Saturday, December 30, 2006


There's few things as bad as walking outside to find some idiot has deflated the tyre furthest from your front door, at the back - on a whim. Or for some other unkown reason. And then having to pump it back up with a footpump before there's major tyre wall damage.

Needless to say, my dreams last night were filled with plans for boobytraps with wires and guns, bricks balanced on the roofrack poised to fall on heads, and beating up whomever was responsible.. :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More Questions Than Answers

After our Xmas eve jaunt out to dinner and back, I find myself wanting to ask a whole lot more questions about how Olivia runs than I had before we left!!!

Yes, we made it OK - in fact very well. Slowly of course, and there are still aspects to driving her I'm getting used to. But we did it - down a steep hill, through busy traffic, even slamming on breaks a few times (aaah.. she pulls LEFT! :-) ). It was cool to be perched up so high that we could see things we normally don't in the Ford. And the kid is over his fear of riding in a strange vehicle that feels every bump, where the seats are rather slippery.

But here's the stuff I'm wondering, and will probably have to ask whomever I can find willing enough (and patient enough) to answer:

* Why are the lights either on bright or off - fuse or wiring issue? The middle setting for "normal beam" simply gives no reaction.

* What do I need to do to coax a bit more uphill power out of her? We're either screaming along in 3rd up the smallest slope, or shuddering in 4th - there has to be a way to boost the gear range and help her tackle hills.

* There's a slight jerking now and then - wonder if I haven't gotten to all the issues, or if the timing's that out...

* Engine heat goes up to about half-way on the guage - need to confirm this is normal. It doesn't seem to climb above that, which is a good sign.

* Gears are feeling better now that all the oil's been topped up too - the transmission was veeery empty... while the gearbox oil poured down my arm on opening (gonna invent a new cologne called "Eau de EP90", as I seem to permanently smell like that) - apparently that much difference in levels can blow an oil seal, so will have to keep an eye on that. Still struggling to find 3rd sometimes, but that's probably more me learning where they are than mechanical gear issues.

* I think I may still need to empty out a few compartments to lighten the load. There are some leaf springs stored under the floor level - haven't even attempted to shift those yet!

* Also need to check both other fuel tanks for gunk - I've been working from only one for now, topping it up. Need to grease the speedo cable, get it working to check mileage/fuel consumption too. Especially in light of the World Record Attempt coming up in April, which I'm definitely doing.

* Need to discover how to flash lights at other Landies.. :-) if at all possible.

One thing about owning a Series Landy is certain - you're never bored, there's always something more to do.. :-) And I'm looking forward to doing them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


New cars are all good and well. There's something to be said for aircon, no unidentified rattles/squeaks/scraping noises, a smooth quiet ride with the possibility of both music and conversation, shiny paint-job, reliability, and enough debt to buy a small house with.

But I think I like the classics better.

My first car was a 1970s Mini, acquired for a mere R2,000. It was dark blue with a vinyl sunroof that liked to collect rain - and pour it down your neck when you turned left. The spare in the boot was balanced on the only remaining strut that hadn't rusted through. There were holes in the floor under the carpet - driving through a deep puddle in winter would not only cut the electricts, but leave your feet sloshing around, after which the most incredible tiny mushrooms would grow under the seats. Sometimes the bush would fall off the gear lever - preferably in rush-hour traffic, where you'd be stuck in 4th gear and have to rev to immense heights to get going. Sometimes the fuel guage would give in, but for that we kept a length of hosepipe in the car - stick it in the fuel tank, turn it around - if it goes "splosh" you're OK, if it goes "clonk" go fill up. A bit of an adventure to drive, but we went everywhere. We even fitted 8 people, their surfboards and their bodyboards in - and went to the beach. Riding very low... :-) That car took me to Tech every day, to towns near and far, got stuck in sand dunes, got push-started in high heels. Even after we sold it, it brought interesting times. It's plates were found on a stolen VW Bug two years later!

Next car was an 80's Honda Ballade in dark charcoal grey. Again, not without its issues. But it went very well - until I got a neighbour to replace the brakes, after which it basically collapsed bit by bit. My mechanic eventually got so fed up that the last time he towed it he didn't return it. Instead he phoned to say it had been sold and he'd have another car for me within a week.

Enter the golden brown Ford. The Friggin'Ford, as it's affectionatly known. Also an 80's model, a 2 litre Sierra. It's been the one car that hasn't failed us spectacularly. It's tackled corrugated farm roads, mountain passes, town trips - and although we sometimes wonder if it will make it, it's done well. We've sorted out things like brakes that didn't brake, and doors that didn't lock. There are still issues in the thing that holds the hatchback boot up, a bit of a leak in wet weather, and some rust. But it's services with only one thing left to fix at the mechanic's - wear-and-tear backlash on the diffs, to be done in January. Just before my mechanic sells up his business and leaves. Probably time to up my car-fixing ability...!

Which brings us to Olivia. My first Landy - but definitely not the last. I look at the more modern ones and think that they're nice, but my heart is with the Series models. Tough, built to last, proven, simple to work on, with a distinctive style and sound, and oh-so-cool.

Already I'm looking at getting the kid a Series shorty when he's old enough to drive instead of something more modern. Alternatives to that would be the ancient round-shaped VW Kombi or - yes - a Mini. But I think we'll stick with the Landies. They're go-anywhere vehicles, can haul a multitude of friends or the most delicate of girlfriends, take a bit of late-teen driving and still come out OK on the other side.

So here's to the classics. Firmly embedded in this particular family's hearts, oiling up the driveways and providing adrenalin (whether through failed brakes on a mountain, something falling off on a highway, or the mere thrill of driving them) at every turn. Long may they chug on.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Landy Benefits

Just for the record - Landy people are the best.

I dashed down to my local Autozone shop this afternoon to finally get enough EP90 to do the under-oily-bits, and while there got a bit of engine cleaner and some new made-for-old-engines engine oil (fresh on the market). In the process, the shop owner discovered I was a Landy driver/owner. I got shown his Landy parked outside (Range Rover), got to go behind the scenes to check out some new suspension stuff he's importing from Australia which works well on my model, had a chat over other parts suppliers in the area, and got a preview of things to come on his computer screen for us Landy types.

When I got to the till to pay for my 4 containers of various goodies, he gave me 10% off just for driving a Landy! (In return I promised to give him the heads-up on our next meet-up, which hopefully will be in a week's time)

I really like these Land Rover folk. :-)

So it was a pretty profitable afternoon - a bit of education, a chance to connect with another Landy fanatic, and a good deal thrown in too. Very nice!

To top off the day, it seems insurance has finally been sorted - bar one or two things to be cleared up - so I can venture further afield at last. Greased up, filled up, and good to go.

This weekend I dive under the beast and get oily...