Suggestions for cheap, maintainable, road car/small van

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HFC

Member
May 24, 2007
12
0
Savernake
I'm still seething from an MOT fail because of an ABS light not going out. Note that the brakes tested fine on the brake rollers, but that because the light stays on - it has to fail. (Yes I tried taking the fuse out and one or two other tricks suggested "elsewhere".)

But it sets me to wondering - What's available still that's owner maintainable, reliable and durable? Probably no more than 7 years old. Having had a Freelander 1 for a number of years I'm not falling into the trap of thinking that because you still see such-and-such a vehicle around it's necessarily a goodun. Too much money thrown into that particular pit.

Does everything have an ECU these days? Years ago I had to scrap something a bit exotic as there were only 24 imported and they had their own custom ECU - and the one scrapppy who had one to break said it was the ECU on that ...

Even wondering about something a bit vintage - any suggestions?

Thanks,

HFC
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,250
265
43
Nr Chester
Has to be fixable if its just an abs error. Would suggest a forum applicable to the car. I am a member of a honda type r forum and it has saved me a fortune. What kind of budget are you thinking and how many doors etc? If you dont fancy getting your hands dirty often and enjoy tinkering avoid vintage. My car is 16 years old now so hardly vintage but it can be a money pit and a time vaccum.
 

JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
I was told by a well seasoned traveller who had driven from UK to Africa in one and all around Europe that the only vehicle to sensibly own is a Citroen C15 van. They're apparently cheap to repair from here to Africa and there were so many sold that parts are readily available.
 

HFC

Member
May 24, 2007
12
0
Savernake
Has to be fixable if its just an abs error.

Quite fixable - what's annoying is that the car fails the test, not because the braking is not to the prescribed effectiveness, but because an indicator light on the dash is lit. There's a distinct lack of common sense here, imposed as I understand it by bureaucracy ...
I'd rather opt out from such nanny statism by having a different vehicle.


What kind of budget are you thinking and how many doors etc?
upto about 3K and estate/van body.

If you dont fancy getting your hands dirty often and enjoy tinkering avoid vintage.
Have an Enfield 500 so dirty hands and tinkering are standard :)
 

dave89

Nomad
Dec 30, 2012
438
7
Sheffield
The thing is the light is on for a reason, its not that cars are not longer owner maintainable its just the fact you now need different tools i.e a laptop.
What model car is it?
Have you had it plugged in and had the code scanned?
If so what was the error code
 

tracker1972

Forager
Jun 21, 2008
247
55
48
Matlock
I was told by a well seasoned traveller who had driven from UK to Africa in one and all around Europe that the only vehicle to sensibly own is a Citroen C15 van. They're apparently cheap to repair from here to Africa and there were so many sold that parts are readily available.
I had a C15 van as a works van years ago. It was easily the worst vehicle I have ever had the misfortune to drive around in, however. It was light, never got stuck in the snow (big skinny wheels and reasonable ground clearance) and wasn't any less reliable than other vans I had. I'd really advise taking one for a drive first though. It's not that it wasn't refined, it's that the human occupant didn't even seem to figure in the requirements at all! My other work vans? They were Citroens as well so it's not as if they spoilt me :)

It's making me wonder if I should find one to have a go though, just to see if my memory serves me well...

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

HFC

Member
May 24, 2007
12
0
Savernake
Greetings,

There were two, understated - unstated even!, reasons for my original post.

Firstly; to canvas the wisdom of our particular crowd to see if there was any consensus as to an "honest" type of vehicle - where function, dependability, "fitness for purpose" outweighs other, mainly marketing driven, considerations.

only vehicle to sensibly own is a Citroen C15 van.

Thanks JamPan - you've given me a start there - unfortunately it's no longer in production, but the search at least has one focus now. (Not a Ford Focus obviousy .... groan).

Secondly; a bit of a rant about what I see as the mess we're in where bureaucratic regulation is seen as more important than - well anything else really.

The thing is the light is on for a reason

and the reason is that the sensor/sender is damaged. However - on the brake roller test the brakes themselves are OK - but because the peripheral electronics are faulty the vehicle as a whole is deemed unroadworthy. I don't want to get into in/out Euro discussion (because that's a whole other worm can) but this particular regulation did originate from the EU. Just sayin' ...

its not that cars are not longer owner maintainable its just the fact you now need different tools i.e a laptop.

I still maintain that cars with an excess of electronics are not owner maintainable. Being able to identify through the service port which box of tricks has failed, with subsequent replacement by an off-the-shelf (if you're lucky) new box of tricks doesn't really constitute maintenance. If you apply a fairly light bushcraft ethos (without going too hard-core) to this proposition, you may agree.
Do you take a petulant jet-boil into the woods, with its service kit, or do you light a fire?

Could you remove the light and go to another MOT place?
Used to do that with an ex MOD Landrover I used to have.

Looked at that - the LED is a component-on-board, access is awful, requiring the whole dash/fascia to be removed. I tried removing the ABS system fuse - all that happens then is that an additional indicator failure illuminates!
But it would be of no avail - the rules changed in 2015:
The MILs or dashboard warning lights will also be checked for the ABS, ESC, electronic park brake and brake fluid warning lights.
(from Car parts checked at an MOT )

And of course now - the existence of the ABS system is known as soon as the tester enters the reg number/VIN into their machine. I'm afraid they're ahead of the likes of me on that one ... it used to be a work around, but no more.

