Dave W

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Everything posted by Dave W

  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.
  16. Thanks for the heads up, been meaning to buy another 200 piece set for a couple of years and never got around to it, couldn't resist with another £40 off the "normal" half price offer. Just snuck in before the 8pm cutoff
  17. The thing is that if you measure the current going into the first battery from the alternator and the second battery is connected then you're actually seeing the combined current going into both batteries. The only way to figure out how it's split between the two is to measure the current going through the solenoid/switch and that will give you the proportion of the current that is going into the second battery. If you have a volt meter, put the negative probe on the positive of the second battery and the positive probe on the positive of the first battery. Start the engine and, with the switch/solenoid open you should see a voltage of somewhere around 2 volts. When you close the switch/solenoid you should see that drop to 0 volts. If it does then it's connecting OK, if it doesn't then you have a high resistance connection so move the negative probe to each side of the solenoid terminal until you get 0 volts. If you get a different reading at each solenoid terminal then the solenoid is faulty, you should only see a 40mV drop at the most across the solenoid and that would be at 200 or more amps flowing through it. You can also simply measure the voltage across each battery and compare them but the advantage of the above method is that it's more likely to show up a high resistance connection.
  18. Are you getting any voltage change on the second battery when the solenoid is activated and the engine running ? Where are you measuring the current ?
  19. Forgot to add, when I fit these solenoids I always leave a bit of slack in the battery wires so that, should the need arise, the solenoid can be bypassed simply by moving a cable from one terminal to the other. I've never had one fail but if it does and you're in the middle of nowhere you never know when simply connecting the two batteries together will get you out of a bind.
  20. Yes, so to add in a second battery you just need a solenoid between the positive of the main battery and the positive of the second and you then trigger that by whatever means you want. I use an Albright HD solenoid between the batteries on mine and trigger it via an off-on-on switch where off isolates the two batteries, first on position is automatic triggered by the voltage on the first battery being above 13 volts and the second on position means it comes on with the ignition, allowing the auxiliary battery to help start the vehicle if required. The Albright solenoids are waterproof, extremely reliable and can carry a winch current - on my competition motor I use the HD versions to isolate both winches either via a switch on the dash or if I operate the kill switch for the engine. This is the HD version... https://www.devon4x4.com/albright-su280-isolator-250a.html This is the not so HD version which is fine for most uses... https://www.devon4x4.com/albright-hd-battery-isolator.html
  21. That would depend a lot on which engine you have but normally the charge goes directly form the alternator to the battery, normally via the starter motor terminal. It's not normally connected with the ignition in any way.
  22. I assumed, wrongly, it was Land Rover based I would still go down the route that it should be registered as a cargo carrying vehicle and the camper "pod" is simply cargo so it doesn't matter if it's present or not as it has no effect on the vehicle classification then. I can't see any reason to differentiate between having a camping pod on the back versus any other load you might be carrying.
  23. You can get it reclassified as a motor home if you meet the requirements. It doesn't effect the class (N1/M1) but for vans that would otherwise have to drive at the lower speed limits it allows them to drive at car speed limits. I'm in the process of converting my VW van into a camper van and as soon as I meet the requirements I'll be applying to have it registered as a motor home so I can legally drive it faster. It also means you can get cheaper insurance as motor homes are generally cheaper to insure than a panel van. The requirements are all laid out on the DVLA web site, 2 hob cooker, sink, bed, seating area with fixed table are the main ones. Converting a vehicle into a motorhome - Gov.uk That said for a Land Rover, where you're already exempt from the N1 speed limits due to it's 4x4 classification, there's little to be gained by having it registered as a motor home. Having a demountable camper doesn't change the vehicle any more than putting a pallet in the back would, it's basically just "cargo".
  24. Since we started our club we've had only one proposal to change the rules regarding eligibility and that was originally to do with tyre patterns and that was expanded during the proposal process to include tyre sizes. A number of us had been competing in Ireland for a number of years and noticed that the use of 35 inch Simex and similar, often larger, tyres was making it impossible for anyone without that size of tyres to move around the sites. even the marshals for the competition were using 35 inch Simex so when we turned up for the second year on 32 inch tyres we were pretty much stuffed as most of the tracks were impassable. We'd also seen similar effects on one of the UK sites we were using at the time which was being overused for pay and play between our annual trial there. Despite the land owners best efforts to keep plowing up and levelling the ruts that were being caused we were struggling to get vehicles around the site and didn't want to get involved in an "arms race" of tyre sizes. In the end, when the proposal went to the AGM, it was discussed at length and a unanimous decision led to the proposal being dropped for a number of reasons although it was decided that we should monitor all the sites we still use and reconsider if our use of them is not sustainable in the long term due to either over aggressive tyres or large tyres. As has already been mentioned here, the trials competitions in particular tend to penalise large tyres anyway and none of the sites we now use have pay and play on them so currently none of the sites we use have seen any deterioration. I strongly believe that, government interference aside, for the uk off road scene to continue all users and organisers need to consider the impact they are having on the land and what they can do to help the land owner manage the land and keep the sport sustainable.
  25. Essentially the ALRC are trying to allow their clubs to do now what the none ALRC LR clubs have been doing for 20 years, just not as inclusive and still irrelevant to the future of UK off roading. Perhaps I should point out that the Yorkshire Off Road Club are holding a trial this weekend (and once every month) and have done for just under 20 years now where any marque and model are welcome and we don't care what engine, gearbox, mods, axles or even tyre sizes you're running. As long as your vehicle can comply with MSA trials regulations and is driven to the site you can compete. You don't even need to have a winch or roll cage to compete in our challenge events. The vast majority of the vehicles competing are Land Rovers and none of us that drive them have ever felt that we can't compete on equal terms with other marques. We only have 4 classes, 2 for leaf sprung and 2 for coil sprung and nobody worries about what modifications the other competitors in their class may or may not have, we just enjoy the competition and the craic regardless of who made what part or how many rivets are holding a particular body panel on. The future of UK off roading isn't just Land Rover, Land Rover themselves have put the block on that one so if we want a thriving UK off road scene we can't put on Land Rover blinkers and exclude the other marques.