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Whippy's TR32

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Mr Whippy

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I thought I'd post some info about my car as I've had it 6 months now.


I bought it on Friday 13th April from Evans Halshaw in Leeds.


The car was generally pretty nice, but it had a missing service book and no documents. It was a bit of a gamble but I went with my gut that it was a generally sound car that just needed TLC.


I also liked the Tornado Red in 4dr, and this model seemed quite a well specced car, just 49,500 miles, and was nice and local.



The weather had been miserable all week, and on the day I picked up my R32 and got home it was foggy and raining and about 8pm, so no opportunity for any decent pictures.

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And the weather continuned to be grim for a few more days. The BMW Z4 was up for sale, and went a couple of weeks later.

The R32 got priority on the drive, but the wife's car still has top priority in the garage haha.

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Then it got sunny.

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And I started to see this!

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And then you see this sticker which says it all.

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A few things on the car that I just checked over. A tiny bit of bubbling on the rear panel seam where it rubs the bumper. Leaky 3rd brakelight. Pitted exhaust. Camshaft Adjustments seem in good order, assuming I did it right.

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I'm a keen car cleaning person, but I generally just like to maintain an ok finish, rather than bring something like this back to life, so I paid a local detailer/valet chap to come work on the paintwork all day and it improved things a great deal.

All the paint was reading in the right ranges, a bit thinner on the rear 3/4 behind the rear door glass, and the back bumper had had some paint at some point. Upon inspection it seemed like a light bump that'd been repaired cheaply.

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It was a nice evening so I took a quick photo. Every time I clean the car it's too late to go out for a nice photo shoot somewhere so this is as good as it gets.

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New numberplates stuck on with quality velcro. Evans Halshaw had put on their own plates which are like 1mm thick aluminium, and at the front they'd not supported each end so the plate was flat rather than curved, with edges stuck out like blades right at toddler face height!

Plus I just find plates with adverts on them a bit naff, especially for dealerships that haven't done the best job.

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I found the R32 way too refined, you can't even hear the engine inside the car as standard at low rpm. So flapper mod done quickly and then the bonnet liner removed. I gave under the bonnet a quick clean too.

I'd also noticed the bonnet closing a bit poorly at the very bottom, so gave all the hinges a good grease and re-sat the foam pads at each side (one had moved a bit), and things now seem normal.

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And whilst I was there I spotted the oil was overfilled. So I bought one of those oil suckers and ended up taking out 600ml to get it at the right level. Another quality bit of Evans Halshaw work on the car there.

It looks pretty black too. I'll be getting a full service again soon as it has it's annual anniversary around Sept/Oct time, so it'll be nice to get it's servicing back on track each year now.

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Giving the interior a good clean top to bottom. I'd noticed patchy colouring on some of the plastics, but it's like someone has put 'back to black' on lots of the plastic in the past?

Either way it came off without too much effort and looks a lot better. However there is still some in the boot plastic that is stuck on much better!

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The car has had a windscreen at one point. The MOT's suggested as much. But I think whoever fitted it didn't do the best job with the scuttle.

A good clean out and re-seat and it looked a lot better. However there is still a slight dip for a few inches. I think someone has tried to push the scuttle down into a blocked groove at this point and it's bent the metal groove support down a bit.

An area to return to at some point to fix using appropriate tools.

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Edited by Mr Whippy, 16 October 2018 - 01:44 PM.

  • MaldatB and Rodgerveict like this

Mr Whippy

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The gear shift on these cars is widely accepted as not great. Generally I have no issues finding a gear and getting it in, but it just seems unrefined and clacky/clunky, and at full acceleration 1st to 2nd can be notchy.

Having a look to see if the lower engine mount was really worn, I was surprised to see it was a fancy sporty upgraded one.

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I checked the gearbox and engine top mount and they seemed ok. I improved access to the gearbox mount and gave it a good wobble and moved it with a bar and it did make some clicking/clacking noises so I decided to buy the gearbox mount and the lower mount.

Starting from good OE seemed the best way to go to see what I wanted.

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I only fitted the engine mount to see how it drove, and it did improve things noticeably. However now thinking about the lower mount it did make sense as to why the car felt a bit more grating via the clutch, and generally not nice NVH via the pedal box area etc.


Also I'd spotted threads talking about sub-frame movement due to stretch bolts, so I realised I needed to buy a full set of stretch bolts to refit the OE lower mount... and chances were the person who fitted the sporty lower mount may have re-used bolts too, leading to other random issues.


I've still got to buy the stretch bolts to get this lower mount removed. I'm expecting the drivetrain refinement to improve a great deal with it off the car.

