Sunday, November 12, 2017

Spintires: Mudrunner

I've not really done anything in the real world recently, so here are some scenes from a game I'm playing at the mo.  Basically you carry logs from a yard to a mill on the other side of a map, using a variety of Eastern European vehicles; sounds daft but it's ace:

Here I deliver MANY LOGS using glorious Soviet truck - not need road!  Have 6-wheel drive and diff-locks!
Truck is defeated by soft mud and Western-sympathiser tree.  Not to worry, I employ heroic Soviet SUV to tow out truck!
Oh dear.
This is good, but too slow and too far away, also is possible YANKEE.
Many hours later I eventually tow it out with this.  It gets stuck again 30 seconds later.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You hear the bass from the truck when I'm on the block

The Jaaag passed it's MOT last week (needed rear ARB bushes, headlamp alignment), which has persuaded me to keep it on for another year.  I was sick of the rubbish audio and playing my meagre MP3 collection via a unreliable cassette adaptor though, so I've given it a massive-ish upgrade.
First step: upgrade the front speakers.  Old ones were shot, and an unusual size which meant I had to lash up some adaptors to fit some 6.5" Focals.  I used uPVC soffit board for this - it's cheap, unaffected by damp and easier to work with than MDF.
Snug fit for the Focal ISC165s.  They had good reviews, are reasonably priced, and quite slim so even with the adaptor rings they were no deeper than the originals.
Step 2: underseat subwoofer.
This is with the seat fully forward, normally it's hidden.  It required a permanent 10A feed, which I was able to take from the power-seat feed.  There was also a connection to the system control lead on the head unit, the RCA connections, and the wired remote control.  Routing these cables was a bit of a headache; in the end I removed the seat and ran them in the small gap beneath the seat runner.  It's held in place with some industrial-grade 3M Velco strips.
Sub remote lives where the ashtray used to.
Step 3: DAB antenna, or rather this stick-on effort that came with the head unit.  The only feasible spot is the windscreen, but it seems to work well enough.  You can get adaptors to split a DAB feed from a standard FM antenna, but reviews suggest it's a bit hit and miss.
Step 4: new Pioneer mechless head unit, with DAB, bluetooth, USB and line-in connections.  It's quite a subdued design without any MEGABASS button or similar bollocks, so it doesn't clash with the rest of the 19th century dash.  It required a DIN adaptor, and a wiring harness adaptor (both from Audioleads).
Step 5: Spotify Premium.  I create playlists on my PC and then download them onto my phone (limit is 3300ish songs).  Get in the car, start the Spotify app, the head unit automatically connects to the phone and starts playing.  Use the controls on the head unit to switch tracks, etc.  Magic!

It now sounds REALLY GOOD, and the sub makes a massive difference.  I left the dash tweeters which are doing an adequate job, and the rear speakers are mostly faded out.  It could probably be improved further by some mid-range speakers in the A-pillars, but at the moment it's very discreet and original looking, which I like.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Wot I did on my hollyday

I wented to DEVON and it rained and TRAFFIC and more rain and CREAM TEAS and really-narrow-roads and BORED. 

I love dodgems!  I am the self-appointed world champion of dodgems, FEAR ME.
This is for sale in a tiny motor museum.  Not rusty but at £1000 is at least 50% too much.
Just 14 miles on this, somebody didn't like biking
Barn conversion we stayed in, which was lovely - just as well given the weather.  We spent 2 entire days eating grub and watching Game of Thrones... I was happy with that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Frying pan/fire

The world tour is over, we bought this CLK privately last night from bloody DEVON.  I was a bit cagey about spending this sort of money with no come-back, but the folks seemed honest and the car was exactly as advertised. There was precious little mobile signal in the village, so I ended up doing a bank transfer from my iPad in a graveyard.

It has the indignity of the 4-cylinder 2.3 motor, but apart from it's super.  I want one now...

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Dead Saab

The Saab is DEAD... the differential bearings are on the way out, it can't be driven at much over 20mph and it probably needs a gearbox.  I'm done with throwing money at it so it's for the chop, and a replacement is being sought...

First candidate, this CLK.  At the top of our budget but good history, no rust, new tyres, interior tidy (driver's seat often get ripped up on these), but there's just the small matter of it being 150 miles away in South Wales.
We decide it's worth the trip and hoof down the M4 in the Jaaag.  Within 5 minutes of arriving we're on our way home again - there's fresh overspray and even MASKING TAPE on the front wings, and the rears contain wob that must have been applied by Lionel Richie's girlfriend.  New tyres are a mix of Chinese rings'o'death with about a dozen coats of tyre shine.

