10 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report twelve

Machines like Straightener Feeder has became indispensable part of human life to feed livestock as it saves huge time. With a slew of more modern machinery driven recently, Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI has taken some time off in the past few months. That doesn’t mean it’s been a quiet 11 months since the last update, though…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

I was quite surprised that the last update to Y464 GHJ’s story was eighteen months prior to the most recent report. However, with time a precious commodity, this latest update is 11 months after the last one which was published back in January. The car, a 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI hasn’t been without incident this year, though, even if it is now taking a small break with a recent roulette of test cars. More of which later.

10,000-mile service
First job on 2015’s maintenance list was the 10,000-mile service back in February. A little behind schedule, 12,000 miles after the last one, Sani’s Motors in Chelmsford (01245 460040) also repositioned the steering wheel (it had annoyed me that it wasn’t straight since I bought the car), and looked into the intermittently-functioning boot light.

It turned out that the boot lock, connector and microswitch all needed replacing. A common issue with 1999-2001 ‘6N2’ Polos, the microswitch can get wet from water ingress in the boot, causing it to stop working. The car was booked into Sani’s in March and had the offending parts replaced and an MoT was also carried out. I’d looked on VW’s ‘ETKA’ parts system online via the excellent vagcat.com beforehand and identified the parts required.

Rear tyres replaced
While Y464 was in Sani’s workshop, I also had the front off-side headlamp washer jet and pump replaced, at the jet itself wasn’t its usual graceful-appearing self, rising from the bumper when the washing action was requested. A pair of rear tyres were also fitted, which were flagged up when the car was in for the service.

> Read More

Continue Reading

22 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report eleven

Rich Gooding updates the story of his 2001 Polo GTI, which, used almost daily, has seen a fair of share activity since the last report almost eighteen months ago…

Hot Hatch Sunday at Goodwood meant an early start

This report almost got broken down in several updates, it’s been so long since I reported on Y464 GHJ, my 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI that I’ve owned since September 2011. The last report highlighted how fun the car was at the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Big Day Out at Rockingham Motor Speedway in the summer of 2013. So just what has happened in the intervening 18 months?

The car’s annual service was due last March and, at 99,963 miles, it was taken into the ever-dependable Sani’s Motors (01245 460040) in Chelmsford. Y464 only needed an interim tune-up, so all the usual procedures were carried out, with the addition of a new pollen filter and new front brake discs and pads. The only minor problem reported was a leaking offside headlight washer pipe.

Losing power
Nothing major then, and I thought the car left the garage fully fit and feeling better after its fettling. That was a mistake. That very same month, on the way to work, warning lights started appearing on the dash, and the car showed signs of losing power. The battery had been replaced a few months earlier, so my thoughts turned to the alternator. Or lack of it, as the car slowed to a halt a few moments later and resolutely refused to start.

Thankfully, I had decided to take a non-busy backroad route in case the inevitable happened, and so found myself just outside a waste management site with an hour’s wait for the RAC. The technician’s battery check proved that it was indeed OK, and that the alternator was the cause of the problem.

A quick call to work, and I was then on my way back to Sani’s with the RAC van following behind, in case the ‘borrowed’ charge petered out. With just two weeks separating its visits, Y464 was back at the Essex VW specialists having a new alternator, auxiliary belt and oil filter fitted. Another £218.51. In-between its visits, the car’s mileage had just toppled over 100,000.

Early summer saw me fit a genuine set of 6N2 Polo GTI front mudflaps. I’d managed to track down a pair on eBay, and although used, they were in good condition even if they didn’t come with new self-tapping screws. 6N2 GTI front mudflaps have mouldings which take into account the model’s deeper sills, and wraparound them snugly.

> Read More

Continue Reading

03 October 2013 ~ 1 Comment

Guild of Motoring Writers’ Big Day Out

2013 Guild of Motoring Writers' Big Day Out: Renault Clio

The Guild of Motoring Writers (GoMW) is the largest organisation of automotive editorial professionals in the world. Founded on 9 October 1944 at an informal meeting of seven influential journalists at London’s Press Club, the GoMW now has a membership of over 400, in both the UK and overseas. Its members are not just motoring writers either, but a wide range of automotive editorial professionals in many different roles and media.

On Thursday 22 August, the GoMW held its first Big Day Out (BDO) at Rockingham Motor Speedway. A chance for members and non-members to drive their own cars on the British Touring Car Championship circuit, the idea behind it was to bring together like-minded auto industry professionals to enjoy their road cars in a controlled environment. And also to show the changing face of GoMW itself, and promote its younger membership.

