Welcome! Log in or Register

Other Car Accessories

  • image
£16.18 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
22 Reviews
  • display unit too big
  • Distract Other Drivers
  • Sort by:

    * Prices may differ from that shown

  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    22 Reviews
    Sort by:
    • More +
      10.02.2004 06:09
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      The first modification most popularly advocated to improve an engines performance has to be a change of air filter or induction system on fuel injection engines.One of the most well known makers of replacement filters etc.,apart from Pipercross has to be K&N.As I have used K&N's filters in various applications I will review their products here. The Technical Bit - An internal combustion engine is basically nothing more than a large air pump running backwards.If you were to apply a force to the crankshaft,driving the pistons they'd draw air in through the intake and pump it out the exhaust.A standard mass-produced engine while having to conform to certain casting,construction and build tolerances for obvious reasons will not be built to the exacting specifications of a race engine and this lower standard of build quality is where a lot of engine tuning produces power.Despite this last statement modern mass-produced car engines aren't slung together it's just that to effectively turn out engine after engine on the production line compromises between ease and speed of manufacture and high build quality have to be reached.Also a race engine is purpose built for one purpose while your everyday car engine has to perform under vastly different conditions all day long,in extremes of hot and cold,in bumper to bumper traffic jams and on the motorway cruising it has to do all these equally well and equally quietly,smoothly and with the minimum of fuss and then start all over again in the morning while giving good power and fuel returns. The main way to tune a car is to make it 'breathe' more easily.The four strokes of a four stroke engine are induction - compression - power - exhaust where on the induction stroke with the inlet valve open and the piston moving down the cylinder bore draws air through the filter and carburettor,where the vapourised fuel is also drawn out then the air/fuel mix travels through the inlet manifold,
      inlet port in the cylinder head and into the cylinder to fill the vacant space left by the downward travelling piston(a fuel injection differs in that having no carb the fuel is injected usually in the inlet manifold and mixed that way).On the compression stroke with all valves closed the upward travelling piston compresses the air/fuel mixture into a tight space.The power stroke is when almost fully compressed the highly combustible mixture is ignited by the spark plug and the resulting explosion and violent expansion of the gases forces the piston back down the cylinder bore producing the power stroke.Finally travelling back up the cylinder bore and with the exhaust valve now open the piston pushes the spent gases out of the exhaust port into the exhaust system thus completing the exhaust stroke before the whole cycle is repeated over and over again.So this drawing of air/fuel in and forcing of exhaust gas out can be seen very much as engine breathing therefore anything that helps get more air'fuel in will give more mixture for power also more in demands the ability to get more out.This is where the performance filter comes in being the first part of the induction system. Modern engines having to conform to emmisions constraints,noise levels,fuel economy figures and reliability etc. tend to have an air filter that sacrafices power for good all round performance.Thus replacing the stock filter for an aftermarket free-flowing version is a tried and tested first step to upping your power. Unfortunetly,it's not that simple though most the magazines and adverts would tell you otherwise because good engine performance requires good combustion and the more oxygen in the air/fuel mix the better the combustion.The colder the air mixture the denser it'll be and more will be drawn in compared to a hotter air mix so factors like under bonnet cooling come into play thats before we get into such things as intake pulse tuning but that's anot
      her story. The Carb Filter - K&N make a massive range of filters for all types of engines,though I'm only reviewing non-turbo charged(or naturally aspirated)petrol engines.For carburretor engines they make a pancake type air filter which usually has a chromed top plate with K&N stamped on it with a matching bottom plate bolted to the carb and the filter sandwiched in between.The filter is oiled and usually guaranteed for life.This type of filter will give an increased induction roar especially at higher revs and usually gives a slight increase in top-end power,I've used them often before in several carbbed Fords and for those who have read my review on the Ford Sierra may not be suprised to hear that I have this type of filter on my Sapphire.The main advantage of this filter is the ease of fixing - incredibly straight-forward just unbolt your old housing and bolt this one in it's place though the oil breather pipe from the rocker cover to the oil seperater in the old housing has to be either fitted with a special K&N oil breather filter or fixed to the underneath of your main K&N or if you're like me you could lead your breather pipe to a home-made catch tank consisting of an old small coke bottle tie-strapped to the inner wing with the pipe which led from the oil seperator to the inlet manifold blocked off - obvious enhanced look from the chromed case,increased sound and slightly increased power.The disadvanteges being the risk of drawing in hot air in summer and carb-icing in winter where when the temp. drops so low that the cold air freezes the atomized petrol it the fuel mixture making it drop out of the airflow causing the engine to run either roughlly or even to stall completely,if this becomes a problem you can run a hose from the filter to around your exhaust manifold to give it heated air.These filters can sometimes upset your fueling and the carb may need adjusting or rejetting but this isn't usually a problem. You
      have two options on an injection engine.Fuel injection engines usually have a black plastic trunking running from the throttle body to the air-flow metre/charge temp. sensor housing and after this is normally a large plastic airbox which contains a flat filter element.The bottom part holds the panel filter and has a small air intake under the filter while the top part has a larger pipe to the air-flow metre/charge temp. sensor housing they seperate just above the actual panel filter and are usually clipped together.One option is simply to replace the stock panel filter with a K&N replacement filter element.The other option is to replace the whole airbox assembly with a K&N57i induction kit. The Replacement Panel Filter - This option is cheaper than the induction kit and obviously easier to fit but by itself I've found it to have little effect except to make the car a little heavier on fuel.As ever their are pros and cons to be weighed up on all sides and the way to make this option work is to cut plenty of holes approx 1/2-1cm in diameter in the base of the airbox below the panel filter.The important point to note when doing this is not to cut above the filter but also cut on the sides away from the engine as the idea is to get as cold air as possible in through the filter.If you run a 2.5-3inch flexible hose from a cold air source preferably away from heat like the radiator/exhaust system straight to the lower inlet of - or around the base of the airbox to where you cut your holes you should begin to notice an improvement.I've found this solution to work particularly well on my fuel injected Vauxhall's the Cavalier SRi's seem to work nicely and the holes give it a lovely sound but I stress that you try this at your own risk as it is easy to make a mess if you don't know what your doing,also if your MOT's coming up it's probably best not to do it till after.The injection systems on the Vauxhall 8v engines work well because t
      he engine calculates load from Mass Airflow as opposed to Manifold Absolute Pressure like some other cars and therefore the fueling can,to a degree,cope with the increased airflow seeing as the fueling is metered by airflow.The advantages over the induction kit is that despite the unwieldy look of the large plastic airbox they flow suprisingly well,and you can smooth the airflow within the airbox above the filter,but they are also very good at shielding airflow from engine heat.They also look standard when going for an MOT,if uncut and unpiped,and won't have the tester looking deeper into your engine bay as well he might if you've got an induction kit or flexi-hoses piping air to and fro.If this option is fixed up properly I've found it to make the car more responsive and willing at mid-high revs and though the actual power increase as with any of these mods won't be outstanding the added driveability makes it worthwhile.The key is not to let it breathe engine heat which will make the car 'bog out' under throttle and make you wish you'd left it well alone. The 57i Induction Kit - This is the more expensive option and more noticable when the bonnet is lifted.It usually consists of a large cone filter with a chrome end stamped with K&N which bolts onto a seperate tube with a metal fixing to clamp it to your inner wing.The cone fits into one end with a jubilee clip and the airflow meter housing into the other end once again fixed with a jubilee clip.There is usually a 2-3inch flexi-hose to pipe cold air to the cone and this set up needs cold air especially with 16v engines.The filter tends to sit where the airbox did and this in my experience causes most of the problems as it's just in the right place to draw engine heat.There is also some talk about these systems stiffling intake pulses which the airbox helps to produce but I've never seen it proven and after a lot of fiddling with one of these kits got it to work nicely
      on my 16v Cavalier SRi after fitting an extra length of pipe about 8-10inches long between the cone and the fixing tube to take the cone away from the engine I also fitted extra cold air pipes to get as much cool air to the cone.Maybe the extra length did encourage intake pulses either way the effect was more dramatic after modifying the 57i with the car picking up more cleanly and being a lot more responsive on the throttle though she was more sensitive to the weather i.e in the cold she felt flat and when it was damp she just flew - the extra oxygen and denser air that you get when it's raining would probably explain this but the effect was noticable Price - K&N 57i for Vaux Cav/Cal/Vectra @ £60 Nova/Corsa @ £47 - Ford Mondeo @ £60 Ford Fiesta @ £55 Ford Escort @ £55 K&N Elements from £30 K&N Pancake Carb £40-50 In conclusion a performance air filter is a good place to start when improving your engines performance.There are no power figures here but when properly set up the panel filters and induction kits do make small increases in power though it's more the driveability that is improved.The same is true but to a lesser degree with the carb versions but the main thing is if you have not done these modifications before while they are not hard to do a little forward planning when it comes to installing them can reap the benefits while just throwing them on can mess up a nice engine.I would recomend them but would also say that there are other makes out there bar K&N but they are the ones I've used in the past and have no experience of say the PiperX Viper for instance so can't tell you whether it's good or not.Happy Modding BB.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        28.11.2003 17:45

