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  • 3 weeks later...

News!  CSL dropped off today for polybushing the rear subframe and new rear trailing arm bushes with Turner Motorsport limiter kit.

Its known that the RTABs in particular get squishy, so this is all common E46 stuff for a 70k mile car.  Still, it was remarkable how much rear steer you could feel under very hard acceleration.

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  • 1 month later...

Its exactly the same gearbox and it doesn't need a clutch or flywheel, because they are the same (good reporting).  Dave Chapman on the CSL whatsapp group did it most recently and publicly.  It should actually be cheaper than £3.5k given how simple it is, but even so, its not bad VFM.

However, the premise that all these articles start from is that SMG is sh!te.  It isn't.  If it was, you would have a long queue forming for the conversion and that simply isn't the case.  Those that own and get to know CSLs are largely in agreement that SMG is pretty cool.  I would guesstimate that about 20-30% of CSL owners are tempted, but a much, much smaller number will pull the trigger.  The market is also undecided and so far it seems that the conversion detracts from value in addition to the out of pocket cost.  So, economically, it doesn't yet stack up.

So, I would say I am in the tempted category (do love a manual), but unlikely to pull the trigger unless I was facing a big SMG bill for say a new pump.

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  • 11 months later...

Just so it doesn't get to a whole year without an update, I will be bringing this up to date in the near future.  Its been a long and hard road getting the CSL legal in NZ and the work is nowhere near complete in terms of where I want it.  The short story is that not everyone has been as careful as they ought to have been with the car as it has passed from one shop to another.  So, I have a fight on my hands to get things rectified.

On the plus side, I will be driving the CSL tomorrow (maybe Friday) on dealer plates and *hopefully* getting a number plate on it by end of the day.  It has been sitting in my garage for about the last 3 weeks (landed here in April), but I can't drive it unless I borrow dealer plates - which cost a crate of beer each time I borrow them.  It will be a slight change from driving the W124.

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  • 4 weeks later...

When I need catharsis, I will dive into the detail.  Good news this week is that I will shortly be dropping it off for all the remedial work.  The guy agreed that everything I pointed out needed to be fixed.  

Is it worth it?  We have just seen a good low/mid mile car go for £86k in the private market meaning dealer market is now close to £100k and even high mile cars are likely £60k+.  Market madness?  Probably.  There will be a point where I take the money and run.  But a good couple of years of motoring to enjoy before that.

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Richard what were the problems with getting your car road legal for NZ? I ask as my son is living in Wellington, nearly 2 years now. He left me the job of getting his Corrado Storm finished and shipped out to him, owing to life I have still got a fair bit to do but will get it finished one day. Will be a great car for NZ and quite rare.

Cheers Baz

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/08/2021 at 04:02, Baz said:

Richard what were the problems with getting your car road legal for NZ? I ask as my son is living in Wellington, nearly 2 years now. He left me the job of getting his Corrado Storm finished and shipped out to him, owing to life I have still got a fair bit to do but will get it finished one day. Will be a great car for NZ and quite rare.

Cheers Baz

Well, it seems pretty easy in concept and the shipping is cheap.  Use Shipit in the UK who put 4 cars in a 40 foot container.  The problem is NZ has had a ton of used imports from Japan over the last 35 years and some have been rubbish resulting in a load of unsafe cars on the roads.  Over the years, the rules have got tighter and tighter.  Now, you need a car that meets emissions, frontal impact and has traction control, plus a bunch of other stuff.  Unless you are a returning resident or fit into an exemption (low-ish volume sports cars are one example).  So all that is fine and sensible and you can see this info on Govt websites, the AA etc.  The real issues are more practical.  NZ also has a thing about modified cars and a thing about any rust in cars.  Modded cars include even a wheel spacer and that puts you into a low volume certification regime requiring a specialist certifier to inspect, report to the Ministry and then tag your car.  Any visible rust needs to be eradicated, meaning blasting, treating and painting and if its deemed structural, then you could have the whole car unable to be registered.  Any repairs have to be completed to NZ standards as well.  As you all will know, any UK car has some surface corrosion underneath it...

You also pay a compliance agent who is supposed to handle all this, but basically tells you all the stuff you have to get fixed and leaves it up to you.  Meaning every time the car has to get somewhere you have to find a tow truck.

This is my process (more or less).  Strap in and hold tight:

1. Clean car in the UK.  With hindsight, now is the time to get it blasted and waxoled to within an inch of its life.  Fingers crossed its never had any repairs

2. Get it collected and shipped.  Cross fingers Suez isn't blocked and COVID doesn't SNAFU worldwide shipping

3. Car arrives (eventually) and NZ import agent provides you with various bills for customs to inspect and MPI to make sure you have no plant matter, bugs etc.  Cross fingers for no extra charges - you pay by the hour if they have to clean, fumigate etc.  Expect these monkeys to damage your car.

