The Japan Times – Japan, Russia to discuss territorial row

The Japan Times – Japan, Russia to discuss territorial row

The Northern Territories (or the Southern Kurils from Russia) are another disputed territory claimed by Japan. The Japanese and Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers will be meeting about the islands. There probably still won’t be a treaty, but there might at least be some progress. Protests, on the other hand, are less likely. My guess is that Noda and Putin would like to show strength and calm and are more interested in Vladivostok and Hokkaido in the context of a regional economy.

(When I was in Sapporo in January 2004, the lady in the bathhouse mistook me for a Russian. Her inadvertent remark to my wife – that there was a big, hairy Russian in the male bath – was wrong in only one particular. Everywhere else in Japan they think I’m American.)

Latest fill-up – 4.56l/100km

Fuel consumption settled on 4.56L/100 km.  Quite pleasing given the circumstances.

Pros: warmer weather, grill blocking (for the last 150 km) and generally smooth driving helped provide a reasonable result.

Cons: mornings are still very cold and my wife drove about a ¼ of the distance.  Her approach to acceleration is fairly brutal.  This is not always a bad thing, as it will charge the HV battery, which in turn can be used to help drive the vehicle.  However, her braking style doesn’t take advantage of regenerative braking.

Curiously, the HSI displayed 4.1l/100 km, which is wildly optimistic. The HSI error seems to have increased from 6.5% to 11.5%, but that might just be an anomaly.

Weirder is the Garmin ecorouteHD, which has gone from being a highly accurate FC meter to become even more Pollyanna.  It regularly shows trip FC of mid 3 litres or even in the 2’s when the true figure is about 25% more.  Only started happening after upgrading the Garmin firmware…

Grill blocking + DEFA EBH

A few weeks ago I fitted 3 lengths of pipe insulation to the lower grill (see previous post) however I hadn’t tried to test its effects.  I also hadn’t tried the EBH to see the maximum heating I could get from it.  Together, I saw something interesting.

The idea was to see the maximum temperature the block could reach at the maximum recommended time of 3 hours.  The ambient temperature in the garage was about 5°c at the time.  After 3 hours of warming, the coolant was at 45°c, an impressive result.

I started the car and made note of the coolant temp (45°c) and ambient temperature (10°c by this time).  The engine ran for a few seconds (40°c is the lowest temperature where the engine will start-stop).  The coolant temperature actually dropped from 45°c to 43°c in the first 300m.  But once I drove 750m the coolant was 58°c and about 1 km into the journey it was 68°c.  It would normally take me 3-4 km to reach 70°c, so that is a marked improvement.

Remember, the EBH is at the rear of the engine block whereas the coolant temperature sensor is near the thermostat housing at the front of the engine.  Coolant won’t circulate without the pump running, so the sensor was picking up warmth from the block and coolant by conduction mostly.

Why did it drop?  Coolant in the radiator would have been colder than coolant near the block.  As the first coolant pumped through the thermostat it would have been cooler than the coolant it replaced.

Why did it rise so quickly?  As the coolant circulated through the water jacket, it picked up the heat in the block.  This is its job, after all.  This spread the heat from the back of the block to reach the sensor at the front.

So, it also seems that the grill block is playing its part.  The coolant gets warmer and stays warmer because it isn’t being cooled by incoming air.

How hot was the engine block after 3 hours of pre-heating?  Hard to say without a non-contact thermometer and a bit of a reach.

(EDIT: My measurements were a bit short in the previous version.)

Chinese blog – Anti-Japan protests in China

I’ve found an interesting blog called China News 24 from the Ministry of Tofu.  In particular, ON WEIBO, JAPANOPHOBIC MOBSTERS ARE FAR FROM THE MAJORITY that has observations and comments about the anti-Japan protests.

@零零发: Foreign reporters, when you cover anti-Japanese protests in various cities, can you please give up the use of terms that may hurt many innocent people by mistake, like “residents in Beijing” and “citizens of Shanghai”? Can you be more direct and accurate? Like“hundreds of suspicious people in Beijing,” “A great batch of dumb-asses in Shanghai,” “A bunch of nutcases in Shenzhen”… (15,667 shares, 2,927 comments)

Some of the protests are little more than cover for looting.

As reported in the Japan Times on Wednesday 19 September Beijing playing both sides with protests – Foreign threats seen as useful diversion from internal issues some protests have been encouraged or discouraged by authorities according to broader agendas: encouraged where anti-Japanese sentiments will play well and discouraged where locals are more concerned about corruption.

Even as early as Sept. 11, as small groups began demonstrating in front of the Japanese Embassy, there were signs of government encouragement. Mistaken for protesters, two journalists passing by were met by plainclothes police officers and instructed where to go to more effectively protest.

Occasionally in Japan you will see and hear the black “noise wagons” driven by right-wing groups, denouncing China, Korea and foreigners in general and what they see as Japanese subservience to the USA.  Despite their violent rhetoric and the obvious rage in their voices, their protests seem almost benign.  But even those ratbags know how to behave within decent society.  If I was a Korean student living in Japan I wouldn’t try to engage in conversation with them, but I wouldn’t be in fear of being chased in the streets by them either.

