It lives!

Wonderful day today, as the car was driveable for the first time since Christmas Day. After much pondering (& quite a lot of checking what batteries were in stock locally) I bought an Optima Yellow Top YTS 4.2 from Advanced Battery Supplies in Stockport. A tiny place on a side street but nice staff & a small discount was very welcome as Optima batteries are not cheap.

A quick wash down was very definitely in order, leaving the Mantis gleaming in the sun. Went out for about an hour driving round Cheshire lanes in the sunshine. Being a little cautious but everything went well. The stereo isn’t working but I can look at that at home. Very happy.

My daughter wanted a spin (can we go the long way round to the shop 😁) so went out again, this time through Dunham & Lymm. Stopped for fuel & had trouble pulling away from the pump. Felt like fuel starvation so wondering if there is still an issue with heat evaporation in the fuel rails. Turned the engine off for a few seconds & it restarted again without issue.

Looking forward to driving the car every few days to uncover any gremlins from being stood for five months. To do list is stereo, bonnet mesh & fuse box(s).

Battery woes

The NOCO Li-Ion starter has arrived… and wouldn’t start the Mantis. It did start the Mini One however, so the NOCO unit is OK.

The CTEK battery charger/tester also arrived. I removed the Optima Red Top battery from the Mantis, & it was at 4.2V across the terminals. Left it on charge from the CTEK & it got to 11.6V but the CTEK & battery were both getting pretty hot so I disconnected it. A day later, not having connected it back to the car the voltage is back down to 5.4V. 😭

At this point I have decided that the Red Top can’t be reconditioned or brought back to life & I don’t fancy cooking my new CTEK charger either. So now I need to find an alternative battery which will fit in the tray & will last a little longer. And, of course, figure out what is draining the battery.

Charger of the light brigade

The black mesh for the front bonnet cooling vents has arrived – Huzzah! Being aluminium, it is very light in comparison to the current steel mesh. However, that should be OK as it’s not load bearing bar the odd stone & occasionally someone who thinks it’s funny to put their rubbish down the hole! The gaps are a lot bigger so fingers crossed this means improved airflow & better cooling.

Of course, cooling is only relevant if the engine is running! 🤣 Despite charging the Optima Red Top 35 R battery with my trusty CTEK XS3600 more than once over the last few months, the engine still wouldn’t start. It is clearly a lack of juice as there is a barely audible click upon first attempt, then nothing. No luck with my DBPower 600A Portable Car Jump Starter either (disappointing).

That said, I did manage to start the engine using jump leads to feed off our trusty family steed, the Honda CR-V. That would seem to rule out a wiring issue. Why might there be a wiring issue? I’ve been slightly nervous since I found those mouse droppings oin the wheel arches in the engine bay (although the culprits are no longer with us I’m afraid 💀).

I’m still at a loss as to why the battery is not at full charge. I can’t figure out what’s draining it & suffice to say in Coronavirus lock down, getting an auto-electrician is not happening 🙄. I’ve also found both the CTEK unit & the battery getting quite warm, which can’t be good. Inevitably the battery is a few months out of its 2 year warranty, and at £150 a pop, I am not in a hurry to replace it if it can be reconditioned. Therefore, in the spirit of self-diagnosis & resolution, I have decided to invest in a better battery charger and car jump starter. Step forward, the CTEK MXS 5.0 Test and Charge, and the NOCO Boost HD GB70.

The MXS-5.0 Test&Charge has diagnostics as well as charging functionality.

After much Googling, the NOCO Boost HD GB70 has another 2kMA on the DBPower 600A & is rated to start petrol engines up to 8 litres. Plus, the next DBPower unit up, the 800A, doesn’t seem to be available in the UK.

I have high hopes that the CTEK will give me some insight into whether it is the battery or not. 🤔 If so, my love affair with Optima may be at an end! At least I can prove the NOCO car starter, which allows me to travel in the car with a bit more confidence. Covid-19 Lock down looks set to run on into the summer so I am not missing out too much, despite the lovely weather. In the meantime, the Marcos Cars Facebrook is very active with lots of great pictures resurfacing, including some nice ones of the Mantis. 😁

Happy 60th anniversary!

