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Everything posted by Mike_B

  1. Ah OK, it must be a different car then. Still, they're a lovely drive and I still miss mine after almost 5 years - though I do still very much like the Alfa 159 sportwagon (estate) that I replaced it with, and there's no doubt the estate is far more practical for my needs these days. I used to average 23mpg from mine, less in town obviously, and about 28ish on a longer run. It was a wonderful place to sit and after a long and difficult day at work, with sometimes 300 miles of dark, wet, journey home, there are few cars that could have made a better job of that sort of journey. I had it about 4 years and did 50k miles, and the only that thing that went wrong with it, ever, was a completely dead battery after I left the internal lights switched on whilst away on business for a week. When it's time does come to change the Alfa, I'll probably come back to Lexus, probably an NX or RX though, to keep the hatchback/estate practicality aspect.
  2. Out of interest, does the reg plate on your new car end in HFG? If so, it's probably my much-loved old one... the age, colour and approx location where you say you bought it all match up and it's not exactly a common car. It'd be nice to know where it ended up (though I'm disappointed to hear it's got white wheels on it at the moment!)
  3. You have a 430, therefore you have a facelift car. The 430 was introduced at the same time as the facelift appeared.
  4. Saw a blinder a few years ago, at an urban roundabout. To set the scene, two lanes of traffic went onto the roundabout, but only one lane exited the other side. Traffic was heavy so there was a queue across it. An imbecile in a Golf GTI decided he wasn't waiting like everyone else, and floored it round the inside lane of the roundabout and tried to shove in at the exit - without realising there was only one lane... he went straight into the little triangle of kerbstones and the car stopped dead... Everyone else wet themselves laughing as the black puddle from his smashed sump spread out onto the road... :hehe:
  5. Sorry but this is just nonsense... Firstly, nitrogen expands and contracts with temperature exactly the same as any other gas does - it obeys the same laws of physics as everything else does. So tyre pressure will rise and fall with tyre temperature whether it has air or pure nitrogen. You could fill them with any gas you choose and would see almost exactly the same effect. Secondly, normal air is 80% nitrogen anyway, and oxygen is of a similar molecular mass and makes up almost all the remaining 20% of 'normal air'. Therefore pressure stability will be pretty much identical. If there is any benefit, it's the nitrogen is less reactive and doesn't interact with the rubber. Oxygen can and does react with the inside of the tyre and leach through, which effectively reduces pressure over time.
  6. Don't be too concerned about it - it's extremely unlikely that a recruiter would actively tell your current employers that you are looking - there is all manner of privacy laws that would be breached by such a communication. Even if your current company does find out, once you've made up your mind to leave, they may conceivably try and persaude you to stay but otherwise there isn't much they can do apart from keeping you away from any major upcoming projects or commercially valuable info that you might take to a competitor. No great loss - you'll have more time for jobhunting!
  7. I'm not sure it's the way things are moving in general. There is at least one individual in this thread who is summed up nicely by your 'flavour' though. On many sites such people get banned for trolling, especially after they have basically admitted only doing it to wind people up as they have nothing better to do!
