Archive for the 'Cars' Category

Where to Buy a 30mph Speed Camera Sign

Is It Allowed to Erect Your Own Road Signs?

Probably not. But who is going to notice? Councils don’t have a department that drives around looking for road signs that weren’t there yesterday. I think we can safely regard it as a victimless crime. Most councils can’t even sweep the streets properly, they’re certainly not going to notice that you erected a speed limit or camera sign.  

If you’re concerned about being asked about or noticed when fitting it, our advice is to do it early on a Sunday morning when the roads are quiet. If you can procure a high visibility jacket from somewhere, certainly nobody would give you a second glance if you did it during Friday night rush hour. 

Where to Buy a 30mph Speed Camera Sign?

You can buy one on eBay here: >>buy a 30mph speed camera sign on eBay<< You can buy from the same seller less the eBay fees on their own site here: >>buy a 30mph speed camera sign<<

Range Rover TDV8 2010 Top Radiator Hose 4 Way Coupling – How To Fix.

The Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 is known for this water leak fault. 

I was out this evening and a radiator hose four way branch coupling on top of the engine inexplicably broke and water was everywhere.

The dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree, not charging, restricted performance, coolant low, etc.

On opening the bonnet the culprit was easily visible right on top.

It took frequent stops and 9 litres of water to get the 10 miles home. 

Of course you can’t buy the coupling on its own. It comes with the surrounding hoses only and costs about £80 (part number LR029140 seems to be it). 

I’m not liking the idea of £80 to replace a tiny bit of snapped plastic. I think I’ll repair it. here’s how I did that. 

As I have a couple of stents I reckon a stent would work. The joint doesn’t seem under a great deal of pressure, so I’m hopeful it will last. 

Range Rover Sport L494 Versus Full Fat Range Rover 4.4TDV8 L322

I was contemplating selling my 2006 L320 Range Rover Sport and getting a new shape L494 Range Rover Sport. Then the topic cropped up about the dodgy 3 litre crankshafts and I thought better of that idea. Especially after an exchange on Twitter with Land Rover. Dropping £35k+ on a car that might rack up […]

Where to buy a Range Rover Sport Dash Mat in the USA, Canada or Australia.

Forget calling the Land Rover or Range Rover dealer, you will get the run around and wait for months for backorders from England that come by boat.

Like many Americans, you are probably wary to buy off unknown foreign websites and prefer to pay in dollars from a site you know, one where you can see the sellers reputation, right?

Now you can find these on US eBay, priced in dollars, from a trusted and experienced international seller based out of England.

Tracked shipping to all states in the US, and the rest of the world is free, and there will be no import duty to pay at your end.

Be aware you will wait 7-14 days for delivery as the USPS and Homeland Security are a little slow to process incoming international mail.

Range Rover Sport Dash Non-Slip Mat fits under Sat Nav – No More Flying Keys!

This is the small rubber mat that sits under the navigation screen in Range Rover Sport models produced between 2005-2009 (and some Land Rover Discovery 3 models that had the same dashboard). This little mat puts an end to keys, phones and sunglasses flying off the little shelf.

About this item: This is a genuine Land Rover part. Please check the photos carefully (click them to enlarge them) to make sure the car you are ordering this part for has the same dash as pictured here.

Car Sales: Do Gentlemen’s Agreements Apply?

Car Sales: Do Gentlemen’s Agreements Apply? Is your word your bond?

What if you are offered much more money for what you are selling?

What if as a buyer, a much better deal just fell in your lap?

A guy recently said to me about a car transaction: “I’m old school and for me trust is everything, even if no deposit was given” – This was a guy who had agreed in principle to buy a car over the telephone and email. The seller sold the car to someone else while this guy was making arrangements to collect it and pay.
The old school guy thought the seller had committed some heinous crime. I didn’t agree. I said without a deposit there is no firm deal.