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Recently I had to replace my car headlight bulbs on my car, a BMW 328ci. I was looking originally online for a site that could give me cheap bulbs, I found several sites, I also looked through some of the auto trade press magazines and came across a new site called www.startledrabbit.com, they sell a new type of lightbulb which basicaly give you more light and offer aservice to buy the bulbs online. The site was very easy to use, and I was able to make my purchase and the bulbs were subsequently delivered by post 2 days later. Really efficient service. The reall bonus is despite the product being sold at a premium price it make my car a lot better when driving at night, as I can see the road in sharper detail, very impressed. The bulbs are made by OSRAM and have recently been awarded a Autoexpress best buy. You can also buy all other types of car bulbs like indicator brake etc as well as colored headlights for all the petrolheads. www.startledrabbit.com check it out!

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        21.11.2002 14:28
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        6 Comments

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Incidentally, a propos my title, I'm not suggesting that you try to bottle your own "LPG". If you input "fuel saving device" into Google, a goodly list of widgets results. Many of these refer to the application of a strong magnet clamped to the fuel line of the car. Apparently, this is something to do with re-alignment of the fuel molecules to make them burn better. Whilst this is an interesting concept, something inside me keeps saying "if it's that easy to make a car more economical, why don't the manufacturers do it?" I looked into many of the web-sites selling magnets, and just couldn't convince myself that this would be upwards (some a long way upwards!) of £30 well spent. Most made some mention of the possibility of the car's mileage per gallon getting worse before it got better for anything up to 1,500 miles - something to do with a cleaning process having to take place, removing performance-sapping gums and "varnishes" from the innards of the engine. Personally, this wait-and-see approach makes me suspicious. Will the awaited improvement just be a welcome return to normal after the "cleansing" has taken place? Coupled with the fact that the DTI test centre results weren't THAT favourable, and on some websites, not even in evidence, I sidelined these to the "copper bracelet for rheumatism sufferers" category. Maybe with a bit more data, I could get interested again. ECOTEK CB-26P One device which sounded more convincing, with DTI test results showing some impressively consistent improvements was the Ecotek CB-26P* (Cleanburn for engines up to 2.6 litre). Likewise, their website www.cleanburn.co.uk had links to testimonials from all over the motoring press. *If you have a larger engine or a V-formation block, then two of these may be needed. Be warned - these only work with petrol engines, and possibly those petrol-engine
        s fuelled by LPG too. SO HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM A MAGNET? It isn't one! Its installation has nothing to do with fuel lines. In appearance, it looks a bit like one of those plumb-it-yourself tap kits for connecting a washing machine to an existing pipe. It fits into the hose of the vacuum pipe leading from the engine's inlet manifold, (where the air intake meets the engine block) to the brake servo. Cars with assisted brakes, i.e. most of them these days, use the semi-vacuum generated by lifting your right foot off the accelerator whilst the engine is running, to "suck" on a diaphragm which in turn reduces the pedal effort required to apply the brakes. This pipe is normally a rubber hose, and therefore it is easy to introduce the CB-26P into this line, using a knife and a couple of hose clips, without having to be a Ferrari pit mechanic. You are advised to keep the distance between the device and the inlet manifold as short as you can. If you are willing to give it a go, but are unsure as to which hose I mean, first find the brake servo. This is a skillet-sized drum, usually black, with the brake fluid reservoir sticking out of it, normally bolted to the rear engine bulkhead above the driver's pedals. Follow any rubber hoses of say 0.75" diameter back to the engine. Beware of rigid metal ones - these could be the brake lines. For obvious reasons, do NOT puncture or cut any of these! THE PRINCIPLE A car engine at normal working temperature is powered by supplying a regulated fuel-air mixture to the upper cylinders in "aerosol" form. Even so, some of the larger droplets of fuel that don't get fully mixed, get wasted as unburned hydrocarbons, exiting through the exhaust pipe and polluting the atmosphere unnecessarily. So much effort has been put into smoothing the air-flow through an engine these days, that maybe the need to create a uniform "aerosol" of combustible
        fuel has been lost along the way. The CB-26P seeks to redress this balance by introducing a pulsating shockwave into the airflow to pulverise any over-sized fuel droplets, thereby ensuring that they stand more chance of getting burned. The shock wave is created by allowing a tiny amount of extra air to bleed into the car's inlet manifold via the device, which acts like a musical reed. Ecotek call this "Swirl Technology". The small airflow (about 5% of total) is regulated by a one-way valve, which is held closed by a retaining spring to allow for different amounts of air to leak in under different vacuum conditions. This induction does lead to some curious sound effects, which range from raspberries to "Bronx Cheers"! Ecotek have thought of that. They have collaborated with Piper X, the manufacturers of sports air filters to produce a filter/silencer. FITTING IT AND TUNING IT Fitting is a piece of cake. Make a cut in your vacuum hose, preferably less than 15" from the inlet manifold. Cut away about one more inch of rubber to create a gap. Fit the device to both bare ends of hose, and secure with hose (Jubilee) clips. If you can, tilt the top of the device away from the car's cabin - it does still make some noise in use, even with the filter fitted. This does quieten after a running-in period. Tuning is equally easy. Warm up the car with the device fitted. Initially, screw the air valve down to its minimum setting - you will also need to do this every time a dealer services or tunes the car. Then open it up until it "farts" whilst the car is idling - gently screw it back down until the flatulaence ceases. Close it by one further quarter of a turn, and lock it in place with the second locking nut. Then put the air filter back on. It is the very "farting" noise and more melodic resonances that creates those shock waves in the airflow. Now sit back and enjoy the added flexibility it
