Monday, 26 November 2012

Farewell to the Fairway FX4

Dick Puddlecote reminds us of the insanity behind the disappearance of thousands of Fairway FX4 cabs from London's streets over the past few months. For those who are not afficionados of London cabs, the FX4 is the one with the rear doors hinged at the back, a hugely sensible and convenient arrangement.

The last of the Nissan-engined Fairways came off the production line in 1997, but a few of the older Austin / Rover engined carbodies FX4s were still on the road two years ago, most having done over a million miles, and instantly recognisable from their engine note. 

Steel of course emits around 2 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne made, and all those internal plastic trims come from hydrocarbons. So not only are all those massive, ugly, clumsy, heavy Mercedes cabs now on London's streets responsible for mass emissions as new vehicles, thousands of older FX4s will still have half-a-million miles left in them, as exported taxis, (or as private vehicles - 1990s FX4s will cost £1500 - £2000) so the result of the ban is actually, er, a net increase in CO2 emissions. 

You won't be astonished to learn that the Euro 3 exhaust emission regulations are responsible.


Barnacle Bill said...

Aye and look what Ford has had to do with it's turbo diesels to meet the windfarm huggers emissions regulations.
A diesel particulate filter that only lasts 70,000 miles and cost three grand to replace!
I can remember the good old days when a diesel was thought to be only just run-in at 100,000 miles.

pjt said...

I don't quite agree that this move is increasing emissions. Taxicabs get a lot of mileage, and they typically get that mileage in town, meaning lots of acceleration and braking. A lighter cab with a modern engine is what you should use here. It's good to recycle old, heavy vehicles for use somewhere else (where the robust design still means a long long life, and higher exhaust emissions are less of a problem than in central London).

It's then another thing that the London taxi design is iconic and it's a shame to lose the sight. On the other hand, there's this new Routemaster thing which looks nice.

Raedwald said...

pjt -

FX4 kerb weight 1,640kg
Merc Vito kerb weight 2,160kg

FX4 engine 2.6l
Vito engine 2.2l

So we should have fitted the old FX4 body with a new engine instead?

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine who is a cabbie, bought a new cab last year (he's been moanin' about the expense ever since)...

...Whether it is an FX4 I don't know, but it looks superficially like the one in your picture Raedwald.

I am not sure whether there is a significant problem with airborne particulates though... If one were to question the difference between lead and the various chemical based anti-knock preparations that have been poisoning the air since the banning of lead in petrol (actually everything) in an interesting attempt to deny the existence of the periodic table.

I am of the view that a metal (like lead) that drops to the ground compared to some carcinogenic chemical that floats in the atmos is something that we should really be concerned about.

However, I am no phamacist.

Farenheit211 said...

The Euro emissions standard has killed of quite a few family run independent hauliers that previously operated within the M25.

Anonymous said...

That's just the euro-3 standard for cars and small vans. The standard for everything larger is euro-4....nothing produced before 2006 will meet that (except for a few vehicles pre-fitted with the necessary engine)
I think you need to get a grip on the "nothing governments do is good" syndrome.
I'll ignore the "lead sinks to the ground" (tetraethyl-lead). It doesn't. Not immediately, when emitted by vehicles. And it is a neurotoxin especially dangerous to children. And it ruins catalytic converters !
You may like to investigate the harm caused by inhaling pm10 particulates, and the systemic damage caused by inhalation of pm2.5 particulates.
The cabs are only disappearing from london, other towns are infested with them....


Budgie said...

A few London taxicabs were fitted with fuel cells for the Olympics.

Alternatively Delhi requires lorries and new tuk-tuks to be CNG powered. There is no reason for our cities to be so backward for speciality vehicles.

Anon 2 said...

What the heck is a "tonne"? Is it bigger than a ton? (No need to answer, I'm far too stupid EVER to learn about it).

Anon 2 said...

PS: Furthermore my father is 6' 1 and 3/4" high; I weigh 9st; and I take my own scales to the dog food store so that I can get the right amounts for her. If the storekeepers don't like it, then they like their stuff better than I do....