Even with a deposit, the seller would have had the option to refund it and accept more money from someone else. I might frown on someone who does that, but not much can be done. At the end of the day, it is his car to do as he pleases with until you have paid for it and drove away in it.

If I were selling something and someone was talking a good job but hadn’t put the money on the table, or even a good non-returnable deposit, I would not consider him serious and the car would still be for sale.

I learned years ago that speed is of the essence when buying anything at right money.

When I got the call that [what is now] my car was available to view, it was about 10am, I dropped what I was doing drove right over and it was on my drive paid for by 2pm. To do otherwise would have risked me losing it. And understandably so.

Gentlemens agreements are all very well if backed up by a non-returnable grand in twenties as a deposit. Without some money, its just some folks talking.
Here is what happened with a car I recently bought:

I did a provisional deal with my neighbour, who is a trader, on a Range Rover he had. I really wanted black with black leather, and this one was green with cream leather, but a very nice car, and he chooses cars well and knows his eggs, so I thought I would compromise on colour.

Instead of asking him to hold it as such, I said I would have my money ready within a week or two, and if he still had it I would have it.

Then he started driving all over the world in it. I offered him £2k deposit to park it up on his drive till I was ready – I didn’t want 2k extra miles on it. He declined and said he enjoyed driving it.

So a week or two later, I was ready. I collared him walking his dog early evening and said pop round with the docs and keys and I would cross his palm with some cash and do the deal. Naturally, I was itching to get my new motor.

He starts humming and hawing saying he had had a long day, was tired and maybe we will do it tomorrow. Confused

I dunno about you chaps, but someone is offering me five figures, I am there faster than you can turn on the light. How long does it take to give a bloke a log book and count some money? (I even have a machine for the latter.)

The following morning I collared him again and said “lets get on with it”. He said he wanted to use it today as he had some errands to do, wanted to get it mini valeted for me and lets fix 4pm as a time to do the deal. I just wanted to smoke off to work in it. As you do. But I reluctantly agreed 4pm anyway. Had he have delayed then, I would have said keep it. I was getting a bit miffed by now.

To rewind a tad, a few weeks prior, a chap I know who sells vans heard word of a nice black Range Rover coming in via a friend of a friend. “My mate said it is a proper thing” was the only cagey description I had of a car that may never materialise. Back then I expressed interest at having first look if and when it ever arrived. That was all a bit wishy washy and nothing to hang your hat on.

Then what happened…….

Half an hour after I had agreed to do the deal at 4pm, the other guy calls me up and says “Remember that Range Rover we talked about? Its here and exactly the one you wanted – and mint. Its in the trader and the phone is melting, but I promised you first shout, so get over here if you want first call”.

Well it was my preferred colour and spec, but it was also half the miles, a year newer, one owner against three, and a grand cheaper than the one I had just agreed to buy. It was a no brainer on-the-spot buy. £2k cheaper than it was in the trader at (he took no profit as he is old school with pals), and the phone was melting for it while I was there looking.

But that meant cocking on the one I had already agreed to buy. Shocked

Had my neighbour have taken the money when offered, the green one would have been on the drive and it would all be too late. As he had been faffing for two days and refused a deposit even, a more suitable one came along purely by chance. I reasoned it was his own fault for not taking the money when it was offered.

I had to make the call pulling out of the green one. I am very much a man of my word, and had he have thrown his dummy out of the pram, I would have bought it anyway and simply sold it on. As it was, he was pretty cool about it, he agreed the one I had found was a no-brainer at the money, and he has since popped a dateless plate on his one and decided to use it as his own car over winter.

So in that particular case, no harm was done, but in that case, I very uncharacteristically reneged on a deal I had verbally agreed to – although no money had changed hands. Which I think is the crux of the matter.

So what do you think?

Is a deal not a deal without money on the table?

Or is a gentleman’s agreement more important?

Or is a seller getting more money, or a buyer finding a much better car at the last minute a no-brainer?

Review: The New Chrysler 300C Has Arrived in the UK.

