November 2012


I fitted the H&R lowering springs to the Meriva yesterday, which was easier to do than I'd expected. The rear springs are removed by simply undoing the torq bolt that locates the bottom of the rear shock absorber to the rear trailing arm. You then push the trailing arm downwards and the springs can be swapped over.

The front springs were a little trickier but straightfoward. I had to remove both the wiper arms, and the plastic windscreen scuttle, and that gave access to the two strut tops. A single 18mm nut holds the strut top mount in place. Two 18mm bolts hold the strut to the front hub carrier. A further 18mm nut allowed the removal of the front anti-roll bar drop link. Once the struts were off the car, swapping the springs was very easy, and refitting was the reverse of the above.

I then fitted the new 17x7J wheels and 205/40 Kumho tyres, and the McGard locking wheel bolts. In all, to fit the springs and weels took me a little under 3 hours to do. The Meriva now sits 30mm lower, and the new wheels and tyres really set it off. After 50 miles we'll be able to see how much more grip there is. I reckon -60mm springs would have been a little too much drop, but there's always the option to go lower if needs be. We'll see how it handles the sleeping policemen when fully laden at the weekend. Total cost of the upgrade is £841 which is the cost of the springs £160, tyres £240, rims £379, locking wheel bolts £22 and tyre fitting £40.

Meriva wheel & lowering upgrade


I was tagged in a great photo on Facebook the other day, taken at Loton Park in September.
Looks like the exit from Triangle to me.


I'm pleased to report that the replacement drop links have transformed the noise levels in the Subaru. And the handling is back to normal, its far less nervous on the twisty stuff. The 205/40R17 Kumho Ecsta tyres arrived for the Meriva this morning, I'll get them fitted to the alloys on Saturday. The wheels came with a 'free' set of locking wheel nuts, but these are going to be replaced with some proper McGard locking studs, as the ones supplied could be undone by a child with some molegrips.

Meanwhile, the XR2 is now sat waiting to be taken apart, priority is to fix the rear brakes to prevent the car from spinning under braking, relocate the rear wing so it is level with the roof line, and get the gearbox back to Quaife for its first service.
New vs old


I have fitted the 2nd Whiteline drop link to the Subaru. I'm hoping that the constant creaking noise doesnt return now that the ARB is reconnected. I've loctited the adjuster mechanism on both links, so they wont twist loose. And I've also used Waxoyl on the threads and bodies to make them easier to remove than the originals were. Certainly without the front ARB connected, the car is far more nervous on fast bends. I had a chance to push the Subaru quite hard around the slip road off the end of the M69 down on to the M6 on Friday, and I could feel the suspension winding up, and releasing. I'll try it again on Monday and see what the difference is.

New vs oldDrivers side linksDrivers side linksWhiteline ARB linkWhiteline ARB linkFinished


The new Meriva had to go in to the garage last week for some warranty work. We'd only had it for two weeks and the engine warning lamp came on. I connected the OBDII Bluetooth dongle and read the error code using the Torque Engine Management Diagnostics Tools on my Android phone, and it showed P0141, which was the code for the Oxygen sensor. The garage swapped this out, and the car is now back on the driveway. It also needed a new filler cap, as the one provided was for a diesel, not a petrol, and they also replaced the passenger side door mirror as the glass wobbled above 30mph. The 17x7 VXR alloys I ordered on Ebay have arrived today, and I've ordered a set of H&R lowering springs, which will drop the ride height by 30mm. I just need to get the 205/40 17's ordered and then I can fit everything to it. I've fitted the first of the two Whiteline ARB drop links on the Subaru. I wanted to do both sides but ran in to similar difficulties when removing the original droplinks from the passenger side. So I've left the threads soaking in rust-eze, and I'll have another try at the weekend. Certainly with the drivers side only reconnected with the new drop link, there's no noise to speak of. The real test will be when both sides are connected together.


I've spent the last few weeks in Inchinnan, which is next door to Glasgow airport, working on a customer site. The flying element is quite enjoyable (four flights in 10 days), the time away from home less so. At the end of October I bought a Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 16V Design (in Sapphire Black) as a new family runabout. The Audi A6 was proving too expensive to run given the limited annual mileage we were putting on the car, and the majority of journeys being simple trips to the shops, so it made sense to buy something more modern and economical. The Meriva came with 15" 5 stud wheels, with 185/60R15 tyres, which dont look that good. So I've found a set of new 'rare' Meriva VXR alloy wheels, which are 17" x 7J, and I'll get these fitted with 205/45R17 tyres just as soon as I've cleared off the credit card bill from all the travel expenses I've incured over the past four weeks. Pictures to follow. I also plan to lower the car by 30mm, which will help the handling by lowering the CofG, and then the sound system will get some attention as the MP3 player in the car isn't that good when the volume is pushed. I still have the Whiteline anti roll bar drop links to fit on the Subaru, and the Fiesta is sat in the garage waiting for some attention too. I need to find a way to clone myself :D