4. Car released and get a tow truck to collect and bring to your compliance guy.  All going well, he will get it through the NZ MOT equivalent (a WOF).  You pay him and go pay car taxes and get number plates and you get your car.  NB, they will pull your car to bits taking off trim and underbody panels to inspect it.  This is way more than an MOT.

5. All not going well, you get a call saying your car has some rust, so find someone to fix it, an engineer to sign off the work and pay to have it put in quarantine so you have time to do this.  Also replace the brake pads, because the manufacturers stamp is illegible.  Also remove wheel spacers as they are illegal.  Also your AP Racing brakes and KWs need low volume certification.  Start offering the tow truck guy sexual favours as you are going to need about 10 tow truck trips to get it backwards and forwards.

6. Break it all down and start with the engineer.  He is signing it off, so good thing if he trusts your repairer.  The first repairer wants $800 just to look at the car.  Cross him off the list.  The engineer then recommends another and says "he has a messy workshop but does great work and he had Audi A8s and Ferraris in the shop".  So you go have a look and seems a great young bloke.  Looks like any other repair shop and the mess is because the media blasting creates dust even though its in a sealed room.  So you ask for an estimate before work starts and off you go.  BTW, you pay the engineer up front in full as that is how it works.

7. And then you wait.  And wait.  No estimate and no work started.  And the engineer takes 5 reminders to get the car in quarantine.

8. After weeks, desperate to get your car back, you have a chat with the repairer and he says he has started and its not that bad.  Rear suspension and subframe out, all undertrays off, heat shields off, arch liners off, blast, treat and paint.  But wait, there is more.  Right rear qtr panel had at some point been replaced and the spot welds are the wrong size, so they all have to be drilled and replaced and then new paint.  So you think ok that will tidy things up nicely and be like a midlife refresh and Christchurch is dry so that it will be good for 20 years.  Right then, crack on.  Oh, and can I have that estimate please?

9. Car done and you get a call to say its back at the compliance guy.  They borrowed a dealer plate and drove it back, so that saves bending over for the tow truck guy.  Still no estimate, but that's cool as I have the car and didn't have to pay.  Result.

10. Then you argue about brake pads and give in and buy a set of DS2500s being the cheapest that fit AP Racing brakes on all four corners.  Hey, the RS29s were half worn so whatever.

11.  Then you say okay remove the wheel spacers.  Which is fine as it is on wheel studs and open ended nuts and the BBS 19s fit over the front 350mm APs because luckily they are the skinny APs.  Then you think actually I like it on spacers so lets do this properly.  Turns out 2 spacers are fine as they only have 5 holes in them, but 2 are junk as they have 10 holes in them.  Despite the 10 hole ones being the expensive Eibach TUV approved ones.  NZ rules init.

12. So I book into the wheel guy and he has to make 2 new spacers from billet and he has to drill, tap and bolt them to the hubs (like a disc with a big set screw).  I argue the merits saying this is no safer than having 5 wheel nuts hold it together, but it seems I have missed the point.  You bolt on the spacers so that the tyre changing guys don't misplace them and send a car out with the wheels hitting the brakes.  Like nobody would spot that one.  But, rules.

13. Then I book the low volume compliance guy.  There are 2 of them.  Both busy for 6 weeks.  So you wait.  And ponder the world.  And buy a Mercedes.  Maybe that last part was earlier, I forget the timing.

14. Finally, home stretch.  The wheel guy is only a block from the cert guy, so you ask him to quietly drive the car round, thereby saving a tow truck fee.  Result.  Then the cert guy calls and says sorry, can't pass your car as it needs lock washers on the caliper retaining bolts.  Incredulous, I ask if he can throw some washers on and call it done?  No, he doesn't actually work on cars.

15. So you get the car towed home as the compliance guy is now full.  And you pull a couple of bolts and measure for washers, then find the specialist washer guy and buy a dozen incredibly expensive serrated, double locking type washers and come home and fit the washers only to find the rear bolts already had serrated locking nuts.  Call the cert guy.  Send photos of everything and he says "Cool, and bring it back to me, but not till I have been on holiday..."

