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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Keyhole surgery.

Yesterday a warning appeared on the notification panel on my car’s dashboard, “Dipped Beam Bulb failure”.  A quick trip round to the front of the vehicle quickly determined that the offending item was on the near side.

Simples. A quick trip to Halfords was all it needed and back home ready to fit it today.

Not so Simples, especially with a hangover. The vehicle in question is a Volvo. Now, as many of you may know, in my previous incarnation before I retired, I was a Marine Engineer. Being a Marine Engineer meant that I frequently had to repair some very badly designed pieces of equipment. But nothing like changing a bulb in  a Volvo. Apart from only enough space for a two year old’s hand, why an earth run a wiring loom over the top? Just to make it invisible to the naked it eye I suppose. Is it compulsory for Volvo designers to have a degree in torture and psychological warfare?

So guess what your FE did next?

Answers on a postcard to …………….


  1. Ahh light bulb changes in cars, not just Volvos either that are just ridiculous beyond belief.

    Of course if I were cynical (which obviously I'm not) I would guess it was done deliberately as it necessitate a quick trip to the local garage who can carry out the job while helpfully lightening your wallet.

  2. I have a Toyota Hilux Surf where changing a bulb, any bulb, in any external light cluster is an absolute doddle.

    Undoing two stainless steel screws and a twist of either bulb or holder is all that is required.

    Even though the car is Japanese, designed and built for the Japanese market and indeed lived in Japan until 2006 when I imported it, if I present the chassis computer to the local Toyota garage they can order any part on the car and have it at my door in two or three days. Not bad for a car originally built in 1997.
    To cap it all it runs extremely well on virgin veg oil currently on offer in twatco at 90p per litre, whoopee!!

  3. That should say chassis number to the Toyota computer... and I bloody previewed the text wot I rote.

  4. I'd have had a drink and then taken it to a garage on Monday, or Wednesday here as everything's closed until then.

  5. Buy an old Ford, You cant go wrong

  6. You have to dismantle half the front end of some Renaults to change a bulb.

  7. The '93 Micra was a doddle; lift bonnet, twist bulb holder, remove bulb.

    The '97 Fiesta less so; lift bonnet, remove centre panel grill (lifts out), unscrew three screws to remove lamp unit, remove bulb holder etc.

    Best was my 1960 2cv; Depress one sprung clip on top of lamp unit to remove reflector and glass, remove bulb. Later ones had a screw in place of sprung clip. Changed a fifteen second job to a one minute one.

  8. You used the Halfords 'free' installation service?

  9. Modern cars are a pig to work on. Especially the FWD versions. They seem to jampack everything into a space the size of a shoe box without a thought about maintenance.

    You're lucky btw. I'm looking at my wife's 4 y.o. Chrysler that decided to shear the mounting bolt for the drive belt tensioner. Sheared in the block on the right side of the engine where there is 3 inches between the block and the bodywork. Decided that, as an Engineer myself, rather than remove and replace the engine I am going to exercise some grey matter and cut a big hole in the bulkhead, extract the broken bolt end, and then weld the bulkhead back together again. The cost of an engine removal doesn't bear thinking about too long.

    I'm glad I drive a 1978 Ford Cortina. Piece of piss to work on.

  10. Changing engines on big boats is a bit like that: Up on the slip; cut big hole in hull; winch/crane/fork lift unit out - new in; weld hole back up. I'm sure FE will have more.

    Most anything built pre 1980 was maintainable. A few exceptions like Renault 4, Citroen GS and maybe DS.

    The Royal Enfield 'Bullet' could have all the regular servicing done with just two spanners - and one was not a hammer!

  11. 'and one was not a hammer!'

    So the other one was then?

  12. Derek, I know what you mean. I've had a Renault 4 (made me sea sick driving it :) ),a Peugeot 104, a few Citroen BX's (excellent cars), and a couple of Citroen XM's (beautiful drive but an absolute nightmare to maintain). What happened to Frog cars? I loved the quirkiness. They've all got gay names now and have lost that essential 'blokey-ness' that drew me to them. Last Frog car I had was a Laguna. Boooooring...

    Got my eye on a 1969 Beetle at the mo. Had two of those. Can't beat that thumping engine noise and the smile it puts on your face. :)

    Kids don't know what they have missed.

  13. Hammer? You obviously are referring to the trusty mechanic's micro-adjustment tool? XD

  14. Chuckles, I should have said "neither was a hammer"!! Lol. But that was the only thing needed on the old Harley. That's one I wish I'd kept - though I still have the hammer - er . . 'micro adjustment tool'.

    JWU, still have an 'A' series Citroen; easy to work on, bring lots of smiles, go anywhere, all parts available mail order, pity about the tin worm.


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