Just recently, a handful of the new Chrysler 300C demonstrators have been doing the rounds at dealers across the UK for potential customers to inspect.

Numerous journalists and previous Chrysler customers were invited to their local dealer to take a look. Somehow we got a look in, and being car enthusiasts, we went to take a look and pen a mini review.

The old 300C’s were famed for their sheer presence on the road. You were unlikely to be missed driving one. The new one has been toned down ever so slightly.

The back end is more reminiscent of the model it replaces.

The new car appears slightly larger then its predecessor, and it is offered in two versions, the better appointed one being called the “executive”.

For now, it is only available in a three litre diesel version in the UK. The salesman claimed that the new engine was a Mercedes/Fiat hybrid. I can’t say that the name “Fiat” filled me with eager anticipation, nor did it create mental images of wafting quietly from place to place with the Teutonic reliability that a wholly Mercedes engine might.

Although nowadays, with the Daimler-Chrysler union in the past, Fiat has control of Chrysler, and Fiat has big ideas to merge the two brands using the best that each group has to make better products; so lets give them a chance.

Having seen a few press photos of the new Chrysler 300C already, I already knew pretty much what it was going to look like in the metal. The outside was no tremendous surprise, but the inside certainly was!

Gone are the American-style acres of terrible grey plastic that plagued this cars predecessor. In their place is subtle dark colours, dark leather and soft blue backlit instruments.

At last, Chrysler have grasped the taste of European buyers. I guess we must give the Italians from Fiat the credit for that, because this interior certainly wasn’t designed by Hank and Chuck in Michigan. This interior has the fingerprints of Giuseppe and Antonio all over it. From the key-less entry through to the push button start, this car is oozing with gizmos and gadgets that you would usually expect to find on more expensive brands.

There is also a very impressive touch screen multi media centre to be found in the centre console.

This is not only the Sat Nav and the music centre, all kinds of other stuff can be done from here too. Raising and lowering the electric rear window blind for example. It all seems pretty intuitive to use without poring over the instruction book. It reminded me of an iPhone in that regard.

Better than the model it replaces? Almost certainly. What you have lost in Soprano’s style front end presence is more than made up for by the way better interior. Perhaps it is better to be a little more understated. When you pulled up in the old model, everyone assumed the drugs had arrived.

One of the most surprising things about this car is the price. Way more than the old one. An executive one will cost you an eye-watering £42,000. Lesser models start in the mid thirties. They are pitching it to rival the Mercedes E Class, Audi A6 and the BMW five series. Will it? Chrysler as a brand doesn’t have the same cachet as a Mercedes or an Audi, so my bet is prices will come down by late summer. In two or three years, used ones will likely represent a great value used buy.

In surveys from the US, where the car has been on sale for a while, overall reviews have indicated pretty good results. Even the Top Gear review gave it an overall 7/10, which isn’t bad for Clarkson & Co. Worth a look in our view but haggle with them a bit is my advice.

The car we photographed here was kindly made available for viewing by Kings Manchester. If you are in or around Manchester, and want to get a closer look at the 2012 300C, or book a test drive, get in touch with David Howell on 0161 432 6000.

TomTom Start 20 Sat Nav Review – Beware! Item Not Fit For Purpose!

If you are seeking a satellite navigation device, you could do far better than buying a TomTom Start 20 model. I bought one today and it is a big thumbs down already. I do not recommend you buy one.

Fundamentally, the product is not fit for purpose as it is sold. Here is why.

I got the version with 45 European maps on. I actually wanted one with world maps (or USA at least as I visit there). However, I couldn’t find such a version online at reasonable money, and the guy in Halfords (yes, I know) said they could be downloaded from the TomTom website in exchange for money. All well and good up to now.

So I waste an hour or two clowning around on the TomTom website, downloading crap to make sure my computer can talk to my new TomTom Start 20. Then you need another programme – not really very straightforward (and I am not dumb with this stuff). A lesser mortal would struggle – trust me. Anyway, eventually they are talking to each other.

