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The first piece of advice would be to obtain a workshop manual for your car. Within those pages, you’ll find all sorts of valuable information and tips on performing home maintenance. Compared with even the briefest trip to a professional workshop, a good workshop manual will pay for itself over and over again.
As for the rear door panel on your Sorento, the tricky part is finding all the hidden screws and fasteners that locate things like the armrest. Sometimes the attaching screws are hidden in tiny pop-out panels under the armrest, some times the screw will be hiding under a rubber insert in the door handle’s recess. These will usually be Philips-head screws.
Once you’ve removed those screws, it comes down to a gentle game of popping each of the clips that secure the perimeter of the door panel to the actual door. You’ll gain a feel for this job, but be careful; if you’re too aggressive, you might break or snap the little plastic clips which would then need to be replaced before you could re-fit the door panel. A steady but firm force on the door panel, rather than a sudden shock is the best way to achieve this without damaging anything. Once all those clips have been freed, you should find that the whole door panel will be resting on a groove at the bottom of the window. Lift the panel clear of this and you’re done, although watch out for electrical wires that could still be attached to the power windows and courtesy lights.
The problem you have with this particular make and model is that it’s really not worth very much even in good working condition. Cars like yours with engines in good condition change hands for about $3000 (sometimes less) so replacing the engine would almost certainly cost more than the car is worth. That said, if you can find a cheap second-hand engine (that’s been tested so you know it works) and you can find a workshop who can do the changeover for the right price, you might squeeze a few more years out of the car without blowing your budget sky-high. And at least then you know what you’re working with; buying another cheap second-hand car could land you in the same spot in a few months or even weeks’ time.
That, of course, only applies if the problem with your engine is of the terminal mechanical kind. Has the engine been assessed by a mechanic? It could simply be that a new set of spark plugs will bring the car back to its old, four-cylinder self. Selling the car to a wrecking yard will only get you the vehicle’s scrap value – maybe $200 or $300 dollars. And a private buyer is unlikely to offer you any more than that on the basis of a cheap car with a blown-up engine. Meantime, the price of newer second-hand cars has gone up lately with limited supply the main problem, so maybe a quote on fixing what you have is the first step.
First things first; make sure the Karoq is actually as big as you think it is/need it to be. The reality is that this is not a huge SUV and is really comparable with something like, say, the Mazda CX-30, while cars like the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are all a size bigger.
Beyond that, the good news is that the car’s most problematic element, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has now been replaced on the 110 version with an eight-speed automatic with a conventional torque converter. And although the 1.4-litre capacity will ring alarm bells for those who remember the troublesome Twin-charger engine with the same capacity fitted to many VW and Skoda products, the unit in the new Karoq is less complex and doesn’t seem to suffer the same problems.
However, there are no blanket statements on this subject and your experience with your current Astra is proof. Given that many owners were appalled at the reliability of their Astras, you seem to have scored a good one. And the reverse can apply; sometime a car with even a great reliability record can throw up problems for a particular owner. Modern cars are incredibly complex machines and things can (and do) go wrong on a fairly random basis.
With the official combined fuel consumption figure for your Ranger being 8.9 litres per 100km, having 50km of range remaining should, theoretically, suggest you have slightly less than five litres of fuel in the tank. Which further suggests you should be able to add something like 75 litres of fuel at that point. But car-makers tend to set up these warnings on remaining fuel range fairly pessimistically, giving you a bigger margin before running out. And that’s what I’d imagine is happening here. They do so because most cars will never match their official fuel number in the real world, as well as giving you a bit of lee-way in case a service station doesn’t magically appear over the next hill. The upshot is that you won’t be able to pump as much fuel into the tank as you thought it would take; that is, you had more fuel remaining in the tank than you thought.
As far as your distance per tank goes, that sounds about bang on the money to me. To get 700km from the Ranger’s 80-litre tank gives you an overall fuel consumption number of 11.4 litres per 100km which I would say is just what you should expect from this vehicle in normal use.
The CVT you’re referring to is actually the car’s transmission rather than its engine. And since the engine is what drives the air-conditioning compressor, it’s the engine’s power and torque that determines whether the car still drives nicely with the air-conditioning switched on, not whether the transmission is a CVT or any other type.
But I think I know what you are referring to. And that is how well the car’s engine and its CVT transmission are matched. Sometimes, a transmission can gobble up a fair bit of horsepower and torque and that can take the edge off performance. Throw the switch on the air-conditioning and there’s even more load on the engine, making it feel even less perky. In that sense, I think the Corolla as the newer design would have a more efficient transmission and that could mean that it feels the load less than the older Honda might and, therefore, holds on to more of its original performance.
But the second thing you mentioned, that your car’s air-con doesn’t really keep up at temperatures over 30 degrees is more likely to be a problem with the air-con itself. You might find that a five-year-old car (such as your Honda is) is ready for the air-conditioning system to be serviced and perhaps even re-gassed, which might just return it to better health. For the record, Toyota’s have always had some of the best-performing air-conditioning systems in the business over the years, and I very much doubt that a 30-degree day would tax the air-con in a new Corolla one iota.
