Improvements & MPG

Today I drove Murphy to Chichester to see Nick, as he’s over from Ireland for another two weeks, and was very kind enough to give me a hand with a few improvements I’ve been meaning to do.

It was drizzling/raining in Chandlers Ford, so I phoned Nick at lunchtime to see if he still wanted to meet up, and he told me the weather was “alright” in Chichester, so come on over.

Well, there’s clearly an Irish to English translation issue here, as “alright” in Nick’s world actually means “it’s chucking it down and you’re going to have a fun time getting here as the roads are flooded”. I definitely need one of those translation books!

I wonder if the “book” might also explain the difference in the movement of time between Ireland & England – not a timezone difference per se, more something that makes time run slower in Ireland, and sometimes causes Nick to be delayed by many hours 🙂 Must be something in the tea – but that’s another story!

With limited distraction from the F1 race, and Lewis Hamilton’s well earned victory 🙂 we reversed Murphy under the garage door to avoid the worst of the rain.

The first of the “simple” jobs for the afternoon was to remove the boot door and fit a rubber seal around the boot, which had been missing since I acquired the car. Simple my arm!

Fitting the rubber seal was easy, as was replacing the boot – and successfully proving the electrics for the rear window demister were actually working, even if the demister itself wasn’t (a job for another day!) – but would the boot shut???


We cut, shaved and resized bits of rubber from spare sealing material to see if we could make this work, but with no jo whatsoever. We looked online, and found drips of info, but nothing that really helped either.

In the end, for now, we fitted the seal around 3/4 of the boot, from the top and down each side, but left out a section along the bottom, as it was literally the only way the boot would shut. We think that eventually the rubber will compress down making it easier to close, at which point the missing rubber section can be added, so finger crossed!

If anyone reading this has experienced the pleasure of rear boot seal fitting or knows anything that may help, please feel free to comment.

The next job was to replace the choke cable, as the old one just wouldn’t lock at all. It was a bit fiddly getting the spanner in behind the dashboard – the trick was to remove the two air vents – but we did it successfully in a short time. Annoyingly, once fitted, the new cable with the “turn to lock” action wasn’t brilliant either, and slowly slides back in. Granted, it’s an improvement on the old one which didn’t work at all, so better something than nothing, but it’s not the best design I’ve ever seen!

Next, I fitted a cigarette lighter socket, (wired to the positive ignition & negative of the car stereo), as following this weeks 4x two-hour drives to Gerrards Cross, I rapidly discovered that my phone battery doesn’t last two hours when using GPS & maps. The good news was that as well as power, by connecting a double-ended 3.5mm audio cable between the phone and aux audio input on the car stereo, it successfully worked like a handsfree car kit – result! 🙂

Finally, just to put to rest a minor niggle, we made a quick adjustment to the drivers door latch, which now means the drivers door opens and closes more smoothly than before.

Not bad for an “alright” afternoon!

Finally, a note on mpg… until now, I’ve generally filled the car with up to 45 litres of fuel, and achieve at best around 250 miles on a full tank – that’s approximately 25 mpg.

Tonight I pushed it a tad as I foolishly hadn’t noticed how low I was on fuel on the way home. The odometer clocked 268.6 miles as I pulled in to the local Shell, where I filled up with 46.23 litres (approx 10 gallons) of fuel. Doing the sums on, this worked out at 26.41 mpg (9.35km pr litre), Murphy’s best yet!

Incase you’re interested, I used Shell V-Power Nitro+, (the 99RON stuff), mixed with Castrol’s Valvemaster Plus. Granted, it costs a bit more, but when I first got Murphy, I tried every flavour of fuel, with combinations of different additives, including adjustments to timing, etc, and this combination worked the best.

Not only did it perform well in terms of fuel efficiency, Murphy’s engine ran smoother when idling, and ran well at higher speeds too, maintaining a smooth consistency in power that I couldn’t seem to sustain using other fuels, (Tesco’s RON 99 aside, which was also good).

Whilst I generally don’t like to push Murphy over 60 mph on motorways, (between 55 & 60 mph is his sweet spot, for fuel economy too – which makes the theories I’ve read about this actually true), he can very comfortably do 70 mph with no problem at all, and 80 mph if I push him a tad.

Not bad for a 42 year old, eh!