VW GOLF - MK IV
WELDING GENERATOR RIG - This trusty black Golf MK IV tows our 20kva diesel powered generator to provide mobile power for our MIG and TIG, single and 3-phase welding machines. Copyright photograph 11 November 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this picture.
We acquired this vehicle in need of a little TLC, but soon got the car back into a serviceable condition with help from a local garage. The wide 18" alloy wheels put extra loads on the front suspension wishbones that needed replacing. This car had a blown exhaust and the emission sensors had gone, meaning that the service warning lights were on - an MOT fail. The front headlamps were aftermarket halos with snapped mounting lugs and the number plates were also cracked.
The previous owner had spent some time trying to keep up with the bits and bobs that kept going wrong over a year of worrisome motoring. This included new front discs and pads and a drivers door lock. She also had trouble with an ignition coil - but the thought of putting right the mounting list of things to do was more than she could bear - and a camshaft belt change was long overdue. A car like this is just too expensive to run on a very low budget, unless you have the time to shop around and do most of the work yourself.
GOING FOR GOLD - The Golf is seen here along Eastbourne's Grand Parade. In the background you'll notice the Pier, where the Camera Obscura has been painted gold by Sheikh Abid Gulzar. We must say that now that all the planning furore has died down, the gold relief looks rather attractive. Mr Gulzar should be commended on this scheme, that has the approval of Historic England and the local authority. Unlike the previous owners, the new owner is spending money on a facelift, though he was not the only bidder (as the newspapers report) in the quest for conservation, or more correctly, the restoration of the landmark dome know as the 'Blue Room' that was destroyed by fire on the 30th of July 2014. At time of writing there are no published plans for the restoration of the dome and because of the expense nobody could blame Mr Gulzar for being unable to consider such works. Copyright photograph 24 November 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this picture.
GRAND PARADE - Eastbourne is a seaside holiday town with some very fine hotels, including the Grand and Cavendish. Copyright photograph 24 November 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this picture.
First of all we booked the car into our local VW main dealer just off Lottbridge Drove, with the entrance from Hammonds Drive, in Eastbourne. Caffyns wanted £1,456 pounds to fix the service light by fitting a new front airbag. The non-refundable charge for this bad news was a whopping £90 pounds (that is refundable if you proceed with the suggested works). They did though offer us a cup of tea and a car clean in their exotic glass showroom, while they worked out how much to put on our bill - and yes, the reception staff were extremely cordial. But, if this is the "people's car," we'd rather some more sensibly priced servicing and economically priced parts. Have you noticed that since we have elected to exit (Brexit) Europe, that pounds sterling are rapidly sliding on the exchanges against the $dollar and Euro. The point of this is that imports are likely to be much more expensive and the UK no longer has an indigenous car industry.
NINETY BUCKS FOR A DIAGNOSTIC - Wow! Fortunately, you can buy parts cheaply from Jayar Car Parts, Europarts and German & Swedish, and a soldering iron and some insulating sleeve is only a few pounds from dozens of DIY stores. Copyright document 4 July 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this document.
We cured all the above and finally fitted new headlamp units, only to find that this did not fix an indicator (nearside front) that worked only when it felt like it. It was hugely embarrassing that people ahead at roundabouts could not see where we were headed. Those behind thought we had a blown indicator from the faster than normal switching. The fault was a chafing harness not a blown bulb, just under the battery box, with three cables worn through completely and parted. The Caffyns diagnostic did not find these major faults. One of the earths had been hot wired to the battery that gave the previous owner a main beam. We wondered about that! If you are looking to buy one of these classic hot hatches, be very careful to note our experience and look out for patched wiring.
The good news is that all of the improvement came in well under the staggering £1,456 pounds that the main dealer wanted just to fix a service light fault that was cured by fixing the wiring - a known fault on the Mk IV - but not necessarily from the wiring under the passenger seat, where there were multiple breaks in this car's harness that were not detected during the dealer diagnosis on the 4th of July - marking our Independence Day.
BP ULTIMATE - Now equipped with a roof rack and tow bar this Mk IV Golf is proving to be very useful for the SeaVax project. The only snag is that it is petrol powered and so contributes to climate change. If you have to use an IC car, change the engine oil and filter regularly and use quality fuel to help keep things running smoothly. This company produces good fuels, but cut corners when drilling for oil in using the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Copyright photograph 24 November 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this picture.
The front airbag in this car cannot be turned off for when children are passengers, so you might want to think about disabling the passenger airbag if you carry youngsters. Don't ask us how. Try asking your main dealer or the manufacturer for advice. If you do effect a cure for this potential problem, make sure that the seatbelts are in good shape and that your children wear them correctly. Many other makes of cars have a handy switch to disable the passenger airbag for children. We are not sure if it is possible to install a switch on this model so that you can have the best of both worlds. Of course it is, if money is no object and you have the time, but we mean 'realistically.'
The last problem with this car was the odor from a previous owner who obviously smoked a lot. It left the car smelling so bad that one passenger almost gagged. The solution to this anti-social habit was a brilliant mobile valet service operated by Colin Richardson in Eastbourne called Premier Car Care. It took Colin a couple of hours to revitalize the inside. You can reach PCC on 07544 815 907 or email: Colin. The car is now a pleasure to drive. One final touch was a TomTom, that we purloined from the Jeep that is next in line for an overhaul for all that rough terrain beach work to come.
WELDING RIG - This is our welding rig. We needed a portable generator capable of powering our three and single phase welders on site, during the assembly of the AmphiMax and SeaVax vehicles. The MK IV Golf seen above is suitable for transporting the diesel gen-set to any launch site by road, when a 4x4, such as our Jeep, would be needed to position it on rough terrain. Unfortunately, the i3 is not suitable for towing, but can carry reasonable loads in the boot space. We managed 6 bags of sand with no problems during one test.
ROAD SHOW, PUBLIC AWARENESS EVENTS
If we can secure follow on funding for 2017, we plan to mount a tour of the UK to show the SeaVax to groups and corporations who might be interested in Blue Growth and sustainable fish supplies so that the world can feed itself in 2050 when it is estimated that there will be 9 billion souls on planet earth. This Volkswagen Golf will be a support vehicle with the lead vehicle being our VW camper.
BLUE STRIPES - The vinyl wrapping of this i3 was sorted for us by Signtek in Eastbourne using printed 3M films. Copyright photograph 1 November 2016 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of BMS Ltd to reproduce this picture.
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