It seems you're best doing all the mounts, or none. I can't imagine how horrible an R32 would be with stiff engine mounts all round though!



The basic radio was very poor. I wanted bluetooth/telephone features, so an Apple Play unit (that can also do Android if you upgrade/change firmware) made a lot of sense for about £150.

30 mins to fit too which was really nice. Spotted some broken clips (one of previous owners had a fancy head unit I think as there is a DAB aerial fitted to the front windscreen)

The only downside is the controls on the steering wheel don't work. Another £25 cable from China and fingers crossed they'll work.

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Why is it when you buy a used car from a dealer, the mats are always missing. They must remove them as they look tatty, but then they leave you to wear out the proper carpets. For the sake of £50 they could fit nice new ones. Evans Halshaw... sigh.

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I was going to buy some off the forum, but I ended up going for the OE ones as I wanted the right shade of grey. The R32 interior is pretty flat already, so having the nice contrast of the mats seemed important to me.

I even had to get a Tornado Red USB cable to help lift the interior with a touch of colour haha!

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Mr Whippy

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Before I'd owned the car too long and previous owners had moved address, I decided to write off some letters to see what I could dig up about the car.



The previous previous owner hasn't yet responded after about a month or so now.



The previous owner kindly responded with the trader they'd bought the car from (I knew it was near Farnborough as the MOT was done there around change of ownership).

They also said they had passed on the full service history when they traded the car in, so that was reassuring.



I called that garage and they had kept a photocopy of the last page of the service book, which then gave me a clue to a previous service.

It also supported a random single invoice that was in the R32 user manual folder, for a full service done by the trade garage between 3rd/4th owners.


VW customer services had said they only had a record for two services at 3/4yrs old. I called the garage and they actually had 1-4yrs, and provided the info for where the car was bought too.


The 2nd owner MOT centre had also done work on this car, so that filled in another service and some maintenance work.



The only outstanding gap was at 1st to 2nd owner at 5yrs. The car failed it's MOT, was due a service, and changed owners.


The chap who did MOT/servicing for the 2nd owner said he was festidious and particular about the car, and he drove from near Inverness to Birmingham to buy it.

The MOT was done *after* change of ownership, so I can only assume the selling garage had the MOT and a full service done for this chap before he picked it up and took it back to Scotland.

However upon calling this company they'd finally said they'd lost some records from a long while back. It being 5 years this sounded likely.

But I felt they'd actually got the numberplate wrong (UPB, not UBP, sound so similar over the phone), and had spent enough time looking already and just said about lost records.

I think if I actually turned up with the car and asked them then it's worth a shot as I might get somewhere. I feel they'd have done a full service at that time as well, for a 5yr old / 15k mile car it'd have deserved it!



I managed to source a new empty original VW T&D/Longlife service book on eBay (£35 delivered!), as it seems VW now only do horrible generic ones for their entire range of older cars needs.


VW said they'd happily stamp up my new book. The chap in Scotland said he would too. The garage in Shipley said they'd stamp it too.

I'm sure Evans Halshaw will put a stamp in too.


The only other anomaly was a service in Oct 16, which really wasn't required. It was on the photocopied page of the service book. I need to ring the garage again as their description wasn't the best (it was a photocopy read quickly over the phone)... however the garage I figured out must have been the one to do the work said they'd never seen the car.

I did start to wonder if they thought I was a trader or some scammer so just ended the call politely.

I think I'm just going to try get a photo of the photocopy and then take it to the garage with the car and just see if they'll do a new stamp and a redacted (personal details) invoice.



Either way it was clear the car had been serviced even when I bought it, and the book was just lost by incompetence at either BMW Hull or Evans Halshaw Leeds.

However it's nice to now have enough information to make me confident the car has been looked after, and enough to go on to re-fill a service book honestly and almost completely.



I've drawn it all up on a big graph. It's surprising how easy it makes it to figure things out when it's laid out nicely like this.

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So with a bit of driving around to see some of these garages, I'll hopefully get some service history rebuilt for the car, and maybe even redacted invoices if I give them some beer tokens haha!


Now I just need to get a service at VW sorted so it has a nice big fresh stamp and some good-will for some bubbly front arch work!



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Cars looking a lot better now and a good shout with the mats as mine are getting worn



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Great write-up and glad it's in safe hands now.


Side question - how was the Z4? Always loved that shape and toyed with the idea of getting the 3.0L manual a few years back but never managed to get a shot of one.



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Good to see a car getting the treatment it deserves, keep the updates coming

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