Thursday, January 31, 2008

10-minute job

I mentioned yesterday that the carb came out for a gasket renewal. It really should have been a 10-minute job to remove it, stick in the gasket and get it re-attached. Most of the time is usually spent on tuning the thing, setting the idle speed and mix.

However, life with a Landy is never simple.

That 10-minute job took 2 days (part-time)!

First, there were issues with o-rings. The one on the main bottom bolt was sitting way too loose, and I suspected that was causing the leak. It was replaced on the way home yesterday - but then I found that the inner bolt o-ring was also shot. More than... it has completely disintegrated! It seems that particular version of rubber and petrol do not mix well. However, there was still one more o-ring in place, so I took my chances and put the thing back together (while attempting to cook supper at the same time - nothing like a bit of multitasking).

As darkness fell, the carb went in. Only to come right out again 15 minutes later when the bottom bolt fell out during setting - showering me in the contents of the float chamber as I lay beneath the beast.

Back to the kitchen, and between the remains of supper it was re-assembled. I really dislike having to work in the dark by extension light, bothering the neighbours with the sound of tinkering and tuning - but last night I had no choice.

Finally, at 9:45, smelling like petrol and oil, I was done. The carb may not be professionally tuned, but it's working - and one final idle-speed adjustment after the commute to work has it ticking over more than sufficiently.

However, I'm now placing a ban on 10-minute jobs after work.. :-) They never end up sticking to that schedule anyway.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Practice makes perfect

The carb is out for the THIRD time on Olivia. The first one was an expert "showing me how it's done" (and breaking it). The second was fixing and adjusting everything properly thereafter. And now the third shot.

We struggled to find one of the carb gaskets here in South Africa and had to order them from the UK over December. Of course the Xmas post took a while to arrive, but it's here now - along with a choke cable clip that was also impossible to source in SA.

So last night the carb came out again, I got to smell like petrol - and discovered a problem (par for the course when it comes to Landy-fixing). One of the o-rings on the adjusting screw is way too big, it's sitting loose. That explains the leakage under the carb, and perhaps a bit of why our fuel consumption is horrific.

So on the way back from work today it's time to go find a new one, one that fits properly, and then re-assemble the carb. The hardest part of the process is:

1. Getting the bottom bolts back on and tight enough against the engine block, and
2. Setting the mix correctly. It's a bit of trial and error to find the right level, and I'm kinda playing it by ear. I've got the manual, I've read the instructions - but you still have to do it by feel.

It's another of those learning curves, those tasks I would never have dared tackle a year ago, but which now are ho-hum routine.

And that never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coming down from the top

Olivia's had some pretty huge changes in recent months. Many of them are subtle - if you didn't take a good hard look before, you wouldn't know the difference now - but they're there.

However, today there's a very big change. She's going topless. Her rooftop tent has been sold.

And why? Well for many reasons. But the main one is that it's time for something new, something that works with the plans we have for her. The replacement tent is not going to be a rooftop one, but nearer ground-level. And after a few times of struggling with tent setup and collapse I'm all for that. I came VERY close to falling off the top of her last night while alone at home...

Her profile has been permanently changed now. The big square bump on her roofrack is gone, along with 50kg or so of weight. It's going to see service elsewhere, on other adventures, but for Olivia it's a new chapter.

One more change on the long road to Sorted. The next big one is even scarier... watch this space!


(She also got new sills/rocksliders yesterday - they were fabricated near the end of last year, but yesterday they were re-attached, finished, galvanized and appropriately reflective-taped. There's also a little surprise in them, a unique touch that I'm looking forward to seeing once fully complete)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A funny thing's happened since I started working on Olivia nearly a year ago. I've started to think I'm omnipotent. Well, mechanically omnipotent that is (stop laughing, Favourite Man...).

A year ago I trembled at the thought of what was in that engine, and had never weilded an angle grinder nor half the amount of spanners that have been through my hands since. And it's given me a bit of confidence that I could actually develop this interest into something more comprehensive.

See this post over at ...seekingserenity, for example. Madness, the idea of building a supercar yourself (especially for a chick who doesn't have a garage at home but does have neighbours who don't appreciate mechanical bits in the front yard). Then again, equally mad is taking your truck apart with Favourite Man and putting it back together again, better than ever, within 4 months.

But here's the thing. I've always had an interest in mechanical tinkering. I love knowing how things work, and that I can fix whatever breaks or improve on what's already there. I have aspirations of getting my truck running so smoothly, so fuel-efficiently, that the world will stand in awe (OK, perhaps not the world - just one or two folk if I'm lucky - just me, if I'm not). I'm feeling mechanically omnipotent - if I can learn how my truck functions, I can learn how all sorts of things function, and I could.actually.make.things! Lots of things. I could modify stuff and pimp stuff and fix stuff and restore stuff, and perhaps even work on a few of my hare-brained ideas that seem impossible or just plain stupid to the casual bystander.

There are days where I'd much rather be greasily petrol-flavoured, struggling along with something metal or engine-like in a workshop than typing at a desk. Many days, in fact. If I could clone myself I'd be taking both a carb and a distributor apart right now. I'd be sorting out an oil cooler. Fiddling with the welder. But it's a bit hard to do in an airconditioned formal environment and good clothes.

A little knowledge is dangerous I guess, as it leads to a hunger for more, a desire to push further with skills and knowledge, to fly in the face of convention and just go DO all that you've dreamt, even if you're a chick. Fortunately for those around me I have to bring home the (mostly vegetarian) bacon - so simply can't spend my days covered in EP90 nor upping the electricity bill and irritating the neighbours.

But hey - it doesn't stop me from feeling omnipotent.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Did you know...

... that Olivia's roofrack comes with a camera tripod mount? Brilliant stuff - and I'm getting over my fear of heights / rocking.rolling too! :-)