Haynes' World is a regular feature that takes a look at what the people at Haynes are doing with their cars, bikes and other vehicles.
1981 BMW R100RS
Martynn Randall: When I was a lad, there were a few posters of iconic motorbikes on my wall, one of which was a BMW R100RS. At the tender age of 19, I bought a second-hand one and hated it. Now bearing in mind that my mates were running around on 1000cc Kawasakis and Suzukis, the R100RS was slow, the brakes were rubbish, and the battery went flat every couple of days. Bump starting a 1000cc shaft drive twin is not for the faint hearted… so I only kept it for a few months.
Many times over the years I’ve thought about that bike and realised that I didn’t really know what I was doing then, and despite my experience, I still loved the look of them, and wanted another.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, and I was offered a 1981 model as a ‘running project’ that had been in storage for the last 20+ years. A walk-around video confirmed that it was cosmetically challenged, but complete and a runner. I bought it unseen from the other end of the country. Did anyone mention rose-tinted spectacles?
When it arrived, I managed to start it, and it sounded okay apart from a lot of grumbling from the gearbox in neutral with the clutch out – input shaft bearings perhaps?
Cosmetically, it was tatty but the worst area was the right-hand front corner of the engine. At some point the front brake master cylinder had started leaking, and the fluid had dripped onto the fairing inner, and splashed onto the engine cases/cylinder barrel. There was a lot of corrosion.
So, I’ve stripped it to the bare frame, which has now been blasted and powder-coated.
The plan is to restore it to its original spec over the next few months, so I end up with a standard bike in good condition for me to assess. If I really still don’t like it, maybe I’ll turn it into a scrambler/cafe racer, or just sell it. In the meantime, it’s good to be back in the workshop with a project to get my teeth into - watch this space!
2001 Volvo V70 2.4 SE 140bhp
Nigel Donnelly: As someone who needs to do a lot of miles and wishes to do so affordably and reliably, I am a fan of older Volvos. I have owned my 2001 Volvo V70 P2 for just over a year. It was supplied with full Volvo history but is of an age where it is not really worth main dealer scrutiny any longer. As such, it is a good candidate for a bit of home help.
Like many of my previous Volvos, it is not fast, but it is reliable, comfortable and serene. I always hate having to disturb interior plastics in quiet cars for fear that it introduces new squeaks or rattles, but a dash warning light suggested I might have no choice. A tail light bulb was out, but a quick look in the boot didn't reveal any obvious access point.
According to Chapter 12.8 of the Haynes Manual, I had two ways to reach the bulb. Through the carpeted boot-side panel or by prising out a brittle-looking 20-year-old speaker cover. I decided to try the lower route first, and happily, this got me, uncomfortably, to the spent bulb.
There was a sharp edge or two behind the trim, and a bit of fumbling around to get to the back of the bulb holder, but I got there. It took around 15 mins, including looking up the information. That would've been about $70 at the dealer. Plus $18 for the bulb. The warning message has gone, and so far, there are no new rattles either.
2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
Rob Keenan: A few months ago I decided to change my car's cabin pollen filter after being quoted north of $140 by a Merc specialist (Merc calls it a 'combination filter'). I balked at that because, well, they're not that expensive, even for an SLK55, and I've changed plenty of the things – how hard could it be?
To be honest, it was fairly fiddly, and our recently launched AutoFix product says you should allow 30 mins for the task (screengrabs below) – which I find pretty reassuring because getting to the filter from the footwell proved pretty irksome.
I can see how a garage's labour rate would push up the final bill, so it's well worth the effort of doing this yourself, especially now that AutoFix does such a brilliant job of supplementing our extensive range of Haynes printed and online manuals.