As the Berlingo has once again blotted its copybook and left me without wheels I had to get something quick. A friend at work has owned a Scenic Monaco from new and although it's needed its fair share of work he still likes it despite having just paid £32k for a second hand Evoque!
I looked on Autotrader and saw quite a few for sale within a 20 mile radius. I missed a one owner Fidji by one day with 89k that had been meticulously cared for by an elderly gent, but saw three others within ten miles and rang about them. Last Tuesday I went test driving The first we looked at was a one owner green 1.8 Fidji that looked nice in the pictures but turned out to be a bit of a dog. It had warranted mileage and history but in the flesh (steel?) had dinks and scrapes and rubs. It was reasonably clean inside and everything worked. However on the test it wasn't all that nice, a front wheel bearing was making a right row and there were clonks and groans from the suspension. We left to look at the others, both on the same bomb site pitch in the middle of Birmingham. It was run by an Asian man and his son, both nice people. One was a 1.9 diesel with one or two marks but a very nice interior. The other, the one I finally bought was a 1.4 Authentique with 67k and cambelt and water pump just done. I drove the 1.4 first and was amazed how fast it was, it just went, four in the car and it drove really well. No nasty noises, slick gearchange and silky engine. Then we went out in the diesel, well the difference between the two was quite a shock. The diesel nicely appointed as it was, drove in a completely different way. I'm used to modern diesels with quick pick up but this was old stylee turbo diesel, nothing until 1800 rpm then balls out power and let's go . It reminded me of my old 350 Yam, all or nothing. I never got out of third on the test. There was history with it and 112k, nothing for a diesel (unless it's a 1.6hdi ). Then Wifey spotted an 04 Fiat Panda with just a couple of little marks and one owner and history. When we got in there was 133k on the clock! But the engine was lovely, it drove nice as well but it wasn't really practical for us. There was room inside but the boot was tiny, so eventually we plumped for the 1.4, after a bit of haggling we got it for £870 so can't grumble. The cars were all nicely washed but the valeting was, shall we say a bit hit and miss with our Scenic smelling a bit crusty inside.
I picked it up Wednesday and quite enjoyed the 10 mile drive back home, impressed with the power from that little 1.4 engine. All the odd little jobs that were promised to be done weren't but i wasn't too concerned and soon had the bonnet locking correctly and a couple of other bits and bobs sorted. I cleaned the seats and scrubbed the grease and batter from the dash top cubby. I dipped the oil which was clean and on the mark and tried the washers and wipers. Thursday saw me taking the Berlingo back for investigation and then we went for a drive in the Scenic. It had developed a misfire which definitely wasn't there when I collected it. I had a look on t'internet when we got home and noticed lots of owners getting mysterious misfires and I noticed an article about perished washer pipes causing water to run all over the ignition. Sure enough when I looked the main pipe had rotted and the top of the engine was wet, I bought some tube and repaired the problem. The misfire is still there and if anything is getting worse so I have also ordered a set of coils and will check the plugs at the same time.
This morning I found out where the nifty smell was coming from. I lifted the back seats to find masses of half eaten sugary sweets, biscuits, lollies and toast(?) squashed underneath in various states of decay, yuk. There was black mould growing on some plastic trim covers which I removed and scrubbed with hot soapy water. The hidden compartment under the back seats that my friend told me about had all sorts of crud in it. I was forced to leave this half done as we had a table booked for Sunday lunch but I found it strangely therapeutic and am looking forward to continuing tomorrow. Underneath all this muck there is a genuine straight lovely little car slowly emerging. I saw a rather nice set of full leather seats on the bay.....
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