Friday, October 16, 2009

I am not a soccer mom

(Olivia's still sitting waiting for her new heart/brain still.. it's been quiet here..)

I am not a soccer mom.

You see them driving their Discoveries and Range Rovers and Defenders every day, picking up the kids from school, taking them to their after-hours activities, going shopping, meeting the girls for coffee while the boys are out earning a living and paying off the cars/houses/holidays. Land Rovers shiny and comfortable, with carpets (!) and aircon (!!) and seatbelts all round.

They're the women who know nothing about the community and culture behind our trucks - these are merely big vehicles that can carry the kids and their clobber, that mosey on through traffic and do what they do. The most mud they see is the pothole where the roadworks are going on.

And they don't wave back.

They don't even see other Landies on the road! A car is a car is a car.

But I am not a soccer mom. I may be seen more often lately in a Discovery 2 (while Olivia's on holiday), but I'm not one of that crowd.

The truck I'm driving works for a living, earns its keep, and is cursed at / coaxed along as one of the family (as a proper Land Rover should be). I've knocked my head on its diffs, burnt my arms on its exhaust pipe, and wound duct tape around a hose to limp home. I've fed it diesel and antifreeze (probably in equal amounts), prayed it to life in the morning and treated it now and then to an annual car-wash.

I am not a soccer mom. I wave at Land Rovers. Indiscriminately. Series, Discos, Rangies, Defenders - they all get the wave.

But perhaps I look like a soccer mom, because everything from a Discovery up mostly doesn't wave back.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On again, off again

And it's back to off again. Off the road, that is.

I spent most of this past week "replacing the head gasket" - which, oddly enough, was in very good condition still. Gave the innards a good clean, put it all back together according to the manual - and then the trouble started.

First, both batteries decided they didn't have anough vooma to start her. So we tow-started. Or attempted to. Favourite Man finally got her going, only to have a stream of oil pour out the back of the engine. Back to the yard, tighten the banjo bolt, try again. Worse! And an extra leak at the front of the head too...

What came out wasn't the nice clean oil I put in - but some horrible mucky stuff that was still circulating the system. She left a huge trail of it all around our complex, which I still need to take a few truckloads of engine cleaner to...

And she sounded as if all hell was breaking loose in the engine bay.

There is nothing to it. It seems that cleaning up her head got rid of the soot that was holding the head together, and it's warped. So I spent the latter part of the week taking it all apart again. The head goes off to an engineer in the new week.

And Olivia, with only half an engine left under her bonnet, gets to stand once more until it's sorted out.

While she's stationery, I'll be checking a few other things as recommended by the experts. I don't know how long this is going to take, it just has to be sorted out properly.


Seriously considering buying a horse, putting it in the engine bay, attaching a carrot to the bumper and going for one-horse-power mode...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Landy Wave Monthly

The September issue of Landy Wave Monthly is online here.

Find the previous issues at our website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It's been an absolute age since I updated this blog, but Olivia's been very busy. She's the workhorse that makes it up mountains to sort out high sites, the loader of e-waste, and transporter of large things like ladders.

All this with a sick mind. Or rather a problem with her head - gasket. She's taken to drinking oil along with her horrific petrol habit, then spewing oil and water out when she starts in a huge patch behind her exhaust pipe. The water level drops dramatically in a short trip, steam pours from the exhaust at times, and the oil filler cap has a nice coating of mayo. All indicators that there's a gasket replacement coming up as soon as I have a few days free to do so.

It's a measure of her ability to keep going that she's still trundling up the mountain and to Cape Town and around town. Granted, not smoothly, but going still.

