Dave W

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About Dave W

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  1. I watched my first "new" Top Gear the other night and just found it a bit dull really. I'd hoped that enough time had passed that they could have reinvented the show into something new to fit around the strengths of the new presenters. It seemed to have all the right ingredients (the same ingredients of the "old" TG) but I just didn't find myself interested in it. Maybe it was a bad episode but 15 minutes in both me and the other half realised we were both looking at our phones and not actually watching it any more, just glancing up occasionally. They should have reinvented it and given it a new structure as they seem to be struggling to progress the "old" format in any way. Matt LB was doing a "road test" and it seemed like they'd copied one of Clarkson's old scripts and asked him to deliver it as if he really felt it... and he failed to do so with any conviction. They then switched to the studio and they tried a very stilted version of a summary as they stood around the car.... and once again completely failed to come across as if they were a) interested in the car at all and b) weren't delivering a scripted speech that they'd only memorised 5 minutes previously and not rehearsed. Like first night at a very amateur play, none of them knew what the others were about to say and they were waiting on the next cue for them to say their line. The dialogue was stilted and badly timed, frankly I've seen better YouTube presentations. The KoH section seemed to have come from CBBC with the presenters doing their best over enthusiastic, over acted and definitely over the top presentation to 10 year old kids. Maybe it's my age but the KoH coverage bored me so much I have no idea what they actually did because they lost my interest in the first few minutes. By comparison, the James May "challenge competition" on GT was predictable but funny and entertaining at the same time. I think I may prefer my TG to contain childish humour rather than presenters who treat me like a child. Where you pretty much knew James May was out of his depth and you knew how much of it was contrived, it didn't matter because it was so well delivered and a lot of that hangs on his personality just as the format of the show that TG now tries to continue, was built around the personalities of the three presenters that it evolved around. So many "good bits" of the first GT series that I've enjoyed, just like TG as was, it's a mixed bag but I can't think of a single episode of GT or it's TG predecessor where I haven't found part of it funny and entertaining. The new TG though, frankly I found it more annoying that amusing, in part because they seem determined to be stand-ins for someone else and they seem to know it. I don't know why TG won't let the show move in a direction to suit the presenters and their personalities rather than trying to stick to a formula that worked well in the past. Perhaps, to throw in a bit of Black Adder, when asked why they weren't fighting a campaign based on issues rather than personality, he responded "because our candidate has no personality". Obviously if you didn't enjoy the presenters in the "old" TG then you're not going to enjoy GT and may find the new TG suits you better than the old. If you liked the old TG though, for me the latest incarnation is a pale imitation of GT and GT has continued to evolve despite all the contractural stuff the BBC has them pinned down with.
  2. It's not "hate" it's just how it is. If you compare Gigglepin to a similar (in my mind) UK engineering company (Ashcrofts) who actually stand by their products 100% with real warranties that they honour, Gigglepin fall well short of the mark in my personal experience. I think it's just something you have to accept with Gigglepin, there's no warranty to speak of because you use the winch in competition, break an Ashcroft half shaft in competition in the first 2 years = free replacement, no quibble. Even out of warranty (my 7 year old Ashcroft CV that I blew apart) Ashcroft bent over backwards to help and shipped parts FOC to me so I could repair it. Will I buy from Ashcrofts again, absolutely. Maybe I've just been unlucky by being an "early adopter" and hitting issues with very expensive "upgrades" that subsequently failed. I accept that parts fail through bad design or manufacturing, what really makes a difference though and sways your perception of the company is the attitude when something does break and that something has broken, not through abuse but through design and manufacturing faults. That's when you find out which companies value their customers and which are taking you for a ride. When you phone a company up to tell them the part you bought is now in two pieces, at the very least you expect them to offer a discount on the new part even if they don't feel that the part wasn't fit for use. What you don't expect is some smart arse on the other end of the line saying "Oh, yes, those early ones were really unreliable and weak, we now make our own which are much better and stronger, retail on the replacement is £x + VAT + Shipping, would you like to buy a replacement ?". They wouldn't even do free shipping ! The attitude was simple, pay full price to replace the faulty part or throw your winch in the bin, which is it to be ? Am I really being unreasonable in expecting, at the very least, a discount on replacements for parts which, by their own admission, weren't up to the task in the first place ? Even bl**dy Britpart give a 2 year warranty on their stuff ! I'm not the only one though, I've spoken to a number of new Redwinch owners and customer service from Gigglepin is a major factor in why they now run Redwinch kit instead. Maybe Gigglepin have been disadvantaged by being first, Redwinch have possibly gained from Gigglepin's experience, I don't know. I'm glad to see Gigglepin responding but, as I said, you won't find me spending more money with them even if I could find a competition in the UK that inspired me to want to take part. Your Land Rover comparison makes no sense really. If you buy a Land Rover and part of it fails within 3 years they'll replace the part FOC under warranty. If there's an upgraded part available that is better and has superseded the part that's broken, they fit that FOC under warranty. My P38 Range Rover had 3 different alarm pickup modules fitted under warranty before I bought it as Land Rover worked out the faults in it ! Having said all that, I've never bought anything from Redwinch and have no idea what their customer service is like, they may be just as bad or even worse than Gigglepin but I've not heard anything like that around any events. I'm sure their stuff breaks too but my experience of Gigglepin makes me fairly certain that their customer service and after sales support can't be any worse ! just to show I'm consistent, you might want to check out this topic from 5 years ago... the only thing that's changed in that time is that Redwinch seem to have taken a big chunk out of Gigglepin's market share.