        seems to give your engine. Smile smugly as you consider the lowered emissions emanating from your exhaust. Revel in not going to your favourite petrol station quite so often. What? Less Air Miles? According to Ecotek, insurers do not regard this as a modification. I checked with mine and they were OK. THE SAVINGS AND OTHER BENEFITS Firstly, let's deal with those emissions. According to data, this device can make some un-catalysed cars pass the MOT emissions test for catalysed cars, and has been known to make some catalysed cars register so little in the way of noxious gases that one mechanic was moved to venture the opinion "What's it running on mate? Water?" At idle speeds, i.e. when in a jam, emissions are the only factor that the device can improve, but start to move away, and other benefits come on stream. Many testimonials comment of the removal of "flat spots" in the "rev-range" and that the engine seems more "free-revving". Many of these delighted boy racers fail to improve on their miles per gallon - too bloody busy beating people away from the lights, I guess! It does however seem, (and this is my field of interest), that anything up to 20% better mileage can be achieved, with maximum improvement going to those who cruise all day on motorways. I have to say that claims to make a car SEEM smoother running are purely subjective, and I don't lay any great store by them. After all, for some obscure reason, newly polished cars always SEEM to run smoother, but we all know that this can't be right - it's probably just that they just bring out the "chauffeur" in us! The claimed savings as recorded by the DTI were:- Carbon Dioxide emissions - down 21% Carbon Monoxide emissions - down 27.91% Unburned Hydrocarbons - down 4.76% Nitrous Oxide emissions - down 21.1% Nitric Oxide emissions - down 17.08% Fuel Consumption
        - down 21.83% These weren't freak or laboratory results. They are an aggregate of several runs around the city of Bedford, with and without the device. Therefore, they can be regarded as a true urban cycle, if ever there was one! At least four of the above gases are, according to my limited memories of "O" Level Chemistry, producers of acid rain when dissolved in air, and of course, anything that reduces CO2 production is more than welcome on board HMS Earth. The interesting part of these figures for most people will of course be the fuel saving, the others being "nice to haves". It is also interesting that whilst it only cut wasted fuel down by 4.76%, consumption was cut by 21.83%, so I presume from this disparity, that the Ecotek device must have been instrumental in the more efficient burning of ALL the fuel, not just the potential waste. ON TEST This was always going to be the difficult one - getting a direct comparison of like for like journeys at similar speeds. It probably pays to run several tank-to-tank checks prior to fitting the device, and then afterwards as well. In my case, aggregating these results produced what appears to be a 10% saving in fuel. Since a tank full costs me around £33 at the moment, then I'm saving over £3.30 per occasion. Therefore, the claw-back period will come in around the twentieth tank-full, which, with my modest domestic mileage, will take 5 months. Noise levels from the device have descended to almost non-existent levels as the one-way valve beds in after 1,000 or so miles. The oscillation is no longer taking place against bare metal - it actually seems to benefit from getting a bit oily and grubby to cushion the contact. Even before then, it's not too bad with the engine compartment closed and the filter fitted. You only really hear it briefly as the revs die down to an idle as you stop, and with the radio on, you can't hear it at all. All parts ar
        e removable and washable in warm soapy water. Beware of using any on-board fuel computer your car may have to monitor progress. If yours seems to show a definite improvement in MPG , then fine. If it doesn't, don't worry - you haven't been sold a "pup" - it's more likely to be the way in which your computer meters fuel usage from manifold pressure rather than actual flow of liquid fuel in the supply pipe. You should always double-check using a tank-to-tank check of litres bought for distance achieved*, which is the most accurate method anyway. Ecotek undertake to give you your money back if not satisfied, so you've little to lose except the barked knuckles that always arise as soon as I lift a bonnet lid and do anything other than check the oil! * You can convert litres to Imperial Gallons by dividing by 4.5872 (there are about 1.09 gallons to every 5 litres) WILL IT SUIT MY CAR? Ecotek have an on-line forum, with an aim of answering all technical queries within one working day. The site contains the details of fitment on many cars already, depending on geeks like me to supply the detail including pictures! You could do worse than ask the forum. You can now view the installation details written by me, with pictures from my new digital camera at http://www.ecotekplc.com/more_cars_19.htm#Yaris. All my own work! I had two concerns before parting with my "readies", both of which were answered efficiently and accurately. Firstly, I asked whether the loss of some vacuum would make my brakes feel heavier, but apparently, the amount of loss is so small as to be unnoticeable, and in any case, the vacuum produced is way in excess of the needs of the braking system. Secondly I asked whether playing around with the manufacturer's preferred air/fuel ratio might cause engine damage by running the car too "lean", i.e. too much air/too little fuel. It seems that because of the e
        nhanced combustion of previously wasted fuel, it would NOT be running any leaner, despite the extra air input . HOW MUCH IS IT? Initial costs are £48.99 for a basic unit in anodised gold finish. Then, a matching Piper X air filter adds £21.80 to this price. If you feel that you could get away without the silencer (if the unit is at the far front of the car, for instance) then you could hang back and order the latter after the event. However, "flash gits" who are trying to colour-co-ordinate their engine compartments to concourse standards, can also order metallic blue or red "combos" - how sad is that? These would set you back £75 including the filter. In these cases, you can't buy the filter as an afterthought. You can even lash out on an all-chrome one should you have a disparity in your "IQ/spending power" ratio....er.... more money than sense. As I mentioned before, it comes with a no-quibble, money back guarantee, and is also guaranteed unconditionally against failure for two years. Buying from their website is handled by Worldpay, a secure server. They send you an immediate e-mail confirmation and order reference number. Delivery must have been almost by return of post. Oh yes, and if you're none too handy, there is a list of dealers on the website who can arrange both supply and fitment too. CONCLUSION Given one or too concerns over slightly increased noise levels, which could be more intrusive perhaps on a luxury car rather than on my Toyota Yaris T-Sport, with its somewhat "buzzy" engine, I have no hesitation in recommending this as fit for purpose to anyone a bit handy, who a) wants to save petrol, and b) to a lesser extent, the planet. In case anyone is wondering why, if they are so good, aren't these devices fitted to all cars, Ecotek are in talks with at least one manufacturer to get this device recognised as an approved accessory. Th
        e fact that it may be audible wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but the sort of person who likes to hear the noise of turbo-chargers probably wouldn't object. How long it takes to "cost in" depends on your driving habits and style. My wife's Smart, for instance, was projected by Ecotek's own tame Smart dealer to save only 7% fuel, which considering it can achieve 60 mpg without too much effort, means that £70 is going to take a long while to claw back, especially since she only drives 5,000 miles per annum in it. There are so any testimonials and pictures from articles in the motoring press on the website, that it would be convincing enough, without the addition of the DTI's own (former, now privatised) Warren Springs test centre results. With them, the evidence is compellingly in favour of fitting a CB-26P, as long as the noise doesn't put you off. Now, I wonder if I were to add one of those fridge magnets as well............no, forget I even mentioned it! CONFESSION TIME I WAS that sad git who bought a metallic blue one just to match the car!

