The Geologist AbroadThe Geologist Abroad
Great Southern Land (Part 3)
Great Southern Land (Part 2)
Great Southern Land (Part 1)
Sundown NP - the last and most challenging
Lamington National Park - volcanoes and views
The Granites of Girraween
Less is more
The GT6 gets its seats
The Ultimate Bling
How not to fit a GT6 windscreen
EFI part 1 - The Fuel Tank
Parts that almost fit
The GT6 comes home
The Herald's back!
Steam, smut and storms
40 years up in the air
Close but no cigar
My company car was recently changed from a Toyota Kluger (fast but essentially a sealed road-only SUV) for a Hilux. My boss apologised for the downgrade but I didn't mind - all those bits on the geological maps marked '4WD only' were suddenly open and accessible. Of course, a fully-kitted mine-spec vehicle does get a few raised eyebrows in National Parks...
National Park #1 was Girraween again. There are several walking tracks through the centre of the park best accessed with a 4WD, which I hadn't been able to get into in September. I did a walk which crosses the state border into Bald Rock NP in NSW, and climbed the Rock. It's like the Girraween granites, but somehow the water runoff had made the faces stripy. Very pretty, and not much of a climb.
The start of the climb
The stunted forest at the top of Bald Rock
That night back in Girraween it rained, giving me an excellent chance to see where my tent was leaking! On Tuesday the rain was heavier. I did one short walk up Billy Goat Hill, but the blowing mist obscured a lot of the view, so I drove half an hour south to Boonoo Boonoo NP. This park's right on the Great Dividing Range and features a spectacular waterfall. Spectacularly wet, that is - it was absolutely pouring. As I wandered through the wet rainforest, I met another of Australia's famous creatures, the leach. No photos sorry, I was screaming and flailing at it in a manly and dignified way. Pity I missed the other one.
Billy Goat Hill, Girraween NP
When it rains, the granite tops are studded with small pools.
Boonoo Boonoo Falls
The next day the rain had cleared, so I packed up and headed a couple of hours west, into Sundown NP. I camped at the southern end of the park a few months ago, but that was just a taster. The rest is accessed by a long 4WD-only road - it took nearly 3 hours to drive 22km to Burrows Waterhole.
Most of Sundown is composed of metamorphosed (baked) sediments, under which a granite body was forced up about 240 million years ago. The hot fluids from the granite deposited metal-rich minerals in the overlying rocks, and these were mined intermittently last century. The remains of the old mines are visible on the drive in. Another legacy is that the waste rock is slowly leaching metals into the nearby streams - some have dangerously high levels of arsenic.
I camped at Burrows Waterhole, which is now officially my favourite camp ground ever! It's large, grassy and quiet - I was the only one there - and the waterhole has platypus and shags swimming in it. It also had me swimming in it, which scared off the wildlife!
The company car at Burrows Waterhole
Sunset. The sounds of birds, insects and wind. No cars, radios or other voices.
My camera got wet at Boonoo Boonoo, and took a bit of fiddling to get it working again. This is me trying to figure it out (the solution was to leave it in the sun for a few hours).
On Thursday I walked down the River Severn to an outcrop called the Rat's Castle. It's the top of an intrusive dyke, and gave great views over two watersheds. I walked back to camp down Sundown Creek, and spent an enjoyable afternoon with my feet in the waterhole, sipping red wine while fish nibbled my toes. Did I mention.. best camp ground ever?
Rat's Castle outcrop
View from the Castle over the River Severn
Red Rock Gorge - the only place where the sediments have been eroded away, exposing the underlying granites
Sign at Red Rock Gorge
Nope, I don't think the Hilux was a downgrade!
A couple of notes. Firstly, the access road was very rough - don't even think about it in a normal car. Secondly, I was walking about by myself in a fairly remote area with no phone reception. You need to be prepared for that sort of adventure - a map, GPS and good sense of direction are essential. If you break a leg, you'll still have to walk/crawl out, or be prepared for a very long wait!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 23rd February 2013 4:50pm gmt
Great Southern Land (Part 3)
After a few very hot days in the Warrumbungles, I felt like finding somewhere cooler to pitch my tent. Mt Kaputar, only a few hours north, fitted the bill. The mountain's about 1500m high and has a campground at 1400m. Because of the elevation, the days were no more than mid-twenties - wonderful after the high thirties days in Dubbo and the Warrumbungles. The campground was surrounded by Snow and Mountain Gums, with plenty of walking tracks, curious kangaroos and very few other campers. It was the perfect place to chill out while the rest of Australia got on with its Christmas shopping.
Mt Kaputar is, or was, a shield volcano similar to the Warrumbungles. The various bluffs and outcrops are mainly basalt, with plugs forming massive, cliff-edges plateaus that stick out of the forest.
Sunset from the summit of Mt Kaputar
One thing I quickly found is that early summer is thunderstorm season in NSW and Queensland. Many thunderheads seemed to go around Mt Kaputar rather than over it, and as I walked along various tracks, the forests and bluffs echoed to the sound of thunder away over the plains. The summit did get smited on two days though, and my tent proved to only be 90% waterproof.
Hmmm, those clouds look a bit dark. I wonder what's coming?
Surely that storm's going to pass us by?
But not that one. Damn.
After the storms had cleared, the sunset showed up the silhouette of the Warrumbungles, 160km to the south. It's said that you can see 7% of NSW from Mt Kaputar.
There was a surprising amount of wildlife up the mountain. I saw my first fox in the wild, the kangaroos always showed up at mealtimes, and as for goats... I counted 18 in one herd.
At the northern end of Mt Kaputar National Park is Sawn Rocks. They're a single thick lava flow that has cooled slowly. When rock cools it shrinks and cracks, and the cracks run perpendicular to the surface. In most cases the result is like Sawn Rocks, with columnar jointing. The same thing is famously seen in the Giant's Causeway in Ireland.
