Fleet update, January 2019

2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

For the first time ever in my two and a half years of owning the Leon, I calculated the fuel mileage. After a fairly even split of 200 miles of commuting and 200 miles of slightly exuberant recreational motoring, it came in at 33.5mpg. That was better than I expected, and means it would probably not take much effort to be knocking on 40mpg on a run. The only other thing of note this month was capturing a pleasing odometer reading.

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Fleet update, December 2018

When I first set out to post a monthly update on this site, I expected that it would be an easy way to find something to write about. That has not proven to be the case this month, though, because I’ve hardly driven at all. The Leon has racked up about 250 miles, while the Outback has acquired another 550 or so.

As a result, there is not much to say. Continue reading “Fleet update, December 2018”

Fleet update, November 2018

2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

Having said I should drive the Leon more in my last update, I have been doing exactly that this month. It is strange to find myself going outside and actually pausing to think about which car I want to drive. Before this, the Leon would only win out if my sole intention was blasting round local B-roads. Now I willingly choose to take it, even for commuting purposes. It really has improved that much following the work I did to it a few months ago.

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Crossovers prove that facts are useless

Here is the thing about Brexit: there are no facts. Both sides of the debate talk as if there are indisputable facts that we must heed if we are to make informed decisions, but the reality is that we only have hypotheses and predictions. That is not to say that these are not valid and an important part of the discernment process, but we have never been in this situation before, and the outcome, whatever the final deal will be, cannot be known beforehand. Only in retrospect will we see how all the variables and complexities came together to shape the future of the United Kingdom. At this point, we cannot expect people to make a decision based on facts, because there really are none.

A crossover vehicle that I have driven.

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Fleet update, October 2018

2004 Subaru Outback 3.0 Rn

October began with some unwelcome noise from the rear of the Outback as the rear wheel bearing started to go bad. It turned out to be just a few hours’ work to install a new one, and all is quiet again. In the process, I noticed the rear brake discs getting thin, so those will need attention prior to the car’s next MOT in April.

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Leaky Leon, episode 307

If you’ve followed either this blog or my Twitter account for any length of time, you will know that I have been dealing with ongoing water ingress issues with my SEAT Leon for almost as long as I’ve owned the car. This is a common problem on most, if not all, early Volkswagen PQ34 platform cars; the material they used to seal the places where water can get in was of a poor quality, and breaks down over time.

The first winter I had the car revealed the extent of the problem. All the door seals had broken down earlier in its life, and been repaired incorrectly by one of the previous owners. After several weeks of wet weather, I discovered literal puddles in the car, mostly in the passenger footwells. It took forever to get the interior dried out, and involved some tedious work to repair the door seals. The pollen filter housing seal had also perished, though that was a simple task to replace.

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Fleet update, September 2018: The SEAT Leon

What you see below is a car that has just passed its MOT with no advisories.

Back in July, I knew that wouldn’t be the case, however. The front strut mounts were worn quite badly, the cheap Chinese tyres I had used as a stop-gap were cracking on the sidewalls, and one of the inner CV gaiters was torn. It was also leaking a little coolant from somewhere, an ongoing problem that I have been trying to diagnose for quite a while now, and like I always do before an MOT, I intended to give it a service. So I got the Leon up on jackstands, and used all the available daylight hours to sort out these few issues. Continue reading “Fleet update, September 2018: The SEAT Leon”

One of the worst things that can happen to your car

The worst would be wrecking it, of course. But having dealt with a particularly trying malady over the past fourteen months, I would like to suggest that a wet interior ranks pretty high on the ‘stuff you never want to happen to your car’ list.

The autumn after buying my SEAT Leon, I noticed the passenger footwell was very wet. The problem was traced to perished seals, both on the pollen filter housing, and the doors. I made quick work of repairing the seals, but drying out the car is something I’ve been working at now off and on for nearly fourteen months, and has required disassembling significant portions of the interior.

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SEAT Leon (Mk1) front suspension overhaul

Next to your engine and gearbox, maintaining your suspension is one of the best things you can do for your car. The suspension is both what keeps you connected to the road, and what absorbs all the road’s imperfections, and in a bad state of repair, it will hurt your fuel economy, decrease the lifespan of your tyres, and adversely affect your car’s ride and handling, not to mention make your car less safe to operate.

Thankfully, rebuilding a suspension on many cars is not a terribly expensive or exceedingly difficult undertaking, and doing so can make a tired old car feel much newer again. It is also a job that can quite often be done an average DIY-er.

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Replacing the door seals on a Mk1 Leon

Several months ago, I noticed that the front footwells in the Leon were quite wet, and began tearing the interior apart to figure out where the water was coming from. Part of the problem was a perished seal on the pollen filter housing, allowing water to come in through the fan housing. This was made worse by the fact that the drain passages on the inside of the wing were blocked.

However, the bigger problem, and main source of the water, was that the door seals were perished. It is very common for the door seals to rot on Mk1 Leon’s, so it was not difficult to find an online guide to aid with replacing them. I used this guide, and found the whole job to be simple and straightforward as a result. Continue reading “Replacing the door seals on a Mk1 Leon”