Results tagged “Car” from Kazza the Blank One

Twenty years ago today I was doing some Lotus Notes training in North Sydney.  Pretty sure it was the trainer who had lost part of a finger getting it caught in a balcony railing as he fell (I think that was the story).  The training rooms had a great view of the Warringah Freeway.  

Warringah Freeway

I also found some photos of my damaged car while I was searching my hard drive for photos taken in July 2000.  But while I could remember coming home to find the car damaged (and an open pit in the footpath next to it - clearly there'd been construction work that day) I couldn't figure out why my car had been home that day - normally I drove to work.  I dug out my old copy of Lotus Notes and was hunting through it trying to find out what I might have been doing.  And searched through a couple of copies of Eudora for clues.  In the end I found an email from Luc saying "hope you're having fun at training" and suddenly I realised that's where I'd been, and sure enough the photo above was from the same day.  

Damaged car

Footpath works

Fortunately the construction workers paid for the repairs, so it wasn't too much of a disaster.

Saying Goodbye

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I bought my first car in January 1997.  It was a 1984 Ford Laser and I paid $5650 for it.  It was kidnapped and murdered in January 2001.  I was devastated.  

1984 Ford Laser

I bought my second car off my friend Cynthia in February 2001.  It was a 1989 Ford Laser and I paid $4300 for it.

1989 Ford Laser

I drove it a lot when I lived in Sydney, but not very much once I moved to Canberra ten years ago (except for a lot of trips to Sydney in it when Dad was dying and afterwards to help clear out the garage and house).

The last time I had it serviced, they said I'd need new tyres, but also they were having trouble sourcing parts.  There just weren't enough of those Lasers around anymore. 

This week I wanted to get it serviced before going to Sydney next week.  For some time recently the brakes had been quite squishy and I wanted to get them looked at.  But apparently it was going to need a new master brake cylinder and cost $600.  Considering how relatively little I've actually had to pay to maintain this car over the years I wouldn't have minded that cost.  But with new tyres it was going to be upwards of $1000.  Again, I'd be ok with that.  But.  If something more serious died it would be crunch time, and it would be sad to have spent all that money and not gotten any value out of it.  And given how little I drive it nowadays I had to make the hard call.  Keep it going or let it go.  In the end I decided to let it go.  With rego and insurance it's over $1000 a year just to have it sitting in the garage.  If necessary renting a car or getting taxis would probably not even come near that.  Rego is due in a month or two so now would be a good a time as any.

I took it out to get a few last photos.

1989 Ford Laser

And then yesterday morning I took it out to Queanbeyan to become an organ donor.

1989 Ford Laser

This was the final odometer reading.  I was so close to 250000km (Stu didn't want me doing even a final trip to Sydney in it).  And so close to having it for seventeen years.  And it was only a year off becoming a "classic" car!

Final odometer reading

This is what I got in return.  I'm tempted to keep it....

100 dollar note

Every time I look at the empty garage I get sad.  Goodbye little car..


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Friday night was swim night, and supper at EffanC's (mmm beef stew).

Saturday morning we headed out to the club.

Whereupon I noticed we had lost our rear number plate :(:(:(  We'd noticed it had been loose once before, but this time it was gone completely.  Called Canberra Connect and various police to report it.  Super epic pissed off, because I really liked that number plate and now we're going to lose it.

Then we did a bit of work scrubbing down the surface of our caravan which was starting to get mouldy.

Whereupon I sliced my finger open on a screw protuding from inside the caravan.

Yeah I pretty much lost it.  We'd been planning to stay the night, but I was feeling too miserable so we just came home.  We looked and looked for the number plate but didn't see it.

Went over to Kit's after dinner though which was nice.

Today, aside from finishing a jigsaw I started last night, didn't do much until we headed out again to look for the number plate. Fifty kilometres of driving around Canberra looking for it, but never found it :(:(:(:(  Will give it a couple of days in the hope that someone will hand it in before applying for a new one.

Did some food shopping them came home.  Watched Guardians of the Galaxy.  Not bad.  Now it must be bed time.

Oh also, I've uploaded a stack of images to old blog posts back to January, so if you could be bothered (I'm sure only mum will), there's pics in the archives.

New Toy

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We went and picked up Stu's new toy yesterday.  I think he likes it :)

Stu's new car

Car Dramas

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We had Stu's car serviced the other week.  But there's plenty of issues with it, and Stu has been wanting a new car for ages, so we thought it might be time to get him one.

But my car's overheating problem came back as well, so I took it in to get looked at and hopefully fixed before my next Sydney trip, which was last week.