After a few days walking through forests, standing on cliff edges and watching the wildlife, it was time to head home. I had to stop at one more geological attraction though - Rocky Creek Glacial Area, near Bingara. The glacier's long-gone now - it was gone before dinosaurs evolved. But the rocks remain - conglomerates of granite cobbles picked up by a glacier, as well as interbeds of fine siltstone. The cobbles were deposited in summer, when the glacier moved rapidly, while the fine sediments were from rock flour, deposited in winter when the glacier had ground to a halt. I counted about seven different source rocks that have contributed to the conglomerate. It was, in every sense, cool.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 29th December 2012 09:30am gmt
Great Southern Land (Part 2)
The first National Park I wanted to check out was Warrumbungle National Park, near the New South Wales town of Coonabarabran. And right on the park border is the Siding Spring Observatory. As a life-long geek, I had to check it out. One telescope at Siding Spring, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, has a viewing gallery where you can see a state-of-the-art instrument that's discovered planets, observed far-off galaxies and watched the birth and death of stars. Siding Spring also has a great information centre and gift shop, and while I tried to keep my hands in my pockets, I ended up buying a telescope! The next few nights were spent spying the moon, Jupiter and its moons, various stars and nebulae - outback Australia has wonderfully dark skies, as spectacular as the countryside itself.
And so to Warrumbungle National Park. The Warrumbungles, as they're commonly referred to, are a range of eroded volcanic deposits. When most people think of volcanoes, they think of Mt Fuji-like towering peaks. Australia's volcanoes, on the other hand, tend to be formed by basaltic hot spots in the crust. Instead of tall, conical shapes, basaltic volcanoes form broad 'shield' shapes.
Many of the Warrumbungle walks are up and along a range known as the Grand High Tops. It's a cool name, and the views lived up to the billing. During the climb up, the first rocks seen in the creek beds and track cutting are the sandstones that existed before the volcanoes sprouted from the plains. The overlying volcanic rocks include solid and bubbly basalt, often exposed in cliffs. Tuff layers, from deposited, solidifed ash, show up as softer layers in the cliffs. Tuff sometimes has cliffs eroded into it by wind and water.
Volcanic breccias are common. They're caused when debris flows down the sides of the volcanoes pick up rocks and boulders, and redeposit them further down the mountain. It's a violent process, and the rock fragments end up in an unsorted mess.
The dykes and plugs are made of a rock called Trachyte. It's chemically the same as the basalt, but it cooled and solidified within the mountain instead of being erupted. Because it cooled more slowly the crystals are larger, and the rock is harder.
From the top, you can see how the Warrumbungles rise from the flat plains of central NSW. To the north, west and south, it's flat as far as the eye can see.
The most distinctive peak in the Grand High Tops is 'The Breadknife'. It is the coolest dyke I've ever seen.
On the last day, I trudged up is Mt Exmouth. At 1200m it's the highest point in the National Park, and the 360 degree views made the climb very worthwhile.
The view from Mt Exmouth, looking east towards the Grand High Tops.
A panorama from Mt Exmouth.
The Arch, near Mt Exmouth.
I'd like to go back to the Warrumbungles, but may choose a time when the weather's cooled off a bit. Each day was fine and sunny, with temperatures of 35 - 38C. Each day I drank as much water as possible before setting out, and carried two litres with me. And each day, I drank it all and was looking forward to an iceblock at the Visitor's Centre when I got back!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 28th December 2012 11:49am gmt
Great Southern Land (Part 1)
The geology business is a funny one. One minute the industry can't get enough geologists to help them explore for coal, gas and minerals. And then commodity prices drop and the first thing to be shelved is exploration. The result is a lot of unemployed geologists, quickly. I still have a job, but the company I work for hires out geologists. Right now the demand has dried up, so my boss sent us off on unpaid leave for a few months. I got to keep my company car though, so hatched a plan - go camping!
First stop was Sydney to drop off some mining gear to a colleague. That done, I spent the next two weeks meandering northwards through rural New South Wales. I mainly camped in National Parks. As always, if a spot looks interesting or unusual on a geological map, it's usually pretty spectacular in real life.
The road west from Sydney weaves through the Blue Mountains. Two things to note: they aren't mountains but gorges. And they aren't blue, exactly, it's an effect of haze and distance. Other than that, it's a perfect name.
I may have gotten a bit close to the edge here...
Next stop was the town of Bathurst. Most of the year it's a quiet rural town, but every October, a 1000km race is run on the nearby Mount Panorama circuit. You can drive around it at 60km/h (and yes, the speed limit is policed!). Driving around gives a good idea of the steepness of the climb up and down the mountain. It certainly isn't your average flat race track. One day I will be back in my Triumph Herald or GT6.
There's also a great museum near the start-finish line, which has a pretty good cross-section of cars which have raced at Mt Panorama, as well as other famous race cars. The only Triumphs were motorbikes, all impressively restored and waiting to roar off into the sunset.
Not sure our fleet-manager should see this one...
West of Bathurst, I found a place called Wellington Caves. Being a geologist, anything with the word 'cave' is irresistible. So I pitched my tent at the caves' campground, and next morning took tours of all three caves. The rock's a Devonian limestone or marble (marble is just baked limestone) with some impressive fossils and formations. It was also a nice cool 18C, instead of the high thirties outside.
One cave was mined for phosphate during WW1. The phosphate was from bat droppings and coated the cave floor and walls. How much phosphate was produced isn't known, and it was suggested that the mine was a good way for a few chaps do do their bit for the war effort without having to go France for target practice. Who knows if that's true?
The best formation in Cathedral Cave, naturally called 'The Organ'.
After the cave tours it was early afternoon, so I set off for the town of Dubbo. The town's most famous attraction is the Western Plains Zoo, which is a part of Sydney's Taronga Zoo. A zoo visit takes most of a day, so the next day was spent watching animals. Elephants, bison, giraffes, hippos, tigers, lions, all sorts of Australian animals (most of which I've met in the wild), lemurs. I hired a bike and cycled around - a brilliant, green plan that seemed a little less clever as the temperature neared 40C! Most of the African animals were happy to be out in the summer sun, but some were happier spending their time snoozing under trees. They were obviously the smarter ones. Of course animals can't stop for an iceblock, but I certainly could. Phew!
The end of a memorable, fun day was marked with a beautiful sunset. Australia does sunsets well.
The next day I headed north-ish again. Here's a taste of the next stop:
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 27th December 2012 2:35pm gmt
Until now, my overseas holidays have been to 'comfortable' countries. Australia, England and Scotland, Germany, and the Cook Islands. Places where people speak English (or Scottish) and life is predictable and well organised. Last week, I travelled to the Philippines to attend my brother's wedding to a Filipino lady. The trip was definitely out of my 'comfort zone', and all the more enjoyable for that.
