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Old 10th April 2012, 14:18   #1
Ice
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Default Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

After two years of fanciful small car existence, my wife and I decided to take the plunge and....have a baby. Serendipitously, my father also decided to upgrade his Octavia to a Fortuner. The new arrivals prompted a father-son car swap, with my dad moving the Palio to Chennai for his local commute and the Octy moving to Bangalore. I have to add that the abysmal service from Gurudev Skoda in Chennai also prompted this arrangement.

The car is of 2005 vintage, and is the no-frills Rider edition.

When I drove the Octy to Bangalore for the first time, she had 75K km on the clock, slightly balding tyres, and low top-end pickup.

From 75k - 115k(present):

Distance run: ~40,000 km. in 19 months

Upgrades: (~Rs.98,000)
  1. Kenwood USB-enabled iPod-friendly head unit to pair with the existing (and excellent) JBL speakers
  2. Tyres : switched to Michelin Primacy 195s almost immediately. After 40,000 km. of running, switched to Continentals last week.
  3. Pete's Box: cleaned the intake manifold and the EGR valve before bolting the box on.
  4. Interiors: Ovion custom-fit faux leather interiors
  5. Headlights: Replaced the Hella 100/90s with Osram Nightbreaker 100/90s. Much better illumination!
  6. Horn: Junked the Hella red grilles and fitted the tried and tested Roots Vibrasonic.
Issues and fixes: (~Rs.1,54,000)
  1. 90,000 km. : AC started cooling intermittently. Changed the drier, evaporator, and cooling coil
  2. 95,000 km.: changed front shocks and lower arm bushes (L&R)
  3. 105,000 km.: replaced front discs and pads
  4. 110,000 km.: changed v-belt and tensioner
  5. 115,000 km.: changed gearbox synchronizers (see under sub-head Service experience)
Trips:
  1. Bangalore - Tirunelveli - Bangalore - 3 times
  2. Bangalore - Kumbakonam - Bangalore - 4 times
  3. Bangalore - Chettinad - Bangalore - Once
  4. Bangalore - Mudigere - Bangalore - Once
  5. Bangalore - Coimbatore - Erode - Bangalore - Once
  6. Bangalore - Chennai - Bangalore - 35 times
Driving Experience:

In the city: I find her suspiciously easy to drive around in the city - almost as if she morphs into a smaller car once I get in! The fantastic turning radius, light clutch, linear power delivery, and great visibility make driving in the city (even one like Bangalore, with its infamous traffic) a cinch. I normally average 12 kmpl in Bangalore and 14 in Chennai, but since every tank of diesel contributes to a portion of some highway trip, others may be getting lower - or higher - numbers.



On the highway: This is where she's added most of her kms., and the number of trips I've taken her on is a testament to her performance, safety, and comfort. Traveling with the baby entails a laundry list of paraphernalia (toys, bedding, 4 sets of clothes/day, bottle sterilizer, enough diapers for a small country and/or a slightly upset toddler tummy, etc.) The list goes on - I invite the forum to reach out to me for this list while planning road travel with their infants.The Octy's 560 litre boot takes everything we throw at - or into - it, and the taut rear suspension doesn't allow the rear-end to lower dangerously.


The car is sterling on the highway, and taking turns without touching the brakes is the work of a moment. The addition of the Pete's box equips her with the power and general drivability to outgun even newer and faster cars. I've surprised quite a few new Lauras and Jettas simply because of the fantastic throttle response between 2,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm. I have to mention here that the lack of ABS is a biggie, as I found out one rainy and lucky morning near Kancheepuram. But by and large, the brakes are more than adequate for non-panic and mild-panic situations. I normally get 15 kmpl and above on the highway (depending on the number of passengers and luggage) with spirited driving and the air-conditioning keeping us comfortable all the time.


