Smoke gets in your eyes

KONICA MINOLTA A2 DIGITAL CAMERA Perth, 19 January 2005 © PJ Croft 2021.

We’re nearly two full months into autumn and it still feels like summer. It’s been warm today, 29C, humid and smoky all day so far. It’s very nice! The nights are just right, warm enough to start on top of the covers, then just cool enough pull them up around 3am.

I’ve decided to wean myself off the Phenergan anti-histamine. It’s only the smallest pill size, 10mg, but I don’t want to be dependent on it. The first night, Monday, was OK but I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I must have slept though, because I remember quite vivid dreams.

I’ve bought a web-advertised herbal tea called Roogenic, supposedly an Aussie Aboriginal mix. It’s supposed to be guaranteed to knock you out but they say it can take up to two weeks for it to work properly. Yeah, I’ll bet. You’ve talked yourself into it by then.

I’ve tried one cup and it tastes quite nice. It’s interesting that they say on the packet you can re-use each bag three or four times. That cuts the cost down. We’ll see.

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I’ve been plagued by my mouse intermittently locking up on this desktop PC for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes unplugging and replugging the USB cord would clear it, sometimes not and a full reboot would be needed.

I was a bit baffled for a while as I was getting messages about a USB port being faulty. I was pretty fed up, too. It was happening every 30 secs or so.

To cut a long story short, it was the bloody mouse itself! Don’t look for complicated answers, try the obvious first. Anyway, it was a Microsoft mouse, so that’s probably the reason. Time I bought a new one anyway.

Nonetheless, I’ll take this faulty mouse apart. It could well be that it’s just full of gunk. Nothing to lose.

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King’s Park 19 January 2005 © PJ Croft 2021

French cars! When I was buying Le Pug, we needed the VIN and engine number and initially couldn’t find them on the car. Usually there’s an aluminium plate on the engine compartment firewall, but it’s recessed on this car and we couldn’t see a plate. Strangely, the guy I bought it from said he hadn’t received the licence paper from the previous owners. Zzzzz, my teeth chattered a bit at that, but he went on-line and found the details on the Dept of Transport website.

Anyway, we got the numbers enough to fill in the paperwork and found a number on a sticker on the driver’s door pillar.

Well, today I lifted up the boot floor to look at the spare, and there was the aluminium plate with the VIN, riveted to the floor of the spare wheel well. Cunning Froggies. Date of manufacture 08/2006.

While I was there, I found the electronics box which connects the rear ultrasonic parking sensors, which are not working on my car. It’s in the spare wheel well. I’ve been reading up (on the web forums and YouTube) about faults with these sensors and it should be an easy enough fix. Apparently water gets into the sensors mounted in the rear bumper and failure of just one will kill all four. A complete set of four from AliExpress is only about A$25. I’ll just look for bad contacts before I splurge on a new set.

I’ve also found a YouTube video clip by a Belarussian guy (spoken in Russian but with subtitles), who runs a wreckers shop selling a huge range of broken down engine parts, and one whole half-hour segment is on my 2.7L V6 Twin Turbo diesel engine.

Unfortunately, he reckons it’s a piece of junk, unreliable, prone to catastrophic breakdown. That was encouraging!

I can’t remember exactly what he says (I’ve saved the clip) but apparently some bearings can shatter and obviously bits fly around between cylinders, valves and pistons.

Note that this engine is shared between Peugeot, Citroen, Jaguar and Land Rover, so I think we’re in illustrious company there. If there really was a major problem, surely they would sort it out.

Anyway, this guy recommends using a lower viscosity oil, 20W5 instead of 30W15, but of course he’s living in Belarus, a far colder place than here. Maybe I can find a French Car forum in Australia to ask the question.

Another thing I’ve found is the fuse box in the glove compartment (nicely disguised) and the OBD connector in the centre console arm rest, with a plastic cover disguising it.

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Boy, it’s a lively engine. It’s a bit flat when you first take off, but as soon as the revs hit 2000rpm, ZOOM! It feels as if it would rev forever, although being a diesel, the red line starts at 5000rpm and stops at 6000rpm. It’s not a high revver, but it spins up freely.