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          25.07.2002 20:52
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          9 Comments

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          Right, come on, own up. Are you one of the car drivers with a dead magic tree hanging from your car mirror that hasn't smelled of anything since 1989? I knew it. No, it doesn't last forever, you do have to throw it away and buy a new one. Come on now, they're only a couple of quid! I have been so bored by my morning commute (I don't do the driving, he does, as I am half dead until we nearly get there) that I have had to try and find new and interesting ways to spice up the morning journey. We tried I-spy first: Him: "I spy with my little eye something beginning with S." Me: "sheep." Him: Yes. You. Me: "I spy with my little eye something with C." Him: Cow. Me: Yes. Him "I spy with my little eye something with S". Me: Sheep again? You get the picture. Anyhow, the other day I decided to count magic trees in other cars. (Probably best not to ask, to be honest.) And on average, given a population of commuters to Edinburgh, I'd have to say there's about a four percent dead-tree ratio. Honest, about one in 20 cars has a dead tree. Ok, so it may not be dead, it may be in its seventh week. What, all of them? I don't think so. You see, the magic tree has a lifespan of seven whole weeks. I know this as I read the back of the packet. (Sad Ciao/(and Dooyoo!) Person Fact. Hubby has now started referring to my SCMs - Sad Ciao Moments, when I begin to read ingredients on things and make conversation about it. Not entirely complimentary about my favourite website, but this is coming from a man who likes WWF wrestling, What can I say??!) Seven weeks. It comes in a plastic wrapper, and the idea is that you gradually peel off a bit at a time to release the pungence. (I was going to say fragrance but that doesn't quite cut it.) Just by snipping the tiniest bit of the top you get this whooshing aroma of polo mints (green on
          e) Old Man Aftershave (red one) or Jif Wipes (yellow one.) There are other colours, but I haven't tried them yet. In fact I read somewhere that there are loads of different kinds - over 30 in fact, now theres a challenge for someone... (let me know if you have seen any others, or if you know what the blue one is!) If I am right, no one in the world actually uses the magic tree the way it is meant to be used. They just whip off the wrapper, and enjoy seven days of their car absolutely honking (but at least it blocks out the brie... actually it was stilton but try rhyming that with tree...) And then after three days, dead, kaput, finito. Tree dead. What a waste. What I can't understand is how they put up with the pong. Serious Consumer Moment: The magic tree is very whiffy indeed, and will mask 4 week old Mcdonald's cartons amongst other things. If you follow the instructions properly, your car will actually smell quite nice for seven weeks. If you just rip off the wrapper, you deserve all you get. That's all I'm saying. I would recommend it, I think £2 for seven weeks of peppermint (the best one IMHO) is worthwhile. It's just a bit annoying that the only good place for it is dangling in front of the mirror where it is quite distracting. I can't tell you how it works or even whats in it, as www.saxonind.co.uk (Saxon industries invented the magic tree) doesn't actually say very much about the tree at all. Obligatory Sexual Reference: Its actually a very sexy process, undressing the tree week by week, revealing a branch on a Monday morning and finding your fingers whiff of aftershave for the rest of the day. In the car accessory world, these are the lapdancers. I was going to continue the stripping metaphor but I think I'll quit while I'm behind. TREE FAQ 1 Q How much is a tree? A It cost £1.75 which I think is about average.
          2 Q Where can I buy a magic tree? A In any good petrol station. (Actually in almost any petrol station.) 3 Q Am I just too lazy to clean my car? A Yes, and its not my car, its his, so why should I clean it? 4 Q How did my car end up smelling of Stilton? A It fell out the shopping bag and was under the seat for two weeks. Refer to Q3. 5 Q What is wrong with WWF? A Nothing, what is wrong with reading the ingredients on things?

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            15.07.2002 23:51
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            • "display unit too big"

