Beachmere, after car problem and repairs.

Saturday 25th May 2013, Beachmere.

More stories about the car: Monday just gone I found that the radiator coolant bottle was nearly empty, removing the radiator cap showed the radiator was not full either, I was a bit peeved that something as a result of the head replacement might have gone wrong. I then topped the system up with water, it only took a little over a litre, and until this morning it did not seem to use any at all, but this morning it was down a little again. The local mechanics tell me that after draining and refilling the cooling system it can develop some air locks, so let’s hope that this is all it is.

Tuesday and Wednesday it rained some and we ended up with a flood of water in the foot well on the passenger front. I spent some time drying the floor and after having the car in for work to be done, more on that later, I was given a couple of hints as to what they think could have happened. The outer door seal rubber had something wrong at the front end and it was indicated that this could have diverted the water to where not wanted. This was not a likely cause as the problem would have been created when I had the new windscreen replaced early this year, and we would have had the problem earlier surely. I consider the leak problem would have to have been created possibly by the mechanics during the head replacement, but what exactly. Anyway I compared the door seal with the one on the other side and it was exactly the same, and I then discovered they just weren’t re-installed correctly by inserting the bottom piece correctly, one job fixed anyway. This morning I poured some water over the front of the car to hopefully see where the leak was happening and when I searched with my hand underneath the dash I noticed a drain hose from the heater ducting was off, and this seemed the most likely place the water would have come from so it was replaced, hopefully another problem fixed. It seems to me that considering the drain hose goes through the fire wall immediately below the heater water hose, one that would have to be removed during the head replacement, that the mechanics must have disturbed and disconnected the hose inadvertently in the removal process.

After having the head replaced at Coonabarabran we still had a problem with the engine warning light still being on, and I decided to leave that until we arrived at Beachmere, the EGR valve needed replacing, according to the computer print, this would save us waiting a few days for the part to turn up. Friday the car was put in for that job, rather expensive job to be done as well, the valve must be made out of gold. At this stage consider that the part has supposedly failed at the same time as the head replacement and I could not get an explanation that the problems were related, so my thinking was that maybe the mechanics at Coona had done something else to cause this problem, especially seeing that they tried cleaning the valve but the error message kept coming back. I tried to explain this to the local mechanics so they might not replace a $200.00 part when not necessary, but I think to no avail as the computer was telling them to replace the valve. Job done, all appeared ok, I paid, I started to drive home, I get a couple of K’s down the road and the light comes on again. Back to the workshop and after they look again and see the same error code again they do something to remove it and say it is all ok, I drive home and 1K down the road the light comes on again. Back to the workshop and analysis says the same device but an open circuit alarm lead. This is what I tried to tell them. More test and they say again all is ok, I drive home, 1K down the road and the light is on again, back to the workshop. This time the error message tells them a hose is loose on the engine cover, and so it was. It was placed back on and until now the light has stayed out, what sort of error analysis system do they run on these cars?

Hopefully now everything is back to working normally and we don’t have any more problems, it has been a very hectic and hair pulling week though.


Wednesday 22nd May 2013, Beachmere.

Look at that: We have been here for nearly a week already. We finally, and leisurely, got things set up the day after arriving and are now quite well settled in. I commenced work at the museum yesterday, and went again today, to find that there has been a great heap more things given since I departed last year, and all has been stacked on the desks in ‘My Office come work room’ ready for me to sort out and store somewhere, so I guess I will be busy for a while. It does seem that the room I set up last year for working in has been labelled ‘My Office’.


Thursday 16th May 2013, Beachmere.

We have at last arrived at Beachmere. It is currently raining so there won’t be much setting up of annexe done today; it is forecast to clear up tomorrow so it can just wait until then.

We were set back about an hour in our travels today with road works. That’s the thing with Queensland, when they do road works they go all out and try to get the whole length of the road done at once.


Wednesday 15th May 2013, Millmerran.

A second trip without a day’s rest sees us at Millmerran, half way between Goondiwindi and Toowoomba, and I don’t appear to be any worse for wear, but then the trip yesterday and the one today were not extremely long trips. We are now only one more trip from Beachmere, about 260K, so I don’t think I will worry about not having a rest again, we are after all resting now for the remainder of the day.

Another small incident today when a semi-trailer passed us. I had been talking to the driver assisting with him getting past, and when he had passed he told me that there was something flapping on the van roof near the air conditioner. I stopped and had a look but could not find anything. When another semi approached I specifically asked him to have a closer look when he passed, and he did inform me that the air con cover seemed to be flapping. When the next rest area came I pulled in to have a good look, I removed the large ladder from the roof so I could get a closer look and decided that if anything was wrong the whole air-con unit was loose and flexing more than usual on the flimsy roof. I then went inside and began dismantling the air from inside and did find the mounting, tightening, screws were a little loose, so tightened them. This did firm up the entire unit but it did still move a little, so I decided that it was doing nothing more than it had been doing for quite a while but nobody noticed the small movement. It will stay like this now until we arrive at Beachmere, and then I will have a better look.