Service experience:
  1. Gurudev Motors (Chennai) : Pathetic. Don't go there. Don't even buy a car from them. Atrocious customer response, and thievery worthy of a Crime Branch investigation.
  2. Vinayaka Motors : Downhill. Regular service at 80k, 90k, and 100k were no problem at all, as were the front suspension fix and the brake replacement. But the 110k service was an entirely different experience, with demands being made for a new EGR valve, new clutch, and new throttle body, none of which were required or even mentioned as issues when I dropped her off. I immediately shifted to Tafe...
  3. Tafe: Excellent so far. They changed the V-Belt and tensioner, and also replaced some turbo hosing which appeared to have been cut by someone (read: Vinayaka). I have come across polarized opinions on Tafe, and I need to mention here that the excellent service I've got is because I went to them with a referral from top management.
  4. Kwikk Fitt Motors - Bosch Service Station (Chennai) : I was in Chennai through the month of March 2012, and experienced a lot of vibration in my seat and through the steering wheel on a highway drive. Ruling out wheel balancing errors because of the recent tyre change, I desperately took the car to KF based on a recommendation from a friend of mine who owns a tyre store in Chennai (he's on Team BHP : TyreStore). The proprietor, Mr. Veeraraj Kumar, seemed to know his work, and mounted the car on the ramp for a closer inspection. He ruled out any issues with the suspension or the wheel bearings, and asked for a day to investigate deeper. He isolated the issue that night - the gearbox oil was of a water-like consistency, ruining multiple bearings and the synchronizer set. The water/oil had then seeped through the grease packing into the drive shaft boots and generally made a nuisance of itself. He changed the synchro, replenished the gearbox oil, and replaced the drive shaft boots. She drives like a dream, now. The gear engagement is now very positive, almost like new, with no vibrations whatsoever. This guy is good and knows his stuff. I now know where to get the Octy serviced when I'm in Chennai. He specializes in Octys - let me know if you need an introduction.
That's all I have for now. I promise to keep this thread updated regularly. I will be posting pictures of her very shortly.
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Old 10th April 2012, 14:36   #2
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

A very detailed and perfect description of your Octavia, Ice.

Congratulations.
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Old 10th April 2012, 14:39   #3
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
[/list]Issues and fixes: (~Rs.1,54,000)
  1. 90,000 km. : AC started cooling intermittently. Changed the drier, evaporator, and cooling coil
  2. 95,000 km.: changed front shocks and lower arm bushes (L&R)
  3. 105,000 km.: replaced front discs and pads
  4. 110,000 km.: changed v-belt and tensioner
  5. 115,000 km.: changed gearbox synchronizers (see under sub-head Service experience)
I consider all of these to be regular maintenance items, and not issues as such. Simply fabulous, just goes to show how reliable the Germans once were! I can bet you that a 100,000 kms Laura or Superb would be nowhere close. It was pretty much the same with the Mercs of the time. The W124 was as reliable as they come. Can't say the same about the complicated devils of current time.

Any serious work done before the 75K mark?
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Old 10th April 2012, 14:54   #4
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
Vinayaka Motors : Downhill. Regular service at 80k, 90k, and 100k were no problem at all, as were the front suspension fix and the brake replacement. But the 110k service was an entirely different experience, with demands being made for a new EGR valve, new clutch, and new throttle body, none of which were required or even mentioned as issues when I dropped her off. I immediately shifted to Tafe...
I also feel that Vinayak is on a Downhill path ever since the service manager Mr. Pravin Patil left. He was a nice gent and had good control over his men. I have now relocated to Singasandra and will give Tafe a try this time.
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Old 10th April 2012, 14:54   #5
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

