Captain Misery's Miserable Mishaps

It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

Paul’s latest miserable motoring mishaps


Fiat. Not broken. Yet

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve bored people with my yapping on about my old bangers so I thought I’d bore you all with the details of my latest incidents, break downs, purchases and general motoring mishaps. Oh joy*, you’re thinking.

Well, it starts from where I left off in the previous blog entry with the Fiat Punto Active. About a month into ownership, I heard a ticking noise from the engine then an almighty bang. All power was lost and the dashboard lit up like Blackpool. Managed to coast it to out of harm’s way and left it whilst cursing it. Walked home, had a pasty and a cup of tea and walked back with some tools. Turns out the number three spark plug had decided to part company with where it should be. Quite conveniently, I had a service kit in the boot as that was one of the jobs I was going to do that weekend. Took out the spark plugs, noticed that whoever serviced the car before had fitted two different makes of spark plug – two Bosch, two had some Chinese script on the side. It was one of the Chinese plugs that went popped out. So, new set of plugs, started up and ran like a dream. Quick engine service done there and then and all good.


Bastard Hyundai Broken. Accent left at work. Again. Fiat not broken, to the rescue. Again

In the mean time, the Hyundai’s electrical system was proving to be a bit problematic in that it some of the time it didn’t want to start if it was cold. Or hot. Or warm. Or wet. Or dry. Or if the day of the week ended in Y. WD40 and a hammer generally worked quite well, as did replacing God knows how many sensors. On more than one occasion I had to leave the sodding thing at work because it wouldn’t start. Many swearings were sent in its direction, many Basil Fawltys were sent its way and how did it reward me a few weeks later? Spewing its oil out of the rotten oil filter and cam cover gasket.

Back to the Fiat and coming up to a year into ownership, November meant it was MoT time. Dreading handing over the keys as I generally do, I left it in their hands awaiting that bloody phone call. Not that I needed to worry, it went straight through no problems! Nothing else really happened in 2015 with the cars, but 2016 started off pretty shite. Not only were a whole host of famous people I like dying, things were happening to the cars too. The Fiat developed a stress crack in the windscreen, which was replaced.

The Hyundai, however, was a bit worse than that. It had developed a knock from the driveshaft and the running and starting problem returned. The nail in its coffin, mind, was the left hand front brake sticking fully on whilst driving along. On one occasion the damn thing pulled me into a hedge, and it wasn’t the sort of hedge I wanted to be in. It need a driveshaft, a front brake caliper and the electrics sorting and was going to cost far more than I wanted to spend on it to keep it running. To celebrate* this, I deliberately crashed it into some things then put it up for sale for scrap money, but no takers. In the end, I loaded it up one evening with an old washing machine and some old scrap metal ready to take it to the scrap yard the following morning. As it happened, I got a text message 7.15 the next morning with someone wanting to buy it. Before 8AM, I had exhanged money and keys, signed the log book away and had double what the scrap yard wanted. Bonus thing too, he took the scrap metal away with it.

So we were on the lookout for a new chariot, had a look at quite a few and although we same a few nice cars along the way, we saw a lot of really shocking nonsense. By far and away the nicest car I saw was a 1996 Fiat Bravo 1.8 HLX which would have fitted the bill quite nicely. But it was pretty much factory fresh, 22,000 miles from new unmarked interior and totally original. I walked away from it because doing the school run in that everyday, it would end up wrecked thanks to other morons – the main reason I parted with my 205. Plus, I needed a daily driver that would take a four year old boy with all his mess and a 33 year old wife with all her mess. This was far too nice, and we didn’t have the funds to buy two cars.


New MG ZR. Not broken. Then it was.

The search continued and my wife and I were doing the very modern thing of ignoring each other and having our heads stuck in our phones. We were both looking for cars and we were looking at a particular car at the same time. The wife and I agreed that we should look at it, so she made the arrangements as she had a day off. Now bearing in mind the last car she bought home and did the deal for was the Rover 25 (which turned out to be a pretty damn good car), it’s only fitting it should be the car pictured on the above right there somewhere.

So, Domestic Management did the deal and later that day we were literally some pounds lighter and driving home in a turbo diesel MG ZR. Yes, I know, me with a diesel! It pulls superbly, handles well and is great to drive. It’s not without fault, though. The sunroof leaks occasionally (standard feature), the goon that had it before me disconnected the rear speakers and CD changer and installed the current stereo like a complete minkey. About four weeks into ownership, it developed a knock from the left hand front, which a replacement drive shaft sorted. The driver’s side window doesn’t always align properly when returning to the top. Most of these are tiny niggles that can be lived with, but thankfully the money we knocked off the asking price of the car paid for the drive shaft.


Fiat’s clutch slave cylinder end bit. Broken.

With all this attention the new addition to the family, the Punto felt left out which it decided to prove on the Thursday before Good Friday. A phone call from the wife at 7am with the words “The Punto has broken down. I heard a bang and the clutch pedal stayed down” sounded expensive. Intitial thoughts were clutch, probably gearbox but whatever it was, it was going to be expensive. The RAC collected it and dumped it with the mechanic who looks after it and MoTs it, when he then informed me it probably wouldn’t be ready until after Easter. Oh fuck it. But then, a phone call three hours later informing me it was the slave cylinder and that he managed to obtain one and fit it was excellent news. Later that week, I decided to paint the rusty sump and give it a damn good clean. It’s been good as gold since, but need to put a new set of tyres on it before very long.


The MG and the Punto. Not broken. For the moment.

Both are behaving themselves at the moment. I’ll leave it at that…


April 30, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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