 increases in the sump ....
Hopefully getting a chance to see Fergie's coupe on Thursday and collect my next purchase..
A single nomad pod , its 52mm so will need to attack it with a knife for my boost guage!!!!
Pile of bits to go on car continues to rise....
[new wheel bolts,denso spark plugs,apexi avcr]
MOT looming in October ..........

Thursday, 8 July 2004

throttle cable update :: final

Yep , youve guessed it ! The cable has now been fixed, not by a FIAT part which is on back order , but by a tip from a Fiat Coupe guru on the coupe forum using a universal type. Check out the info at Throttle Cable Fix Page
The new cable also means the pedal is higher and has more feel to it. Result!

Re : stereo
Gratuitous new stereo pic ....
I plan to put the apexi just below it

Re : Hire Car :: Toyota Yaris
First off , let me say this is a superb car! Jumping straight back into the coupe I noted a few things....

  • Coupe has great heavy and communicative steering

  • The brakes on my 20VT are cr*p , too much pedal play and no feel....

  • Gearchange is poor , too long a throw .....

  • Just how low and sexy the coupe really is :-)

Ok , so Im biased but it does highlight a few things I could do to improve things. namely a shortshift kit and replace the brakes / bleed system. The previous owner had a flexible pipe replaced for an MOT , so I suspect air has been introduced into the system......

Monday, 5 July 2004

throttle cable update :: 1

well Fiat just phoned to say the cable is on back order. I phoned Steve at Alternative Autos and he confirmed they have been waiting for 2 months!. Luckily Iceberg (Paul) a coupe expert on has provided a 'blue peter' solution for a customer that apparently works fine!
Sooooo , given I have no choice I've ordered the generic cable from a local motor factors [Pistons and Components and will have a go....

throttle cable snaps......

Friday night , long day at work , tired and just picked up my sausage supper from the local chippy .....pulled away ....1st...2nd....thump!
Accelerator hits the floor and I'm going nowhere.
Desperate to get my supper before it gets cold , I head up the road at breakneck speed in 3rd gear at idle revs LOL.
A handy tip is to switch the aircon on , which increases the load and you get a further 1mph speed boost!!!!!
Anway , I got home (and my clutch sighed with relief). I did think it was just a slipped connection but alas , a quick tug on the cable and half of it arrived frayed in the drivers footwell :-(

I have ordered a new cable but its 55 quid! and stock in the UK may be a problem!
[I have also seen a post at where a generic cable may fit ...]

For the time being I couldnt resist a 5 days for 7 car hire deal from Arnold Clark. Excellent value , so my trusty steed for the next few days is a Toyota Yaris 1litre VVTi (feel the power). Its a great small car , I kid you not, AND its got a cool digital dash display.

Finally picked up my new Kenwood head unit (remember the replacement for the JVC I didnt like). Fitted into my non working car this morning. Its superb and definitely much more what I was after. Install was a bit tricky with so many extra outputs at the back (ie not enough room!). Initial impressions are great. Sound is fantastic. Things I dont like are the colour of the faceplate (shiny grey/blck for the top of the range , when lower models colour would be a better dash match!) and the flimsy (if not very small and portable) removeable MASK plate.
The unit fits fine in a coupe and you can even use the full drop down angle on the lower faceplate area (i had concerns as the dash is 'sunken' on the coupe).
All in all a big success so all I need is a car that works.....

Also removed some of the ashtray area to prep for the AVCR install , I want it to look factory , so some design + fitting is going to be will not be fitted until exhaust manifold is fitted though.

next stop service and exhaust manifold ............

Thursday, 1 July 2004

mpg update

Manifold continually getting worse , although Im not really pushing the car hard as much.The current tank is BP Ultimate and 'placebo effect' or not , the car definitely feels less punchy....
Got the apexi avcr out of the box last night and its s*xy as f*ck ;-) Sad me ? Yeah LOL. Plenty of bits to fit ... The plan is to get manifold fixed or replaced first then fit it. Probably to be cited in the ashtray...

DateCostLitresGallonsMileagelitres/milemiles/gallonTotal MileageType

Wednesday, 30 June 2004

stereo ordered part deux :: AVCR arrives :: more pics

Now Im not saying its not a great unit, far from it.
Anyway Ive just ordered the Kenwood PSW9527 , if I have reliability problems with that then Im really gonna be hacked off after all this.........

JVC unit went in on Friday night and its back out again last night (Tues).Its a very subtle unit that looks great,but it just wasnt for me !
Great looks (esp in black)Menu colour fixed(others change)
Nice touch screenface off only(huge panel) not MASK
Deceptively loudLimited sound controls
Less to go wrongSource change requires double key press
Poor/limited options for graphical display

[Big thanks to Jon at InCarExpress for putting up with me changing my mind LOL]

APEXI AVCR arrived today from USA as well !!!! (3 days from order ..)
Cost me 25 quid extra (funnily (or not) 13 quid customs and same again for Parcel Forces cut , go figure)

also a few more pics of my 20VT .... are available. Also shows the JVC unit in dash.