  3. Checked my RR parts catalogue and I can confirm NRC7616 is the correct part number, it's listed as a 7/16 x 4" UNF bolt.
  4. That's not the right part western, the 3 bolt uses imperial bolts and fittings. 1987 on will be metric. From memory the bolts are UNF, probably 1/2 inch or 5/16. I have a parts book from my Range Rover (1980) in the loft I can check against later.
  5. I'm nervous about buying anything "new" from Gigglepin, they don't exactly have a good track record when it comes to supporting their products and "known" points of failure. Their customers basically end up paying for their R. and D. When you phone them up and say "x has just snapped in half" the normal response is something like "oh yes, that's a known issue with the early ones, we can sell you an improved one for £x * 2". You don't even get the replacement at cost price even though they've acknowledged it was a faulty part by design or manufacture. They're obviously feeling the pinch a bit though with Redwinch and, from the consumer's point of view, having Redwinch and Gigglepin going head to head to compete against each other is always going to improve innovation and price ! Sadly both are out of my "justifiable costs" budget at the moment but Redwinch is where my money would go if I was looking for a new winch.
  6. There's a minimum size for a bed in the regs, not sure a hammock would comply... if you fit a pop top though you can integrate a bed into the pop top, there's a bed in my pop top that could potentially sleep 2 adults. It can, in theory sleep 4 adults in the van although it'd be a bit "cosy" ! As the Disco is based on the Range Rover it's very likely the roof can be separated, don't know for sure though as I've never really looked at a Disco 2 from that point of view. The main ones are these... Guide to Changing body code to Motor Caravan inc sample letter DVLA Vehiccle change info. They're a bit old now but still being used and if you search the forum for DVLA there are regularly reports and advice from people using that info to get there van changed. Interestingly, the second link, first post, talks about the external appearance thing which isn't in the regs as such but is classed as a 'reasonableness test'. I'm building my van because we compete in dog agility competitions and we needed a vehicle that could carry the dogs, handle overnight stays and give us somewhere to chill in between runs during the day. On the agility forums there are often complaints from people who have sign written vans, that they use for work during the week and agility at the weekends, where they have been refused entry to camp sites because it looks too much like a van despite having full camping facilities in the van.
  7. On the VW T5 forum there is an FAQ and sample covering letters that outline what you should and should not include in your application to the DVLA and the vast majority go through first time without an issue. The "looks like a camper" thing is not something that comes up as an issue very often. I suspect in Simon's case that it's the lack of windows that has triggered the issue if, externally, it looks like a panel van. My van build is also being kept as unobtrusive as I can but it has all round windows just like the Cali that is pictured above and that is normally enough to be "not a van". I can't see from the pics if the sliding door has a window or not ? One of the odd things about the UK system is the speed limit issue and DVLA have said in the past that it needs to look like a camper rather than a panel van so that the police can tell what speed it's supposed to be travelling at. It's generally accepted that a van with all round windows is assumed by the police to have car speed limits whereas a van without rear windows or only one or two rear windows is assumed to be a van and subject to lower speed limits. The irony is that if you have a van with all around windows that isn't M1 classified and is not classified as a motor caravan, you never really know what speed you can travel at without getting pulled. Even if you are M1 classified or have the model as a motor caravan you may still get pulled for doing 70 on a dual carriageway if the police think you're driving a van... Hence the DVLA insisting that it not look like a panel van to reclassify it.
