Join Date: Apr 2013
Thanked: 15,000 Times
Hey guys! Been a very busy couple of months.
- The car completed 7 years of ownership on 7th October 2020. Since I have been deputed at our shipyard here at Kattupalli, I did the customary puja at the Vinayagar temple located inside the companyís housing complex, along with a colleague-friend Sidharth. Woke up early, gave her a nice wash-and-wax and did the puja.
Looking back, what an amazing 7 years of ownership this has been! She has been a faithful partner all these years - fuss-free, no squeaks, creaks or rattling, the paint, plastic trims and rubber parts have been aging well, no rusting on the bodywork, no leaks, no unforeseen parts failure and a nominal cost of ownership (I do the basic oil change services on my own after sourcing the parts). *knocks wood* What do I sorely miss in this car today? An AT gearbox. How long do I intend to keep her? As long as I can with a hope that the regular upkeep doesnít become expensive!
- The odoís crossed 165,000 km as I type this:
Sheís gradually making up for all the idling during the lockdown. Other than the commutes to and inside the shipyard, I made a few trips to Palakkad to visit my folks. It was interesting and different compared to the previous trips since I had carried food, tea, plates, paper cups, handwash, water for washing etc. along and used to park the car adjacent to a toll booth for a quick meal or tea:
The cupholder at the rear of the armrest was put to use too which is otherwise closed shut:
- The routine wheel balancing, alignment and rotation was done from a Lal tyres outlet located close to my apartment.
GMaps - Location
They charged Rs. 1200 for the job which is reasonable. The place was a bit crowded around the time I had visited during a Saturday afternoon and we were out in a little less than 3 hours. The young proprietor also said they have 2 free check-ups for the alignment correction within 3 months of this billing date which is a nice thing; I might go there once I am relieved from my yard duties. They also deal with alloy wheels and the usual car tyre brands. For those whoíre wondering, their WB and WA equipment is from John Bean.
- Since Iíve been deputed at the shipyard since the last 2+ months, I park the car at the lots located close to the ships getting painted and outfitted. The last ship of our Coast Guard OPVs, was getting her final coat of paint out in the open on a nice and bright, sunny day and the paint particles from the spray paint travelled in the air and settled on the vehicles parked there. These were very fine particles, that cannot be seen from afar but can easily be felt when you rub your hand over the panels or even the windshields and glass. It was everywhere! I got really annoyed. I only realised this when I turned on the front wiper and instead of a clean sweep, I hear rubbing noises! I was wondering what could be done (something DIY) other than dropping her at the detailers place.
I decided to try my luck using a cheap clay bar and some lube. Amazon delivers to even the remotest of places and I ordered the HSR clay bar from Amazon (link, Rs 249 for a 100 g bar) and some dishwashing soap diluted in a bottle, since I had no access to car shampoos or wash-and-wax solutions. I tried the front windshield first and shockingly, the piece of moulded clay bar took away ALL the paint particles. COMPLETELY! I was totally surprised. I honestly did not expect this trick to work in the first place and was so glad it worked. That morning, I did the front windshield completely and clayed the complete car, for the first time, totally by myself, panel by panel on the successive mornings followed by a quick wax session later. I woke up early around 6, quickly freshened up and went to the open parking lot to clean her up. Thatís when the Coast Guard ship-staff doing their routine morning workout and training, would notice me applying some kinda Ďsoapí all over the car over the last few days and think I am crazy!
No snaps or videos for this unfortunately. But if any of you ends up face a similar predicament, please do try claying before attempting to do anything else.
- The rear right wheelís centre cap fell off somewhere thanks to the potholed roads here.
I checked Boodmo for the price of 1 cap and was shocked to see this:
Rs. 750 for a single cap! Aliexpress retails a set of 4 non-OEM caps for less than this price inclusive of shipping. Iíll place an order later once I am back to the city. I wish Amazon India had these.
- The Poloís spare wheel located in the boot is secured in place with a long bolt with a plastic turn-cap on the head. Most cars have it this way.
Last month, a good friend and colleague - Nikhilís Punto had a flat tyre at our shipyard and he wanted to replace it with the spare wheel. Unfortunately, the bolt refused to budge! Not even by an mm! The thread had got rusted completely and it got stuck with the nut. He had in fact never used the spare wheel ever. We tried spraying WD40 - no luck, used a hex. socket attached to a wrench - the cap started spinning over the head, used a prybar to dislodge the plastic cap - nada and we gave up! He decided to take it to the service centre and let them handle it. Thatís when it struck me - maybe I should take a look at the spare wheel on my car and grease the exposed threads of the bolt and nut to prevent them from getting rusted. I did that right away.
