Roadside Repairs

12:04 May 31st
On the outskirts of Seymour Dave is not happy with how the trailer is riding. Not surprising really when it has lost 3 wheel studs on one side.

12:05 May 31st
Temporary solution - remove one from the other side and limp into Seymour hoping to find a hardware shop still open on a Saturday and having the right size bolts.

12:50 May 31st
You can be lucky. Let the repairs begin.

And for a dust cover we have a spray can lid ...

... attached with cloth tape.

13:22 June 1st
Stopped for lunch at Loxton, SA, when we noticed a tell-tale oil leak under Dave's car, then realised his trailer tarpaulin and the car that was following him - Black Douglas! - were both sprayed with oil.

On the brand new engine of the car that had only been registered on the Tuesday before we left, the source was reasonably clear. This was a major problem. It was a huge struggle, but Dave decided he had to turn back. On our return Dave told us that there was a crack which, under running pressure, would open and spew.

15:41 June 1st
Glenn's turn. The car suddenly began running roughly. The squirt of oil on the bonnet is the clue. The central plunger on his carbie had unscrewed itself and was letting lubrication out and air in. A fault never before seen by anyone. So screw it up and away we go. Except 10 minutes later it happened again. The plunger was finally screwed in with a pair of pliers. No further problem.

13:38 June 2nd
Leading up to Hawker where we stopped for lunch, Black Douglas developed a serious intermittent misfire. The problem was traced to air filters clogged with oil because the rocker cover breather feeds into the air intake of the cleaners.
Solution: use the spare filters I was carrying and redirect the breather to atmosphere. Too bad about anti-pollution principles. (Note: It has to be said that this improved, but never really totally eliminated, intermittent misfiring. More on that later.)

14:27 June 5th
You wouldn't believe it! After bashing over 600km of The Track and not getting a puncture Doug hits the only rock on the Stuart Highway and blows a tyre.

Laura now went a bit trigger happy with the camera while Doug sweated and toiled.

Scott protected Doug's rear from passing road trains.

Damn! The jack wasn't quite high enough but with a couple of mates, that's no problem.

And here's the culprit.

This is a lie. I did not swerve off the road and hit this road marker. Truth is that with the Pirelli's and a rear puncture, I barely noticed anything.

Ready to fly again.

10:12 June 14th
Heading south for Melbourne and not a good start. Only about 50kms from Alice, at the Cannonball Run Monument, and Doug's intermittent misfire is becoming worse. A check showed plugs 1 & 2 were not operating. Changing them without knocking red dust into the cylinders was artful. (And yes, it's cold in the desert on a winter morning.)

12:37 June 14th
After the plug change BD behaved very well. But that was sham. Boiling away beneath the surface were consequences. After returning to the Stuart Highway from the Henbury Craters, Doug decided to swap to petrol to see if the misfire would also be cured on that fuel.

That was too much for BD. It decided not to start. Soon traced to no spark because the points weren't opening. That was fixable. Allen was on the job immediately.

But removing the dissy cap revealed that it was also shat! Sparking has not quite been in the right place at the right time, which probably explains the massive back fire the car gave when leaving the Motor Museum a couple of days earlier.

Fortunately Glenn had a spare, and the right model as well (there are two).

16:04 June 14th
From the craters to the Northern Territory border BD ran well, but excessively hot. It got up to 115 degrees and I ran the heater to remove some of the heat from the engine. It was finally decided over heating was not due to wind from the passenger side blocking flow around the radiator.

Allen reset the timing by ear and the car didn't miss a beat from then all the way home. And the temperature didn't get above 85 at any point.

However, then someone noticed BD was now running three studs on the front driver's side wheel. That explains the 'rock' that bulleted from that wheel on the dirt. Given the Suzuki Handivan disc brakes behind this wheel and the tapered studs it was decided that the only solution was to drive home (3000kms) this way.

11:14 June 17th
Perhaps as come-up-ance for his poem about Doug's puncture, Bob wins the prize for the worst tyre damage of the trip.

Interestingly, the tyre didn't actually burst.

16:01 June 17th
Smokey has come this far on a dodgy engine, but now he refuses to start. Fortunately we are already at the Woomera camping ground.

16:01 June 17th
Smokey has come this far on a questionable engine, but now he refuses to start. Only three cylinders, but the problem is not electrical. Fortunately we are already at the Woomera camping ground.

And all the push rods are moving up and down as they should so nothing has slipped off there.

Conclusion: #2 has a hole in a valve or piston - no pressure against a finger when turned over. The original plan was to limp it home, but next morning, no chance of a start, so this was the end of its journey. We had to leave Scott & Laura but RACV Total Care provided a hire car and the Moke was trucked to them a couple of weeks later.

16:58 June 18th
On the way to Gawler for the night's camp, Scruffy decided to pop its throttle spring and deposit it somewhere on the road where it couldn't be found again.

Fortunately, Bob had a spare used one. Allen later found his own replacement amongst his bits.

19:36 June 18th
Also, earlier in the day Purple Passion developed a problem with the fan making contact with the radiator.

While everyone else was at the pub for a meal, Allen tweaked the relevant nuts and bolts and the problem went away for the remainder of the trip.

13:31 June 18th
Forty kilometres outside Whycheproof Allen, was Tail-end Charlie for the whole trip, lost his throttle spring again. By the time he caught up with us in Whycheproof he was improvising with this rather over strong clutch spring.

Bob's old one came to the rescue again and we were all safely home about 19:30 that night.