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

stereo ordered :-)

well after much deliberation....Ive jumped ship from kenwood !
After recomendations from the Fiat Coupe Forum and others I have decided to try JVC.
I have ordered a JVC KD LHX502 from In Car Express. I bought my old kenwood from them 3 yrs ago and Jon the owner has always had that personal touch when asking questions.
Quality/Customer service count in my book ..........

In the market for a new stereo then check them out.....

It should arrive soon , will post a report later ........

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

mpg/stereo choice/boost controller

must be driving like a pansy lately as my MPG is up to 26!

DateCostLitresGallonsMileagelitres/milemiles/gallonTotal Mileage

Looking for a new stereo Kenwood or JVC cant decide....
Probably a kenwood , as I really liked my 8080R that was nicked a few weeks ago.
Current favourite is the KDC W8027...

Also very tempted with an APEXI AVCR from ebay....

Come into money ? Nah ,but auctions can be seriously addictive. Its always fun to window shop.

Friday, 11 June 2004

mpg update

DateCostLitresGallonsMileagelitres/milemiles/gallonTotal MileageType

Wednesday, 9 June 2004

Bang / Pothole / Brakes and Overboost........

I wellied the car up a twisty piece of road in 2nd and heard a load bang!!!!!
The result you ask ?
One snapped intercooler hose bracket (where it mounts onto the rad mount)
and a gearlever that no longer flaps about on overrun.........

I'm guessing but worn engine mountings must have allowed the whole lot to move a bit too much , and in the process relocated a bush or the like.

All laughing aside , I sh*t myself and thought Id done some big number damage.


Out in Glasgow shopping on Sunday (joy!) , on the way home I managed to find one of the biggest potholes in Glasgow. For some reason did the 'rabbit in headlights' impression and didnt take avoiding action....
result = more wheels marks.
Could've sworn from the noise that the tyre had blown out.
Havent ruled out a bent wheel, but no s/wheel vibrations so its prob OK.


Works rough , so a hefty right foot home (after its warmed up of course) , is always the tonic.
Full throttle 3rd ......4th ........ and hook 5th
Car running well despite a cracked manifold.......and lo ,well ahead a nissan micra pulls into fast lane doing about 50mph ish.

Needless to say braking became a three step process :
Step 1 : 'No probs , lift off and cruise up to a safe distance.....'
Step 2 : 'OK , maybe not , going a wee bit fast , need to apply some brakes...'
Step 3 : ' F*************k '

Thats the 2nd time Ive been caught out by the speed differential you can achieve with a coupe :-).
Note to self : get better brakes LOL
Braking lacks any feel and definitely not progressive.
Discs/Pads+fluid change a starting point I feel.


Re : Overboost :: Seems my car may be a bit 'frisky'. Other FCCUK members(Hi Fergie) have reported low boost in 1st + 2nd (0.5 and 0.7) , mine will go the full 1.3bar initially then drop !!! The car would actually be quicker in the wet with reduced levels because at the moment 1st/2nd are useless in the wet for me (even with full tread Goodyear GSD3 F1 tyres )

Monday, 31 May 2004

Turbo Water feed hose

Fri afternoon(4pm) I ordered the turbo water feed pipe from FIAT dealer in Paisley.
Sat morning I get a phone call at 10am ! , to say its arrived.
Now thats what I call service. (Albeit I did provide the partno)

You can also view a LARGER PIPE PICTURE should you wish to!

The replacement has a shorter end(block side) without a notch.
The leak point was where the clip has dug into the hose.

As for fitting , well as usual many hoses had to come off before I could even get to it. Simple enough to do (once Id worked out how to release OEM clips grrrrr).

57050 miles

Friday, 28 May 2004

hose no more.....

I think my car has got stroppy..........
Today after a run home ,the coolant hose from turbo to cylinder head decided to leak!
As an assumption I can only presume that the increased heat(from a bust manifold) is the reason (oh and the fact its been on since 1997!)

Re: Break in
Clarion original stereo back in for just now.
Really cant believe how bad the stereo is compared to my nicked Kenwood unit.

MPG figures for the last two tanks:
Date              Cost   Litres  Gallons  Mileage  ltr/mile  miles/gal  Total Mileage  Type
07/05/2004   41.07  50.15  11.03     285        0.18       25.8           56800       OPTIMAX
23/05/2004   51.21  58.93  12.96     312        0.19       24.1           57112       OPTIMAX

Oh dear ! Looks like cracked manifold is hurting my economy ...

Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Glass gets in my eyes......

Nah not literally , but its a swine to clearup :-)

Window was fixed on Sat morning by RAC AutoWindscreens. Fantastic job and they even did some windscreen chips too.

Manifold (or other!) is getting worse , so a trip to Wigan Paul or MotorMech looks a certanty very soon.

Had an idea to build carbon style covers for both radio surround (inc cigarette area) this would cover the console damage and also allow space for guages etc
also thought it would look good on outer badge panels + handle black bits

56600 miles
last tank ~280 miles

Friday, 14 May 2004

Glass Ahoy.......

