2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

I nearly sold the Leon last week, unexpectedly. A friend’s car died, and they were in a bit of a panic to find another. But they found something else (and truthfully, probably more suited to them), so the Leon stays. Which is fine, because it continues to run just fine.

The only thing I have dealt with this month is a rattle from the exhaust. The centre support comes from the factory welded to the exhaust pipe, but the welds break over time and the pipe is left rattling loose. I found an old clamp in my toolbox, and managed to use it to resecure the centre support bracket, as you can see below. While it was all kinds of fun to try and tighten the nuts from this angle, it did the trick. All is quiet again.

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The Leon is due an MOT in a couple of weeks’ time, and I did a quick once-over last night, only to discover that I don’t think it will need anything to pass the test this year. I’ll give it a closer inspection next week and a service before I take it in, and then continue on with my plan to do a bit of bodywork in the next couple of months.

Current mileage: 87,319
Mileage since purchase: 15,036

2004 Subaru Outback 3.0Rn

If you saw my previous post, you know I’ve been attempting, without success, to repair the radio display in the Subaru. I suppose it is marginally better now – it does come on occasionally – but I have not managed to properly fix it. The car was also due for a service (overdue, if I’m honest, but hashtag life), so I changed the oil and all the usual filters.

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The pollen filter is a bit tricky to get to, as it sits behind the glovebox, but once you get the hang of it, you can do it quickly. Pop off the side cover on the dashboard, remove the little rope holding the glovebox up and squeeze the whole compartment to take it off its runners. Then remove the little shelf, and you’ll have access to the filter. I hadn’t changed it in a year, but looking at it, I should probably do it more often.

The other thing I did was to change the gear oil in the differentials. At this point, that was the only fluid remaining in the car that was there when I bought it. Swapping out the fluids is simple enough: in the front, you drain it and refill through the dipstick tube (you need to keep stopping and checking the level until it’s right), while in the rear, you drain it and fill it from the side, until it starts dribbling out the fill plug. Does it drive any better now? Not discernably, but it is peace of mind – the old stuff was pretty murky.

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My wife has been commandeering the Outback a lot this month, and her mostly local driving has not done the fuel economy figures any favours, averaging about 22-24mpg, which is by far the lowest I’ve seen in my year of ownership. I’ve tried to distract myself from that by making Larry look pretty, testing out some new polishing pads on the front fender. It has become a top priority now to set aside a day to do the whole thing, because I simply could not believe how well the AutoGlym polish smoothed out the paint. The photo below gives you an idea.

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I noted in my last update that someone had driven into Larry in a car park. Well, just eight weeks later it has happened again, although this time someone drove into it while the car was parked on my more-than-wide-enough and not-at-all busy street. I simply do not understand how that is possible on my street, but there is not much I can do about it now but try and polish out the scuffs.

So Larry emerges from this update a bit more battle-scarred, but soldiering on as well as ever towards the 150,000-mile mark.

Current mileage: 148,809
Mileage since purchase: 10,074

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