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I consider..... Any serious work done before the 75K mark?
You're right - I should have titled the Issues section as Issues/Maintenance. I'd mentioned that my father was looking to upgrade to the Fortuner when I brought the Octy home - this was because of sky-high bills courtesy Gurudev Chennai. Here are some of the big ticket items pre-75K:
  1. Drier, Cooling coil, blower, Evaporator Coil - all changed once
  2. Synchronizer for 1st - 2nd and the clutch. Check out this thread (Skoda Trouble...uh oh!) I'd started at the time. The 'new' clutch is now 60k km. old, with some life remaining. When Kwikk Fitt changed the synchro set recently, the mechanics commented that the synchros had been re-welded in place and looked 100k + km old, not 60k. Did Gurudev just remove the synchros and refit them? Who knows!
  3. Accident at 65k - my father encountered a bull trying to cross NH7 and hit it at some speed. The bumper, hood, headlights, and windscreen were changed. There was some minor body-shop work on the fender and roof. The bull walked away with a limp and a bruised ego - the old man waited for the bull's owner to show up and take charge before resuming his journey.
  4. Timing belt change at 70k kms.
Items 1 and 2 soured our relationship with Gurudev, especially after we realized that others had suffered a similar fate at their hands, with little recourse for justice or intervention from Skoda's customer care.
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Old 10th April 2012, 14:59   #6
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Quote:
Originally Posted by fi.robin View Post
I also feel that Vinayak is on a Downhill path ever since the service manager Mr. Pravin Patil left. He was a nice gent and had good control over his men. I have now relocated to Singasandra and will give Tafe a try this time.
If you are a first-timer at Tafe, I recommend that you meet Mr. Neethin (Service Adviser) and - if you feel the need - mention that he was recommended to you by the guy with the silver TN Skoda with the Pete's box. He is very efficient, and knows enough about the car to not sound like a mere agent for the mechanics inside.
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Old 10th April 2012, 15:00   #7
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Nice report. Kindly post some pictures. Octavia is one timeless beauty to look at- especially the profile.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
Issues and fixes: (~Rs.1,54,000)
  1. 90,000 km. : AC started cooling intermittently. Changed the drier, evaporator, and cooling coil
  2. 95,000 km.: changed front shocks and lower arm bushes (L&R)
  3. 105,000 km.: replaced front discs and pads
  4. 110,000 km.: changed v-belt and tensioner
  5. 115,000 km.: changed gearbox synchronizers (see under sub-head Service experience)
Would you please provide the cost break up? The amount scares me
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Old 10th April 2012, 15:09   #8
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

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Nice report. Kindly post some pictures. Octavia is one timeless beauty to look at- especially the profile.[/list]Would you please provide the cost break up? The amount scares me
Will post pictures over the next 24 hours. I've given the break-up below, but 1 and 2 may be off by Rs.1K to Rs.2K
  1. 90,000 km. : AC started cooling intermittently. Changed the drier, evaporator, and cooling coil - Rs. 65000
  2. 95,000 km.: changed front shocks and lower arm bushes (L&R) - Rs.16,000
  3. 105,000 km.: replaced front discs and pads - Rs.8,500
  4. 110,000 km.: changed v-belt and tensioner - Rs.8,000
  5. 115,000 km.: changed gearbox synchronizers (see under sub-head Service experience) - Rs.56500
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Old 10th April 2012, 15:38   #9
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

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Originally Posted by Ice View Post
If you are a first-timer at Tafe, I recommend that you meet Mr. Neethin (Service Adviser) and - if you feel the need - mention that he was recommended to you by the guy with the silver TN Skoda with the Pete's box. He is very efficient, and knows enough about the car to not sound like a mere agent for the mechanics inside.
I bought the car from Tafe back in 2008. Then Tafe had really annoyed me but Vinayak was good under Mr. Patil.

Thanks. I will opt for Neethin during my next visit.
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Old 16th April 2012, 11:50   #10
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Default Some Pictures

Just some pictures from my phone - I need to take her out for a shoot soon! Sorry for uploading too little too late

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Old 16th April 2012, 16:43   #11
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Bad traffic this morning. The clutch received quite a workout on the way to work from East Bangalore to Koramangala, and seemed harder by the time I reached office. Couple of things that I noticed on the drive:
1. Driver's seat creaks - My lumbar support system failed a few months ago, and I'm pretty sure that its hanging out of the bottom of the seat and fouling with the rails. Tafe have said that they cannot fix the lumbar system, so I probably need to pull the infernal thing out entirely.
2. Tootling along - After fixing the Pete's box, I've found that the car easily moves at 20 kmph in 3rd gear without a fuss, and with enough torque to close gaps in traffic easily. The brakes take a beating though, because engine breaking is now next to zero.
3. Rattling from rear parcel shelf - the parcel shelf is quite heavy in itself, and mine is even heavier because of the large JBL speakers. The parcel tray is mounted on flimsy (by Skoda standards) plastic cladding. Over time, the cladding itself has loosened considerably, allowing the parcel tray to jump about every time I hit an undulation.
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Old 19th April 2012, 12:19   #12
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Default Fog Lamps Upgrade - highly recommended!