A Chinese student studying in Japan wrote that in contrast to the pandemonium in China, people in Japan are dispassionate and behaved reasonably. He also posted an illustrated work depicting a dialogue between him and one Japanese friend of his.


@黎黎要娶呆天使: Since there already have been many kind friends who have reminded me to watch out for my safety in Japan, I would like to thank everyone again here. Besides, please have no worry. Japan is truly a safe and orderly country. No one has taken this opportunity to smash and rob Chinese-owned stores. No one bullied me. Everything is fine. In fact, when there were brawls in China, everything is normal in Japan. And Japanese ordinary people really don’t care about this. Below is a conversation between me and my Japanese friend. (29,026 shares, 414 comments)

I feel just that little bit better now.

Prius Mods 4 – Grill Block

Just as Winter is starting to wane, I finally blocked the grill.

DEFA cable socket (left of the Toyota badge) and grill block

There’s two main purposes to block the grill:

  1. Reduce the cooling effect so the engine warms quicker and stays warmer longer; and
  2. Improve aerodynamics.

After a sample size of one day, it appears to be working.  I took a few trips today recording 3.3l\100km (according to the Garmin ecorouteHD)  The final trip from Fyshwick to home, at high speed, using A/C and with no particular care or techniques returned 3.7l/100km.  The proof will be in the next few tanks, so I should wait before judgement.

BTW, the Garmin ecorouteHD can display the coolant temperature as a number, unlike the warning light as standard.  Coolant never went over 91°c.

Prius Mods part 3.4 – DEFA SafeStart finally installed!

I have finally installed the DEFA SafeStart permanently.  We left the story at Prius Mods part 3.3 – DEFA SafeStart WarmUp cable installation with the cable attached to the coolant overflow bottle with a cable tie.  To warm the engine I had to open the bonnet (hood) to fit and remove the power cable.  Not ideal.

I just finished fitting a lower grill block (See Prius Mods part 4 – later) when I decided to fit the cable once and for all.  I was going to have to find a way to route the cable from the upper grill (necessitated by blocking the lower grill) to the EBH.

Note: The official DEFA fitting instructions for the Prius put the socket in the lower grill, but don’t indicate how to route the cable.  My  method doesn’t leave much slack in the cable, but it isn’t stretched.

DEFA Connector Cable with fasteners. Note that “A” will be on the outside, there’s no O-ring and fastener “F” will be fitted backwards.

Step 1: I had to remove cable from EBH.  Fortunately, I could reach over the engine and down to the back of the block to remove the cable.  YAMV (Your Arm-age May Vary)

Tools: Pliers, Kincrome panel levers, Supatool 10mm socket with ratchet handle and ratchet wheel, pearl catch
Pop panel pins to remove cover. There’s 9 more pop pins and two bolts hiding under here.

Step 2: Remove the 3 pop pins and the front cover.  Underneath you’ll find 9 similar pop pins and two 10mm bolts holding the top of the bumper in place.  When finished, you should be able to separate the front panel far enough forward to slide your arm between the radiator and the grill.  If not, get a small urchin to help you.

Some things unclip to make replacing a headlamp bulb easier/possible. For this job, remove the lot.

Step 3: Make space.  Remove this lot and you’ll have adequate.

  1. Unclip the hose from the coolant overflow bottle (not shown)
  2. Remove the 2 x 10 mm bolts from behind the airbox
  3. Remove the 10mm bolt holding the airbox and clip
  4. Unclip the hose from its bracket
  5. Remove the airbox by twisting slightly and pulling to the left to separate it from the air-cleaner housing.

Step 4: The socket will not fit through the grill, so you’ll have to feed it in from the outside.  Fit part “A” (three pins facing out) to the cable.  Slide the cable into the grille; it will bulge a little.  Feed part “F” backwards, so that the thread will register, and tighten.

Step 5: Finding the gap around the radiator is not easy.  You think you’ve found it and then you’re blocked by a plastic bracket in front of the radiator.  Hint: Lift the inverter coolant (?) hose and feed the pearl catch or similar tool through the gap.

Looking from the rear – The gap between the radiator and body is just big enough for two

Step 6: Attach the cable to the pearl catch and gently pull the cable through the gap.  I used some 13mm pipe insulation to protect the cable.  A bit of fettling and it’s in place.

Cable run, protected by 13mm pipe insulation passes over an A/C line and the engine mount.  Earth lead is temporarily taped to the negative charging terminal

Step 7: Run the cable down the right-hand-side of the engine. (“Right” as seen from the rear of the car.)  I used another length of pipe insulation to “attach” the cable to the engine mount.  Note: Check as you go that you aren’t twisting or stretching the cable.

Step 8: Attach the cable to the EBH.  I could do this by reaching over the engine from above.  Hint: The earth cable is at the bottom of the plug and should line up to the bottom of the socket on the EBH.  Of course, you can always see better from under the car.