            Until recently reverse parking sensors have been exclusively for the executive car owners, and even then an expensive optional extra. Can a budget fit yourself reversing sensor kit costing less than a 1/10th of factory fit options do the same? After recently changing from a hatchback vauxhall cavalier to a vauxhall omega saloon, I immediately noticed how awkward reversing the vehicle was. Without removing the rear headrests (there are 3), rear vision is severely obstructed. Removing the central headrest improved things, but even then seeing the back of the car was impossible. I decided that it would be wise to fit some form of reversing sensors, at least until I had more confidence in reversing into tight spaces. Most reversing sensors rely on ultrasound, several weatherproof transducers transmit high frequency sound waves (above ordinary audio signal frequencies) which reflect off any nearby solid objects and can be detected by the sensors. The delay or phase shift between the transmitted signal and returned or received signal is proportional to the distance between the sensor(s) and object. The signals from the sensors are then processed by some clever electronics and converted into audio and visual indication of distance. Since the unit is powered from the 12V supply to the reversing lamps, it is automatically switched on only when the car is reversing. Wiring is therefore quite simple. The PDC200 kit comes supplied in a neat transparent plastic package and can be purchased for between £20 and £25 from most automotive retailers and more recently makros. The kit includes 2 black weatherproof transducers (surface mounting) each with several metres of single screened black cable terminated in a small 2 way female connector, a small black plastic control unit which houses the electronics, audio buzzer and also provides a visual display of several LED indicators for distance. Finally there's another generous length of 2 core power cable for conn
            ecting the unit to the reversing light circuit (also terminated in a small female connector to the control unit) plus some double sided adhesive pads for mounting the sensors and unit and self tapping screws. Instructions for fitting are supplied as a couple of double sided sheets stapled together, sufficient for anyone with confidence in tracing the correct wires to their rearlight clusters. Before fitting the unit, it is important to decide where to place the rear sensors on the vehicle. The sensors can be either attached to the body paintwork using the supplied double sided adhesive pads, or attached using the self tapping screws. Personally I prefer the double sided pads, as drilling holes in the rear of the car isn't something most of us would feel happy doing! Having chosen a location, it is important to ensure the sensors are between about 50 and 70cm from the ground and around 90cm apart for optimum coverage. Each sensor responds to a "cone" shape region, so bear in mind that there might be a few dead zones between the sensors if you place them too far apart. It is also important that there are no protruding or obstructing parts of bodywork in the near vicinity of the sensors as these might give rise to false triggering. The manufacturers also warn of possible interference from DC power convertors (switched mode type) as these can give out high frequency signals in the similar range to the transducers. On my vauxhall omega, I chose the body panel areas where the "vauxhall" and "omega 2.0 16v" trim lettering was (on the actual boot itself). I carefully removed the lettering (its self adhesive) by peeling away and cleaned the paintwork with spirits to remove wax and adhesive residues. It is VITAL that all wax and dirt is removed before attempting to stick the sensors to the paintwork, else they wont stick! Carefully remove the backing from the double sided adhesive pads and apply to the rear of the sensor
            s (central position). Offer the sensors up to their intended locations on the body and finally press firmly to adhere to the body. Note it is not advisable to remove and attempt to reposition the adhesive since this impairs its strength, so get it right first time!! Next the sensor wires have to be carefully fed into the boot of the vehicle, fortunately the rubber seal around the boot lip is sufficient not to damage the wires. Of course you may prefer to find an alternative route under the vehicle, but ensure you keep the wiring away from the exhaust system and hot parts. It is also a good idea to have the wires running vertically downwards as this prevents water ingress. I chose to run the wires over the boot edge and then under the internal trim of the boot itself. The sensor wires are quite long (about 3-4m) but must NOT be cut or shortened! Carefully conceal the wires towards the intended position of the control unit. Next locate the wiring to the reverse lights. There's usually a common negative or ground wire to the light cluster and several live wires to each lamp. Fortunately you do not have to cut the wires, the snap on splicing connectors supplied enable you to join up to the existing wiring neatly. IMPORTANT! Ensure you get the wires the right way round!!! The red wire (positive supply to the unit) must go to the +12V lamp supply. The black wire must go to the ground or -ve. If in doubt use either a 12V multimeter or consult professional advice. Ensure the splicing connectors are squeezed on well and that contact is made (plug the unit in once the power lead is connected and test in reverse that the power LED is illuminated). Having carefully hidden the wiring under the trim, the final step was to position the control unit. Although the control unit has LED indicators and therefore should ideally be visible when reversing, I think that the audio signals emitted from the unit are sufficient. The instructions suggest mounting t
            he control unit at the dashboard of the vehicle, but as most of us look behind us when reversing this seemed pointless to me. Instead I positioned the unit at the top of the boot interior such that the sound output of the buzzer was directed through the rear parcel shelf vents. This enabled me to hear the bleeping when reversing. Finally testing!! For this its probably best first to try out the system with the car stationary, having an assistant approach the car from behind slowly. Get them to walk around the rear of the vehicle to see how the sensors react. Within 1.5m distance of the sensors the unit will begin a series of slow beeps. As they get to within 1m, the beeps become faster, faster still at 60cm. Finally in the last 40cm or so, the beep becomes a continuous sound and its at this point when reversing you should stop! The next test was to attempt reversing up to a parked vehicle. Again for the 1st time proceed with caution and I suggest having someone to look out for you until you are confident the unit is working. In tests I found that with slow reversing, carefully proceeding until the tone became continuous I would stop within about a foot - bumper to bumper. Once you know this, you can of course then judge the remaining few inches yourself. Bear in mind that approaching from an angle can sometimes give early warnings if one sensor is very close.. Also bear in mind that narrow poles behind you might fall in the deadzone of the 2 sensors if very close. ALWAYS look behind you when reversing and dont solely rely on the sensors! thats my opinion! In summary the unit represents super value for money and is definitely worth having, even considering its slightly variable accuracy. I havent yet tried the unit in rain, my previous experiences with a unit from the very popular halfords was that the sensors would trigger erratically in bad weather. I hope this unit is better!!! Reversing up to solid planes such as a wall or anot
            her car is predictable and the unit is quite trustable. However for low obstructions, poles or approaching at angles, experience can only tell how useful the unit will be. In total the unit gives a feeling of luxury to any vehicle, and certainly impresses anyone else in the car with you! Perhaps the best was in a traffic jam where I reversed in stationary traffic to allow an oncoming vehicle to turn right infront of me, I reversed to within a foot of the car behind me without turning round and looking in the mirror, it certainly gave the driver behind an astonished gaze on his face!!! I guess this unit would be an enormous benefit to van drivers, people carriers or estates. I would have prefered an option to add 3 sensors, as a middle sensor would increase reliability for narrow obstructions. Also the beeping sounder is not very loud, even on its loudest settings. If your boot is well insulated like mine, you might need to consider placing the control box inside the passenger compartment to hear it. The beeper is also a bit "cheap" sounding, not a soft pleasant tone but a sort of crackly piezo buzzer noise as found in novely birthday cards and toys... A small speaker would be more pleasing. Despite these quibbles, the unit is definitely recommended at even twice its price! Reviewed by Simon Williams (SVPWorld)

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            25.02.2002 20:26
            3 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Its an air freshener in the shape of one of your favourite (or worst characters depending on your view of the very popular cartoon show, I just assumed favourite because the show is so popular, they may however not make the particular character which you feel is you favourite but they do however stock several characters from the show) simpsons characters. Its job is to cover up the unplesent odours that give your car away as a refuse dump, fast food eat in, mobile hospital, dog transporter, ... , with a not so unpleasent smell. They do they're job adequitly but the real joy in this product has to be the sheer look of the item. You see little plastic flowers in some cars or even southpark characters and you smile to yourself and think "I have a superior air freshener" now that is a great thought to stagger into your mind as you friend comments on how his new TVR can out accelerate your 5 year old fiesta, these air fresheners make you leave the conversation thinking that he should be jelous of you!! They are available from most stores that sell car parts. If your car smells and you can't be arsed to clean it, buy an air freshener, and if your going to buy an air freshener buy a simpsons one!

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              22.01.2002 19:31
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              4 Comments

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              -

              Demon Tweeks supply competition and performance equipment to both Motorsports competitors and general car enthusiasts all over the world. It was established in 1970 and still is a family owned and run business offering high levels of quality products, service and rapid availability.

              Demon Tweeks is based in Wrexham, North Wales, where they have a 10,000 sq. foot showroom displaying the comprehensive range of car products that they have to offer, and a large fitting centre where you can have products professionally fitted.

              For those of us (me included!) who dont fancy the long trek to Wrexham, a catalogue - Demon Tweeks Direct - is available. The Demon Tweeks catalogue is regarded as the leading mail order catalogue within their niche. They also have a catalogue specifically for motor cycles. If you order from the catalogues, various delivery charges apply depending on the size/weight of your parcel and when you would like it delivered (next day, 2-3 days, evening) but for a basic First Class delivery it is £2.41. In my experience, the delivery service always proves to be fast and reliable.