So I buy the US maps to be downloaded to my device – £35. So on top of the £140 it cost, we are now up to £175. Why they don’t sell them with US maps installed is anyone’s guess, but I digress……

The update screen tells me that in addition to the American maps I just bought, various speed camera updates are available, a set of newer EU maps and an operating system upgrade too. Fine, lets just do the lot and be bang up to date eh? Rock ‘n’ Roll. Um…… No.

It seems the TomTom Start 20 comes with a paltry 3 or 4 MB of internal memory. The European map it came with was something like 2.7. The newer version was 2.8. A few European map updates and the memory will be totally obsolete. Cute huh? This also means that there is no room to install the USA maps they just stung me £35 for. One must choose which map set one wants to use, install it and use that. Later you can revert it back. Well, how crap is that? Why isn’t there enough memory for both? I must start downloading and updating stuff every time I get on or off a plane to the US? A suitable sized chip would have added what £3 to the price? Meh!

The map download takes an agonising two hours as it loads only direct to the device. Two hours? Every time I go to or from the US? Oh dear!

Time to quiz TomTom [lack of] support. By phone it is a pay-for 0845 number. I don’t do those. I don’t need to pay to talk to someone in Waziristan who likely unconvincingly calls himself Michael instead of Gupta.

Lets try “live chat” instead. You are 7 in the queue, then 5, then 3 then……………. No operators available. Hmm. Probably a glitch; lets try again. This happens four times.

Google is your friend. Lets Google for some info. Google tells me the TomTom Start 20 has a micro SD card slot for memory expansion. Great! I check it and there is a sneaky slot I hadn’t seen by the power plug. I do another £6 on eBay for a 4GB card, so we are now up to £181 from £140 and I haven’t even used it yet.

Lets try the “support forums” and see who is talking about the dire memory issue, US maps, SD cards and the like. They are full of people complaining that although the micro SD slot exists, it doesn’t bloody work until TomTom do an “update” sometime in the summer [of 2011]. However, the forums are still full of people complaining that this promised update hasn’t yet arrived in October. When will it arrive? Who knows. There is no official response to that question.

So, does the SD card slot work yet? Nobody seems to know. Will my SD card purchase have been pointless? Who knows? When it arrives I will try it and see.

Right now, after spending an agonising 2 hours downloading the newer European maps, ist another hour and twenty minutes to “install” them.

I should devote an entire day to this probably.

Is it so much to ask to buy a satellite navigation device with world maps already installed? For TomTom, yes.

People – do what I wish I had done. Spend your money elsewhere!

Greater Manchester Police Camera Cars

Let’s talk about Greater Manchester Police’s camera cars. These little buggers have recently sprung up all over the place. They are growing like cellulite on a fat girls thighs.

Very often on my drive toward central Manchester down the A57 Hyde Road, I see one of these parked up. They are very often to be found lurking on the pavement at Reddish Bridge snooping on the oncoming traffic. Going the other way, they lurk on the pavement on the M67/M60 roundabout at Denton (Sorry Rozzers – I feel the public should know).

This must be the new sharp end of policing in Greater Manchester. Pay a guy to sit on his fat arse half the day and snoop on passing traffic. Really, do the police have nothing better to do than cough up thousands of pounds each (of our money) for these things? They must generate more money than they cost or else we would not be seeing them everywhere. That means, you and I dear reader, are paying our local taxes to be snooped upon by the Old Bill so they can harangue us through the mail for money for various non-offences.

Observe the sneaky camera located on the roof of the car. It is helpfully highlighted above by an arrow in case your peepers are not too keen.