Tuesday 14th May 2013, Moree.

It was nice today to have our first trip after the repairs and do it with relative confidence. I guess I was on edge a little though, as when Linda opened her window to let out a fly without any warning, I nearly jumped out of my skin wondering what the strange noise was. We are now at Moree and will only be here overnight. I am going to break one of my golden rules over the next few days with consecutive days of travel, I always said no two consecutive days, because I now want to get to Beachmere. All legs left to do are only in the 200 K mark so with a good rest overnight all should be ok.

Coonabarabran, Out of here tomorrow.

Monday 13th May 2013, Coonabarabran.

We now have the car back and can make a move from here tomorrow. The repairs were rather expensive, but that happens, and the car does seem to be going exceptionally well with the short test run I gave it, tomorrow will tell. I am reasonably happy with the end result with the mechanics, but then with the amount of money I spent there one would expect a bit better service. They did provide good service, such as the rental vehicle was provided by them and it was provided on the basis that it was ours until we got our car back at a charge of only what RAC covered, we had it for 9 days. The report on the repairs and other things I asked them to do was very extensive and much more informative than any other from anybody else, so I guess if I had to I would recommend them.

I now have the car repacked and ready for a hitch up and move tomorrow so we can get to Beachmere later this week. It is raining at the moment, and forecast for tonight, so it is hopeful that tonight will be another night not being as cold as it has been, then we will be in warmer areas.

Coonabarabran, Still.

Friday 10th May 2013, Coonabarabran.

There are more woes with the vehicle. It was much hoped that the car would be ready today so we could head off tomorrow, but a small incident this afternoon saw a delay of three hours in the repair, so the end result was that they could not complete the repairs by knock off time, and they are not open on the weekend, so it is now wait until they can complete the job on Monday. The small incident was the dropping of a small ‘pin’ in the engine, and it had to be found before continuing, it was supposedly one of the very last things that had to be done before job completion. It really has not been one of my better weeks this week. One thing that may help, one day, is the manager at the workshop has agreed to undertake a claim for me against Ford for recompense for damages caused by the obviously faulty part. Whether this will be fruitful is probably doubtful but one can only try. I guess we have no option now but to go and pay for another three days stay here and continue waiting.

Coonabarabran, Vehicle update.

Tuesday 7th May 2013, Coonabarabran.

Here is another report on the mechanical situation. It appears that there is enough damage to the head and associated parts to require a new complete head replacement, and fortunately, at this stage, there does not seem to be any damage with the lower portion of the engine, but all will be ultimately revealed on completion of head replacement. This hopefully being the case, we will still be up for a substantial repair bill, but nowhere near as much as if there was lower engine damage. We will be here in Coonabarabran until at least Saturday, repairs are dependent on parts delivery, and then attaining the finances in time will ultimately dictate our departure date. We have accepted now that we will just have to grin and bear the cold nights we are experiencing while here.

Coonabarabran, and stuck here.

Monday 6th May 2013, Coonabarabran.

It was not good news at all this morning, when a call from the mechanic revealed some of the extent of damage. Removal of the rocker cover revealed several broken rockers, so now it is suspected that the head itself may be damaged. Removal of the head, the next thing to be done, will reveal any further damage, including if a piston suffered at all. It will not make my day at all if there is damage to the pistons because that will mean a very expensive repair job with the entire motor having to be removed, and it is going to cost enough already. One of the biggest problems at this stage is that we are stuck in Coonabarabran and the nights here would have to be the coldest for this entire area, looking at the weather site just now shows that it has been as low as 0 and -1 the last couple of nights, but at least it does warm up to 20 plus during the day. RAC paid for the towing and is going to provide us with a rental car and other benefits for a few days so this has taken off a bit of the pressure. Now it is wait to find out what other damage has been done.

Coonabarabran. Car troubles.

Saturday 4th May 2013, Coonabarabran.

How does one start the stories of events of the day? We had mechanical problems 25K south of Coonabarabran with a broken timing belt on the car, theoretical at this point, and we had to call on the RAC again. The ironic part of the event is that with normal servicing of the car, the timing belt is to be changed every 120,000 Kilometres, the car has done 118,500 Kilometres with the 120K service planned to be done when we arrived at Beachmere, didn’t quite make it did it. The car has now been towed off to the workshop after they dropped us and the van at the caravan park at Coonabarabran. We had intended to go to Narrabri today, another 150K north, but it now looks like we will be here for several unplanned days, which will throw out any plans we had for the remaining legs to Beachmere. More later.