Having recently topped up with my first over-£60 of petrol, a panic reaction set in. Do I swap the Zaf for a micro car? My first thoughts were: get a Yaris, 50 mpg, five seats, semi automatic. However, £7000 for a good one made me think. What is the best value? That much for a new car, or simply change the amount I have to pay for fuel.....? LPG is 69p per litre in my local garage and within half a mile. As most of my driving is done within 60 miles, I felt I could run the Zaf on LPG alone, with a couple of gallons of petrol as backup. A search of the net found a £900 conversion, in Cardiff. Much cheaper than a change of vehicle, and I calculated I would recover the cost within a couple of years at most.
An early start (4am!) found me in Cardiff exactly on time, 8am, and my Polish lpg conversion specialist just opening his workshop. The conversion was expected to be complete by 7pm that same day, and he would give me a courtesy car while the work was done.
A trip to Cardiff centre, Barry Island (a sort of Southend and the Welsh end of Gavin and Stacey: I come from Billericay). Cardiff a bit expensive on parking fees, and not particularly interesting. I took myself back to the workshop at around 6pm, asked how things were going. OK, but the bad news is, another two or three hours, quite a lot of the Zaf had to be removed to allow gas pipes to be fitted. So, I tried to make myself comfortable in the front seat of the Honda I had been loaned. Nine o'clock, ten o'clock passed by, still no sign of work being finished. Surely they would, could not work any longer? I was knackered and I'd done nothing....
The problem was twofold: the car would not run on LPG at under 900 rpm, and the engine warning light would not go out. A cold hand gripped my stomach (that's what it felt like anyway). At one the next morning, they had cured the warning light, vbut not the low rpm problem.
I had no wish to spend any more time trying to sleep in the courtest car, so we mutually came to the decision to call it a day, and I would drive home, and return later when they had found out what was the problem.
A lovely quiet run home, empty motorways, no charge to get back across the Severn Crossing, nor to get back through the Dartford Tunnel.
Of course, something HAD to go wrong: the warning light came on about 80 miles on the way home, and hasn't gone out since!
I am going back to Cardiff within the next week as they think the problem is the rail, whatever that is, and this will be replaced. I'll report back when it's done and will let you know IF the conversion is worth it. P.S.: the ignition barrel is playing up, have got to have it expensively replaced befor I can get to Cardiff....
Watch this forum!