It may seem a long way from the thread title - but I s'pose what I'm trying to do is incorporate bushcraft values into everyday life - and the system doesn't like that ...

If you have been, thanks for listening.

HFC
 

dave89

Nomad
Dec 30, 2012
438
7
Sheffield
The sensor is there for a reason, so I would suggest swapping that out as usually they aren't too expensive but I can see your itching to change to a simpler vehicle with in which you are more comfortable working on.

Without looking overseas your not going to get one that doesn't use a ecu and control modules so that leaves the second hand market.

Now the trouble is older cars tend to move onto a classic classification which send the prices up ie. Austin mini's, old VWs, old ford's etc

So you need to look in-between like the old mk1 mondeos


Sent from my D5803 using Tapatalk
 

Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
583
UK
So you want to buy a new / other car where you may come into new problems rather than just change a sensor ???

Couldn't agree more - in his frustration, the OP does seem to have forgotten that the purpose of the warning light is to confirm that the ABS (generally regarded as a really good safety feature and AFAIK, mandatory on modern cars), is working as it should and that the MOT is a once a year check which ensures that the vehicle satisfies a list of safety criteria on that day. Unless the OP has access to a rolling road brake tester and uses it (or tries too initiate a skid) everytime he starts the car, he will not know whether the ABS is working.

Cars have changed, they are safer, more economical, more comfortable, easier to drive and require far less regular maintenance. The price of this is that if and when the electric gizmos that achieve all of this play up, they can create or flag up a problem that doesn't exist.

You pays your money and takes your choice but if the OP wants a British car with no new fangled gadgetry, unsullied by those nasty EU regulations about cars stopping safely (which the UK helped to draft - this won't be the case going forward), perhaps a Morris Marina Estate would tick all the boxes while at the same time making a Royal Enfield 500 seem comfy and reliable.

It may seem a long way from the thread title - but I s'pose what I'm trying to do is incorporate bushcraft values into everyday life - and the system doesn't like that ...

As said above, the light is a confirmation every time you set off that your brakes are working as they should to ensure that you and other users of the Queen's highways are safe. Incorporating your motoring logic into your "bushcraft values" would involve you only checking the contents of your pack once a year and hoping that stuff you might need (possibly to save your or someone else's life), are present and correct because they were 12 months ago!

Could you remove the light and go to another MOT place?
Used to do that with an ex MOD Landrover I used to have.

Sounds like you had an early pre-production model - AFAIK, ABS started being an option with the TD5 Defenders in about 1999 and the MOD bought very few of those!
 
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Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
583
UK
Yes, it was a Landrover before they were called Defender. A mid 80's 90. No Turbo even.

Could you remove the light and go to another MOT place?
Used to do that with an ex MOD Landrover I used to have.

So unlikely to be any ABS (or airbag etc.) dashboard warning lights for you to remove in order to fool MOT testers then?
 

dave89

Nomad
Dec 30, 2012
438
7
Sheffield
Thinking about it you've done the specialized bit already and identified the broken component, the light should go off once the new sensor is fitted, so really the tools needed will just be spanners and sockets.
 

HFC

Member
May 24, 2007
12
0
Savernake
Hello Dave89,
Thinking about it you've done the specialized bit already and identified the broken component, the light should go off once the new sensor is fitted, so really the tools needed will just be spanners and sockets.

~There's a long PM coming outside of this direct thread. It's not really about the ABS as such - I see it as an indicator of a whole different situation, but returning specifically to the car issue:

Yes - the component has been identified. But it's not the sensor, it's corrosion in the toothed wheel that is responsible for the pulses to the sensor. Sadly the toothed wheel is part of a whole hub assembly, which has to be pulled and replaced. So we jump from 22+VAT for pattern sensor to multi hundreds for quite an involved bit of work and replacement of parts that actually have no problem - but are only supplied as part of a whole "kit". Apparently the issue is known but "because not dangerous" has not been the subject of a recall. If the manufacturer says it's not dangerous why should it be an MOT fail? ABS is an extra not fundamental. Ideally in a safety critical system things should "fail to safe".

I'm thinking about a different car, hence my original question, because this exemplifies just what is wrong with this kind of vehicle design. And as Janne says - new cars are not maintainable.
 
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BillyBlade

Settler
Jul 27, 2011
748
2
Lanarkshire
Hello Dave89,


~There's a long PM coming outside of this direct thread. It's not really about the ABS as such - I see it as an indicator of a whole different situation, but returning specifically to the car issue:

Yes - the component has been identified. But it's not the sensor, it's corrosion in the toothed wheel that is responsible for the pulses to the sensor. Sadly the toothed wheel is part of a whole hub assembly, which has to be pulled and replaced. So we jump from 22+VAT for pattern sensor to multi hundreds for quite an involved bit of work and replacement of parts that actually have no problem - but are only supplied as part of a whole "kit". Apparently the issue is known but "because not dangerous" has not been the subject of a recall. If the manufacturer says it's not dangerous why should it be an MOT fail? ABS is an extra not fundamental. Ideally in a safety critical system things should "fail to safe".

I'm thinking about a different car, hence my original question, because this exemplifies just what is wrong with this kind of vehicle design. And as Janne says - new cars are not maintainable.

You can buy abs rings separately. I've changed several, including on my own car, a volvo.
 

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