Here are the reference snaps of the spare wheel setup from my in-lawís Punto:
- The insurance for the year 2020-21 was renewed with United India for a premium of Rs. 13,082. The IDV was Rs. 360,855 and the NCB capped at 50% was at Rs. 2778.
- The PUC certificate was renewed with a 1 year validity during a recent drive to Palakkad. One less thing to worry for another year.
- The engine bay was not cleaned in ages! I cleaned it during the customary wash session during last Dussehra. Used a garden hose to wash down the engine bay followed by a degreaser (Mr Muscle) + dishwash liquid application along with a hand brush. The end result was pleasing but I did not apply a dresser to the plastic parts as it tends to attract more dust judging by my past experience so I just left it at that. Itíll look shiny and glossy though and some folks love that.
What a bummer! The rear-left Focal coaxial speaker gave up and I never realised it for a long time. A speaker becoming defective is a first for me. I used to play around with speakers ever since I was a small kid and used to connect all sorts of speakers to the stereo system, have fried a few cheap ones by turning up the volume and seeing the smoke from the coil but with genuine usage, this was a first. After reading up reviews, extensive discussions with Paragbhai who had gotten a set of JBL GTO609C components recently for his Ertiga and had only good things to say about it, I bought one during the recent Amazon sale for Rs. 5700. I decided to swap the Focal coaxials on the front doors with these JBL components and replace the defective one from the rear left door using one of the spare coaxials.
Originally Posted by Gannu_1
Focal IC165 VW speakers:
These 6.5Ē coaxial speakers from Focal are a straight swap on most VW cars. The good part is we donít need those extra spacer rings when installing these units and the stock connectors plug into the speakers without any modifications (usually the other speakers come with bare terminals).
There was some work involved however - the Focals were riveted to the doors and had to be drilled through the rivets to remove these speakers, the stock speaker connector had to be cut for connecting the terminals to the crossover, new terminals had to be crimped to the crossover, tweeter and midbass connections, spacer rings had to be mounted for the midbass. This was definitely not DIY work as it would take a LOT of time. I was headed home during an extended weekend so decided to get the work done at a neighbourhood accessory dealer instead. I loaded all the required tools, consumables and the new JBL set into the car before the drive.
There was one thing I had to fabricate - the spacer rings. Since these 6.5Ē midbass units come with a large magnet that protrudes out, a spacer was a must. In the accessory market, most spacers are fabricated out of MDF or wood and are not treated for water which would rot over time after absorbing water and moisture (all the water that seeps in through the gap between the door card and the glass) and the spacers would give up eventually. Have a look at these from the internet:
I was searching for some alternate material - plastic, neoprene (rubber), nylon etc. After some weird brainstorming, I decided to pick up a heavy-duty chopping board from a kitchenware shop - the kind used in restaurant kitchens. It is made out of PP (polypropylene). Water-proof, strong, corrosion resistant, impact resistant and machinable. The downside? Cost and SQ takes a dip because apparently plastic spacers make the bass muddy. I would eventually find that out. I picked up a 1/2Ē chopping board and went straight to a switchboard fabricator; you know the older switchboard setup which requires a laminated plastic board that holds the switches and sockets.
I had carried the midbass unitís plastic template from the JBL bundle and the fabricator used it to cut 2 rings from the chopping board.
The midbass unit flush fit perfectly with the fabricated rings. I was worried if screws would hold on to this material and would not keep spinning infinitely. I would find that out too eventually.
I drove to the accessory shop with all the necessary stuff and they got to work as soon as they had their lunch. I knew this would take some time. The door card was removed, the older Focal unit was drilled out from the rivets (this was quite a task as the drill bit would sometimes slip over the head of the rivets), the crossover unit was installed, cable ends were crimped with lugs (the accessory guys were curious I did all the homework and carried everything in the car!), the freshly fabricated spacer rings were installed and guess what? The rings securely held on to the sheet metal of the doors without the screws spinning infinitely! Cheers to this material. They were even curious as to how I found out about this material, chopping board etc. What do they say? Necessity is the mother of invention?