Turns out it's the head gasket :(  Coolant is leaking into the cylinders, which explains the loss of coolant without any noticable puddles.  So I'm looking at $1000-$1500 to get *that* fixed, assuming it hasn't caused any more serious issues.  Super super bad timing.  We really don't want to be buying two new cars at once.  And I needed a car to get to Sydney that weekend.  hrmm.

So I'm still debating what to do.  Most of me wants to get it fixed, because for $2000 I could probably get my car working again.  A new car, or even a brand-new-second-hand car would still see me out of pocket a lot more and then I don't know what I'm letting myself in for.


@CLBradley very nicely loaned me a car to take to Sydney, which Stu appreciated rather a lot, as it meant he didn't have to take the bus to work that week...

Natrad Belconnen

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So after my car-overheating-debacle the other week, I thought I'd better get it checked out before going up to Sydney again.

So I took it to Natrad in Belconnen.

The good news: they couldn't find anything wrong.  The bad news: they couldn't find anything wrong.

So that's a bit of a poo and it means I don't actually know what's going to happen next time I go to Sydney.  All I can do is take a few bottles of water and hope for the best.

But the lovely thing is that Natrad didn't charge me anything, even though they tested the car and looked all through it for any problems.  That alone is enough to make me want to go back to them for any sort of radiator/cooling problems in the future!

Where did this year go?

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So Sunday morning I woke up early a few times but forced myself back to sleep.

Got up and did some testing, then went up to Sydney.


Saw dad, took him out for chips and a milkshake then came home for leftover roast lamb. 

Did some more cleaning of the workshop on Sunday and Monday nights, and put up the Christmas tree on Tuesday night.  

Christmas craft

Christmas craft

I also moved a PVR into the study to digify the tv in there, and after establishing that an ancient set-top box remote didn't work, mum decided to buy a new tv for the kitchen.  So we set that up Wednesday night.

To go on top of the fridge, not live here!
Mum with her new TV

Also Wednesday went to Yum Cha with @StuartCRyan and he brought along some colleagues so we could have more noms.  Lots of noms.  I didn't have dinner that night.

Yum Cha - Marigold

Then I came home.

Southern Highlands sky

Southern Highlands sky

Southern Highlands sky

Southern Highlands sky

Was completely immersed in the world of Harry until I chanced a look at my temperature guage on the Federal Highway around EPIC.  It was very high.  In the next kilometre or so it just kept rising.  Didn't think I'd make it home without it going off the scale, so pulled over and let the car cool down for a while.  Then gave it a drink and continued home without incident.  The radiator was only just recently replaced, so might be related to that, but I really really don't want to go back to Melba Motors.  But also only have a couple of weeks before I need it again for Sydney.  Blah.

Realised today it's almost December.  Where on earth did the year go??

Car Dramas

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All of this actually started in March. My alternator died so I had to get a new one. Then in August that alternator died. So I had to get another one, which I was not happy about. Fortunately I didn't have to pay for the alternator, just the labour.

The next weekend I went to Sydney. I noticed the engine seemed to be running pretty rich, and the car was using more petrol than it should. Then on the Wednesday night when I went to come home and the car wouldn't start - the battery was pretty flat and wouldn't turn the engine over. So I clutch started it and came home without any issues.

A couple of weeks passed by and a couple more trips to Sydney.

Then three weeks ago I was about to leave for Sydney when my garage door broke. The power had tripped and when that happens, the door goes up and down to figure out if it's up or down, and in doing that it broke off the bracket that holds it onto the motor. So Damien and Stu manually wound it round so I could get out, but then my was *completely* dead. No power whatsoever. So I thought it was the battery. Because I had a new alternator and all. So got NRMA to come out and give me a new battery.

Off I went to Sydney again, and came back no problems. Left the car parked outside because the garage door was broken. A week later I went to start my car. Dead. Dead dead dead. Brand new battery and it's flat. Stressed about how much damage I've done to a new battery, that I probably didn't actually need a new battery after all, that I needed the car on the weekend and it wasn't working. I caught the bus to work, and Stu connected up my charger. But no lights came on. And in fact when I got home on that Friday night, there was still absolutely nothing. Super super stressed now to the point of feeling queasy. But then Tony was able to come by with his charger and it seemed to work. Same brand, but a different model. So I'm thinking my charger is dead too. Yay.

The Saturday morning I had to go to work, and luckily Tony's charger had worked and I was able to start the car and go to work. I took the "scenic" route to make sure the battery was fully charged. After work it started again no problems, and I went out to the club. Next day came home no problems.

Potty came over with his manly man friend, and they were able to fix the garage door! They reckoned that if I'd had to get a professional, they probably would have declared it too hard and wanted to sell me a new door. So that was pretty awesome.

But my car problems remained: the engine was still running rich and my battery kept flattening. Something had to be done.

