As a Christmas special today you get two blogs, enjoy!
The last week has been a week of much disappointment and sadness for Landy. A few weeks ago I decided to get him serviced and called up the local mechanic in Ohau. Having been assured by the mechanic that he knew the car from its previous owners and that I was allowed to drive the Landy on the road without tax or insurance I set off on the 5 min journey to the mechanic, Claire following closely behind in the Colorado.
Almost three weeks later, two deliveries of parts from the UK and many follow up calls to the mechanic I was at last told she was ready to be collected. Dreaming of a car that started straight away, stopped when you pressed the brakes and no longer smoked like an old woman sitting in a rocking chair in Cuba, we set off to pick up the car. And this is when the story starts to turn sour.
I was prepared for the bill to go from the $390 mark mentioned the last time I talked to the mechanic to more like $690 (he had replaced the brake master cylinder and rear brake cylinders with parts I had bought from the UK) but I was not prepared for the slightly nonchalant way the mechanic informed me the cost was actually $1600. Lets put this in perspective, the car drives ok and is great on the farm but it is not roadworthy and therefore probably not even worth $1600, so what on gods earth made him think he could try and charge $1600 for work that he had not even discussed with me? After a lengthy conversation he agreed to reduce the cost to $1000 and by then I had had enough of the conversation and Claire was calling me from the Colorado to ask if she could leave the forecourt where she was waiting.
I took the keys, reminded the mechanic that I was not happy and set off to the petrol station to fill up before heading back to the farm (having been told there was enough petrol for the 4 min drive). As I drove off the forecourt, with Claire heading in the opposite direction, I immediately noticed that the brakes were still VERY spongy and the speedo no longer worked. Then I got an even greater surprise, the choke handle had been moved, I do remember the mechanic had called me a few weeks ago to say the choke was tough to pull because it was caught on something, he had decided to reroute it, I thought he meant behind the scenes in the engine bay but what he actually did was drill a hole in the dashboard on the other side of the steering wheel and put the handle through the new hole, worse still it was no longer connected to the engine at all and does nothing.
Reeling in shock about the lack of improvements for $1000 I carried on along the road for 3 mins until with a splutter and a cough she ran out of fuel (within view of the petrol station). Having been forced to buy another fuel tank and $10 worth of fuel for $30 I filled her up and drove the 50m or so to the station. Landy hasn’t had a good drink in a while and so I was not surprised she was thirsty, but as the pump racked up $120 – $130 – $140 I was getting a little ashen faced. She took a total of $156 worth of fuel to fill and when I got back in the car I was excited to find the petrol gauge seemed to work (it had not done so before). I headed back home thinking that I would never run out of petrol again now that the gauge worked, how wrong I was. As I pulled in to our bumpy house drive the fuel gauge wavered wildly from left to right with the flow of the fuel in the tank and as I stopped I noticed that the strong smell of petrol had followed me from the petrol station and was infact emanating from a leak in the petrol tank where the fuel gauge sender unit went into the tank and had not been sealed properly…
The next day.
Rueben and I decided to drive the large field over the river and draw up a plan for the paddocks where I would house the breeding sows and boars. As we circled the field, taking GPS readings, we came up to the swampy section at the back and decided to see just how swampy it was, here is the answer:
“Um…are you busy?”
“I’m working, why?”
“Um, cos we need you to come over the river and rescue us…”
Like an angelic Ginger version of Lara Croft, Claire jumped in the Colorado, forded the river and arrived like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark at the gate of the paddock. Within about 10 mins we had managed to free Landy from his resting place and everyone set off in their respective cars, my brakes seeming to get softer and softer as I came down the hill to the river. A quick inspection under the car and I found the source of the problem, whilst trying to get out of the bog I had managed to wind a good percentage of the field around the drive shaft which in turn had ripped the brake pipe from its location and twisted it around the shaft until it had snapped.
In summary, after spending $1000 I now have a car with no brakes, a leaky petrol tank, a wildly over excited fuel gauge and a choke that doesn’t work sticking out of a new hole in the middle of my dashboard. Bringing me neatly to this weeks Farm School Detention which is: if you really want something done, get on the internet, buy a book and do it yourself. I am now researching for a brake pipe plan/design for a 1987 110 Land Rover and I will be fitting it myself, no more Mr Mechanic for me.
And finally I would like to wish you all, your families and friends, a very Merry Christmas from us all here at Woody’s Farm. May your stockings be full of presents and your supermarket bought Christmas hams be unfulfilling (because next year I hope they will all be from Woody’s Farm….)