Butterflies at Changi Airport
The trip from Australia took nearly three days. I stayed overnight in Singapore Airport's Ambassador Hotel - which I can recommend - and another in Manila - which I can't - before flying south to Tacloban, on the island of Leyte. Tacloban's a nice town, much smaller than Manila but still with the mad traffic that characterises the Philippines.
Sunset at Raphael's Farm
The wedding was held at a function centre called Raphael's Farm, just north of Tacloban. The day after, we headed over the San Juanico Bridge to a resort on Samar.
The resort was surrounded by small basalt islands, and had black basalt beach sand. Beautiful!
The day after I flew out, Typhoon Bopha hit Mindanao and killed over 300 people. While Tacloban had a lot of middle class homes, the town and surrounding countryside were also dotted with small clusters of houses, called Barangays. Built on any available flat land from river mudflats to the sides of the road, many of the homes are built of bamboo, thatch and recycled corrugated iron. Small wonder that in a Typhoon, they get swept away. It's only because the authorities moved thousands of people to higher ground that more weren't killed.
Roadside houses and food stalls.
But, my lasting memories of the Philippines will be of amazingly friendly and cheerful people, copious yummy seafood, and a beautiful warm, green, vibrant country. Mabuhay!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 06th December 2012 11:44am gmt
Sundown NP - the last and most challenging
The last stop on my Spring camping trip was Sundown National Park. Sundown is west of the Granite Belt, and is more suited to hard-core campers and walkers than Lamington or Girraween. Most of the 'tracks' are really just suggested routes along valleys and ridgelines, many with walking times listed in days rather than hours. The camp ground facilities are more basic, too - the 'shower' was a bucket with holes in the bottom!
Sundown's geology consists of sedimentary units with granites intruding from beneath. Typically when this happens, fluids from the hot granites deposit mineral ores in the surrounding rocks, and Sundown is no exception. Before being gazetted, ore bodies were mined for arsenic, tin, copper, molybdenum and tungsten. The mining wasn't always done cleanly, and some streams still have dangerously high arsenic contents.
Here's a quote from Sydney BJ Skertchly, the first government geologist to visit the area, in 1897. It comes from the Geological Society of Queensland's 'Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of SE QLD":
"So interesting, and I believe important, is this district that I would fain have seen more of it: but I had only brought two days' rations, and we had horrible weather, fog and rain, and though we stayed a day after we had eaten our last bit of food, and the river wouldn't give up its fish, we were obliged to return to Ballendean, as the rain showed no sign of abating. My horse drowned himself in a waterhole, one of our men had to be sent back ill, and altogether it was geology under difficulties, yet I never enjoyed myself more. I shall long remember our last night. Four of us had dined on less than half-a-loaf of bread, and we sat round the camp fire sipping second-hand tea, while a stockman recited Gordon's poems as a substitute for supper."
When I arrived, the Park had just received 68mm of rain overnight, and Skertchly's descriptions of the weather seemed very accurate. It was cool, overcast, wet and windy, and reminded me of camping trips back in New Zealand. The weather soon cleared though, and the next couple of days were warm enough to make the various waterholes seem tempting, leeches or no.
I'll have to go back to Sundown with a proper 4WD one day, as the northern campground, which acts as a gateway to many of the most interesting areas, isn't accessible by car.
A Bottlebrush. These plants are popular in Australian gardens.
Some sort of orange tree fungus.
Permanent Waterhole. It has Platypuseses!
A Monitor lizard. I didn't get his name.
Queens Mary Falls, on the road back to Brisbane.
The way home. Looking north towards Wilson's Peak from a cafe above Condamine Gorge.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 27th October 2012 08:32am gmt
Lamington National Park - volcanoes and views
After wandering around Girraween NP and looking at granite, I headed back north towards Brisbane and a National Park closer to home. Lamington NP is on the north-facing outer slopes of an extinct volcano. Like Girraween, its elevation means that it's cooler than on the plains. However Lamington is near the coast and so gets a lot more rain. Instead of dry eucalypt forest, Lamington is covered by dense, damp rainforest and beech forest.
Because it's only a couple of hours drive from Brisbane, the park is popular and the camp ground was full. Fortunately there's also an old and very posh lodge (O'Reilly's Retreat) which had a room. And a restaurant and bar and spectacular views. Nice!
There are dozens of walks in Lamington. I did two 'day' walks in one day, covering at least 25km. Why? So I could see more waterfalls and lookouts!
Looking south into the old caldera from Wanungara Lookout. Old lava flows can be seen in the cliffs.
Echo Point Lookout is further west on the crater rim. Mt Warning, marking the approximate centre of the old Tweed Volcano, is on the right.
A friendly Lorikeet at O'Reilly's.
One of the many falls on tracks from O'Reilly's to the crater rim.
Sunset from O'Reilly's Retreat. Spring and early Summer are the driest times of the year in Australia and are when most bushfires happen. The smoke reduced visibility a bit, but made for some nice sunsets!
I stopped at Undercliffe Falls on the drive from Girraween to Lamington. The falls are hardly marked on maps, the signpost is tiny and there's only a very rough track down from the carpark. But after all that it was worth it - the falls are beautiful.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 21st October 2012 08:00am gmt
The Granites of Girraween
"As hard as granite." It's a saying so common it's almost a cliche. Granite's a hard rock, made of large, interlocking crystals. Granite bodies form when hot material from deep in the Earth's interior melts the underside of the crust. The semi-liquid mass of minerals rises into the overlying crust and cools slowly, over millions of years. When erosion wipes away the weaker host rock, the granite is left. Granite can form mountain ranges.
But over time, even granite is worn by water and ice. The minerals decompose, and with little cement between the crystals, the rock flakes away.
The southeasternmost portion of Queensland is called, with typical Australian directness, the Granite Belt. The granite was formed in the Triassic, and was first uncovered in the Jurassic. It's been slowly rising and being eroded ever since, and so the landscape we see today is in truth an ancient one. However, despite the long period of erosion, the rolling landscape is still about a kilometre above sea level. As a result the climate is typically hot in summer and cold in winter. The native vegetation is adapted to the conditions, and European settlers quickly saw the potential of the area for fruit and wine production. The Granite Belt's valleys are famous for their vineyards and orchards, but granite forms poor soils, and so large swathes of hillside are entirely bare, like ribs poking through the skin. I've just spent a few days walking around Girraween National Park, admiring the geology, the landscapes and, not least, some of the local Shiraz.