Step 9: Put everything back where you found it.  Note: I use the 10mm bolt that attaches the airbox to the engine mount to attach the earth lead.

DEFA SafeStart socket mounted in the upper grill – Prius NVW30


Prius Fuel Reports No.19 and 20

Last couple of fill-ups have been rather disappointing.  After a spectacular 4.5l/100km performance, I’m back down to 4.8-4.9.  To make matters worse, on Friday night (#19) I had to pay 155.9¢ for RON 91, which was about 10¢ more per litre than everywhere else.  Not a fun drive with the wind, debris on the road and veering from one edge of the lane to another. I had almost 8 litres left, so I could have driven into Sydney and found much cheaper petrol, but I played it very safe.  The Prius has a 45 litre fuel tank, but it is monitored by a very conservative Distance to Empty (DTE) readout.  I once drove 35km after the DTE read 0km and I still had more then 5L left.

(My previous cars had very accurate DTE; I once put 54.75L into a 55L tank when the DTE read 3km!)

I passed through Bankstown at after 22:00 and was briefly caught between jubilant Bulldogs supporters waving flags out their windows and hooning about a bit.  Far less threatening than the mayhem I had driven through to get to that point.

# Date km Litres L/100km Price City % Notes
20 9/09/12 737.1 35.19 4.8 1.497 10% Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle return. Very windy conditions. Difficult to keep a straight line. A tailwind would have been nice!
19 7/09/12 764.9 37.19 4.9 1.559 10% Very windy conditions. Car tossed about and difficult to maintain steady speed.
18 19/08/12 824.0 37.34 4.5 1.439 30% Mostly a Canberra to Sydney return trip with an extra lap of Sydney driving in heavy traffic. Generally warm weather, but a very strong cross wind.Finally cracked 4.5l/100km on a tank.

Tank #20 was from Sutton Forest, Sydney, Newcastle, Sydney and back to Canberra.  The F3 Sydney to Newcastle is very mountainous.   IMO there are more steep hills on the F3 than the Hume/Federal Highways from Sydney to Canberra, despite being 1/3 of the distance.  You ultimately do more climbing to reach Canberra at 600m ASL, but it is more gradual and only 3-4 hills require digging deep. On the F3 abundant flat sections are punctuated by steep hills; especially around the Hawkesbury River.  I was braking lightly and still accelerating on downhill sections; the charge I gained was quickly used climbing back up again. As mentioned in my comments, it was very windy from Friday until late Sunday.  It was hard to keep the car within the lane and this no doubt affected fuel consumption.  And the fact that I was in somewhat of a hurry… maybe that had something to do with it.


Er du fra Norge? Oletko Suomen?

Hvis du er fra Norge, og du fant bloggen min nyttig, kan du legge igjen en kommentar.

Jeg snakker ikke norsk, men jeg kan alltid oversette kommentarer.

Jeg skrev artiklene fordi jeg ikke kunne finne detaljerte instruksjoner for å passe DEFA SafeStart til en Prius på nettet. I Norge kan du gå til en autorisert DEFA mekaniker. I Australia, måtte jeg lære for meg selv!

Takk og farvel

Jos olet Suomen ja löysit blogini hyödylliseksi, jätä kommentti.

En puhu suomea, mutta en voi aina kääntää kommentteja.

Kirjoitin artikkeleita, koska en löytänyt yksityiskohtaiset ohjeet sopivan DEFA SafeStart että Prius on-line. Euroopassa, voit mennä valtuutettuun DEFA mekaanikko. Australiassa, minun oli opittava itse!

Kiitos ja näkemiin

To explain to regular readers, the reason for the message above is that my blog has been getting a lot views from Norway and the Toyota Club of Finland recently, so I’m asking them to leave a comment.

Recently, I’ve been posting about the engine block heater made by DEFA, a Norwegian company.  I couldn’t find any articles on-line about fitting one.  The supplied instructions were quite good, but they were generic for a dozen models with similar engines.  The Prius is unique in many ways, so I was eager to get more detailed information before buying and then attempting to fit into the unknown.  As you’d know from reading, it wasn’t much harder than changing oil to fit the EBH.  It was somewhat more confusing to know where to route the cable.

Since DEFA has authorised fitters in Europe, there’s probably no need for anyone to post instructions on-line as it is never a DIY job.  I’ve since received what seems to be detailed fitting instructions provided to authorised fitters from DEFA.  Maybe I can go into business now?

More Slipshod Reporting from The Onion


Not for the first time I find myself taking issue with The Onion on its journalistic standards and understanding of basic grammar.

In the article entitled Chloë Sevign̈y Approved For Second Umlaut, not only is the capitalisation non-standard, but the diacritics for e and n are wrongly described as ‘umlauts’.  It’s a f***ing diaeresis.

But what’s even worse is when a celebrity  thinks that they can put a trema on an “n”. What?  They’ve  discovered kinship with speakers of the Jakaltek language of Guatemala or Malagasy language of Madagascar?  Or Spın̈al Tap?

What’s the world coming too?