So what are these latest manifestations of the Big Brother State all about? Well, of course, they are about raising some cash for the Old Bill. I am not 100% sure which dreadful crimes against humanity these things are designed to capture. No doubt they will be ANPR enabled, which means they check your number plate against the DVLA database and that allegedly tells them if you are insured and taxed. Probably they have the capability to detect such heinous crimes as not wearing a seatbelt, which I got a demand for recently for sixty quid having been photographed by some covert police operative. You even get a photo of yourself through the mail to prove to you what a danger to society you really are.

Does it stop astonished-looking and totally clueless Nigerian asylum seekers drifting from lane to lane aimlessly in an old dented Rover? No, not at all. That would take actual Rozzers in a real traffic car. Not these little pen pushers in their low-budget “Smart Cars”. Those things have lawnmower engines are and not capable of a hot pursuit. The real cops are stuck at the station filling in 276 health and safety forms – in triplicate – for the EU, rather than doing some actual policing.

How embarrassing must it be at a barbecue to have someone ask you “What do you do?” and you reply “I sit in a Smart Car all day photographing people to raise money from hapless motorists” I wonder? Probably those guys prefer to use a macho term like “traffic enforcement” to make themselves feel better about what they do. Saying, “I sit with a camera all day on a verge hoping to catch Mrs Mablethorpe with a two day out-of-date tax disc” is not too ego enhancing.

What does this stuff cost us? Well, the guy in the car must cost us £25k a year (perhaps more with pensions and other stuff). Add to that the £10k or so for the Smart Car. What must the camera and equipment cost? Ten grand? Then there is all his insurances and associated costs. On top of that will be a multitude of Quango outfits that will need to “certify” the camera at regular intervals. Servicing and uniforms…. triplicate EU form filling…..other stuff I forgot…..lets add £10k for all that. These things must cost us £55,000 a year each. At least.

Now these guys have generous holidays no doubt; being in the public sector. So minus weekends, paternity leave, holidays, classes as to why you should give a black man with a wrap of crack outside a school the benefit of the doubt, sick leave, team bonding weekends, ethnic diversity education seminars, etc., they likely only really work half the year in reality. That means each of those cars has to earn £300 a day just to break even. Now, out of this revenue they collect, there will be a deduction for the Central Ticket Office to myther people for the money, a cut for the courts, probably the council, defaults and non-payers to consider, various other deductions for numerous other government departments you never knew existed……… so, we can safely double that. So we are at £600 a day.

Now, they need to make a profit. Anything less than 100% wouldn’t work. It is more likely 200% or 300%, but lets run with a mere 100% for arguments sake. That means each car must generate £1200 a day. If the average fine is £60, that means only 20 tickets a day. Actually, it more likely means 20 tickets a shift. The Rozzers work on eight hour shifts, so that means only 2.5 tickets an hour. That means one every 24 minutes. And you can bet your arse that these guys will be targeted for something well beyond that. So that means that little Jackass sat in that comedy car on the pavement must find something to fine someone for every fifteen or twenty minutes or he misses his target and doesn’t get his invite to the policeman’s ball this year.

Isn’t this country a sad place to live in if we are reduced to this? I think so.

What do you know about these camera cars? Do you have them where you live? Lets talk! Use the comment box below to tell the world.

Test Drive Review Mazda CX-9

Really enjoyed my test drive of the Mazda CX-9. I was really surprised how well the car handled and performed for a midsize crossover SUV. I was comfortable in the drivers seat and there were plenty of gadgets and gizmo’s that made the driving experience more enjoyable. The blind spot warning detector was a great example of this. If there is a car in your blind spot and you want to change lanes, a warning light appears in your left door rear mirror alterting you to danger. 40 to 0 mph brake test – passed with little or no forward angle thrust. Sound system was good. I want the navigational package but the car I drove didn’t have it available. I’ll definitely want to see how it operates before I commit to any purchase.

Big advantage was price. Fully loaded we’re looking at about $40,500 which will make it about $8000-$10,000 cheaper than all the other cars in my “final cut”. All the others will have to prove they’re worth the extra investment.

Next the Infiniti FX35 . . . . . .

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