We stop at the services near Cardiff, where they have about 4 sandwiches for sale.  We head back to England, blowing the bridge on the way out - FUCK WALES.

Today, it was a trip to Croydon to look at this Saab 9-3 (yeah, we've not learnt our lesson...):
Looks good, decent Pirelli tyres, bit mileagy but the cream interior looks very clean.  The dealer has decided to close early so we have to get a move on, which isn't easy in London.  

We pass the place 3 times before we spot it - it's a single garage next to a shop, which is like a rabbit warren that leads into a large garage.  Good news, it's not rusty!  Wait, what's this flashing light on the dash?  Traction control failed?  Apparently the owner of the garage 'personally tests all vehicles to ensure satisfaction', did he not notice the big flashing icon?  Surely he would have noticed the broken aircon too, given the recent weather?  

We leave, but not without sitting in a jam on the M25 for some time.  What better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon?

Other stuff we've rejected included a CLK430 (with the V8).  It looked pretty good but the dealer was just a bloke with a mobile phone, I'm sure he'll be easy to track down when I bring it back for a refund because a sidelight has blown.

All this grief has made me consider a PCP, but the deposit is almost as much as these cars cost outright and I doubt there's much chance of ever seeing that money again.  So the tour of the UK's dodgiest car dealers will continue (unless I buy one privately, which seems scarcely any more risky at this point).

Oh yeah, the KTM broke down last week, it just went dead at about 70mph.  The negative battery terminal had become disconnected within the battery, never seem that before - it was a Nitro, I recommend you avoid.  It was only about a mile from home so I pushed it, but it was bloody hard work in the heat. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Roger GONE

Roger has been sold!  I took it for an MOT today and it failed on front disks; those are more than £100 each and combined with the fact it runs really poorly at the moment (despite me spending several hours on it this week), I just wanted to wash my hands of it.  So it's gone to the garage that did the MOT for £350.  I feel relief.

I had a mobile aircon specialist come and look at the Jaaaag the other day.  Unfortunately the pipe between the compressor and condenser is leaking in several places.  And the condenser is buggered. And the receiver/drier.  Oh, and the compressor is also toast.  Works fine apart from that.  I am now resigned to a summer of driving with the windows open.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Isle of Man - Days 2 & 3

This is the motor museum at Jurby, I spent around 4 hours here having a proper look at all the rammel.  I had some tea and Victoria sponge too.  #BikeLife

I wish my bike had a picture of a cock on it - if only as a warning to other motorists.

Various skips outside the grandstand.

I stop off at the Tiffin Tea Shop, and being a tough Southern biker-type I demand 17 cans of lager.  Unfortunately they don't have any, so I settle for a cream tea with the very strongest tea available; light brown tea.  I neck that bastard straight down, impressing some pensioners on the next table.

I spent Friday morning as the only visitor to Murray's Motorcyle Museum.  He's a really friendly, chatty bloke and told me many, many slanderous tales about various people, both on the island and in the motorcycle industry.  He gave me tea and biscuits and let me have a sit on some bikes too.

I'm home now after a miserable Iron Butt-style ride back from Liverpool.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Isle of Man - Day 1

I'm on the Isle of Man, cleverly avoiding all the TT crowds and price gouging by visiting when EVERYTHING IS CLOSED.

This is that pub on the corner of the TT course.  At least this was open, for manly drinks

Mountain section is a fantastic bit of road, but a little too busy for 3 figure speeds.

Scenes from Jurby Junk, a big junkstore recommended to me by someone on Autoshite.  Good shout!    I'm travelling extremely light with just my top box, but managed to fit in a horrific Manx doll which is going to be a present for some lucky person.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wales 2017

It was the Gentleman's Easter Tour of Wales last weekend, now featuring 6 gentlemen and 1 lady.  Trying to keep that many bikes together was like herding cats, though it was still great fun despite generous portions of rain. 

We visited this tiny motor museum near the Horseshoe Pass, full of unexceptional rammel.  OK, there was a Jag E-type but it was the least popular model possible (Series 3 2+2), and a Alfa Montreal with worse paint than my CBR.

Plenty of ace scenery in Wales, particularly in the Elan Valley cafe:

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Van Van Urges

The CBR is fixed - it was the bottom yoke at fault.  I bought a used one from eBay, and comparing the two I could see the old one was twisted.  It's had a new rear tyre too and I've been riding it about. Dunno if it's staying... it's the ginger stepchild of my bike collection.