The Octy comes with a pair of multi-reflector, non-projector headlamps. I'd fitted 100/90W Osram NightBreakers three years ago, and have no complaints with visibility on the highway or in the city.

The Octy headlamp set-up also has twin projectors at the outer edge of each headlamp unit. These projectors come with regular Joe, non-HID H3 bulbs. The projectors are labelled as "front fog lamps" and do a great job of illuminating the area immediately to the front and side of the car. Many a pothole's ambitious attempt to wreck my Octy's suspension has been thwarted by the heroics of these projectors. Mind you, the projectors' beam is not strong enough to drive around in city without the low beam; it merely augments the low and high beam.

Yesterday, I decided to get HIDs installed in the projectors. And, I LOVE IT! The setup cost me Rs.5,700/- (including installation), and the projectors are now bright enough to allow me to drive around the city without switching on the headlights. I also swapped out the OE yellow parking bulbs inside the headlamps with white ones. The effect of the white parking lamps and the white HID are magical! I've posted one picture taken in my garage for your consumption. NOTE: the main headlamps have not been switched on for this snap

Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi-img_3453.jpg
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Old 19th April 2012, 15:22   #13
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

What kelvin rating are the HID bulbs? And what make? The price seems too low for the good branded ones (like Philips) and too expensive for the cheap chinese ones.

WOuld be good to have shots from inside of the car of the road being illuminated ahead.
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Old 19th April 2012, 15:32   #14
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Default Re: Fog Lamps Upgrade - highly recommended!

Nice detailed report.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
Headlights: Replaced the Hella 100/90s with Osram Nightbreaker 100/90s. Much better illumination!
Are these the slightly whitish light? How much did these cost for high beam as well as low beam? Me too planning a bulb upgrade on my Octavia Ambiente.

Quote:
I have to mention here that the lack of ABS is a biggie,the brakes are more than adequate for non-panic and mild-panic situations.
Yes, even my Ambiente variant doesn't come with ABS & in panic situations i literally have to jump on the brakes!
Quote:
Rattling from rear parcel shelf
I too am experiencing rattling on my ageing Octavia. Apart from the parcel shelf, the handles as well as the sun visor are rattling.
Quote:
The Octy comes with a pair of multi-reflector, non-projector headlamps. I'd fitted 100/90W Osram NightBreakers three years ago, and have no complaints with visibility on the highway or in the city.
If its the ones giving out whitish light, how is it during the rains?

Quote:
The Octy headlamp set-up also has twin projectors at the outer edge of each headlamp unit. Yesterday, I decided to get HIDs installed in the projectors. And, I LOVE IT! The setup cost me Rs.5,700/- (including installation), and the projectors are now bright enough to allow me to drive around the city without switching on the headlights.
They look good but cost seems to be a bit steep. Which brand is it? Plug & play,right?

Quote:
I also swapped out the OE yellow parking bulbs inside the headlamps with white ones.
Which brand? Cost?
Hope i didn't ask you too many questions! Cheers.
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Old 19th April 2012, 15:49   #15
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Default Re: Life starts at 75,000 KM Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

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Originally Posted by Deeps View Post
What kelvin rating are the HID bulbs? And what make? The price seems too low for the good branded ones (like Philips) and too expensive for the cheap chinese ones.

WOuld be good to have shots from inside of the car of the road being illuminated ahead.
The bulbs are H3 55W and 4000K. They are units imported from China, by an accessory shop in Bangalore. They are of far better quality than the non-brand Chinese ones, and the imported gives 1 year unconditional warranty. I already have a set of these fitted on my mother's Palio, and have no complaints.

I will be putting up the shots you have asked for in the next day or two.
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