G. Tingey said...

I nearly fell foul of this one ... because idots decided ALL Land-Rovers were "commercial vehicles".
Needless to say my 1996/7 Counth LWB is not a commercial v.
At the last minute, after a lot of shouting, they cahnged their minds ....
Actually, retro-fitting newer, more efficient, cleaner, engines would have been perfectly possible.
Looks like a screw-up to me, rather than a conspiracy.

Anon 2
Bloody grow up, you uneducated idiot!
I started using what was then called the "mks" system (Now the IS syatem of units) back in 1961/2, at school.
If you can't cope at this late date, I suggest you emulate the car-modifiactions, & get a brain transplant.
A "tonne" is almost exactly the same as an Imperial ton - very convenient .....
I could never cope with "stones", even back in the 60's, so saying I mass 82kg is easy, & I'm 1.79 metres tall (5ft 10-%-1/2 inches)
Same as a TEmpreature scale that has zero for freezing & 100 for boiling is only sensible - especially when twinned with the Absolute scale [ Same size of unit, just shifted by 273.16 degrees ]

Hoiwever, there is one measue that will keep: 568ml = 0.568 litres.
Very noticeable that alot of GErman beer-glasses are 500 ml, with a line - brim measure, they are - guess what?
Very amusing.

Budgie said...

GTingey, it is you who are an "uneducated idiot". Metric is just as arbitrary as English customary units.

Unfortunately because metric was invented by mad scientists at the behest of blood crazed revolutionaries, it is not a very human friendly (ie not an ergonomic) system.

As for being besotted with 10s, 100s and 1000s, real life values are seldom so conveniently arranged. There is nothing magic about base 10 numbers either. If we went for octo, duodecimal or hexadecimal it would put paid to the stupid metric relationships anyway.

G. Tingey said...

Did you know that "Chain" is exactly 20 meters? Very convenient.
Temperature is only arbitrary as to unit-size, since all scales must, eventually correspond to the Absolute one. Making the triple point of Water (itself an absolute figure) zero & boiling ( at STP ) 100 is just sensible,
You are wrong about the "Mtric" system - it was devised by scientists, & used by them EVERYWHERE. It also makes bread-making & other cooking proces much more convenoent, since "scaling" quantities is much simpler ... as I do when making bread, muffins or anything else, for that matter.

"IF" - but we have been using base 10 for over 2000 years, now (the last remnents of base 60 from the Sumerians are still with us, of course, but, again this is an artifice. Actual angles are measured, again in absolute units - Radians.

Now get an education.

Anonymous said...

A tonne is one thousand kilograms...
or 2204.6 pounds weight
A ton is 2240 pounds weight....(a 1000-pound cow in full milk flow requires, per day. 25.6 pounds of dry matter, containing digestible nutrients) (irrelevant, but so was/is the moaning about metric, which I was also acquainted with at school in the 1960s')

Budgie said...

GTingey you are a joke - a person with a partial education who says something must be right merely because he says so.

The Metric system is as arbitrary as English customary units. Anyone can devise a new measurement system. Special trades often do, or stick to their own measure that has proved useful. In fact my new unit of length is called the "Decifoot" and is exactly equal to 10 inches, or a less useful 254mm. You see? dead simple.

Moreover, there is no compelling reason in principle why we should use the interval between melting ice and boiling water (which is not constant anyway - on top of Everest it is 154°F) and divide by 100. Personally I would take the interval between absolute zero and the human body temperature and divide by 57. My new units are called Budgie degrees, °B. Perfectly straightforward, easy to use, and much more sensible than old fashioned Celsius.

pjt said...

Umm, so new Mercedes taxis in London are Vitos only, not any other type of Mercedes cars (like on most cities in the world where they typically are C or E class wagons?) Right, then they surely aren't lighter. The weight in new taxis is mostly due to much better collision safety, though.

The emissions may still be smaller than with the traditional London cabs. Depends on usage patterns and technology, of course.

Whatever happened to that new taxi design by Nissan?

G. Tingey said...

Budgie - what measur do you use for engine-capacity in motor vehicles?
Cubic inces, or "cc" (=ml, approx)?
Thought so.

READ what I said, please - I quote: " boiling ( at STP ) 100 .."
STP, not some other value - actually, that's a misprint/type - I SHOULD have said SP - without the "P" - never mind.

You also missed the point.

