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Planning a trip to the Alps in the S3... what tools do you advise, people


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Hello all.

Thanks for swinging by my post here.

 

With COVID in the Spring preventing me travelling in March 2020, I'm now using lockdown to sort the well over due trip to the Alps in 2021.  How middle class...  That said, folk here know the importance of life's indulgencies and joys.  We're here for a good time and I'm badly wanting one!  I've been wanting to take the Esprit to the Alps for a couple of seasons and now I've made the ski racks. I'm good to go 100%.  But I'd like your advice.

I've a 1984 S3. I am thinking of either car transporting her to Geneva Airport where I'd pick her up and take on to the mountains and then drive back.

OR

Gently drive down from Calais, listening to podcasts on the radio. I wasn't planning a huge back road european tour, just straight down in the most direct line I can as I've done a few times before (albeit in comfier 4x4's).

I'm NOT putting in the spare wheel as I've four brand new tyres and reconditioned wheels.  the positives out weight the risks.  The space saved allows for luggage, emergency fuel, and a tool kit; which is where I need your help

What tools would you advise? what could go wrong on motorway stress or this jounrey and what prep could I do to the engine.  I'm okay with cars, but not a detailed mechanic. I reckon i'll sit at around 65/70 with the skis and stop every couple of hours for fuel and coffee.

Is there anything else I ought to be thinking about? 

Thanks all.  Image below.

Andy

 

 

ski.jpg

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so, it snowed in Berks...   as close as I can get to the Alps for now...    

hello all.   thank you  @benja-p @Kevin Wheeler  @Bazza 907 @peteyg @Choppa @slewthy @jerzybondov and @skiing... all sound advice, insights and perspectives. I appreciate the comments.

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Andy

I did the NC500 in September so not really the same as the Alps but I didn't take too much and relied on getting the Elan checked over before I went and took the breakdown recovery card - didn't need it.

Very jealous of your proposed trip. Best colour Esprit BTW. 

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If your car is in good working order and used regularly you don't need much. I've done a trip to the alps and 2 round trips to Slovenia in my S2, drove all the way from Hampshire and back. Gaffer tape, cable ties, spare oil and a couple of adjustable spanners is all I've packed as well as a leatherman tool. If something goes wrong there will always be someone to fix it.

1st trip to Slovenia via South of France: my driveshaft u/js gave up the ghost near Dijon but rolled up to a random garage that read 'toutes reparations' on the outside and a very helpful and enthusiastic owner who was more used to Renaults and Citroens. A couple of days later I was on the way again. Only delayed because we broke down on a Saturday afternoon so parts couldn't be sourced until Monday and the Tour de France happened to be coming through town that weekend. I'd only owned the car for 6 months. I was young, foolish and it turned out I'd bought a properly knackered car. It had a complete rebuild not long after that trip! 

2nd trip to Slovenia 2000 odd miles and not a single issue!

1st trip to the alps summertime): oil gauge line split at the engine end and was leaking. Found a local garage who soldered the tip of the nipple the line attaches to as you can't refit the plastic pipe once it's come off. Pissed half a sump of oil out of the nipple whilst I drove to the garage so engine bay was covered but a bit of brake cleaner on the important bits and all was well.

Just go for it. Most things can be fixed or bodged well enough until a permanent fix can be made once back home. If something breaks and it's terminal you will just have a shorter trip.

Enjoy!

Pete

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Pete '79 S2

LEW Miss September 2009

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My single drive to the alps wasn't nearly so eventful, nothing fell off, nothing broke and the car behaved impeccably. However travelling through France you'll need to carry a few bits of "stuff" to keep the French police happy if they choose to stop you however you go.  The motoring organisations will give you a complete list but off the top of my head you'll need a couple of breathalyzers,  Hi Viz jackets for each passenger, plus if you are driving up to a ski resort during the season they will insist on you having snow chains and that you fit them when required.  Kneeling in an icey puddle while fitting chains to the rears on my Esprit  isn't an experience I'd be keen to repeat so a waterproof sheet to kneel on would be my number one suggestion in addition to Peter's list. 

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Normally Aspirated - and lovin' it!

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Sounds great!

My son and I did the Fireball 007 trip last September in our 1986 S3Na.

Show chains if you are definitely doing snow driving. We took snow socks and although there was an early heavy snow fall, we didnt need them. 

We had massive break fade on the Furka pass. Make sure you change your fluid or at least have a garage check it. Also overheated in traffic on the French roads as the otter switch was failing. Make sure you check yours works. Pay for the toll passes before you go if you can.

Buy proper duck tape and there is also a waterproof tape for water and oil leaks. Can't remember the name but I imagine the gorilla self amalgamating would be good.