Today she nearly had a major mishap. It rained overnight and was still drizzling when Favourite Man and I headed up the slopes once more. With her big mud-ready G90s, awesome torque and a steady slow speed, we were going well. Until we hit a dangerous corner with the middle of the road washed out. The soil on that mountain is clay - and her rear end started sliding out toward a very steep slope straight down. I managed to wrestle her back just in time. Coming down was even worse - we slid and slipped sideways and forward, way too close to the edge for anyone's comfort. And by the time we reached the bottom the gears in low ratio were sounding terrible. Favourite Man drove her later, but promptly turned back when the gears in high started sounding just as bad. Tomorrow sees me under her adding greases and oils liberally all over. All that dust has made things squeak and groan.

And then there's the hybrid thing.

Olivia has two batteries - an engine bay one to keep the essentials of forward motion going, and a large one (original to my ownership of her) as secondary for the peripherals. Well Olivia has decided that she'd rather be a hybrid. The front battery is now far from optimal, wears down in a day or two and doesn't recharge - she now does what some really fancy cars do, and gets plugged in to the C-Tek charger at night to feed off electricity! Meaning we can at least start her on one of the batteries come morning.

And then there's the electric gate that opened randomly and smashed two of the rear lights and surrounding protective cage as I was reversing...

The poor girl really needs a few weeks at the spa getting all her issues seen to. Unfortunately I don't have a few weeks to spare, but I'm determined to sort them out one by one. Starting tomorrow morning with the oily, greasy things and moving on from there.

Truth be told, I'm looking forward to getting down and dirty again - as long as I don't get rained on.

PS There's a new Landy Mag going around online... yours truly is now an e-editor! :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

I can see clearly now..

It's been a while since I updated Olivia's blog. Here's the latest.

Today, while the rest of the country was lazing around with Freedom Day, Favourite Man and I put in a bit of work on Olivia. We sorted out new engine mounts with a bit of difficulty - one needed some engineering as only Favourite Man can do, but turned out perfect with an excellent fit all round. We attacked the final electrics work, inserted the lights into her new wing, and added the light guard.

Everything's working perfectly. Yay!

Tomorrow she's off to get her radiator seen to. Then it's full steam ahead and hitting the road once more.

Yay again!

(Dreading dealing with her drinking habit... must get engine tuned properly...)


I never did finish the tale of woe re the brakes blokes. We eventually got her back after nearly 2 weeks - only to find that brake fluid was streaming down behind the accelorator, eating away at the protective coating we'd applied in the footwell. Unfortunately she was required for work and we didn't have time to go back and beat people up over that - sometimes the effort to sort something out just seems too much, and not worth it. But she does have brakes that work well now. Which, on a Series Landy, is a very good thing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Olivia has a new accessory! :-)

It will soon be supporting a couple of long bits of metal on a trip up to our high site. That front receiver is a very useful bit of kit indeed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Slamming on Brakes

I'm really worried about Olivia.

In July last year Favourite Man took his Discovery II to Ferobrake around the corner from us in Strand to have the discs skimmed prior to fitting new shoes. When he arrived at the appointed day and time, he was told the mechanic was sick and he'd have to go to their branch in Cape Town. Which he did. Only to be turned away for some arb reason.

After Olivia's altercation with a lamp pole, we decided to have the brakes redone while we were killing time waiting for various other things to fall in place. Favourite Man contacted Ferobrake Strand and - you guessed it - was told the mechanic is sick, we can't bring the truck down.

Last week we called and made an appointment for Olivia to have her brakes done. Before we dropped her off, we popped in to make sure - and yup, we were booked in.

So we went the few metres down the road to where she was having a radiator redo, and fetched her.

When we arrived at Ferobrake - you guessed it - the mechanic had gone home sick and the rest of the "workers" were standing around twiddling their thumbs, picking their noses and scratching their gonads, waiting for (apparently) the only mechanic Ferrobrake possesses to turn up and tell them what to do.

Olivia has now been there for a week. Favourite Man has just phoned them to find out when our darling girl can be returned to the fold.

You guessed it - the mechanic is sick. ETA for finishing completely unknown. Should the mechanic die of his many illnesses, it's likely Olivia will stay there for the rest of her life...

Unless I take my largest wheelspanner and go knock someone over the head very very hard.