              They also have a website facility which can be found at www.demon-tweeks.co.uk. I do not think that this does them justice though as it does not show the full range of products that are available, in fact, it has hardly any in comparison. Stick to the catalogue!

              Demon Tweeks sell car products ranging from one extreme to another - covering technical, professional tuning equipment to just aesthetic styling accessories. This is probably conjuring up images of the aspiring boy-racers who tear up and down your local high street but it isnt necessarily like that. Demon Tweeks also have extras and accessories that just make a slight change and subtly enhance the features of your car, some of which items I have purchased myself. You could completely transform your car with all the things that they sell but I personally do not want to go over the top an
              d end up looking like a girl-racer. I am only making changes to my car in moderation, making it look just that bit better, and different, to similar models.

              For the more serious car enthusiasts, Demon Tweeks have items such as turbo dump valves, air filter kits, suspension lowering kits (great for going over all the speed bumps that are rapidly appearing on our streets!!) and performance brakes and exhausts. I have got to admit that I do not really know much about these sort of things...a bit too technical for me!
              You can also get full body kits for your car, or if you dont want to go the whole hog, separate accessories are available such as spoilers, corner splitters, grilles, light brows and bonnet vents.

              For people like me who just require a few extra features for our cars, there are various choices for in car styling. They have a nice range of steering wheels and seats (if you want to go quite that far), and a selection of aluminium gear knobs and pedal extensions. You can also get coloured dials (I recommend the ones that do not need the needles removed to be fitted!) for your speedo etc, and they have a wide range of stereo systems and speakers.
              Exterior accessories include alloy wheels and tyres, aluminium petrol covers, coloured valve caps, mud caps and coloured/smoked tail light covers and side repeaters.

              Some of the products and equipment that Demon Tweeks sell are specific to certain cars and models, obviously because all cars are different shapes and sizes, but most things are pretty much universal .

              Prices are reasonable - not overly expensive. Car accessories are never particularly cheap anyway so Demon Tweeks is just about average really. Some bargains do exist - I got two pairs of mud flaps for £10. For more expensive items, they now offer a credit facility where you can pay off your outstanding balance monthly.

              Even if you are not interested in cars yourself, Demon Tweeks is definitely worth a look if there are any men (or female car buffs!) in your family. Some products would be ideal as gifts, or if you did not know what to buy, gift vouchers are also available so the person in question could choose something for themselves.

              You cant go wrong really - get tweeking!

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                25.11.2001 17:57
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                14 Comments

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                Every car owner that doesn't have the luxury of owning a garage, or even those those of you that have a garage that tends to accumulate junk rather than housing a car overnight (me included!), should consider buying a frost protector for their car for the impending winter months. Believe me, and I'm sure that there will be many of you who can empathise with this, but there is nothing worse than spending ten minutes with the help of half a can of de-icer to defrost your front windscreen before you are able to set off in a morning. Not only is it time-consuming and stress-inducing, it also costs money (in de-icer and also petrol while your car is running.) In addition, you could also run the risk of being 'frosted' - ie: having your car stolen if you leave the engine running while it is defrosting and don't pay attention. For just £2.99 from Woolworths, although I've seen it for as much as £5 elsewhere, you can buy an 'all-seasons frost protector' to make life a little easier for yourself during the winter months. This item, as well as helping to prevent your windscreen icing over will also pay for itself in a matter of weeks when the next cold snap comes along (in petrol, de-icer and most importantly your time.) Rather than starting up your engine to get the car's ventilation blowing warm air, just remember to use the frost protector the night before. The frost protector is simple to use: • Open both car doors • Lift up your windscreen wiper blades. • Attach one end of the frost protector to the inside of the windscreen using the suction cups. • Pass the protector outside the car to cover the outside of the windscreen. • Put the windscreen wiper blades back down over the frost protector. • Attach the other end of the frost protector to the inside of the windscreen on the other side of your car, using the suction cups
                . • Close both car doors • Voila! The instructions also remind you that the frost protector should be removed before driving, although I think that most of us with more than a handful of brain cells would have figured that part out for ourselves! This product works a treat. Frost finds it very difficult to form on your windscreen when the cover is in place, although there have been a few occasions (in particular when it is very cold indeed, or if there was a lot of moisture on the windscreen) that it is not been quite as efficient. A good tip is to have a cloth handy to wipe off any surface water from the windscreen before you use this product. It is also possible to use this item as a sun shield, although I have never attempted to use it for this purpose as I am fortunate enough to have air conditioning. Perhaps anyone that has used this product for this purpose could tell us if it really can help in the summer months. It is my firm belief that for an outlay of just £2.99 you can hardly go wrong. When I see cars struggling along with limited visibility from an icy windscreen (I know because I've been there and done that in the past) I feel like shouting out and telling them about the all-seasons frost protector. Thankfully, I refrain from doing this, but I felt like I needed to share it with all of you today in the form of this opinion - I hope you found it useful! {Another original Dooyoo opinion © Blackjane 2001}

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                  More Comments
                • More +
                  19.07.2001 19:47
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
                  6 Comments