We ditched the spare for Dodge as all our trees were new and took some tyre weld just in case. 

That's my starter for ten

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Looks like an epic trip. Not quite a Lotus, but I took my DeLorean down to the alps in winter a couple of years ago. It held up OK! Took snow socks rather than chains, and a relatively light set of tools, spanners, sockets, gaffer tape, zip ties etc. 

One thing I would recommend though is a new pair of skis if those ones on the car are the ones you intend to ski on!! 

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I did a return trip to close to the Pyrenees this summer - I took my usual tool roll, a set of spark plugs and a distributor cap and rotor arm and a litre of oil. Some fuses and relays.  I also have a set of snow socks for winter as well rather than chains. I would definitely get it checked over before you go. Make sure your alternator and battery are healthy! Make sure your wiper is in good nick... Just in case the weather is grim. The only thing which went wrong was the new distributor cap I had installed and new rotor arm! - It misfired all the way back racing for the ferry (so I couldn't stop to investigate and swap back the old one!)... You can buy a French car kit which includes all the bits you need online - I think mine is a Ring one.

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Not quite a piece of mechnical advice I'm afraid, but I've seen that Harry Metcalfe has got an automatic toll pass gizmo to help him through the Autoroute booths with a righthand drive car... Thought that was an excellent tip if you're doing the run alone to avoid endless contoritions getting in and out of the Esprit haha! Check the link at around 12min 30sec for a demo...

 

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We use a toll pass on the French Autoroutes. Would highly recommend them.

I have taken my TE several times to France and driven 2K miles generally. My most important piece of kit has been the insurance. That got the car back home when the clutch gave way. I am pretty sure that could not have been fixed by the roadside.

My best piece of advice would be to make sure that you use the car regularly and service it on schedule.

One year in France I did need the spare wheel after I hit some debris on the motorway and bent the rim so I would consider not leaving it behind.

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On breakdown cover, read the small print. RAC (when I double checked in 2017) only allow one claim per trip. EG. 10 days away in France, need help day 1, you are not covered for the rest of that trip away. 

AA Europe cover appears to be much more comprehensive. 

You need spare bulbs, warning triangle, hi-viz jacket for each person, international driving licence for France. With Brexit, the French police are likely to be very strict. Have all your documents to hand and don't speed in France. 50kmh over and you are banned immediately. 

Justin 

 

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Yes, be careful on speeding - every small village has a Gendamerie it seems and they like to set up their tripods on a Sunday evening (in particular) and wave in anyone they think might be going over the limit... I have been pulled over three times in the Lancia when coming back from a day's skiing. I think they think as an old car, it is less likely to have a CT or insurance etc. I got the AA cover. I didn't bother with the automatic toll thing, just hopped out and put the ticket in - doesn't take long and no-one seemed to mind. 

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These are the people in the UK who do the tags for the French motorways. It is kind of sweet when you are in a UK reg'd car and sweep past loads of EU reg'd cars in the queues, especially with the tool booths that allow you to drive through at up to 20mph without stopping.

 

https://www.emovis-tag.co.uk/

Normally Aspirated - and lovin' it!

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1st time I went to the south of France in the summer, was coming back on a Saturday at the end of August - very busy.

First toll booth, had to queue for about 1/2 hour, got to the booth, stuck a 100 EUR note in, rejected, tried another one, rejected. Spent about 10 minutes searching round the car for 20 something euros required, down backs of seats etc. - swore never again - next year bought a tag, got one for Italy and Spain/Portugal as well.

I'll second @Choppa very satisfying passing all the other cars queuing up.

 

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There’s no substitute for a prior inspection of the whole car by someone who knows what they’re looking at. And by that I mean a good look in every nook and cranny for potential problems.

Oh, and Sod’s Law says that whatever tools or spares you take are guaranteed to be utterly useless for any breakdown.🙄

Margate Exotics.

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Definitely echo @skiing's comments about taking a spare distributor cap and a reputable rotor arm.

I recommend the authentic red variety. If in doubt, as there are plenty of copies out there, PNM Engineering sell them mail order.

I also pack a £5.00 foot pump with my original tool kit. Mines a Dunlop branded one in a small case I picked up whilst working in Spain for Kawasaki Europe. They wanted one for their dealer road tests as the roads were still debris strewn in February after the January floods.

A selection of sockets (8, 10, 13 and 17mm) with a small and large rachet wouldn't come in wrong either.

Hope that helps.

Enjoy the skiing and boarding.

What resorts are you intending to visit?

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26 minutes ago, Bazza 907 said:

I can do the aprez, just can't do the ski. 

Other yoghurts are available, including soya and lactose free.

Apologies. Did not mean to hijack but do pack a tyre inflator and check pressures regularly. 

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Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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