  8. Speed limits and insurance are the main reasons. As a van it's restricted to 60MPH on dual carriageways and 50MPH on single carriageways. As a camper van it has the same speed limits as a car. For insurance, insurance as a camper van is much cheaper through specialist insurers that will only insure camper vans and not commercial vans. The insurer I am with at the moment gave me a really good deal but one of the conditions of the insurance is that I have 6 months to convert it and get it changed to a camper van with DVLA at the end of the conversion process. Yep, seen a few people report that previously although I believe there has been a change of mind from DVLA on that in recent months. Not a problem for mine as it has windows all round and a pop top.
  9. In the UK there are specific requirements for a vehicle to be reclassified as a camper van. I guess there will be something similar in Ireland. FWIW in the UK you need a bed (minimum dimensions are required), a seat and dining area (with a fixed table that may be detachable for storage), a sink, a stove or microwave for cooking and some form of wardrobe/storage fixed to the vehicle and some form of water storage. Full details of what is required for a UK vehicle is here... https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522756/converting-a-vehicle-into-a-motorhome.pdf Just about to submit an application to DVLA for my conversion as it happens. As I say, I would guess that there's something similar in Ireland to meet their requirements.
  10. I have a 12 year old T5 that I'm converting into a camper van. I've never been a fan of VW or had any real interest in them but we wanted a camper van and the T5 is the best option for that size although, as a result, they also keep their value which is both a good and bad thing. I have to say though that, especially when compared with the Land Rovers of a similar age, the VW is really well put together and of a much higher quality which for a commercial van should be a surprise you'd have thought ! I'll be honest, I\d expected a van to be pretty "agricultural", built to suit a purpose rather than put together with any real attention to detail. When I'm working underneath it there's not a sign of rust, despite it spending the last 5 years of it's life in Blackpool. When you pull off a protective cover on the underside you find factory paintwork, unblemished and coated with some form of protective wax coating. The wiring and connectors are completely untouched by corrosion, I can pull off a rear tail light unit and, despite it being completely external to the vehicle, the connector and the light unit are corrosion free. When I stripped the interior I didn't know what to expect under the sheets of ply and flooring, expecting to find areas of rusted floor where water had seeped in and pooled with no escape. What I actually found was a body and interior that was pretty much just as it left the factory, not a rust spot or blemish in site. It's not perfect but when comparing it with other 12 year old and newer vehicles I've had with a Land Rover badge on it it's so much better it's been a real eye opener to the difference that attention to detail and, perhaps better workmanship, can make to the longevity of a vehicle. They have their issues and just like our beloved green oval vehicles, if you read the vehicle specific forums and the horror stories that abound there are a number that are common problems. Some of which they share with Land Rover vehicles... 5 cylinder turbo diesel, highly tuned, has a propensity to warp exhaust manifolds especially when remapped, sound familiar at all ??? The VVT is nice though, surprised more people haven't tried to fit them to Defender TD5s. I've said before (before I owned a VW) that VW were unfairly targeted over the emissions and pointed out that Land Rover and probably every manufacturer had been doing similar tricks for years, it's what good engineers do when you set an unrealistic test as a required target for a specific set of circumstances. You aim to pass the test not necessarily meet the goal behind the test. Hell, even our school system is obsessed with that these days, teaching kids to pass a specific test whilst not necessarily teaching them anything outside passing a test.
  11. Commercial vehicles are exempt from the post '98 CE requirement.
  12. Not sure about the eBay stuff, not tried that. I normally get mine from the local agricultural tyre repair place, they sell it by the bag in both car and motorbike sizes. Probably around 50 strips for less than a tenner.
  13. He died in November last year. I'm sure there will be a topic on here from the time.
  14. A normal seal puller tool will do the job or, if you haven't got one of them it can normally be levered out using a screwdriver, spanner or small pry bar. There's plenty of room to get in around the pinion and get your levering tool between the pinion bearing and the back of the seal. Some people just over think these things !
  15. I can recommend the Koni Heavy Track, we fitted them on the front and rear of our 90 prior to our trip around Australia. We drove our very heavily loaded 90 16000 miles on a mix of tarmac and dirt roads including miles and miles and miles of washboard unsurfaced routes and a couple of desert crossings. I was so impressed with the way they worked and the way they stood up to the punishment that I bought a set for my competition vehicle when we got home. 3 years later we're still running the 90 on those same shock absorbers without any issues. Bear in mind you don't need the raid version that cost a fortune, just the heavy track version that cost around £80-£90 a pair. The only other brand I would consider would be the Bilsteins (assuming you don't want to go into coiler territory). They do have a tendency to be a bit harsh though.