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  If you've read any of my other ops, you'll know that I have an imported Japanese car. This is called a Toyota Crown which is the same as the Lexus LS400 here, apart from a few minor cosmetic and functional differences. This car has loads and loads of shiny little toys included as standard. For a start, everything is electric. Even the rear view mirror on the windscreen is electric! There are however a few toys that you won’t get on a car here. The first is a TV, well it’s a LCD screen not a CRT. Yep I know you can now get them fitted but this comes as standard and my car is 10 years old. You’re not supposed to use it whilst the vehicle is in motion and unless the car is in Park (its Automatic) otherwise the TV display won’t come on but the sound is still there. Thanks to a little meddling by my brother in law, it now works whatever :) The second toy is a fridge, admittedly it’s not as big as your average kitchen unit but it’s big enough to hold six cans of coke and a few choccy bars. This sits in the rear parcel shelf, in between the speakers. There are lots of other little bits that make the car unique, but that’s not what I want to talk about. During my recent visit to Japan, my brother in law has bought a new car and on this he has had fitted a remote engine starter. This starts the engine before you get in it. Its primarily used for cars with Turbo’s so that if you’ve been thrashing it, the engine will stay running for about 10 minutes after you get out and walk away. This is to cool the turbo down. The device also allows you to start the car remotely as well. The remote starter is a little black box which goes in between the wiring loom for the key start and the engine management system. It’s really easy to fit, as there are only four wires to attach. The first goes to the Hand brake; this detects to see if the hand brake is on. Th
                  e second goes to the gear selector, this detects to see if the car is in Park, most cars don’t need this though, and the third links to the alarm system, stops the immobiliser from kicking in and the alarm going off. This however will only usually work with the manufacturers fitted alarm as the remote starter is designed to work with these. The last wire is for the aerial. There is an additional wire, which connects to the starter motor, as on some cars the starter will continue to run on after the car has started and this wire stops that. The salesman informed me that this was only needed in about 5% of all cars. Once installed the box will beep twice to acknowledge that’s its live then its ready for use. You get an alarm type key fob with the starter, which has an aerial, which extends for use further away from the car. The range of this is supposed to be 100m but I’ve started the car further away than this. Pressing the button produces a little “beep” noise and you will hear your car start. Now I can hear a few people saying, “Yeah, but what about car theft”…. Well, all the box does is start the car and a few of the accessories within it. If you get in the car and touch the brake pedal, the gear lever or disengage the hand brake the car will automatically stop. The version I have also connects to the standard Toyota Alarm and unless this is switched off then entry to the car will set it off and stop the engine and immobilize the car. So, its pretty safe as far as thief is concerned. Even if you start the car and forget about it, it will automatically switch itself off after 10 minutes and immobilize the car once more. Before you can drive the car you must put your key in as well, firstly to release the steering wheel lock but also to turn on the accessories that don’t work with the remote starter. Only then can you drive it away. “Well what’s t
                  he advantage to all this then”, I hear you cry, well this country is famous for its lovely weather especially in the winter months and if you’ve every got into your car on a cold winters morning and scraped ice off the outside then sat inside freezing your arse off waiting for the heater to warm up and defrost the wind screen. Well, imagine me getting up, having breakfast, taking a shower and then starting the car from the warmth of my house. Up to ten minutes later I leave the house, sit in the car and the heater is pumping warm air out, the windows are clear and I’m off to work. I didn’t even have to stand outside long enough to get cold. Yep, I do feel quite smug every time I do that. The reverse is true in summer, how many times have you come back to your can and have been unable to get inside because your seats are as hot as the surface of the sun. Not, me. Just blip the switch on the remote and by the time I’ve walked the 100m to the car its nice and cool inside thanks to the air conditioning. Now, if you’re thinking, “WOW! Where can I get one of these” then here’s the disappointing bit. They don’t sell them in the UK. I bought mine from Japan. Also they will only work on Japanese cars (Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, etc..), as the company who make them, Starbo, only develop them for the country they where intended, and as the Japanese market leans very heavily towards Japanese cars… Well you get the point. But if your thinking, “Smug git!” Yep, I am but then again it’s a very handy little toy and smug or not, I think this is the best thing I have ever bought for any of the cars I’ve owned and I wouldn’t give it up for anything in winter. Here are a few pages showing the remote starter, there in Japanese though, sorry. http://www2.tok2.com/home/mypace/stabo/starbo2.htm http://www.d2.dion.ne.jp/~niba/hiace/starbo.htm © co
                  pyright 2001, Mike Porter.

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                  • More +
                    28.06.2001 01:44
                    6 Comments

                    Advantages

                    Disadvantages

                    ok.who hates changing flat tyres especially on a really wet day,me thats who.I used to have this car that seemed to have a puncture every other week and when you went to change the tyre it was hard to get off and you where scared the car would slip off that terrible diamond jack. Well i was out shopping one day and seen the answer to my dilemma,a small hydraulic jack for only £14.99 and a spider for £5, I hesitated because i really hate to part with money,yes im a bit mean but sure. Anyway i stood and stood until i said "damn it im buying them",and i did.So I put them in my boot and was now looking forward to getting a puncture. It was two months before it happened but as usual it was in the backend of nowhere.So i opened the boot,took out the spider and the hydraulic jack.Unscrewd the nuts a bit with the spider,was so easy with the spider,slid the good old hydraulic baby under the car,put the stick bit in its place and just pumped up and down,like a dream the car just raised itself,changed the tyre,tightened the nuts a bit,then just turned the stick and the hydraulic jack just slowly dropped the car,fully tightened the nuts then pulled the jack away,put it and the spider in the boot. I reckon it took just less than 10 mins and you know the worse thing about it,no one was about to see the smug grin on my face as i was putting the jack in the boot,i was still smiling as i drove away.I know im a sad case but im now a happy sad case knowing that if i get a puncture im out of there in 10 mins. So the moral of this tale is invest in a spider and a hydraulic jack,I hated parting with the money,that took me 2 nights to get over but believe me im glad i took the plunge.And can i just end this story by wishing you all safe and happy motoring:-)

                    Comments

                    Login or register to add comments
                    • More +
                      09.06.2001 23:29
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      10 Comments

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      • "Distract Other Drivers"

                      If reading this, please take it in the light hearted note that it is intended, but what is the point behind "Baby on Board" stickers? The proclaimed reason for them is road safety, but this logic has a number of flaws: 1. Anything that causes a distraction to other drivers could be thought of as counter to road saftety. Drivers should always drive safely, admittedly many don't but they should be requested to drive safely whether or not there is a baby on board. "Keep Your Distance" stickers are more applicable for this purpose. 2. "Baby on Board" stickers are normally fairly large and in many cases are stuck in the rear window on the drivers side, thus restricting the rear view. Again not contributing to road safety. Some cars have two, one on either side to ensure the view is sufficiently impeded. 3. "Baby on Board" stickers cause great distress to drivers who are trying unsuccessfully to have children. This causes unnecessary heartache and again distracts drivers which can be dangerous. 4. There is more argument for "Pregnant Mother On Board" than "Baby On Board" but somehow we don't see these stickers. Oooh a brilliant business idea. Or best still, the sticker that addresses the largest market possible "Adult on Board" :-) If I was on Room 101, the TV programme where celebs have to commit their least liked people or objects to a make-believe end. "Baby on Board" stickers would be number one on my list. Don't get me wrong, I love babies but I just don't see the point. If you are concerned about the welfare of your offspring when in the car, and you obviously would be. The money spent on "Baby on Board" stickers would be much better spent on a good quality car seat (see DooYoo reviews), sun screens to ensure baby doesn't overheat on warm driving days and my favourite toy, a switch that turns on
                      your brake lights without applying the brakes and scares the wits out of those morons who insist on tailgating you all the way round the M25. Hopefully "Baby on Board" stickers will go the way of furry dice eventually, a rare-seen toy of a has-been era. If you want to announce to the world you have a new baby, I recommend the following site, plus everyone can see a picture and go all soppy, including myself on occasions. By the way to they offer a trade in when you buy your "Toddler On Board" sticker? :-) http://www.babiesonline.com/ Happy travelling.

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                      • More +
                        06.06.2001 07:02
                        4 Comments

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        When I bought my first brand new car, I wanted something to keep the boot nice and tidy. I saw adverts for custom designed boot liners which were cut to fit a specific model of car. Unfortunately they were about £50 which was more than I wanted to pay. Instead I bought a polypropylene liner from Halfords for about £8. Its just about the perfect size for my car (a Ford Focus) and has velcro strips which stick well against the carpet lining of the boot. Its nice to leave inside the boot as a backup in case any other container was to break. For taking rubbish to the municipal dump, I use a bag that I got from a builder's merchant when I bought a ton of rubble. You can get the same thing from Screwfix for £8 (see http://www.screwfix.com/frames.phtml?submenu.phtml?19 ). These are very strong and are big enough to take a lot of rubbish.