The rock in question - granite. This granite is composed mainly of quartz, pink and white feldspar, and black biotite.
Spring means wildflowers, and Girraween means 'place of flowers'. They're not big and bold, but the pink, white, purple and yellow flowering shrubs added touches of colour to the Australian bush. And the sound of bees!
The first big balancing rock had me grabbing for my camera before it fell over. By the time I'd seen a few hundred more, they didn't seem so remarkable. The boulders have been left as the surrounding granite flaked away along planes of weakness. Eventually they do roll downhill, but it's a rare event.
The Pyramid is one of the most fun climbs in Girraween National Park. It's not high, but the final stretch is steeeeeep.
The view from the base of the exposed rock face.
About halfway up, looking east. And no, the camera is not on its side!
A dyke crosses the face of the Pyramid, a good place to stop and catch your breath.
And when you get to the top, you can see the Second Pyramid. It's not climbable without rock-climbing experience.
Balancing Rock, on the peak of the Pyramid.
And more boulders, seemingly perched ready to roll off the Pyramid into the valley. Not today, though.
A Cunningham's Skink, enjoying the view, or the sun. He didn't say.
The next walk was to a formation called the Sphinx. I thought it looked like a koala, but Koala Rock doesn't have the same ring.
Someone's made a pretty decent sleeping platform at the base of the Sphinx. No idea how old it is - could be last week, or hundreds of years ago.
You think of underground streams being cut through limestone, but here, a stream has managed to undercut a granite bluff. You can hear the water but only see glimpses through the cracks.
Another dyke, this one above the Underground Stream.
The longest walk I did was up Mt Norman, down the far side and along a firebreak to Underground Stream. This is the northern face of Mt Norman, showing how the topsoil has been washed from the smooth face of the rock.
There's a good little campground tucked into the boulders beside the peak of Mt Norman. Here's the chimney.
And this is the southern face of Mt Norman. It's quite a walk to see this, but that meant I had it all to myself. I did the main walks in Girraween, and plan to go back and explore more of the park.
Just for fun, a 360 view from the Pyramid.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 06th October 2012 10:23pm gmt
Less is more
US-market 'Federal' spec GT6s were a bit different from the versions sold in their homeland. Oh, Triumph nailed the steering wheel on the other side, but there were extra features such as running lights, a seatbelt reminder light and a buzzer that sounded if the door was opened while the key was still in the ignition. For 1972, that was fully loaded!
Triumph were also selling cars in a market with tighter legislation governing emissions, and so the Federal GT6s' engines were in a lower state of tune. Low compression engines and a different camshaft meant that they were about 20hp down on GT6s sold elsewhere. So, I decided that my GT6 would get a bit of a kick on the pants performance-wise, and swapped the 2L crank for a 2.5L version. Because the stroke is increased, the engine is tuned for torque rather than revs. To stop it being a lazy slug, I've added a few goodies to retain the sporty feel.
The bottom end's away getting balanced, and includes a lightweight Bastück steel flywheel. It should be back in a few days. More exciting, a set of 60-overbore forged pistons arrived this week, so I can move forward and get the block bored. I ordered them a couple of years ago, as soon as I stripped the engine, but production delays mean that they've arrived just when I need them. Below are a few photos, with a Nüral 40-thou cast piston for comparison. The stock cast pistons are nice, but the forged ones look, and feel, even better.
Nüral 40 thou piston, including gudgeon piston and rings - 415g
Forged 60 thou piston with gudgeon piston but without rings
The crowns of both pistons
Side view. Note that the cast piston has large slots in the sides, while the forged piston only has small drillings behind the oil ring groove.
The undersides. There's a lot more material in the cast piston - it's quite chunky by comparison.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 29th September 2012 5:08pm gmt
The GT6 gets its seats
When my GT6 arrived, its interior had been eaten away by the California sun. No carpet or door trims, and the seats were cracked, and disintegrating. They were disgusting, and probably the first parts removed and stripped for restoration. Their frames were cleaned and repainted, and new foams were sourced from Newton Commercial. The original covers were kept as patterns for the new covers. Little else of the interior could be saved.
Every cloud has a silver lining, though. The derelict interior gave me an opportunity to change its colour. GT6s had black, Matador Red, Midnight Blue or New Tan interiors. My red Herald has a black interior, and the Herald coupe will get trimmed in red, so I decided on New Tan to give the GT a light and warm feel. And today, three years after they were removed, the seats came home and were refitted. It was almost as big a milestone as the completion of the bodywork.
The seats were recovered in New Tan leather by Ron Jackson, a Brisbane-based upholsterer. Ron's an old-school craftsman with thirty years of tricks to make old upholstery not only as good as new, but often better. Seats, carpet and door trims were usually mass-produced by the factory or an outside contractor. Restored trim, though, is essentially hand-made, and can incorporate tweaks such as different density foams, extra padding to improve shape and location, and subtly different coloured piping.
I'd visited Ron last week to check on progress, and he was near enough to finishing them that I knew I should get the seat runners bolted in asap. And then the big day came, the phone call to come and pick them up.
Seat runners in place (and a lot of junk!)
Ron the craftsman!
The seats in place. I'll take a better photo when I can wheel the car out into the sun - the camera flash doesn't do them justice. And the verdict - very comfortable. At 6ft I wouldn't want to be any taller, as my head isn't far from the headlining, but they're very comfortable and supportive, and should make long trips back-ache free. Now it just needs a motor...
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 02nd September 2012 7:23pm gmt
Took my camera to Sydney last weekend. Cold, windy weather made the innumerable cafes even more enticing than usual, but I managed to get a few fun shots.
The QVB (Queen Victoria Building), arguably Sydney's oldest, poshest and most glamorous shopping arcade. A temple to good taste.
Recognise this famous landmark?
Yep, it's the Giant Coathanger!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 15th August 2012 3:52pm gmt
The Ultimate Bling
Once upon a time, when men were men, cars had real bumpers. None of your pedestrian-friendly, impact absorbing deformable eco-plastic. Nope. They had proper steel bumpers at each end, adorned with lashings of chrome and style. Modern cars, with their wee brushed aluminium highlights and big shiny alloys have less bling than a proper set of chrome bumpers.