So I took it to the mechanic the Tuesday after Family and Community Day and told Mick of my dramas. I told him that I wanted a *real* laser alternator that has a third wire to power the choke heater. I told him I was convinced there was *something* in the alternator that was draining my battery while the engine was off.

Wednesday I got it back. They couldn't find a laser alternator, but he'd had an autoelectrician in to wire in power to the choke. Dubious, I took the car home. At least the choke now worked and turned off when the engine was warm. I measured the voltage on the battery when I got it home. 10V according to our crappy multimeter. Kept an eye on it for the next few days. It stayed at 10V until Sunday morning, where it had dropped to 5V. So my battery problems were still there :(:(

Sunday lunch, the little brother came by after finishing working on the train at the museum. With his multimeter he was able to see that the car was drawing 0.25A of current. We went through all the fuses testing stuff but still there was current being drawn. Then he disconnected the alternator. The current stopped.


How can a mechanic *and* an auto electrician not figure this out? I was furious.

David was able to trace the alternator to a 40A fuse in the engine bay that I can pull out when leaving the car for more than a day. So next time I'm in Sydney I think I'll take it to Bargwanna's and see what they can do. Because I don't think I can ever go back to Melba Motors again.

As a side note, it seems my charger isn't actually dead, but won't work with a completely dead battery - only a mostly dead one.

And thanks *heaps* to David.. have I ever mentioned how much my little brother rocks?!

So after being awake for several hours on Saturday night, I decided that it would be too stressful to take a broken car to Sydney on Sunday.  I thought I'd take it in to get looked at on Monday and maybe go up Monday night.

Got up and went to Pulp Kitchen for breakfast with Daniel and Fi.

Daniel was pretty stoked with his bowl of hot chocolate and breakfast ;)

Daniel at Pulp Kitchen

Daniel at Pulp Kitchen

As I was with my breakfast raclette with a side of Pulp Kitchen bacon ;)

Breakfast raclette with Pulp Kitchen bacon

Daniel and Fi then went off to their own thing, while I caught up on things like downloading photos.

By Sunday night my phlegmy throat had turned into a very sore throat and I felt pretty crappy.  Decided that it'd be too draining to go to Sydney for just a couple of days, even if they did fix my car, so decided not to go at all this week.

But I was on call, and they don't pay you overnight if you don't turn up for work, so I went in Monday morning with a still sore throat.  Dumped the car at the mechanic and said please fix.  And gave him a few days since I hadn't booked it in.

Monday afternoon I numbed the pain of the sore throat with a pint of Wig&Pen Two Knuckles Deep and then two half pints of Smokey Olde Spice - which I *loved*.  Such a nice beer.  Reminiscent of smokey whiskeys to some extent.  Daniel and Fi tried a couple of things, then got two "tasting trays" of four different beers each.  So they basically tasted most of the Wig & Pen beers on one night!  I was impressed :)

Daniel and beers

We also had dinner there.  I had a butter chicken.

Butter chicken

Then went home and I had a great night's sleep.

Tuesday at work was ok because I'd had such a good sleep.  But then Tuesday night I couldn't get to sleep til 1am :(  Damned insomnia :(  It's a bit after 9pm now and I thinking about crashing into bed already ..

At least I got my car back today.  It was the alternator, as suspected.  And even though he said it was out of warranty (you only get three months on second-hand parts, and this had been five months), apparently his supplier hadn't charged him, so he didn't charge me for it.  So that was lovely of him.


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In March this year I had to have my alternator replaced.  Fine, whatever.  

Last Sunday my charge and brake light came on.  


However I completely forgot about it.  Until tonight.  When I need my car tomorrow to get to Sydney.

So now I either have to go to Sydney with it, and get it looked at in Sydney.  Or leave it here and get Stu to get it looked at.  

But this alteranator, even though it was second hand, has only been in for five months, and I barely even use my car!  This is ridiculous!  I'd argue this with Mick, but I can't because I won't be here!  And Stu certainly wouldn't argue it.  If I get it looked at in Sydney I'd be up for a new one anyway, with no chance to complain.  I'm going round in circles stressing about it. 

These are the things that keep me up in the middle of the night.

Pretty crappy night tonight.

Well it started off all right.  Went to Alice's with the sweetie for dinner which was nice.

On the way home I started getting anxious about stuff I have to do and unknowns I have to face and strangers I have to call.

At home we found that the third brake light on Stu's car wasn't working.  After we had just gotten the car back from a service *today* in which they assured us it had been fixed (this was the second time they've looked at it).  So I'm like, you've got to be kidding me.  One more stress.  More money wasted.  More hassles.  I mean I like Mick and all, but sometimes I think he's not a particularly good mechanic :(:(

The Old Reader has died, hopefully only temporarily.  They did a migration to new hardware on the weekend and it all failed in a heap today.  They're still hoping to get it back within a couple of days.  So using Comma Feed in the meantime which has all the same stuff in it, but isn't as good as a reader.