                        Comments

                        Login or register to add comments
                        • More +
                          20.04.2001 02:50
                          Very helpful
                          (Rating)
                          13 Comments

                          Advantages

                          Disadvantages

                          I am always looking for that unique present, something with a personal touch, and having noticed the increase in vehicles displaying personalised registration numbers I recently looked into purchasing one to mark a “special occasion” as a gift to a member of my family. Initially, I must admit I was surprised that I was not buying registration number but just the right for me, or a person nominated by me, to “assign” and display it. I have noticed the increase in vehicles displaying personalised registration number and I think it is a very special way to provide that unique present. However, having read some information I decided against it as, although it seems that I can purchase a registration mark, it will cost the recipient £80 if they change their car for a new one and want to transfer the mark. Having looked into this subject, however I was incensed the other day when, after hearing about a recent radio appeal for donations for an air ambulance service, I noticed, whilst out shopping in town, that one of the ambulances displayed a personalised registration number. To me, this a gross misuse of funds. Being a volunteer worker, I support many other organisations whose support is often, in return, reciprocated. However, I find it increasingly difficult to suport volunterr organisations which seem to use public funds to buying personalised number plates. Can you justified this use of public funds?

                          Comments

                          Login or register to add comments
                            More Comments
                          • More +
                            08.02.2001 00:10
                            Very helpful
                            (Rating)
                            3 Comments

                            Advantages

                            Disadvantages

                            I don’t habitually break the speed limit, I’m a law abiding sort of chap in general and I tend to identify with people who live on suburban roads and whose children have to cross traffic to get to school. So I’m rather happier to stick to 30ish than the person on my tail would appear to be. I’m also a bit paranoid. Speed cameras are spreading like a rash in my area, often hidden and with no obvious rationale for their positioning other than to catch people who don’t spot changes in the limit quickly enough. That’s what happened to me. I need my driving licence for my job and I don’t want to be caught out again. I considered a radar detector, but their dubious legality, and even more dubious effectiveness, put me off almost straight away. Then I heard about the Morpheous Geodesy. This is a clever box of tricks, but it is not a radar or any other sort of detector. What it is, is a satellite navigation system, minus the map display but plus a database. The database is loaded, as often as you like, with the latest known positions of every known fixed speed detector on every road in England, Scotland and Wales. When you approach one, it warns you. You slow down because you know it’s there. It helps you drive within the law. The box is about the size of a small diary, and comes with a socket-like bracket to put it in your car, and so you can take it out to avoid losing it to thieves. In fact you get two, one with a cigarette-lighter plug so you can move the thing from car to car, and another for permanent wiring if you want to. Fixing is with the usual sticky pads. The front of the box is transparent, with a row of lights behind it and one button on the end. It has to have a clear view of the sky through the windscreen, to pick up the satellite transmissions, so has to go on top of the dashboard. It sits quite nicely between the speedo and tacho on my car, but I can’t find
                            anywhere to sensibly put it on my wife’s. It also comes with another box, which plugs into the phone line and is used to download the latest database as often as you feel the need. It takes less than 5 minutes. Once on, the first light comes on green, then turns blue to signify that the box has a fix on where it is. It stays that way until you get close to a speed-trap, when the rest of the row of red lights start coming on, one by one, as you get closer. A few hundred yards away the noise starts, and continues until you pass the trap or push the button to shut it up. Just before you get to the camera or whatever, everything flashes, and the noise gets more insistent if you haven’t silenced it. After you pass the trap, the lights all turn green and count down as you get further away. All of this happens with uncanny accuracy, and without fail, unless you are passing a camera, say, that is very new and so not in the database, or maybe inactive (apparently many are). In this case, you can push the button as you pass. The thing will caterwaul as before, but this time it has remembered the position, time and date. In this case the box will warn you when you pass that way again, until your next download. When you download, any data you’ve entered is lost to you, but is uploaded to the database. New sites notified this way are apparently rigorously checked, then added to the database for the benefit of all users. The person who first notified each new site (by time and date, remember) is supposed to get a cheque for £50. I say “apparently” and “supposed” because I’ve notified 3 sites, but none of them have been added to the database and I’ve not received a single cheque. However the box seems to know about road-works cameras which must be very new, and the sites I spotted have been there for yonks, so perhaps they are inactive? Ho hum, I’m not about to zap past at 150mph to prove
                            this point. Anyway, I challenge even the doziest of drivers not to be alerted by this gizmo, and everything can be programmed (via a phone call or email, prior to a download) to suit you. You can have the colour of the lights, the volume of the noises and the range changed. I had mine changed so that the noise could be heard better over the radio, and the range was shorter at lower speeds, which helped reduce false alarms from cameras on other roads nearby, in built-up areas. Opinions are divided on whether this is a real aid to safe and legal driving, or just a way to avoid getting caught speeding. That’s up to you, but the device is at least likely to remain legal, as it is not a detector. There’s loads of info and some pictures on Morpheous’ web-site, and this seems to be the only place you can buy it from. Add-ons to allow you to program the options from your PC, and display full sat-nav information on your Palm, are said to be on the way, as is an external aerial so it doesn’t have to sit on top of the dash. Ok, I here you say impatiently, I want one, how much? This is the main drawback. £380 of your hard-earned pounds, plus phone calls at “national” (that’s premium, but not too much so) rate, and £30 pa for updates after the first free year. Strictly for gadget freaks or people who need to keep their licence, but then I fall into both those groups.

                            Comments

                            Login or register to add comments
                            • More +
                              01.02.2001 22:23
                              2 Comments

                              Advantages

                              Disadvantages

                              I've just had a free-flowing stainless steel mongoose exhaust fitted to my car, and it is amazing. Not only are the twin 4" tailpipes lovely and shiny, but so is the muffler that sits between them. The noise produced by the exhaust is outstanding compared to the stock system. Although the noise is not too intrusive during regular driving, hard acceleration produces a superb exhaust note that makes you want to rev away even more (especially in tunnels and multi-story car parks!!) Performance-wise, the free-flowing nature of the exhaust, combined with the cat-replacement pipe that is included, is excellent and acceleration through the gears is much improved, as is throttle response. The exhaust is extremely well built and is made of aircraft-quality stainless steel. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and the place that I had it installed said that they have never had one come back, which is always a good sign. To sum up, you will not find a better exhaust for the money. Mine is fitted to a Toyota MR2 and looks the business. If you are in the market for a performance sports exhaust, you can't go wrong... For pictures of the exhaust fitted, go here: www.furtive.co.uk/mr2 Price below includes VAT and fitting.

                              Comments

                              Login or register to add comments