Visited a Suzuki dealer yesterday.  I think I have a subconscious desire to be talked into buying a GSX-S1000F on PCP, but the sales folk failed to pick up on that.  I wonder if a tatty CBR600 could be used as deposit?  Anyway, I wandered about and was tempted by the Van Van again.  The 200cc version is £4093 on the road, but it can barely reach 70mph - that's useless for my requirements.  Still want it though!  What is wrong with me?
In other news, the poxy Saab cost me £600 to have the suspension arms and wheel bearings replaced. Mrs Chump loves it though.

Monday, April 03, 2017


Got up early on Saturday to get a tyre on the CBR600, but it broke down after a couple of miles.  Felt like a fuel problem, but the battery was pretty low and it was soon flat, so after some faff we brought it home on the trailer.  It started immediately once I stuck my booster on it!  Seems fine now.

Have also considered putting the MX5 back on the road.  In another act of supreme muppetry I've bashed it with the Jaaag at some point over the winter and stoved in the wing, I had to pull it out (by removing the side repeater then using a ratchet with extension bar as a rudimentary slide-hammer), before the door would open.  It needs (at the least) a rain rail, diff seals, then there's insurance and tax... so another year of hibernation, I think.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roger Reborn (again)

He's back, though he looks a bit less angry this time:
Just needs a rear tyre and it'll be ready for sale.  I used the washer from a bath tap to attach the fairing where it was broken - that's INNOVATION.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Traditional Restoration Skillz

Look what I've made today:

It's new teeth for the CBR... I've fixed it.  I completely disassembled the front of the bike and found the top and bottom yokes were slightly misaligned.  It's all good now so I've cracked on with 'restoring' the bodywork, which involved patching a hole in the fairing with the lid of a Chinese takeaway container, and much Isopon action.  A replacement set of indicators has been ordered, so it just needs a rear tyre now.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The End of the CBR600

You may remember I chucked the CBR down the track last year.  Although I broke my arm I thought the bike had escaped serious harm, with just a new brake lever and SHITLOADS of filler and thick black paint to be re-applied... but no.  I've had the front end completely apart and it seems either the OS fork is bent or the yoke is.  I've tried all the alignment tricks but it's way off.
As it was probably only worth a few hundred quid in working order, it's beyond economic repair. The insurance has got some months to run yet (and the total policy was only slightly more than the cancellation fee), so it can stay put and at least earn me some NCB.  I may break it, maybe just offload it whole on eBay.

That's definitely ended my trackday shenanigans though - I'm not buying all new kit AND another bike too.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Incoming Exocet?

I've had the MX5 for 10 years now, but it's done very few miles in the past 5; too noisy and uncomfortable to be a daily driver, not fun enough to lure me from a bike, it's become redundant. So I've started to think about rebuilding it as an Exocet:
It'd remain noisy and uncomfortable, but it would certainly increase the fun with it's turbo motor. Total cost would be around £4500 I reckon (budgeting for new suspension, seats, etc), which seems a bit strong for something only occasionally usable. And it looks a bit rubbish - the Aldi Atom, perhaps.  

I'd certainly enjoy building it, but would I actually use it? See the Jalopnik article which got me thinking about this in the first place.

Jaaaag news:  I've done about 2500 miles in it and it's not gone wrong yet.  The ABS warning light came on once, and the alternator went on the blink for about 10 seconds when it got wet, but apart from that it's all lovely.

Monday, January 09, 2017


Some pics from a visit to the motor museums at Gaydon and Coventry:
I wanted my first photo of 2017 to be this.  Thankfully this vision of the future didn't come to pass.  We got Brexit and Trump instead.
There are a LOT of Jags at both museums, this is ace as I'm all about the Jags nowadays.  

 Last-off-the-line XJ6 Sport, which was the final Jaguar to have a straight-six engine.
 And here is an AJ6 engine.  I can confirm they are really, really good at eating all their dinner.
It's Thrust, essentially 2 engines from a Phantom on a box-section metal sled.  We rode the simulator ride which comprises a 3D film and seats that move about.  It sounds rubbish but was surprisingly effective, and it looked bloody terrifying - it accelerates quite slowly to around 100mph, then within seconds it's doing nearly 600mph while the driver is having to hold the steering wheel at a 90 degree angle to keep it on track.