Anyhoo, the midbass units were tightly secured to these spacers, the tweeter units installed to the doorís sail panels (this does look aftermarket as we couldnít flush-fit the tweeters), terminals crimped and connected to the crossovers, test audio played to check everything is alright and the door card trims were closed. At the end of this, I had a heavy paper weight with me - the defective Focal speaker.
The sound quality of the new component setup was noticeably better than the Focal coaxials I had. The tweeters were very bright but the bass was a lot tighter. And all this without an amp and driven by the HU directly! At this point, I really regretted importing 2 pairs of Focals all the way from France paying almost twice the price for a set when I could have got better SQ for a lot cheaper, locally, with faster shipping and a 1-year warranty! So much for retaining a near OEM setup.
The kaput Focal coaxial speaker aka paperweight:
The steel plate above the magnet felt warm to touch. The coil surely had some issues. I dumped it in the cupboard for now.
- Hereís how the BBK (big brake kit) setupís shaping up:
Every part was handpicked although the performance of the Delphi pads have to be assessed; it has got good reviews in the Europe and Russia though. Just the caliper (L & R) and caliper brackets remain to be bought (waiting for a friend to settle down in Germany before I place the order). This was also the first time, I held a rotor in my hand and my goodness, this thing weighs in at 7+ kg! When my good friend and BHPian Chintu sent the consignment from Navsari, he said the package weighed in at nearly 15 kg. I thought he must be joking!
I am so glad the stock rotors have served me for this long! Sheís on her second set of brake pads after the stock set was replaced during the 75k service. I am sure the new set will last much longer! More details on the BBK setup when they are installed including the part numbers, pricing and pics of individual parts and the installation process. On my threads, there will be no mysteries or please PM me nonsense.
- The fuel capís tether broke when a fuel attendant opened the cap to fill the fuel. Understandable since this tether material was destined to fail one day after all these years.
Iíve got to fix it one of these days after I am back at my office from the shipyard.
- The front strutsí caps had a broken thread which meant they wouldnít secure tightly to the struts.
It was available for cheap on Boodmo (link) and in stock. Rs 350 shipped for a pair. Ordered them right away and got it delivered in 2 days flat. But get this, no threads inside!
Part number - 6R0 412 359
- Off-lately Iíve been experiencing, slotting into the 3rd gear from the 2nd requires an extra push and sometimes it goes smoothly. The gear selector mechanism may have to be replaced which costs Rs. 5000 and thereabouts (boodmo). Iíll get this done along with the BBK upgrade once I get the calipers and brackets.
- The NE monsoons are in full swing and there was a cloudburst early in the morning. Some of the areas with poor drainage had water logging to a good 1/2 feet. In a moment of stupidity, I waded through the water at a good 30-35 km speed which resulted in those waves and the number plate which was riveted to the front bumper came off! It was hanging by just 1 rivet. Surely some bad physics must be at play. Iíve experienced a similar incident during the media drive of the Grand i10 Nios when the car driven by the other media team, went through a small pool of water (albeit a good distance) and the number plate got bent.
Anyways, I removed the number plate and quickly pinged Dilip Cherian, the proprietor of Speedex plates for a plate. He had it delivered to my friend for Rs. 300. Same design as before but no holes or rivets for mounting! This time, we used Sikaflex 221 baby!
A polyurethane based sealant meant for a wide variety of applications, we extensively use this (and the 291 variant) in the ships we build here. Once cured, it can only be removed mechanically; it is that hard. More details here for those whoíre interested. Applied it after wearing a latex glove, spread it all over the plate, stuck it on the bumper, used masking tape and left it for curing overnight. The number plate stuck to the bumper perfectly and without any screws or rivets, it looks clean.
- Turtle waxís products are officially sold in India now and DIY and enthusiast detailers are all praise for their VFM products. I wanted to get a spray-on wax, something other than Meguiars and decided to get a bottle from Amazon (link); got it for Rs. 792.
After a wash, I applied it on the panels (3-4 sprays on a panel max) and used a thick microfiber towel to buff it off. The results were pretty good; my car has plenty of swirls right now so thatís going to take a detailer to correct.
But it rained a few days later and the water beading was really nice!
- Just like the good olí days back in Feb-May 2018, she continues to do transportation duties efficiently (in this case, the protective sheets from the stores to the boat):
Thatís all for now. Cheers, drive safe and stay safe!
Last edited by Gannu_1 : 22nd November 2020 at 22:00.