  8. I can answer that question. Over the last few years, safety of people inside cars has been improved hugely, in the main because the publication of NCAP tests has meant that increased safety has become a good selling point. This is why pretty much all new cars now come with a 5-star rating - it's well worth the maker's time and money investing in getting this right. However, as a side-effect of this, the proportion of pedestrians being seriously injured or killed, as a proportion of all road-accident victims, has increased sharply. The EU therefore decided 'something must be done' and presented two options to the manufacturers - either make your cars less likely to injure pedestrians (soft bonnets, exterior airbags, no protruding bits etc) or make pedestrians better able to see you. For obvoius reasons, the manufacturers chose the latter option and as a result, DRL are becoming mandatory. On a personal note, I am deeply unhappy about this. I ride a motorcycle, for which DRL was made compulsory about 5 or 6 years ago, and so you cannot turn off the main headlight on any new motorcycle sold in the EU. For bikes, this is fine, as they are small and harder to spot, and also they are generally the only vehicles on the road with lights on during the day which makes them stand out. However now that every vehicle will have their lights on, bikes will become invisible. In every country where DRL are the norm (not just the Nordics, Hungary has been like this for many years) motorcycle accidents are much more common. Unfortunately, it seems that the government (and EU) is essentially completely at ease with literally sacrificing the lives of motorcyclists in order to save a few careless pedestrians. Further, I have no doubt whatsoever that the increase in deaths will be used to justify a later ban on bikes on the grounds of safety. :tsktsk: :tsktsk: :tsktsk:
  9. Winter tyres can be rated quite fast - the ones I have on the Alfa are V-rated (149mph) and the ones I had last year on the GS were rated the same, though were different tyres. Certainly the grip I have from the Nokians in the dry doesn't give me any concern - and I do throw it about a bit and will happily use them at 80-90 on the motorways...
  10. That may be the case for snow tyres, but we're not talking about snow tyres. We're talking about winter tyres, which 1) do not usually have stud holes, and 2) are not merely made of softer rubber. They are made of softer rubber, but they are also much more heavily treaded (usually start at 9 or 10mm depth), and they are heavily siped (the zig-zag pattern slits in each tread block). It is the sipes that do the work on ice, the deep tread that does the work on snow, and the softer tread that does the work on cold tarmac. There is a hell of a lot more to it than 'formulated to remain soft at lower temperatures'. It is also false that the tyres wear out very fast at higher temperatures. They will wear quicker, but there is no need to panic once the snow has cleared - they are designed to be used all winter ie until spring has come!
  11. I've heard it said before that the new tyres should always go on the rear - I can only assume this is because it will make the back gripper than the front, and understeer is better understood by most drivers than oversteer so they are more likely to get away with any skid that results. I can't see it making much difference in the real world though... :duh:
  12. Prices go up and down every week it seems - I ordered at £143 a corner, which was annoying as a week earlier they were £120ish. However, last week they were nearly £200, and have since gone down again! I don't know if MyTyres are in any sort of trouble, but I'd be surprised since they are part of an enormous German company called Delti with country-specific tyre retailing websites across most of Europe. With my order (which, admittedly, hasn't turned up yet!) they reserved the money against my credit card (you can see this on the online banking website) but didn't bill it until Monday this week, when they also sent a mail to say the tyres had been despatched. Incidentally, the supply of winter tyres across Europe has been caught badly short because Germany has now made their use mandatory, so suddenly demand surged there...
  13. The place to buy winter tyres is MyTyres. Trouble is, this time of year stocks are low, and prices go up accordingly. It's not helped by the fact that most tyre places over here don't seem to carry them - MyTyres ship them from Germany.
  14. I guess you've found the auction by now, but I'm afraid it's just the tyres. I was intending to buy a second set of rims but never got round to finding some!
  15. If anyone's interested, I'm selling my winter tyres on eBay at the moment. I bought them last year and they made an amazing difference in the ice and snow - the difference really was like night and day... But the Alfa takes a different size, so they are no good to me this year. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post a link to the auction on here, but they are the 'set of 4 GT Radial' ones located in Tonbridge! 235/45 17, size-wise...
  16. Infuriating indeed. To add insult to injury, if Ofgem find any wrongdoing, the companies concerned will be punished with fines!! The money for these fines will come, ultimately, from the customers... So government wins money from the fines, kudos for forcing the investigation, but the customers get screwed over backwards whether or not Ofgem finds anything legally wrong. Could this possibly be any more corrupt?
  17. iTunes changes all the time - there is a new update for it every few weeks it seems. I think they are up to about 10.1 now!