The GT6's bumpers had been 'bumped' quite a lot by the time I got her. I know she'd been around the block a few times, but the bumpers looked like she'd run into it as well! But now the bumpers have been straightened, polished and rechromed, and mounted back on the car, and they look as good as new. The plater I used is old school and does the full copper-nickel-chrome process. I painted their insides as well, so they should last well. And while the repairs and chrome weren't cheap, check out the cost of plastic modern bumper panels :-)
Now that's bling!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 04th August 2012 3:25pm gmt
Australia's divided into states, each with its own capital city. I've been to some of them, but a glaring gap, and one I was keen to fill, was Melbourne. It's an old city, founded in the earliest days of British colonisation. These days it competes with Sydney to be the funkiest, most cosmopolitan in Australia. (Sorry Brisbane, you're not there yet).
To jump on a plane and zoom off to another city, you need an excuse. Mine was Cat Stevens' musical 'Moonshadow'. Cat (aka Yusuf Islam) doesn't perform in it but he wrote the story, and the music spans his career. I don't remember hearing his music when I was growing up, but every tune was familiar and many are on my iPod. The show was brilliant, and the songs could have been written for their scenes. I loved it.
Another reason was to meet fellow GT6 owner Craig Trimble, who helps run the Sideways Forum. Craig's had his Damson Mk3 for over fifteen years, and it's slowly being modified to suit his idea of the perfect Triumph. We spend all Saturday in the garage talking Triumphs, BBQing sausages and gradually putting parts into his car. The plan was to get it running in and blast back into town in time for for Moonshadow. We (mostly Craig) modified his transmission cover and refitted it, bolted in the seats, filled the coolant system, modified the heater tap, bolted up the exhaust and relocated the battery to the behind the passenger's seat. This was done by a little after 7pm - the concert started at 8 - so all that remained was to drop the old girl onto her wheels, fire her up and scream into town.
Triumphs being Triumphs though, she refused to start. A few coughs, plenty of spark and fuel, but no fire. We gave up when the cranking speed started dropping, and I was treated to a just-in-time run into town in a Supercharged Monaro. Thanks Craig, I sat down just as the curtains rose!
The third part of the mystery weekend was catching up with a fellow refugee from Mackay, who lives in Melbourne. We were trapped in Mackay airport by bad weather for two days with nothing but complementary food and wine to sustain us, and she kindly offered to show me some of the sights, sounds and tastes that Melbourne is famous for. A brilliant day of restaurant, bar and cafe-hopping meant that I got very little sleep that night.
Pellegrinis, one of Melbourne's oldest cafes. Great coffee, served with full cream attitude!
Melbourne from the 88th floor of the Eureka tower
And so the verdict? When my GT6 is finished, a perfect test drive would be a run down the East Coast, through Sydney, Melbourne and along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. But Melbourne turned out to be more fun than I'd thought possible - I'll be back much sooner than that :-)
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 30th July 2012 8:03pm gmt
'It never rains but it pours.' 'Like WW1 but with more mud'. 'You weren't there man, you don't know.' All these phrases were muttered last week. I was sent to relieve for another geologist at Newlands Coal Mine. Because they were short-staffed I was asked to stay on a couple of extra days. That may have turned out to be a good thing, as I got to work with a mine senior geo from head office and learnt a few new tricks. But it rained, and that was a game-changer. Drilling operations in the middle of nowhere stop work when it rains, as they can't move trucks and there's a likelihood that even 4WDs will get stuck. Not at mine sites though - the philosophy is that there is no piece of stuck equipment that can't be moved with a big enough dozer. So out into the mud we went. It wasn't cold but it was still a wet, slippery, sticky day.
A small part of Newlands on a fine day. For scale, those roads are about 15m wide. The whole complex is about 30km end to end, Anywhere else, it's be considered three separate mines. And those 5-trailer trucks are BIG.
Our drill site. Did I mention the mud?
The same rain and low cloud then meant that flights couldn't land at Mackay airport for the next two days. Some airports have radar beacons, but not Mackay. At one point we heard a plane try to land, but he chickened out. Still, I got to spend time in the departure lounge drinking coffee and chatting. By the end we'd made some new friends ;-) The poor people getting thrown around above us had it much harder.
When I finally made it home my latest Triumph part had arrived - a W58 gearbox bought off eBay. I have a kit to fit it to a TR6 motor, which is the same as a GT6's except for a different back plate. The kit includes a custom bellhousing, clutch components and gear lever adapter. I still need to find a W58 gear lever though, as my box came without one. The box will get stripped and checked before going in the car.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 15th July 2012 10:25am gmt
Old cars only make sense on an emotional level - certainly not practical and rarely financial. We love them when we're building or driving them, and feel betrayed when they let us down. My Herald has given me twenty years of pretty reliable service and I love it for that. But right now I can't help scowling at it. It's sick, I've tried to cure it and it hasn't worked. Bastard!
When I moved back to Brisbane from Moranbah it was running perfectly. We enjoyed a two-day drive through half of Queensland, camping along the way. But once back in Brisbane it hasn't been so happy.
- First the diff seal failed, the oil escaped and the diff was damaged.
- The diff was replaced with a new alloy case and new gears which were lapped to ensure they ran quietly. Of course I also repainted and rebushed the rear suspension - can't go putting dirty bits in my Precious!
- Then the clutch slave cylinder failed, in traffic and a huge cloud of smoke and humiliation. New cylinders are cheap, and I also rekitted the master cylinder and changed the clutch to silicone fluid. Was the wee darling appeased? Like hell!
- While its Carcoon is getting fixed it has to sit on the drive in all weathers. The cat thinks the sunroof is a perfect hammock, and now the sunroof is stretched and letting in water. Removing the floor drain plugs has helped slightly but I am looking into the water-proofing properties of cats.
- Now the car has developed some sort of 'dragging' problem. It feels as though the brakes are half on, but I'm at a loss to explain how. I've replaced the master cylinder - no change. I disabled the servo by disconnecting the vacuum hose - no change. It had better not be a half-seized diff.
It doesn't help that it's hard to work on the car on my drive because of the slope.. But at the moment I have had a gutsful of its poor reliability and expensive taste in parts. It's just begging to be sent to Greg Tunstall's School for Recalcitrant Triumphs.