16. Think smarter, not harder.  Enough sucking off tow truck drivers for favours.  I am going to beg, borrow or steal dealer plates.  So you call the compliance guy and ask him for some plates and offer him sexual favours.  But its NZ, so naturally he wants beer instead.  Find a supermarket with Heineken on special, buy beer, collect plates and finally drive car to the cert guy.  He says wait at the cafe round the corner.  Its winter and freezing and the cafe has only outdoor seating and my phone dies in the cold.  But after a very boring hour or so he turns up and says, its all good, but he will have to send the paperwork to Wellington and if they agree, then its all passed and they will remote activate the tag in 10 working days.  So, yeah, I am tagged.

17. More waiting for Wellington to activate the tag.  Borrow dealer plates again, more beer and drive the car to the compliance guy for the WOF, final inspection, get paperwork, pay tax, get plates and done.  One hiccup:  "Sir, your screen washer doesn't work".  Answer: "Have you tried putting water in it?".  "Oh yeah".

18. Remember the repair guy?  Still no estimate.   Wind back to 9 above.  Once I have my car back at the compliance guy I realise it has paint runs and is covered in overspray from the underneath.  Plus a couple of little scratches and they have painted things like the stainless KW shocks and parts that are aluminium and can't rust.  And the entire car paint feels rough to the touch.  Hmmm.  So after ringing all my new Christchurch friends - compliance guy, engineering guy - they say let the repair guy try to fix it.  Courage plucked up and I call him and have a moan.  He say "no worries", bring it down and we will take a look.  Pleasantly surprised, no argument, just a commitment to make it right.  Of course, he wants to be paid and he let the car go back to me, so he kind of has to be nice at this point or he is ruined...

19. Take car to repair guy.  He agrees to all remedial work.  Well, we agree on all the paint stuff and that he will try to clean up the shock bodies and I ignore the rest of the underside.  Pick your battles.  Date set to bring the car back for remedial work.

20.  Then it snows like a b@stard and he is stuck on the West Coast.  New date set.  In the meantime I try to get the overspray off.  Panel Wipe works with a lot of effort, so I know its possible.  My machine polisher and clay bars have no effect.   Hmm.  At this point I say, I am not bringing the car till I have the bill.  Bill arrives 1 hour later.  Sharp intake of breath, but its acceptable.  Kind of cheap in UK terms.  OK, London terms.

21.  Take car to repair guy.  We look over everything and walk round the car with "the dude".  The dude, is the guy who will be actually doing the work and he seems pretty cool and actually paying attention.  And he loves my Mercedes.  They work Friday afternoon and the weekend and call me Monday to say all done.

22. Go have a look at the car.  Notice some stuff not done, so they say come back in 3 hours.  I come back, I take keys and take car away.  Then I get the text: "Can you please pay me, I forgot to get payment before giving your car back?".  I say, I think I might wait a few weeks, maybe take a holiday, get caught in a snow storm, pay part a bit later.  Jokes, I just paid up.  Karma.

So, is it all good?  More or less.  They wet sanded the whole car, then machine polished it.  One paint run is still noticeable to the touch - but I will fix that myself.  The KWs are largely clean.  There is black overspray on the red AP calipers.  Some monkeys have scratched the irreplaceable CSL seat backs a treat and the rear bumper got scuffed on a corner by someone and a newly refurbed wheel has a scratch.  But it actually looks as good as it ever has and it isn't ever going to rust, so I can live with that.  And its a fire truckin animal as always that loves to do drifty stuff bouncing off the rev limiter in 1st pulling out onto 4 lanes of Bealey Ave.  Actually, I have only done the drifty thing once after picking my son up from school.  Scared the bejeesus out of me.

And the value has gone up 50% since I bought it.  What's not to love?  

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1 hour ago, World Citizen said:

Great stuff RB, a few good mountain drives and you're woes will be quickly forgotten 😎

Indeed - though woes already forgotten.  We in full lockdown right now (not the UK 2020 lockdown lite), so no going anywhere other than the supermarket and petrol station.  I have 1 more long weekend skiing booked in Wanaka and have 2 days of Mt Hutt ski passes to use before winter recedes - so those are AllRoad missions before swapping to summer tyres.  Then I need to get the CSL over to Wanaka - the Crown Range, Lindis Pass and a couple of other choice side roads I have ID'd.  That's the plan.  I have 4 trips to Nelson this summer which is a good drive - walking the Able Tasman, 2 weeks family summer hols, a bi-annual family cricket match and the Lorde concert.  And I am taking my daughter to Wanaka for New Years.  Each of those trips is about 5 hours drive each way.  The AllRoad is doing the bulk of that and the Merc will do at least one trip.  Plenty of driving on the horizon.  In between sex work to pay for all of it.

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