Replacing the Copen’s Stereo

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My Copen came with a bluetooth stereo that didn’t want to work after I got the car. At the time, I had no idea why, so I simply replaced it with the one I had from my Pajero. Later I discovered that the fuse in the stereo blew, so replaced the fuse and swapped out the stereo again. All in all, I had three stereos – the bluetooth one with the replaced fuse, the one from the Pajero, and the shitty Clarion one that came stock with the Copen. The Clarion is properly banjaxed, and went to the bin.

Meanwhile, on Abbey Street

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Rust Rust Rust!

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Since my Copen is a UK import, rust is always a worry. The Copen seems to be worse off than most other Japanese cars, as they didn’t really use enough rust protection for the UK market – instead it looks like they used the same amount of protection as for the Japanese market… Who don’t salt the roads.

Knowing that the Copen had a non-trivial amount of rust damage, I still ran her through the NCT to see what she would fail on. I already knew that there was a hole in the exhaust, and that the exhaust has a botch weld job done to her – but there is no harm in running her through the NCT and seeing what else needs to be done. She failed on the exhaust. The pads, rotors, and rear shoes were getting a bit close to the limit, so I replaced them as well. As you can see in the below photo, the hole in the exhaust is rather large, large enough to fit two fingers into.


1456606_534942127147_1715463541_n 1383608_534942142117_1557707755_n 1488194_534942226947_1766452775_n 1461234_534942246907_2138910106_n 1459301_534942261877_1404131692_n 1463087_534942291817_786165729_n 1457470_534942316767_1124961191_n 1463035_534942341717_1035254181_n 1461087_534942356687_1045301945_n 1488150_534942381637_316310738_n 1453401_534942401597_1185794734_n 1471404_534942421557_1840416345_n 1393056_533200876627_340854492_n 1385460_533200866647_871349266_n 1379946_533200871637_742055809_nSo I had the exhaust, rotors / disks, shoes, all the fluids, oil and air filters replaced – she ran through the NCT perfectly fine the second time and has been humming like a bird ever since.

Keeping on top of rust is a challenge, and I know I will be spending a lot of time – and money – in repairing the major rust, before moving onto the paintwork. Rust is like a cancer, it will eat you from the inside out. What looks like a small bit of rust rarely is. If you want my advice, never EVER buy a UK car, as I’ve seen cars of only 3 or 4 years old eaten from the core due to rust.


Meanwhile, Castlenock Nidge

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Castleknock Nidge

Meanwhile, on Henry Street

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Hrney St

The risk I took was calculated but man am I bad at math

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The risk I took was calculated but man am I bad at math


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Importing a car from the UK to Ireland

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Shortly after my Pajero was stolen, I started the hunt for a new car. After scouring carzone, going on Honest John, doing test drives, and searching donedeal, I found that car that I wanted – a Daihatsu Copen. The Copen is a small, two seat, sports car. Small is, actually, an understatement – the car is tiny! The fact that it comes in a 660cc and 1.3L model testifies to the tinyness.

I found a few on DoneDeal, one was even based in Dublin. To get a head start, I googled as much as possible about the Copen. I came across, and it’s fantastic Buyers Guide. Armed with this knowledge, I went for a look, at the sellers house in Rahney. The car had fairly bad rust damage, paint bubbling, and a poor service history. The seller, in fact, didn’t know the service intervals, nor the last time it was serviced – for a car with a turbo, this is a very bad sign as infrequent oil changes will ruin the turbo… the part alone costs £1000! The seller also wanted silly money for the car. I gave him my offer, which was a fair price for an 04 car in such a condition, and was told it was an insult. I gladly left. He removed the ad, a few weeks later and I assumed he sold the car… I have a DoneDeal alert set up, and the car has been relisted (some 6 months later) at a far more affordable price – i.e. half the initial price, and slightly higher than the price I offered him.

I saw another, this time on The turbo was just replaced, and the seller sent me on the receipt. Alarm bells were rung when I called her, and she said that the turbo blew by “going 150kph down the motorway”. The seller had forgotten to mention that there had been an insurance claim against the car, in her name, when I asked her. When confronted with the information (thanks!), she blamed her lack of English. She then refused to answer any of my phonecalls and emails. I think someone actually bought it, as I’ve not seen it on Adverts again.

This left me with very little options – these were the only two working Copens in Ireland – so I started going on eBay UK. I found a few, mainly from dealers, but the price was very high. Now most of these cars commanded a high price, as they had full service history and always at a main Daihatsu dealer. Along with being immaculate in condition, and from a dealer, I can understand their high price. Nevertheless, I kept looking, and found one from a private seller – Ash.

It was a 2005, black, 660cc model with 53k miles. I sent him a few messages, and then placed a bid. My big was fairly low, to be honest, and I expected to be well overbid. A few days later, I checked the status of the bid, and I was still the highest bidder. I checked again, a few days later, and with 12 hours to do I was still the highest bidder.

Ok, I thought, on eBay the bids come in in the last hour – nothing to worry about. 2 hours remaining… 1 hour remaining… 30 minutes… 15 minutes… 5 minutes… 30 seconds… 10…5…4…3…2…1. Woohoo! I own a 2005 Daihatsu Copen. Now I had explicitly stated in my bid that I would pay the deposit without issue, and the remainder on satisfactory inspection by a mechanic.