They are the INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM of Units.
Used by scientists & engineers everywhere across the planet.
Now bloody grow up & get an (science) education.
Because, if you don't, I'm going to regard you as a moron.

Raedwald said...

pjt - not just vitos, but they have to be modified vitos with rear-wheel steering at low speeds, to meet London cab turning circle requirements (a cab has to be able to turn 180deg in the width of a standard 8m London road)plus space for a wheelchair in the back

blast - I'm going to get hammered for that '8m' - should have said 25 feet

Budgie said...

GTingey - I see where your problem is. It is the schoolboy howler of confusing absolutes, like the physical constants, with the measuring systems that human beings have invented to describe them with.

The figures we use to measure anything are dependent on both the base for the actual numbers and the purely arbitrary measurement systems we use.

In your usual obnoxious manner you told another commenter "Bloody grow up, you uneducated idiot!" Yet is is you who have everything wrong - a chain is not "exactly 20 meters"; the boiling point of water is not an absolute; the temperature of absolute zero does not have to have the figure -273.16 (we could call it "0" or "-400" if we wished); and so on.

Your implication that "scientists & engineers everywhere" only use Metric is false - engineers in the USA typically use American (English) customary units to the extent that others throughout the world have to follow suit where necessary. Actually any sensible scientist or engineer needs to be able to use either system, not least to know the problems each have.

People in the UK were duped into going Metric on the basis that it was better. It isn't, it's just different. It is often less convenient. We would have wasted far less time and money converting to American customary units and American standards.

G. Tingey said...

Temperature has to be congruent @ some point with the absolute scale & the triple-point of water is also a true fixed point, for instance.
I am quite aware that ANY system we presently use has "artificial" standards built-in to it.
Though it IS possible to construct a system using true absolutes for all basic measures, but you would then have to have fiddle-factors to get convenient units.

However, the IS sysyem is just that: INTERNATIONAL. And everybody understands it, and can use it without confusion.
Believe me, I've come across some real horrors involving mixed-unit measurements in the past, when our production plant were using a combination of US "imperial", real Imperial & metric measures! The shuddering horrors we got in the labs, when we found out were quite interesting.
I note you mention the USSA - well, even they often use the IS sysem, simply because it IS international, as mentioned. And, of course, their imperial isn't the same as ours, especially where it comes to volume-measures.

We were not "duped" into going metric ... it is the International system.

By the way, my first degree is in Physics, & my M.Sc, is in Engineering, so I COULD go on about this for weeks, but let's not, shall we?

Budgie said...

GTingey - No, you are still confusing physical absolutes, for example the existence of 'absolute zero' temperature, with the numbers that humans have arbitrarily given them. Measurement systems are invented by man - a metre could have been shorter, a second longer and 1 kg could have been chosen to be 1 lb. And absolute zero could have called '0' not -273 and a bit.

The manufacturing horrors you describe would have been avoided by the Europeans adopting American standards. And us making the very slight shift to American standards. It is certainly would have been cheaper and easier for us.

Moreover the metre in use today is not the same length as the metre scratched onto a bar by mad scientists at the behest of blood crazed French revolutionaries in 1799. So even your precious Metric system is neither absolute nor consistent.

Your problem is that your arrogance and conceit exceed your brain power. Your obnoxious manner is merely bluster when you are wrong. You have no right to slag off the Anon 2 commenter full stop. But especially since most of what you have said on this subject is complete tosh anyway.

pjt said...

blast - I'm going to get hammered for that '8m' - should have said 25 feet

I appreciate that, but I think the discussion about SI units vs. others was pretty much resolved by the Stonehenge measures of Spinal Tap.

Anonymous said...

Just here to back "Budgie" though whether Tingey is an idiot, I am not so sure, but certainly his continuous stating of FACTS, as if a fact was immutable is rather tedious, along with the routine rudeness.

The only sensible measurement is the one that all parties in a trade agree upon.

Olympic sized swimming pools anyone?

yes i do own the road said...

My fairway had completed 475k mls.It looked great,drove superbly,tourists always wanted a pic.Now its been scrapped and I drive a TX11. Crap cab by comparison thank you sooooo much Boris

Jason Carpp said...

Awesome vehicles! I got to ride in a few of these while I was visiting England with my parents several years ago.