Meanwhile the GT6 is slowly taking shape. The headlining is in, I've established that the upholsterer with the seats is still alive and the wiring is getting sorted. One of my children is therefore making me happy.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 01st July 2012 08:41am gmt
How not to fit a GT6 windscreen
After ages trying to find a replacement windscreen for the GT6, a fellow triumpher in Melbourne put me onto a company that manufactures screens locally. And they had Spitfire 1500 / GT6 Mk3 windscreens - score! I picked one up on Saturday morning, looking forward to having it fitted by lunchtime. Ummm, wrong.
I winched the GT out into the sun - my garage and drive are on quite a slope, the wheel chocks are not for show. It's much easier to work on the car with room to open the doors properly.
Step one was fitting the seal to the glass. this took a couple of attempts to get the tension the same right round - the seals are made on the small side to make sure they hold the glass firmly, but the result is that it's like wrestling a huge black rubber band. One fingernail later, it was on.
The next step was fitting the assembly to the car, and I just couldn't get it to fit. After half an hour I gave up - maybe I surrendered too soon, but I'd rather not break the glass by doing it wrong. Brisbane has mobile windscreen specialists, and I'm happy to pay them to fit the little bastard.
For light relief I tidied the garage. You can see the winch at the back. This is actually the 'after' picture, it was a proper mess before.
And then I stitched up a pair of seams in the headlining that had come unravelled. Sewing's not my forte, but it should hold. Fitting the interior has been one of the most enjoyable parts of the build so far. the car has gone from a bare shell to a warm, snug place you'd be happy to spend a day in. Amazing what a bit of carpet and headlining will do!
And then time for a beer. No photo of that, but it was brown, good and well-deserved.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 09th June 2012 7:09pm gmt
EFI part 1 - The Fuel Tank
My GT6 was born with twin Stromberg carburettors. They're simple, reliable and moderately tuneable. More distinguished species of Triumph, however, had Lucas mechanical injection. I thought about fitting it, but getting the tuning right seemed to involve shims, shuttles and springs... not to mention running three times widdershins around a church at midnight for luck. Not for nothing is Lucas known as Prince of Darkness.
The modern solution is electronic fuel injection... as fitted to every new car. The first part of the conversion was the high pressure fuel pump. Some conversions use an external pump, fed from a surge pot (essentially a small second fuel tank) by a booster pump. I didn't like that much fuel-filled plumbing 12 inches from my left buttock, so opted to have a surge pot and injection pump fitted inside my tank. Tanks Inc (http://www.tanksinc.com) sell kits for just this purpose.
Here you can see the Walbro pump and filter, and the small tray which acts as a surge tank to prevent the pump running dry on corners. The white nylon pipe is the fuel return, so that if the tank gets really empty, the surge tray will stay full as long as possible.
I had the tank converted by Greg of Fuel Tank and Radiator Specialists here in Brisbane. They fixed my Herald tank a couple of years ago after ethanol petrol ate through old epoxy repairs. Greg cleaned the tank and welded in a sunken section for the pump to bolt up to. It was pressure tested and returned good as new. I shouldn't have to worry about fuel leaks or dirt in the fuel system when the car returns to the road.
The surge tray was installed sideways for two reasons. Firstly, if it had been positioned fore-and-aft it would have interfered with the fuel gauge sender arm. Secondly, the car will probably be subjected to greater G-forces from cornering than acceleration or braking.
And here is the finished article, having passed inspection. The recessed pump fitting means that the boot floor will still lie flat. The wiring and two fuel lines are the next steps.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 13th May 2012 6:22pm gmt
Parts that almost fit
When it arrived, my GT6 was worn out. The interior was cracked, rotten or missing, the mechanical parts were sloppy or broken and the remaining trim was corroded, bent or had fallen off years ago. So, a lot of parts have needed to be replaced, either with original parts from other cars or newly made parts.
The interior was easy. Nearly everything's available new, mostly from Newton Commercial. The trim has been remanufactured to a high standard and fits well. One exception is the seats which, being a high-back style unique to US-spec cars, are being re-covered locally. Rebuilding the comfortable cabin has been fun. The mechanical bits are more expensive to replace but with a bit of reading, trawling the web and a good machinist, it will soon be purring like new.
The exterior trim is trickier. A lot of parts from old cars are available, in varying conditions. But as well as old parts, a lot are available new. It sounds amazing, but out there somewhere people or companies are making bits for old Triumphs. In photos they look shiny, and it's even nicer when they arrive and you unwrap a parcel full of new Triumph treasures. But offer the shiny new goodies up to the car and the smile fades.
In short, most don't fit.
Example: A GT6 Mk3 rear badge. I bought a good second hand on, but it still had a few small blemishes, so I ordered a new one. What I got is a recreation which looks like an original until you put them side by side. The moulding shape is slightly different, the pin spacing is different (only by half a mm but that's enough to stop it fitting) and it has a few small blemishes in the casting. I know, these are tiny issues but they mean that it won't fit without me drilling out the holes in the car's panel, and to a perfectionist it will stand out as a cheap copy.
Example 2: my GT6's chrome 'horseshoes' were badly pitted and beyond salvage. New ones are available and very shiny and not hugely expensive so I bought 'em. Like the badge, they don't quite fit. The originals were a one-piece pressing, admittedly made from soft metal which doesn't last forty years very well but perfectly shaped. The new ones are made from three sections tacked together. With a bit of filing of the end points and the freshly painted tail of the car, they could probably be made to fit... sort of. Again, to a perfectionist the small gaps where the casting doesn't follow the panel curves will scream "bodge". And I'm not sure how well they will hang on once the car is on the road. The next bits of trim to sort out are the bumpers. The original ones are dented and the chrome is worn. And guess what - there are stainless steel replacements being made, and like the badge and chrome trims, they look very shiny on my computer monitor. But will they exactly match the originals? I just can't say. It's too big a punt getting them shipped to Australia to find out. The old ones will get repaired, rechromed and refitted. Some good news. Some bits I've bought have fitted as advertised. Here's a teaser...
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 05th May 2012 2:02pm gmt
The rebuild of my GT6 has started with the interior. It's a satisfying job, because the interior's the bit the owner spends the most time looking at and touching. Most of the replacement trim has been hunted down over the last two years and squirrelled away, waiting for the body shell to come home. Refitting it has been a slow process though. The first step was to line the floor and bulkhead with lightweight Dynamat to keep the interior temperatures down. The roof was lined with half inch thick Dynaliner.