I called Malcom from National Vehicle Inspections, and had him visit Ash. The report I got back was incredibly detailed, and Malcom went over EVERYTHING. He noted the rust damage, a substantial hole in the carpet, every single stain, dent, scratch and damage from rust. He even noted that the A/C didn’t work, a massive hole and botch weld job in the exhaust, and so many other things, both big and small. Malcom also done an extensive car check – far more detailed than the one I had done.

I was happy with the report, and paid Ash. At the same time, I started looking at physically getting the car. There are really only two options – either have the car shipped over, or go and collect it yourself. I priced up flying over to Yorkshire, and driving back on the ferry – sweet Jesus that was expensive. National Vehicle Distributors were the cheapest by far, and the delivery docket they give you is recognized by the VRT people as entry to the state. However I will never recommend them. I won’t say, on this blog, why, but my service from them was less than ideal – with dates constantly missed by them, being the least of my worries.

Anyway, the car arrived, and I started working on the documentation for the VRT people. The day before it was picked up, I got the ball rolling for VRT. Revenue have a nice VRT calculator here, which gives you an idea of the cost for VRT. I got molested on the VRT, as the Copen has 151g of CO2. Ash had given me the logbook, minus the exporting part of course, and I got the rest of my documents ready. You’ll need to make a booking at your local NCT place – in my case, Northpoint – within a few weeks of the car arriving in the state. You must have your passport / drivers licence, a recent utility bill or bank statement (the address on this decides what county your registration is), a payslip or a recent document from revenue with your pay slip (a printout of a payslip will suffice), an invoice (in this case, the ebay listing with the price shown), and the UK log book.

At the NCT place, the agent will inspect the car to make sure it’s the correct one – things like VIN, colour, make and model, optional extras, verify milage, etc. In my case, I didn’t pay on the day, as the agent couldn’t find a suitable car in the system to match my make and model… something I found odd, as there were no extras. Anyway, she gave me a letter saying that the car had been VRT inspected, and that I was awaiting a decision from Revenue – in the event I was stopped by the guards, as I was still on UK plates after the allowed time.

I found out the cost a few days later, and was told to pay in any NCT place – I was in Galway, so I went in there and paid by credit card (there’s a surcharge, and they don’t take cash or a cheque!). I got my reg number, however the NCT place couldn’t do up square licence plates, so I went to Calbro in Galway instead. Silly me also tried to pay my motor tax on the same day – you can’t, the car isn’t on the system yet! The motor tax lady also gave me a letter for the guards, just in case! I went back two days later, and the motor tax was paid… You can claim back the motor tax for the first three months, by the way, as the motor tax period starts at the beginning of the month regardless of what day you register. The road tax is really cheap, by the way, as the engine is sub 1L.

You’ll need to pay your motor tax BEFORE you can get an NCT – so that’s another thing you have to do. It’s rather annoying that you can’t get an NCT the same day as paying the VRT – at least that would give me a good idea of what needed fixing! Anyway, I made a test date for the NCT and she flew through, second time around.

All in all, buying the car in the UK, paying the transport costs and the VRT, as well as a full service and a few extra bits done, still worked out cheaper than buying a car here in Ireland, even if there is rust… And boy was there rust!

2013 — Looking Back

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Garda Tweets Famous Woman Yellow Object Shite Road Bray Green Area Parking Space Tax Disk Hot Milk Done Deal car ad Mass in Progress SuperQuinn Sausages Garda Goose Daft Horse Ballyfermot Sheep Tayto Bar

2013 has been a bit different. A year of more odd photos, personal goals, standing for my convictions, and reflection. At the start of the year, I left ICHEC and joined 10gen (now called MongoDB Inc.), where the Sydney office apparently love me. ICHEC was a huge part of my life, especially at the end, however it was time to move on to a new challenge.

2013 has also been a year where mass emigration continues to stretch families, I got a new phone, my car was stolen (although I did do a few test drives), passed the driving test (WOOHOO), bought a car from the UK (upcoming post), did a mechanics course, and started taking the bus to work. We also lost Colm and Seamus, two great giants of Ireland.

I’ve also had to deal with my own demons. I finally wrote down my experience of loosing a child, although there is only so much that you can write  – as finding the words can be difficult. Thank you to everyone who has gotten in touch – you have no idea how much this means to me, even if I don’t say it.

I’ve been writing here less and less, instead taking my “stream of consciousness” over to another written medium. That and finding the time for substantial blog posts, these days, is getting more and more difficult. I hope that in 2014, I will have more time to keep writing here. And what will 2014 bring?

We see every week that more and more jobs are being announced – pity the 300 jobs company X are bringing are over the next 5 years. Still, you gotta love the old PR machine, hey? Seriously, we will continue to see the emigration of those ages 20-35, particularly those will “low skills” in our so called “knowledge economy” (Don’t get me started on the latter phrase). We will see more and more spin doctoring from the political establishment, more tightening of belts as already stretched families are asked to help out their country more.

We will also see NAMA finally being accountable for their actions, the possible burning of Anglo (although I’d highly highly doubt that, it would still be nice), more checks and balances after the hospital pay scandal. However, we will also see a cutting of services, an increase in poverty, and an increase in suicides because of poverty. Nationally, we’re not over the worst, but things should hopefully get better.

Meanwhile, in Enniscorthy

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