  18. Over 50k I had to replace the battery (after I'd left the lights on at Heathrow for a week). That was it for 'problems'... Obviously I had to spend money on other areas - it had a new cambelt, several sets of wiper blades, one set of new tyres, but otherwise it was solid as a rock. One of the rear windows packed up but the garage looked at it, said they couldn't do much, and an hour later it started working again! Just gummed up through lack of use, I think, as it never stopped working again. If you keep an eye out on Autotrader looking for 2001 models somewhere vaguely around the Reading area, you may even come across it for sale - it would be just as good a buy as a 2003 model as the history of that particular car is impeccable. I only traded it in on Saturday!
  19. My understanding is that they work quite well - in the ice and snow. Where they aren't so great is the snow/tarmac/snow/tarmac/snow/tarmac sequence of surfaces that characterise a typical British journey after a couple of days of winter weather. That's because the socks wear out very quickly on tarmac - meaning that although they might be OK for a trip to work, they will be worn out after two or three days unless you keep stopping to put them on and take them off! They would be good to keep in the boot though!
  20. My 2001 model averaged about 23mpg over the 50k miles I had it. Slightly better on a long journey, but never got more than about 27 out of it. I think the newer models (3rd gen) are more efficient, probably due the the shape. In fact, the LS430 has better official consumption than the GS!
  21. Traction control isn't much help in snow because there is so little traction that effectively it stops the car moving at all - by preventing wheelspin completely, you end up getting nowhere at all. Last winter, and for the first time, I bought some winter tyres for my (now ex-) GS430. It completely transformed it from utterly useless, to 'bearable' in the snow. Brakes, steering and throttle all worked more or less as expected, though obviously you still need plenty of care! I bought some 'GT Radial Champiro WT AX' from - I'm sure there are better winter tyres, but they were cheap and the difference between them and the Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tyres I have was absolutely unbelievable... So in a nutshell, buy winter tyres! Snow socks and chains are all very well but you *must not* run them on tarmac (especially chains), so with the sort of weather we get in the UK, where you get patches of snowy roads and then snowploughed tarmac, you end up getting in and out the car every 5 minutes to remove them, else the chains or socks will get work out after a week! Whereas the winter tyres work just like ordinary tyres on tarmac and you don't have to worry about them again until March!
  22. Must admit I don't find iTunes that bad - I've never had a problem with it of any description on either PC or Mac. It does, for me anyway, 'just work'. Sometimes the album art is funny though, especially if you have imported a single track or tracks rather than buying it through iTunes or importing a whole CD. It seems that if any given track has ever appeared on a complition CD, it defaults to showing the track as belonging to that album rather than from the artist's original one. If you see what I mean! But I can't see that as being the fault of iTunes as such, after all it's only going by what it's told by the back end servers anyway, rather than just making it up!
  23. Yep, after 4 1/2 years in the Lexus fold the time has come for a change... To something completely different! Today I agreed a price on an Alfa 159 Sportwagon (ie estate), after finding the GS was just too thirsty for everyday use. I've loved having it, and everything I bought it to do it still does perfectly (be quick, be quiet, and be comfy) but to be honest it's getting on a bit now and 23mpg is biting my pocket a bit hard now I'm doing 20k miles a year. I am hoping for double that mpg from the new car which will go some way to paying for it! I am sure I will miss some aspects of her once she's gone (next weekend, I hope) but I am also looking forward to having something different, and also a lot more practical... The Alfa is also a more involving drive which I'm looking forward to. It's been fun over the last few years on here, too - it's much quieter now here than it used to be but I'm sure it will pick up again at some point! I will drop in from time to time here to see if I can answer anyone's questions and check out the latest gossip! But otherwise, best of luck for the future to everyone on here, it's been a pleasure to be a member of such a friendly club... Cheers, Mike
  24. Ouch!! Sorry to see that, but the main thing is you're OK (and presumably, the other party is too). On the other hand, I'm pondering selling mine - only because I'm doing too many miles these days and I need something more economical!
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