As well as driving their own cars around the circuit, attendees could also take models from Ford, Nissan, Kia and Mitsubishi out on road routes outside of the track itself. Ford brought along the Fiesta and Focus STs among others, while the new Kia Pro-Cee’d GT was in attendance, as was the ’90s rally hero, the Mitsubishi Evo Tommi Mäkinen Edition. The Japanese manufacturer also had a diminutively cute 1974 Lancer at the event, along with a Lancer Turbo from 1981. Both were crowd-pullers.

2013 Guild of Motoring Writers' Big Day Out: 1981 Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo

Before that date, I hadn’t taken my 2001 Polo GTI on the track before. I’d taken part in around five track days before with previous cars, yes, but both the car and the Rockingham circuit were new to me in terms of on-track experience. The day started damp, the heavy rain on the way to Northamptonshire from Essex gradually easing. Following a briefing in which we learned that the circuit was the slipperiest in Europe (made even worse by the morning’s rainfall), we were off. It was time to drive.

Sighting laps over, I was very cautious. Not wanting to damage the car, or anyone else’s, I was very wary. The car had given me a fright early on in the day, when the rear end sailed out on a greasy roundabout. I wasn’t driving fast, but the unnerving feeling made me doubt the car’s and my capabilities. The same thing happened on the circuit – the first corner saw the Polo spin, and luckily another track-goer managed to skillfully avoid the silver obstruction slowly pirouetting in front of his car.

As the day wore on, though, the circuit surface dried, and I could trust the car more. Grip was certainly not an issue, and although it felt like it was leaning lots in the corners, our Polo R-Line correspondent John, who runs EngageSportMode.com, stated that in in fact, the GTI was quite flat in the bends. The last corner offered many opportunities for some fun tyre squeal, and all in all, the GTI acquitted itself quite well. No, it wasn’t and isn’t the sharpest tool in the driving box, but I had fun.

One bonus to the day was meeting up with colleagues in the industry, and catching up with fellow Tweeters. You may have been in contact with these like-minded enthusiasts online, but never actually met them, but you could at GoMW BDO. Contacts and introductions were made. Another attraction was the attendance of the manufacturer vehicles, and it was genuinely pleasing to see some old metal among the newer products. I had drives in both the Ford Fiesta ST and Zetec S EcoBoost, something I probably would have gone to a dealership to try otherwise. Both were satisfying for different reasons.

There was a mixture of cars ready for track action, too. A hardcore Vauxhall VX220 mixed it with Renault Clios of varying vintages, a Honda Hybrid and numerous BMWs. There were Polos, too; mine was joined by John Redfern’s 2013 Polo R-Line TSI, and Alex Grant’s Polo G40, which also won the award for the best car representing the spirit of the day. With both an open pit lane format and pit garages for the early risers, BDO really was excellent value for money.

‘The idea behind the Big Day Out was to show the industry that The Guild of Motoring Writers isn’t a stuffy organisation or closed club, but something that is open to the entire industry,’ said organiser and GoMW committee member James Baggott. ‘We wanted to give current members the chance to enjoy their own road cars at a heavily subsidised track day, plus show potential members and the rest of the industry what we’re about.’

2013 Guild of Motoring Writers' Big Day Out: Dave Tillyer's Punto Abarth

Despite the not-ideal weather, the day was hailed a big success. Guild Chairman Richard Aucock said: ‘I am absolutely delighted with how the event went. We had a great turn-out, some interesting cars, top-drawer standards of driving and many happy reports from all attendees.’ (Read more here.) Plans are already underway to make the BDO an annual event. GoMW – you can count me in. Check out the official gallery of the day and search for #GuildBDO on Twitter for related tweets.

Continue Reading

13 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report ten

Shaking off its winter chills, Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI sprung into spring. But as the warmer weather arrived, so did a small list of jobs…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

Not all old cars feel old. Take my Reflex Silver 2001 Polo GTI for example. Its funny when what’s termed as an old car is distinctly modern when compared to old cars a couple of generations ago. It’s been a busy five months since my last report on Y464 GHJ, which has now covered 92,000 miles, 24,000 of those under my ownership. It’s still proving to be an able and enjoyable companion, fast and feisty when you want to be, and quiet and comfortable when you don’t. That’s a trait which, in my opinion, a GTI should automatically have bestowed upon it, and Volkswagen did a commendable job 12 years ago.

