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  1. The last car I had was a 1988 Polo about 20 years ago and I've had nothing but old motorcycles since. However, I've just bought a 2000 Polo Hatchback 5-door with the 999cc engine in the most basic trim with nothing optional included, which suits me just fine. Roll-em-up windows and basic simplicity. I bought it from a dodgy bloke in a pub car park in the dark for peanuts and he said it was owned by a little old lady who only ever used it to drive to church on Sundays. It has no body rot (VW galvanized that year) and it has almost a year's MOT left. So it's basically a 20 year old car with a few minor niggles that people who don't work on cars would find daunting or expensive to fix, but I've been working on vehicles since before you were born so I don't mind a little upkeep but I've never owned anything as new as this and have no experience with things like fuel injection, ECU foibles or what the MOT man looks for these days so I need a little advice on a couple of things. When I first got it the idle was erratic to say the least so when I got it home I popped the bonnet and took off the air breather and found ancient leaky air hoses and random electric shite which I started removing and throwing away. I've done stuff like this to vehicles for 40 years and they are always better for it. A petrol engine isn't rocket science and all that so-called pollution control complication is rubbish, and breathing crankcase fumes and who knows what back into an engine is stupid and unhealthy for the engine. That idiotic massive air breather that probably weighed more than the driver's seat had to go in the bin and a small motorcycle pod filter the size of a coffee mug went on. I plugged off the two air lines to the throttle body and rerouted the crankcase and valve cover vent hoses so nothing goes into the intake anymore. After scrutinizing the fuel lines and figuring out what they probably did as regards the injection system I disconnected the electric tank breather valve and threw it away and removed the plastic cannister thing down by the radiator and now the vent hose from the tank is just open to the air so the tank can breathe. Then I dumped a gallon of diesel in with the petrol to clean the injectors. Worked a treat. All that made the car run sweeter than I'm sure it has in ten years. Idles perfectly and goes strong for what it is, which is a 20 year old 50hp petrol engine so you can't expect anything wild but it trundles along brilliantly now. Absolutely no problems there. I hate the fly-by-wire throttle pedal and see no reason why it was even used on so simple a car but I know it has to stay for now for the ECU and the fuel injection to work, at least until I can source a cable throttle body and a different ECU to match or a carb and intake, but for now it will stay as standard because it works. However, what I'd like to know is how much crap can I get rid of before the ECU starts to complain or something? For instance there's a temperature sensor located down by the distributer that I've read often has issues either with bad wires or erroneous readings and that somehow causes the ECU to misbehave, so can I just get rid of it altogether? I won't use a thermostat in the engine so the water will always circulate freely anyway, so what's the temperature sensor even for and why does the ECU need it? I'd like to just get rid of it and be done with any future problems. Then there's the idiot sensor bolted into the exhaust manifold. Stupid crap, needs to go, is there any way to dispense with it and still have a happy ECU and still get through the MOT? And the strangling old catalytic converter is coming off as well as soon as I can find a fake straight through to fit because I know the MOT says this car MUST look like it has the pointless thing fitted. I have read things about the immobilizer going bad as well. Where is it, and can I just get rid of it? The simple primitive stuff I can fix, like the brakes and the suspension that need a bit of sorting before the next MOT, but primitive as this thing is it's still got an annoying amount of senseless computery crapola and I'd like to do away with as much of it as I can. Otherwise, it's a great car!
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