There is, indeed, an all-wheel-drive version of the current-model Ford Transit in some parts of the world, but sadly for those with a specific set of needs, it isn’t coming to Australia. Fundamentally, the sales volumes wouldn’t justify Ford’s investment in technical training and spare parts required to get the AWD Transit into showrooms here.
On the face of it, Australian buyers looking for an all-wheel-drive commercial vehicle are vastly more attracted to vehicles like Ford’s own Ranger dual-cab utility. And that shouldn’t really come as a surprise, either; local buyers have always been more drawn to conventional utilities than they have vans. That’s the complete reversal of how the European market sees things, but that’s cultural difference for you.
Meantime, I can see why some people would like an AWD Transit. For towing a tradie trailer while keeping your other gear safe and having the ability to get on and off greasy building sites, a van like a Transit with four-wheel-drive would take some beating. But for now, for Australia, it’s officially a no from Ford.
The upgrade to your navigation system can be done at a Volkswagen dealership and would be part of the work carried out at your next service (assuming you use a VW workshop). What most people tend to find, however, is that the Tiguan’s Apple CarPlay facility allows you to use the navigation services on your phone which, based on consumer feedback, are more accurate anyway since they’re updated in real time.
It sounds very much like a seized bush in the rubber-donut assembly that joins the tailshaft to the back of the gearbox. Inside the rubber donut (also called the flex-joint) there’s a metal inner bush and these have been known to seize. Water gets into this bush and rusts the assembly solid. If that happens, it will feel like the thing will never come apart.
At that point, perhaps removing the slip-yoke from the back of the transmission will allow you to remove the whole assembly and get better access to it on a bench, rather than from under the car. The slip-yoke shouldn’t present any problems other than you might lose a little transmission fluid (so have some rags handy) but you do need to remember to mark the position of all the components relative to each other. That means marking where the tailshaft bolts were relative to the rear coupling, the coupling relative to the flange, the shaft relative to the yoke’s holes and so on. That’s so when the tailshaft is reassembled and refitted, it’s still in balance and won’t create any new driveline vibrations. This process even extends to marking which nuts and bolts attached to which mounting holes in the rear CV joint, as some of these bolts were individually weighted for balance.
The other thing to check is the actual centre bearing you’re trying to replace. For some reason there were two different part numbers for this series of Ford Falcon. One has a different bearing inner diameter and a different spacing for the mounting holes compared with the other. Make sure you buy the correct one.
The engines in these Hondas are considered pretty solid and reliable performers. But as with any car now celebrating its 15th birthday, things can go wrong that can affect performance. With that in mind it could be time to give the engine a comprehensive once-over and a full service. Having the car electronically interrogated would be a good idea, too, as any faults noted by the on-board computer will have been logged and could tell you a lot about that’s going on under the bonnet. Just because the car hasn’t illuminated a dashboard warning light, doesn’t mean that the computer hasn’t noticed something strange going on.
The problem is obviously an intermittent one (or the car would never run properly) and that really does point towards something electronic. That said, a good mechanic will also go back to first principles checking things like fuel delivery, ignition timing and even engine compression.
Any information you can gather when the problem occurs will help enormously, too. For instance, does the engine blow smoke or make any odd noises when it loses power? Does the car shudder or suddenly start using more fuel when the problem occurs? The more observations you can pass on to a mechanic the better idea he or she will have of where to start searching. Fundamentally, you could be looking at anything from a collapsed catalytic converter or muffler, a faulty fuel pump or injector, a damaged spark-plug lead or literally any one of about a thousand other things.
The short answer is that this can be done, and, in fact, there are kits available to allow you to add a leaf to a suspension spring-pack. The broad idea is to make the spring stiffer, increasing theoretical load-carrying ability as well as giving more ground clearance (as the modified spring will usually make the vehicle sit higher).
The trick is finding the correct extra-leaf kit for your specific vehicle, and this is where a specialist supplier comes in. The kit should include the extra two spring leaves as well as longer centre bolts (as the spring-pack is now thicker). And as with any suspension -related equipment, quality is hugely important to safety and the actual performance of the new set-up.
But there are other issues. The first is a legal one. While the new, thicker spring-pack might tempt you to increase the loads you carry, legally, the vehicle retains its original loading and towing limits until it has been certified otherwise by an accredited engineer. Some kits are supplied with this paperwork all sorted for you ready to simply lodge with the authorities, but some aren’t. And consulting engineers don’t generally come cheap. You would also need to inform your insurance provider of the change to the vehicle’s specification. There are also absolute limits to how much higher your vehicle can sit compared with a standard one. This varies from state to state, but in your home state of NSW at the moment, a vehicle can legally be raised by 75mm over its standard ride height. The catch is that only 50mm of this can be from suspension modifications, and the other 25mm of lift through bigger tyres. But if you stick within those limits and don’t intend to increase the vehicle’s load or towing ability, then the raised suspension doesn’t need to be certified by an engineer for the vehicle to remain legal.