Finally it is the weekend of the 60th Anniversary celebrations down at Wroxall Abbey ( The weather isn’t quite as nice as during the week (Spanish plume… where are you?! 🙄🤣) but could be worse. Slightly more frustrating perhaps is that the Mantis is dead as a… er… dead thing. Unfortunately my DB Power Li-ion jump starter is also discharged so as I write the battery is trickle charging away. Heigh ho! Hoping to get there in time for the dinner tonight, otherwise tomorrow’s part of the event. (although I am not sure quite what that is).Tick tock, tick tock! 🙄

What, AGAIN?

I’ve been down in Warwick for the last three days with the Met office having forecast  -7°C plus snow – Yikes! Not having used the car for a week or so I decided to check all was well on Sunday and rather glad that I did. Flat battery which was a bit of a bugger as it’s the new (& expensive) Optima Red Top. On top of that the DP Power Li-ion jump starter wouldn’t work, which is still a bit of a mystery. Fortunately an overnight on my trusty CTek XS3600 trickle charger brought the battery back to life & fingers crossed no permanent damage done. The car behaved impeccably to & from Warwick (including the inevitable crap standing traffic around Warwick itself) & the snow did not materialise. Actually if there really had been any I would have been goosed as the car simply sits on top of anything more than 2″ of snow…


I’m also about to hit the first 5K miles on the new engine. Not as intensive use as in some previous years, and would love to improve the heat dispersion & stop the air filter hose rubbing on the bonnet. However… it’s got me to Le Mans & back & done plenty of domestic donkey work so very happy. It’s… also… rather… quick! Yeah baby!

Where’s Noah?

One of my greatest pleasures from having the Marcos is driving with the hood down. I normally consider myself (& the long-suffering car) fairly tolerant on the weather front… but I got rather moist today! 😳 Having slightly misjudged the intensity of rain when glancing out of the office window before blindly setting off home, heavy traffic (& male pride) meant that I didn’t have the opportunity to put the hood up for about 15 minutes of… this!

A combination of no fuel (again) & standing water in the passenger seat (again) forced me to concede defeat & pull into a petrol station. Curse you, weather Gods!

Now one of the reasons I don’t get hung up on putting the hood up when it’s raining is that it doesn’t actually stop you from getting wet – it just concentrates the water in a few key places. At least, that’s the score in my car. I already knew the new hood had gaps around the leading window edge which let water in when driving, but I wasn’t expecting it to be coming in through the front seal above the windscreen & dripping steadily off the sun visor (yeah… guess how much that gets used in Manchester…) and onto my lap. It’s never happened before so a bit perplexing & subsequent inspection hasn’t revealed anything obviously wrong with the rubber. What it did mean however was a s**tload of water in the car, now being superheated by the 6.2 litre footwarmer with the result that EVERYTHING misted up & I couldn’t see out of the car. The front screen demister didn’t stand a chance! As the traffic inched forward I became terrified of driving into the (unseen) car in front, in the end putting the hazard lights on & pulling off onto a sidestreet until the rain abated somewhat. Not my finest arrival home!

On a cheerier note, since replacing the battery the car has started without any issues so it looks like the Optima was a worthwhile investment.

Aww c’mon car…

A bitter sweet day today. The car barely started after 3 days trickle charging & is reading 10.8V across the battery. On the other hand once the car was going it was a lovely drive to & from work, with two “Nice car mate”s and a “Mind if I take some pictures of your car?” (lorry driver several feet above me in the other lane!). I will charge it up overnight & then measure the voltage across the battery while the engine is running.

Fingers crossed…


Another almost flat battery this morning after four days of the car not being used. 😢 Looking like the issue is not as intermittent as I had hoped. Hoping to hear back from Colin the excellent auto electrician who sorted the LED indicator really a couple of years ago. One weird thing is that the Engine Start button lights up as I turn the interior fan up from medium to high. Odd!

The proverbial Dodo

After a great trip down from Cheshire to Bedford on Sunday then not using the car for three days, worrying to find the battery wasn’t up to starting the car to get home on Thursday afternoon. No idea what’s causing this & had even unplugged the ODB2 Bluetooth sender after last time, so at a bit of a loss. The car started with the help of a friendly neighbour with jump leads