And then the real drama started (yeah the rest of it was just a warm up).

I tried booking the lunch I'm having on Saturday.  But because there were more than ten people coming we have to choose a set menu and pay $20 deposit each per person.  Except I don't actually know how many people are coming yet because quite a few people haven't rsvped.  And it's fricken expensive - with a set menu there's no choice of having a smaller cheaper meal if you wanted.  And heaven help you if you're vegetarian.  And also, because they're a "restaurant", people can't just pop in for a while during the afternoon for a drink - they have to dine as well.  So I've had to change the plans a bit, and then email everyone again asking *again* for rsvps. 

I fricken *hate* that sort of drama.  It's made me stressed/depressed about the whole thing.  


Oh yeah, and I forgot to call dad *again* tonight.. wonderful daughter I am .. *not*

Car Costs

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My brother and I had quite a lot of time to chat last week, and one of the things we talked about was car costs.

Now thanks to my genetics, I inherited my parent's obsessivness, and so ever since I've had a car I've kept a log book of petrol costs, as well a spreadsheet listing rego, servicing, and insurance costs.  I updated the last two year's worth of petrol costs this afternoon, and so here's a breakdown of how much this car has cost me since I got it in February 2001.

Running Report    
Costs: Petrol only: $10,400.28
  Insurance, Servicing, Rego etc: $24,021.76
  Total Post-Purchase Expenses: $34,422.04
  Car Purchase Cost: $4,300.00
  Grand Total of everything: $38,722.04
Mileage Stats    
Mileage:  Current mileage (started at 122334 in 2001) 232842
Litres:  Total petrol put into car (L) 9541.3
c/km: Petrol only: 9.40
  Total - car cost: 31.14
  Total: 35.04
m/gal: 32.74
L/100km: 8.63
km/L:   11.59

So this car has so far cost me $39000 in twelve years.  9.4c/km for petrol only or 35.04c/km for total cost (which would be less if I drove it more).  

Some of the stats are affected by how I've driven it over the years.  From 2001 to 2006 I was commuting to work in Sydney.  From 2006 to 2007 I was going to Canberra once a month.  From the end of 2007 I stopped driving to work, so usage dropped off dramatically.

And just for fun, here's petrol prices for the past twelve years.  Noting that in recent years, Canberra prices are typically 10-15c/L higher than Sydney, as you can see by the little dips on those last two Sydney purchases in the past month!

Petrol costs

Four days in..

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Four days into the new year and I forgot to blog again.. slacker!! :)

The car clocked 222222.2 the other day.. thought it looked cool so pulled over to photograph it :)


Been keeping busy

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So we've been keeping busy doing not a lot :)

Realised last night we hadn't left the house in four days :)  Bliss!!

Yesterday morning I finished rebuilding the Millennium Falcon.  It only took twelve hours this time instead of eighteen (so that was six hours of my life last time just hunting for pieces in the bags!  This time each little section was in its own bag from when I pulled it apart carefully).    I found the two 2x3 grey plates which I couldn't find during the first build.  I think I must have added them by mistake in the engines.  Either that or I just missed them this time around :)  But the missing left wing never showed up, and I was still left with a right wing instead.  So think there must have been a mistake in the packaging - doh!  

Look at the difference in colour between the "old" light grey and the "new" light grey!
Star Destroyer and Millenium Falcon

Not quite the same scale :)
Star Destroyer and Millenium Falcon
Last night Nat and Andrew came over and we had some pasta to go with our cheese, and then played lots of Wii into the early hours.  We had fun dressing up Nat's Mii :)

Nat's Mii
This morning the little brother had a look at my battery and confirmed my suspicions that the thing was, in fact, rooted.  So called NRMA out again (last time they came in 20 minutes, this time it was closer to 120 :/  - me poor little brother was trying to leave but very nicely waited around for them).  So they sold me an overpriced battery but the good news is it seems to be working ok now, *and* we decided it was probably the central locking draining the battery too quickly, so that has been disconnected.  So hopefully will be betterer for a while now...


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I had to register my car this week.

So last week I had to get it inspected.

$1105 later.

oops :(

The most annoying thing was they didn't like my sports steering wheel, complaining it was too small for the ACT.  So now I have this massive thing.  It didn't feel like my car driving it away.  David suggested I put the old one back on now that I have it inspected heh :)

Registering it at the ACT Govt Shopfront proved to be time-consuming (45 min all up), but otherwise painless, me having all the appropriate documentation as specified here. I was fortunate enough to not have the problems other people have had.

My car does look a little forlorn without plates attached... but at least the new ones match the colour scheme a lot better :)

Naked car

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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