Jeeze ,
I guess its not my week!
Today the car had the drivers window smashed and my Kenwood 8080R nicked :-(
It was parked outside my current work and was obviously just a opportunistic job

Door has some chips , Dash housing is scratched and its full of glass...........

Window will be covered by Insurance but actually claiming for the stereo isnt a financial issue as my policy excess is 300 quid.
Good news is that my Greddy boost guage was untouched :-)

RE : Exhaust manifold
Oh dear maybe I wont get 6+months out of it. Its definitely noiser at startup after a few more days driving!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Noisy Tappets or Cracked Manifold ????

Car has started to 'tick' when cold for the first 15seconds or so when under light load.
Strangely enough its quite under no load!
Oil level is max , and I've been filling up with 15W50 Mobil 1.
Tappets were my initial thought , but its been silent since I bought it.
Manifold was replaced with the updated 'ribbed' version by the previous owner.
So its only lasted a year or so :-(

Reports from indicate failure is common on the 20VT.
Apparently it will last for a while , but its days are numbered.

Options are to get a FIAT replacement OR plump for one of the custom stainless manifolds being arranged as group buys. Whichever way its gonna be ~500 notes sigh.....

Will pull bag heatshield at some point to see if I can see crack.

Re: Boost levels :: Greddy boost gauge is fab , runs around -400mmHg on idle. And up to 1.3bar overboost , dropping down to 0.7 at redline. I have my suspicions about a faulty EBV , but it will have to wait for now.

Boost gauge fitting pics to follow.....
56300 miles

START BLOG [copied text from personal website]

2nd Apr 2004 :: Greddy 60mm Boost Gauge (pic)arrives from Japan in 4 days! Bought from JapAndy on Ebay. Originally I wanted a mech one , but this is the electronic version with peak/warning settings :-) For me this guage is a good match for the coupe dials. Only downside is the backlight is green but some bulb colouring may adapt this. For the same price I could have had 2 autometer carbonfibre style gauges but didnt quite like the style!! As to a mounting postion Im not sure. Also received my fiat coupe brochures (ebay) and new wheel bolts (group buy off fccuk forum). 55300 miles


21st Mar 2004 :: Checked oil (as I do regularly) and it was halfway down[MIN-MAX] dipstick. Added 0.5ltr to top up. Ordered a Greddy Boost gauge from USA after a failed auction on ebay for a 2nd hand one. Best match for dials , location to fit as yet undecided :-) Cant afford a nomad pod too. Definitely like the idea of refurbishing my alloys with a black M style colour.
see Photoshop pic



1st Mar 2004 :: Jeeze! Has it really been 2 months? Car is currently being used everyday for work while I do long hours. Handling seems odd , which I suspect is a sure sign the front wishbones are shot....Car loves the cold weather and economy is not bad 220 miles/tank while commuting (Optimax only).Car still continues to excite even after months of ownership , the only downside is its propensity to attract dents! Oil consumption is negligible , oil pressure sitting at 2.5bar(idle) when warm. Rolling Road day soon at Dastek , so the service will have to come before then.


1st Jan 2004 :: Cold weather galore. Frozen handbrake most of the time , so car has to be left in gear at night. Central Locking also failed when frozen , but a reset by removing the 4 underbonnet fuses sorted that ...This has also reset the ECU so I will see if the misfire is any better as well.


17th Dec 2003 :: At Last ! Picked the car up , and the colour match looks superb. Also got the rear bumper scrapes and one of the corroded rear light surrounds done at the same time. Its been an absolute delight going back to the coupe after a new shape Polo 1.0L as a hire car. Big Thanks to Myles who pulled all the stops out to get a perfect match on the car There are just soooo many design and styling touches that make the coupe a true performance bargain :-)


7th Dec 2003 :: Ho hum , picked up car but colours not quite right! So its going back in. On the plus side , the passengers door dents have been removed. And the car looks soooo much better without 1001 stonechips. TODO list includes : Engine movement / spark plugs and oil change.
53350 miles


24th Nov 2003 :: Car dropped off at bodyshop (Myles Coachworks) to get bonnet resprayed and bumps taken out. Front F1 tyres are fab . Still too much understeer in the wet though. I suspect thats to do with the coupes 68/32 weight distibution tho....
53190 miles


22nd Nov 2003 :: My first injector light moment ! Car was cold and it only lasted 5 seconds.. Potentially linked to the low rpm misfire...must change plugs soon!
53100 miles


16th Nov 2003 :: Quick blast in the sun. Frustrated by variable boost levels , must clean EBV . Checked oil and it hasnt used any ...result
53050 miles


7th Nov 2003 :: Changed Dipped bulbs H1 to Osram Silverstar(+50% brighter!) bulbs 20 quid for a pair (+free sidelamps)
52840 miles


2nd Nov 2003 :: FCCUK Scottish Meet up in Stirling ( pics in PHOTOS section )
52800 miles


1st Nov 2003 :: Front Pirelli P-Zeros replaced with Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 (205/50/16) 100 quid each inc
52700 miles


11th Sept 2003 :: 20VT Scotts Green bought from Portsmouth. 1000 mile round trip !!
51000 miles