The wiring loom runs the length of the car under the carpet, with branches to the seatbelt sensors and passenger sensor in the seat. Once that was laid out, the interior carpet and seat frames could be fitted. Each moulded piece of carpet has to be glued into place, with weights and clamps to hold it in place while the glue dries. The driver's side is complete, and now I've moved the car across the garage, I'll be able to finish the left half of the cabin. A major part of the rebuild has been converting it to RHD, as it was originally a US-spec car. The section of the wiring loom for the large gauges and steering column had to be extended. The steering column had to be fitted before I could see exactly where to drill a hole for the lower column. We reached a milestone this morning when I was able to fit the lower column to the rack and, for the first time ever, steer the car from the right hand side. Most of the components of the right hand door have been refitted, and I've added central locking as a hidden extra touch. No more scratches in the paint under the door lock! The rear window and quarterlights have been refitted - they're attached with rivets and took literally five minutes each side to refit. The bottom rivets were the trickiest. The headlining has been clipped in place, but needs a lot of stretching before I'll be happy to glue it. I also need to buy a rear vision mirror before gluing the front section down. Actually, that's a problem I keep running into. I can carry out a part of the rebuild to a certain point and then find I need a fitting that was missing/broken/manky, or that the original screws are rusty and will look 'orrible in the new cabin. So every few weeks, Canley Classics or Rimmer Brothers get an order for various mall bits and bobs. The whole car is a pile of half-finished jobs waiting for parcels from the UK!
Many bulkhead components have been laid out to make sure there's room for everything. I'm keeping the US-spec tandem brakes, meaning that Joe the painter had to modify the bulkhead to accommodate the larger reservoir. The last GT6s had brake boosters on the front brakes, and I'll do the same. I had to climb into the engine bay and close the bonnet to see where the VH44 booster could fit - fortunately no one saw that! Or the grunting and swearing as I struggled to lift the bonnet again...
The shelf behind the seats was covered in thick tar paper. I never bothered lifting it before the car went to the painters, but with a bit of Dynamat left over, thought "why not?" It exposed the last remaining piece of Damson paint, and a small rust hole. Bugger! So that section of the interior will have to wait until I've cut out the rust and welded in a repair panel.
Lastly, Bradley on the Club Triumph forum has been asking about the drilling of the Revolution alloys. You can sort-of see here that the wheel stud holes have been drilled to a smaller spacing than the original casting was designed to accommodate. Will the rims be strong enough? I hope so because they're beautiful, but we'll see.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 29th April 2012 11:31am gmt
The GT6 comes home
Today was the day I'd been impatiently waiting for for over a year. My GT6 came home - painted and ready for reassembly.
Joe finished painting it a few weeks ago, but the movers were booked until this weekend. Why use movers? Well, I'd shifted south since the car went to the painters, and to hook up a car trailer and drive north to retrieve it would have been over 1900km. Plus, the movers use a covered truck, whereas a car on a car trailer is vulnerable to stones thrown up by the towing vehicle and everything else on the road.
Inside a furniture truck - the best way to move a car. No stone chips, no exhaust fumes.
Furniture trucks don't have winches, so a tilt tray was used to unload it and bring it the last few km home.
My driveway is pretty steep, so I have a winch bolted to the floor at the back of the garage. Not sure what the Herald thinks about all this...
Dynamat has been applied to the entire floor and bulkhead to reduce cabin heat and noise.
Because every detachable part has been stripped, painted or restored while the body was away, it shouldn't take long before it starts looking like a complete car. Dynamat has been laid under the carpet and on the bulkhead to reduce noise and heat. GT6s have a reputation for cooking their passengers, and I want mine to stay cool!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 25th March 2012 6:58pm gmt
With the diff refitted, I've been using the Herald all weekend to make sure it's running perfectly again. A few clicking noises on Saturday told me to trim some of the halfshaft bolts. That done, I decided to take it to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary here in Brisbane on Sunday. We got about halfway there...
The good news is that the diff is working perfectly. Greg Tunstall had the gears lapped to ensure it would run quietly, and it does. No leaks so far either, so that leather pinion seal seems to be worth the trouble to track down. There seemed to be a driveshaft vibration at 50mph, so I'll turn the driveshaft around and see if that helps.
The bad news happened on Moggill Rd, one of Brisbane's busiest. I put my foot on the clutch coming up to a red light and it felt soft. A couple of pumps and nope, no clutch. I knocked it into neutral and we coasted into a driveway. The tableau was perfected by a large cloud of smoke as the slave cylinder dumped fluid onto the exhaust!
I could have fixed it right there. We stopped outside Super Cheap Auto Spares, and I had a spare slave cylinder seal in the boot. But thousands of people would have seen my bum sticking out of the car so I opted for the dignified alternative of calling a big yellow tow truck. Sorry, did I say dignified?
Looks cute, doesn't go though
Of course it started raining as well...
Anyway, it's home and the replacement parts are on their way. It's the first time in twenty years that it's needed a tow truck.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 18th March 2012 5:24pm gmt
The Herald's back!
Replacing the diff in a Herald is one of the most awkward jobs in Triumphdom. Which is why, as soon as Gerald's diff's started singing, my heart sank.
It lost its oil after the pinion seal failed. Replacing the oil quietened it down slightly, but its days were clearly numbered. So I ordered the various gears, seals and bearings, as well as an alloy case from Canley Classics, and took the diff to Greg Tunstall Mechanical for an overhaul. He had the new crown wheel and pinion lapped to ensure it ran quietly, and built it into the new case.
The rebuilt diff with new crown wheel and pinion, and a Bastück alloy case.
I've just spent an entire Sunday struggling to refit the damned thing. Removing it was easy - just undo all the bolts and stand clear, gravity does the rest. But refitting means shoving it into position against stiff bushes, limited room and the same, suddenly unhelpful gravity. Grrrr! For future reference, don't fit bolts through the rear bushes before swinging the front up, as it won't fit in properly. I figured that out eventually...
Once it was in I found one difference between the old iron case and the new Bastück alloy case. It's not possible to fit the halfshaft bolts once the output flanges are done up, as the case is a different shape. So I had to fit the bolts the other way, and fit enough washers so that the bolts didn't hit the cap head bolts holding the flanges in. Some of them come damned close though - if an ant squeezes in there it'll get a haircut!
