I took the Megane in for an MOT last week, expecting to fail on a bald tyre and tracking. Given that when our Lisa gave it to me it came via the coppers, who in turn had it inspected by an official Renault garage, and they couldn’t find anything majorly wrong with it. That was only a few months ago, so I was quite optimistic.
I booked it in to the garage for the morning of my day off, then work decided I was to go in in the morning, even though it was my 2-10 week, to go out with a driver. Ball ache, but with the push bike in the boot I managed to drop it off and get to work.
I rang them later and they said that I needed a wheel bearing replaced, and a few bulbs (which, in retrospect, I know I don’t need. Hmmm.) £49. I said ‘get on it’. And the ABS fault light is on.
This surprised me as, never having had ABS, I assumed it was lighting up to show me it was working! (Derrr!)
Rang back later and the update was, having run a diagnostic on the ABS the problem was a worn disc on the drive shaft. But they couldn’t replace the disc, had to get a whole new drive shaft with one on! £230! Ker-ching!
Bollocks to that!
The car, when I insured it was only valued at £400-£500. With the new tyre, tracking, drive shaft/ ABS disc, wheel bearing, bulbs (?) and £205 road tax it would cost more to run than it would to replace.
Desperate times demand desperate measures.
I eyed the Micra speculatively. I’d snapped off two bits in the engine. If they got into the moving parts it was game over. But incentivised by £500+ of expenditure I thought I’d give it a go.
A lad at work had said the snapped off bits would fall straight into the oil sump, where they would rest harmlessly. He happens to be a bullshitting blowhard, so it wasn’t that much of a reassurance.
I went to the scrap yard yesterday and got the whole unit, of which the two snapped off bits were the furthest projection.
I fitted it last night. I tried to turn the engine over but the battery was completely flat. Wouldn’t open the doors or light the lights. So I put it on charge. I assumed that having left it to get that flat I would probably have to replace the battery, but could use the one from the Megane just to try it out.
Then I got to thinking that perhaps it wasn’t helping matters any that the part had been removed from the engine for months, letting moisture into the cylinders. So I took the plugs out and sprayed WD40 into the barrels, let that soak in overnight to ease any potential rust/ seizure.
This morning I went out and put the key in, the dash lit up, then a few hazard lights went out. Turned the key, choking and not quite catching, but turning over. Put my foot down, kept the key turned and she fired and ran, all be it lumpily!
Go the mighty Micra!
Ran it, lumpily, for a few minutes. Nothing exploded. Got out and took the battery charger out from under the bonnet and noticed I hadn’t put one of the HT leads back on the spark plug!
Months being dead, open to the elements, dead battery, give it a quick charge and she starts and runs on three cylinders!
I’ve taken it for a quick spin. Again, nothing exploded or seized. So far, so good, so what?
Now we wait.
For my peace of mind I may drop the oil. If the snapped off parts are in it I will be a happy bunny. If not I just have to keep on touching wood.
The Micra cost about half as much in road tax, insurance and petrol as the Megane. If only I knew for sure where those snapped off bits were I’d say it was a done deal. If it will get me through one more year, cheaply, I will be happy.
As soon as I get the driving job I’m treating myself to a VW Polo, 1.4 diesel. 80 MPG, VW so bullet proof, and diesel so should run for ever. Also, being a diesel it’s not likely to be a boy racer toy so hopefully the insurance will be reasonable.And it’s free road tax! Win-win-win!
So here’s to cheap motoring! Fingers crossed.