Monday was like any other day in that the engine wouldn’t start. A liberal dose of start pilot didn’t work either so we resorted to throwing a cap full of petrol into the carb to get it going. Then we brought it back to the garage much to the dismay of James who was going to spend the next 6 days working on it. Now in the course of this trip we have had the misfortune to come across a great many mechanics and with very few exceptions they have been incompetent fools and crooks with less mechanical knowledge than either me or Richard which adds up to about half a tablespoon combined. I’m very pleased to say that James is the complete opposite of this. With decades of experience working on marine and car engines this man is a shining example of competence and knowledge and a top bloke to boot.
In the course of the week, we reran every cable in the ignition system until we narrowed it down to the one which was the source of all our woe. This cable had a habit of occasionally supplying the wrong voltage to the coil and fuel pump for reasons it was keeping tightlipped about. The pump could handle this and keep running but the coil and ignition module couldn’t which was what was causing our unpredictable and erratic running problems. We also changed the front brake pads and discovered that the calipers needed doing too. We changed the engine and gearbox oil and put some additives (slick 50) into the gearbox to stave off the irreparable damage that we know is coming sooner or later. Also, we repaired the shoddy work done by the Land Rover garage in Thailand - the carbs were set up and tuned incorrectly and the ignition leads were a shambles. On top of this we put in a new air intake hose to take cold air from in front of the engine, slung out the blocked air filter and replaced the inline fuel filter with one that wasn’t leaky and dirty. The last thing was to get the cracked back and side windows replaced. Not bad for a weeks work. The result - the engine runs better than it ever has before and the power and sweet sound it pumps out makes you understand why people love V8s.
However, we aren’t prepared to be taken by surprise by this car again so we embarked on an extended test trip into the Cameron Highlands on Saturday. The cooler weather up in the highlands was absolutely wonderful after so many days sweating over a hot engine in KL. Bizarrely, the Cameron Highlands is absolutely packed full of old series Land Rovers. We counted literally about 200 in the space of a few hours. We haven’t got to the bottom of the why and wherefore yet. The highland scenery is beautiful too and we spent Sunday visiting a tea plantation and enthusing about the cool temperature before we went and ruined it all by heading back down into the sweaty humidity of the lowlands but we had to drive the machine to make sure everything is ironed out now because the chances of coming across a good mechanic again are remarkably small.