Refilling took an age. The 140-weight oil Greg gave me was too thick for my oil pump, so it was refilled with a hose and funnel. Slooooowly.
Bleeding the brakes. The rubber brake hose was replaced with a braided hose. The swing spring was stripped and repainted, the eye bushes were replaced with blue urethane and the centre pad with harder red urethane.
I also replaced a brake line and bled the brakes. Then it could sit on its own wheels for the first time in six weeks. It didn't start though, not until I'd removed a condenser fitted across the points to keep the radio crackles down. The radio's inline fuse also fell apart while I was looking for loose wires, resulting in some sparky excitement and a little Lucas smoke. Sigh.
Once running, the clutch turned out to be seized on... but I've learned how to free it off, so we shot around the block for a test blat. No new noises, and the diff's quiet. Thank goodness!
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 11th March 2012 6:31pm gmt
Steam, smut and storms
As we pulled into the last station of the day, the chap across the aisle finally managed to slide his window shut and grinned. "Any day behind steam is a good day". How right he was.
Several times a year, a bunch of enthusiasts from the Australian Railway Historical Society run steam excursions out of Brisbane. I wouldn't say I'm a big steam enthusiast - some of the middle-aged blokes were almost dribbling with excitement - but a ride up the coast in a historic steam train is a good way to spend a Saturday.
The trip went up to the town of Landsborough, on the Sunshine Coast (which is a district, so Landsborough isn't on the actual coast!) There were a couple of add-on trips offered as well, and I opted for a boat trip along the waterway between Bribie Island and the Mainland. It's a nature reserve, and popular with fishermen, boaties and people who just want to spend their Saturday at the beach.
"The train arriving on Platform 10 is noisy, steamy, smokey and quite possibly alive!"
"Have you seen a seagull?" "No." "How about a shag then?"
The resort town of Caloundra, at the head of the passage between the Mainland and Bribie Island.
Bribie Island. Sand, trees and weather.
A typical SE Queensland afternoon storm.
Another good way to spend a Saturday.
After a couple of hours it was back to the train and home. My carriage, which had been at the back on the way up, was now at the front. With no air conditioning it was a choice between hot or sooty... Triumph owners aren't afraid of a bit of dirt though, so it was windows open all the way. Or at least until we hit the storm front we'd been watching from the water. And the old wooden carriages were as waterproof as the day they were made!
(Triumph news: The Herald's diff has been rebuilt with an alloy case. I'll try and pick it up this week, or next Saturday at the latest. And the GT6 is painted! I've arranged an enclosed truck to bring it the 800km south, probably in a couple of weeks.)
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 03rd March 2012 7:35pm gmt
40 years up in the air
What do you get for a brother at Christmas when he already has enough
junk stuff for any three normal people? Well, I shouted my brother Tim a helicopter flight over Brisbane... and because the ticket was for two, I came along as well.
The helicopter we rode in is a 1971 Bell47G. Think M*A*S*H and you've got it. It's essentially a plexiglass bubble, engine and rotor blades. No doors, but thankfully bloody good seat belts!
Taking off from Archerfield. Please excuse the three hairy legs, but this shot shows how open the cockpit is. Plexi ahead, open air to the right, ground 900ft straight down.
Bell 47 instruments. The engine is a six cylinder piston engine, with enough power to climb to 12,000ft. Andy, the pilot, tested this once by taking it past the summit of Mt Cook in NZ. Just.
No wonder I get lost in Brisbane!
The Heart of Brisbane, with the Story Bridge. The river's slightly browner than usual due to wet season rains upstream. It's never what you'd call clear though.
The Gabba, from almost directly overhead. Now would NOT be a good time to drop the camera.
Botanic Gardens, South Bank to the left.
Tim and Andy over St Lucia and the University of Queensland.
We want to go again! Back at Archerfield.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://email@example.com 11th February 2012 3:08pm gmt
Close but no cigar
The GT6 won't be home for Christmas. It's close - the doors and hatch are back on - but Joe's struggling with panel gaps around the bonnet. The entire front section of a GT6 is a single clamshell-style assembly, and mine needed a lot of dents to be hammered out.
To start with we need to sort out the bonnet hinges. The whole front end pivots on two bolts as part of an adjustable hinge setup. It's a long time since I took the car apart, so I'll need to dig out some parts manuals and diagrams and work out where the bushes and washers go. At the moment it has a couple of centimetres' play! The rear end of the bonnet is located on the bulkhead with rubber cones and latches and again, it's no use trying to get the alignment right until they're fitted.
The doors and hatch fit very well, with no tweaking required. That was one of the positives about this car - it was worn out, dented and roasted by years parked up in the sun, but none of the outer panels had any significant rust. Only portions of the floor needed replacing. The wings, doors and sills are the same ones on the car when it rolled out of the Triumph factory.
At the moment the Mallard Missile's got its bum in the air. It should settle once the glass, interior and fuel tank are fitted, but US-spec GT6s seem to have sat higher than their UK counterparts. It's already got a 1" lowering block under the spring, and if it doesn't settle down enough with some weight in the back, the spring will need to be reset.
The left front wing's gaps are good, but it needs its cones and latches to push the bottom out a bit.
The bulkhead gap's fairly regular, but the right hand door gap needs to be reduced. Hopefully it'll close up when the bonnet's better located.
My visit to the GT6 was on the way home from two weeks in the Queensland summer sun. Summer up there is also the wet season, so think 36C and thunderstorms. The photo's not been tweaked - green thunder clouds mean hail!
High altitude ice clouds mean it's going to be a clear, hot day. This photo was taken about 9am, when it was already about 30C!
Meanwhile, the Herald's snoozing in the garage. When I started my new job in Brisbane I used it to commute, a daily twenty-mile round trip (the Herald doesn't think in kilometres). Stop-start driving's different to steady cruising on country roads, and after a couple of weeks the diff pinion seal let go. Of course I didn't notice until the diff started whining, on the last banked bend leading onto the Gateway Bridge. Sigh. Fresh oil quietened it a bit but it's obviously not healthy any more. So a new-old-stock crown wheel and pinion, bearings, gaskets and seals are on their way from the UK, along with an alloy case which increases the oil capacity. I'll get it rebuilt by a specialist, to make sure the new gears mesh smoothly. I want the new diff to be as quiet as the old one was.
posted by Nick Moorehttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 23rd December 2011 09:48am gmt
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