November 2013

24
Nov
2013

The summer is now over and with winter fast approaching we can at last see that some of the seeds we sowed late last year starting to bear fruit. Unfortunately, not all fruits are perfect but a higher proportion of good ones is a sign that the tree is maturing.

Rear Wheel Steering

Phase one of the redesigned dogtooth on the rear wheel steering (RWS) on the Euro fives is proving to be a vast improvement on the previous version and fewer owners are reporting problems. Phase two is in the pipeline, new actuators, ECU units and uprated wiring loom is being tested ready for fitting next February. However, there is still work to be done on it and an additional recall is in the pipeline for next year.

In our opinion the best solution is taking the enhanced trade in deal that we managed to negotiate with KPM to upgrade to the Euro 5. No guarantees that it will never go wrong again but, if you can afford it, you then you get another three year warranty on a more reliable system. Having said that, One80 are still working on a fix for the Euro 4s.

For Euro 4 owners that don’t wish to go along that route, we understand that the proposed reasonably priced insurance scheme for the RWS only is nearly ready to roll out. In any event, any such insurance would not be a Mercedes backed warranty policy and you would have still have to fork out your own cash for any repair and then claim it back.

Some of the Euro 4s that KPM buy back will be fitted with a strait rear axle and sold to the Midlands where the RWS is not required. The others will be used as fleet cabs or sold with a KPM 3 year Global warranty.

Penso Parts

We have been told that the deal deal to supply all parts made by Penso for the Vito Taxi has at last been signed and parts will now be in stock at Mercedes Milton Keynes on a 24 hour notice to all Mercedes dealerships. I do however say this with a little bit scepticism as we have been told this was about to happen as far back as last November.

Ball Joints

Over the last couple of months there has been a supply problem of ball joints because of the demise of the Turkish factory that made them. One80 have sourced an alternative BSA approved joint and now have in stock a plentiful supply, so don’t be fobbed off by your repairer telling you that can’t get any.

Ventilation

Ventilation in the passenger compartment was a big issue during the long hot summer just gone. The non opening window was much talked about and although the air conditioning is very good, some passengers dislike air con and rightly complain of the lack of fresh air. Asthmatics and people with claustrophobia have a real problem using the Vito taxi. These points were made aware to TFL when we requested that they reconsider a sunroof opening for our cabs.

Apparently, the original Vito Taxi was presented to TFL with a sunroof but was rejected as it was did not conform to the 330mm floor ceiling height requirement. It was just 3.5mm too low.

We asked One80s boss Roy McMasters to look again at this problem. Their engineers have made some changes with the fittings and head lining and believe they are almost ready to present it to TFL for approval. We have also asked Roy for a running board or a manually operated step to replace the unreliable electronic one we have at present.

Electronic Step

Talking about that electronic step. £45 is the price you will pay to have your steps cleaned and lubricated. If you don’t look after them this will have to be repeated a few times a year and could cost you considerably more if it has to be replaced. A can of silicone will cost you about £5. If you clean and spray your steps once a fortnight it will cost you no more than £10 per year. It’s a no brainier!!!

Improved KPM Customer Service

Reports from owners about KPMs handling of their customers is improving. There is certainly a better atmosphere since Trevor Parker took up the reins. He has already started implementing changes that reflect what we would expect from a Mercedes dealership. We asked if they could offer a 24 hour service. He expressed a desire to eventually get to that point and has already implemented two late opening nights to 9pm. They are Tuesdays & Thursdays. He has also appointed a liaison manager for direct contact with us for our members problems.

Having a problem with your cab is always stressful, but as we have said in the past, if you try to sort out issues calmly and politely you always get better results.

Cheaper Mercedes Parts

We are in talks with a supplier that is offering genuine Mercedes parts considerably cheaper than we are able to buy them at the usual outlets. Watch this space.

Stop Press

We had a meeting with the RWS manufacture yesterday to examine the progress on the Euro4 unit. We were amazed at the progress they are making and for the first time we actually believe they have resolved all the problems. However, it still has to be road tested and approved by the standards authority and then submitted to TFL for their approval. All being well, it could be ready to go around April next year.