When driving my old Land Rover through the deserts of Iran and Pakistan, with sand sprinting across the roads like a scene from hell, and our bowels rumbling under the prospect of more gunfire, we would delight ourselves with the Defender’s version of air-conditioning. In the Land Rover, a machine purposely designed to eschew human well-being, this meant opening the vents under the windscreen. Naturally it being 50 degrees outside and 49.6 degrees inside, the only outcome was the onrushing of sand, which would gallop in like a Viking Raider! This didn’t distract us through from turning to one another every few hours, when the stultifying heat was getting particularly unbearable, and asking ‘mind if I turn the air-con on?’
So in taking the girlfriend out for her first drive in la machina, a lovely little sojourn down the coast on a nice hot Springs day (was 30 degrees, jeeezzzz it’s going to be a hot summer in Victoria!), I was eager to test-out the air-con. In short, another thing to get fixed. Air-con will be as important on this South American trip as diesel, water and la lengua Espana.
It’s actually been quite a busy month despite feeling that I’ve not progressed one iota. The mattresses have been picked up, both the two singles and the double, and I have to admit they look fantastic. Professionally done with excellent needlework, and using some fabric a friend had some left over from her fabric company, I am pretty pleased. This was my first efforts ever with Air-Tasker, so am pretty impressed. With the actual foam being supplied from another friend, I feel that’s probably the only thing that’s gone well so far!
After our disastrous effort with refreshing the brakes a few weeks ago, I succumbed to seeking a professional that thankfully performed the whole task (using the rotors and pads I’d already brought). After you lose so often when you buy things that don’t fit for some reason, you take almost any wins you can get. The mechanic also swapped out the diff filler and sump plugs, so they’ve been exchanged for nice new lugs which can be removed without suffering a triple-hernia. You can see the magnetic lug grabbing bits of crud in the below. The bearings were all checked, cleaned and re-packed, along with the brake lines re-checked, gearbox and transmission oils checked too. So all around, a good day’s work. Albeit, a good day’s work carried out by someone else. I also started removing the vinyl front flooring - needs a bit of TLC!
I’ve been working with the electronics too (amazing I have a degree in this, I cannot remember a single thing!) and finally had a huge breakthrough with the electric seats of the Volvo which excited me no end. The overwhelming feeling of not completely screwing something up has been wonderful and to hear those sweet motors start moving back and forth was absolute bliss. Unfortunately it was short lived because I blew the damn fuse. When Volvo claim their seats draw 30A current, apparently they mean it (am assuming that across 4 motors each drawing 7 amps or so that could actually be quite reasonable). Frustrating? You betcha! I have since, today in fact, re-wired the whole thing with proper wiring and taken to it once again . . . and been dumbfounded as the seat refused to budge. The only explanation I can come up with is the use of different gauge cables isn’t delivering the required amps. But that was indeed a huge kick to the knackers! At one point does one qualify for eunuch membership? I will though do a full-write up of retro-fitting Volvo Seats and what is needed when I get the brutes functioning!
The good thing about it (always look for some kind of silver lining!) I have since then traced back to wherever the fuse was running to, learnt more about my vehicle and the history of the wiring, learnt about tapping off other fuses and started to set-up the front control panel which will sit inside the fibreglass console I’ve had couriered across the country. There is an inevitability that the console will not fit, or will look terrible, or both, or that during installation I will completely screw something else up. Oh, and in sussing out where the console will fit, found a leak that is dripping water into the vehicle. Elation is no friend of mine!
Welding the New Seats
I’ve also been trying, in vain, naturally, to get the heating working on the seats. A bit of a dream goal but will see. The only good news that I’ve encountered is the installation of the passenger seat by a friend of mine doing some excellent welding work, which fits in wonderfully. I can see why others have shied away from installing these sodding seats ha ha I did read a quote somewhere that if everyone knew exactly what problems they would encounter when tackling an idea, nothing would ever get done. I concur.
On the grander scale, the good news is that the shipping company said that it would only take two weeks for the car to be shipped to Chile which was excellent, and then even more good news in that the 40-foot container would be available to share with another couple that were also looking to ship at the same time. Awesome! And then came the news that in fact the shipping will instead take 46 days instead of two weeks . . . so it’s back to the original plan of taking 6 weeks. Still, I may save $1000 by having another couple take on some of the shipping costs as well which is good. Although I absolutely fully expect this to fall over at some point. Hope for the best, expect the worst at every turn.
The blog will be a record of everything - from idea conception to old age in making this adventure happen
You can find the excellent 2006 Antipodean Adventure blog by Dwyer Rooney here