I was always worried about the indicator stalk being on the left, even daydreaming about devising a ring to go over the steering column to make it work on the right, but in truth I adapted from the word go. I’ve accidentally activated the wipers (right stalk) a few times, but generally I have no trouble using my left hand.

It’s odd, isn’t it? I’m right handed and can’t usually do things very easily with my left hand. Yet we right hand drivers have no trouble at all using our left hand to change gears, and I would actually have trouble using my right hand if I were in a LHD drive car. Obviously, it all depends how you learn when you’re young.

I’m always astounded when I see a violinist using his or her left hand at lightning speed to manipulate the strings for chords, at the same time using the right hand on the bow. What a skill!

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What did we do before YouTube and the web? It is just fantastic.

One problem with my car, and Peugeots in general, I think, is that the LCD in the centre of the dash, between the instruments loses its bits. That is, the dots don’t light up like they did as new, making the numbers hard to read.

I saw that replacement LCDs are available on AliExpress for about A$40 but I thought, kerrumbs, how on Earth do you change it? Do you have to get down under the dash and work by feel?

Well, no worries. It turns out there are three small holes at the top edge of the instrument binnacle, which if you poke a screw driver in there, pops some plastic retainers up and allows you to pull the whole instrument cluster forward and out. Behind, there’s one plug and socket and once disconnected, you’re home free.

The clear fascia likewise pops off with plastic clips, and the PCB is then exposed. A few more plastic clips and the LCD comes out. Pop the new one in, insert its flex connector and put it all back in the reverse order. Easy. I’ve ordered a new LCD and can’t wait to try this.

Another thing you can do is change to colour of the LEDs in the dash, which are all orange. There are rather a lot – 12 – and they’re surface mount so not easy to unsolder and resolder. I don’t want to do them all, nut having white LEDs behind the LCD would be nice. I’ll think about it.

The other thing I’d really like to change is the graduations on the speedometer and tacho. The tacho’s OK, but the speedo major markings go 0, 30, 50, 70, 90, 110 and so on (to 250km/h, actually, and it will do that too).

I don’t like that – I want 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 etc. I’d also prefer a plain black background (it’s a subdued pattern at the moment) with simple white bar markings, like the Verada has.

Therefore, I’m trying to think of a way to print a new card to replace the existing one. It’s easy enough to use the existing one as a template, but finding a suitable material to print on is the test. Cars get pretty hot, so it needs to be heat resistant. I’m thinking about it.

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The other thing is to buy a new AliExpress car radio/CD/DVD/satnav display device to replace the very basic Peugeot one. 7″ Android 10 Car GPS Stereo For Peugeot 407 Auto Radio In Dash 1 Din Navigation DVD WiFi Audio Video Headunit Rearview Camera|stereo gps|radio rdsin dash android – AliExpress

It’s not cheap, about A$550, but I’ll save my pennies and make a wish. The swap-over and installation looks to be particularly easy compared to all the hassles of making up adapters for the Mitsubishi and the Honda.

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Speaking of the Honda, phew! I nearly lost another battery. It had a new battery about two months ago after I accidentally flattened the first one, which was only a year old. I haven’t been using the car lately but I was monitoring the battery voltage and it looked OK.

But on Monday I checked it again and ooops, it was down to 5,2V. Wow, how did that happen? I got the charger hooked up quick smart and after about 36 hours of charging, it looks good again. Phew, I would have smitten myself mightily if I’d killed this battery too.

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It’s breaking my heart, but I’m clearing out all the stuff my former partner left here in the past five years, tossing a lot of it in the bins and taking a lot to the charity shops. Boy, there’s a lot! Masses of clothing, folders of papers, jewellery, trinkets, sandals, soft toys, cushions, books, CDs, cassette tapes, pyjamas, underwear, kitchen goods, appliances, glassware, bowls, incense burners – holy smoke!

Honey, you only have to say a word and I’ll stop the disposal, but when you say you won’t come here again, what am I to do? Speak!

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