It’s a common problem with turn-of-the-new-millennium VWs, but the interior door handles of my car were peeling dreadfully when I bought it. The plastic paint coating comes off the handles at quite a rate. To be honest, I didn’t take much notice at the time, but have wanted to replace them ever since. Back in January I ordered a set of door pulls with corresponding screw cover panels from Inchcape Chelmsford, and they were recently fitted when the car was in the garage recently for another job. And they look great, and improve the interior appearance no end. A job well done. Not all parts are available to order, though – the inset panels for the electric mirror controls and matching blanking panel on the passenger side are no longer available. I’ve made do with the old ones – thankfully you can’t see the join…

In February, the cold weather took its toll on the battery. After a quick and dirty recharge, it was back to Sani’s Motors of Chelmsford (01245 460040), my local VW specialist and the only garage I trust with the car, to see what the friendly chaps could diagnose. A new item was the only option and after a £69.60 (including fitting) lightening of my wallet, the GTI and I were on our way again. The new battery has needed charging once after I left it for over a week thanks to the arrival of a SEAT Toledo test car, but it currently seems to be fine (pun intended). In the spring I also fitted a brand new ‘GTI’ badge on the front grille and red ‘I’ badge on the tailgate (the ‘G’ and the ‘T’ still don’t look too bad – they’re only a little pitted) that I’ve had since Christmas 2012, but was waiting for better weather to get the job done.

March saw the MoT come and go. Uneventful at the time, there were advisories for the brakes. The nearside rear brake disc was worn and pitted, but was not seriously weakened. It was the same story for one of the front discs, too. The nearside rear parking brake only just met the required efficiency, and a similar affliction affected the rear service brake. Spring was a busy time for the Polo, as it was back in the garage again a couple of weeks later when it suffered a broken driver’s side wing mirror. Another driver was going slightly too fast down I road I used to use regularly (I stopped using it as was so busy but was running late that morning) and swiped the GTI’s mirror back against the window glass, smashing the mirror glass and cracking the case. The impact was so hard, there was no mirror glass left and the window now has permanent marks on it where the casing struck. £120 of new casing, glass and painting later and the Polo’s battle scar had gone. An expensive running late mistake…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

Continue Reading

12 March 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report nine

Rich Gooding is now 18 months into Polo GTI ownership. The car’s proving largely reliable, but maybe the driver needs some attention…

Retro-fit aero windscreen wipers quieter than conventional items

March 2013 marks the full 18-month anniversary of the Polo GTI’s and my time together. We’ve covered almost 20,000 miles in that time, and I’m please to say, we’re still the best of friends. Y464 GHJ has had quite a busy life since my last report in December, with a few unplanned for jobs being completed. First up, was the fitment of aero-style wiper blades. First fitted to Polos from the 9N in 2002, the single-blade rubber wipers have no exposed metalwork, so that in theory, they should create a much quieter passage through the air. Fitting is easy: just insert the end of the wiper arm into the wiper and snap the cover shut. They’re cheap, too – for less than £5.00, I bought a set of two 19-inch items for the front, and one 12” blade for the rear. To be honest, with the repeated cold snaps, I’ve not noticed that much difference to the noise due to the blades being cold, but they look much neater.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI: aero windscreen wipers

Throughout the colder months, the car had been quite reluctant to start, too. It did start, but not without losing the temperature gauge and also the trip meter mileage display. It didn’t really matter how cold it was either, as there was no pattern as to when it would complain. Then, one morning in February, I was down at the local sorting office, when it absolutely point blank refused to start. A jump got me on my way, and I called in straight away to Sani’s Motors (01245 460040), who diagnosed a flat battery. By a stroke of luck, the ever-friendly chaps had a genuine one in stock, so managed to squeeze the GTI and I in there and then (I was on my way to work), and £69.60 later, we were on our way again. It hasn’t happened since.

Finally, just last week saw the car go back to Sani’s once more for its MoT. While it flew through with no immediate problems, there were a few advisories. Well, five to be precise. The handbrake only just met the required park brake efficiency, while all four discs and sets of pads will need replacing. They’re all worn and are close to the limit for efficiency, but as I’ve not replaced them in the whole time I’ve owned the car, it wasn’t a total surprise. The next service is impending, so I’ll get them sorted then.

Talking of flying, the Polo very nearly went for a hedge excursion the first week back to work after Christmas. Driving down the A113 which has a left-hand camber on a right-hand bend which then opens up to a left-hand corner, the car almost overshot the road, and trying to correct it, the back end stepped out. A final correction put the car back on an even course and in the right direction, but I will admit it scared me for the whole journey and I now take that corner much more carefully. I still don’t know whether it was the road surface or my entry speed, or a combination of both, but I suspect part of the problem that day was down to the sometimes overly-light power steering. The car feels like it’s on tip-toe sometimes, too, and it took me a while to start to trust it again.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

Continue Reading


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. More information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.