It’s been an action packed few months for Man vs LandRover. Loads of routine stuff sorted out in Nairobi at Jungle Junction – rocker gasket, service etc (huge thanks to Chris and spannerman John).
In Amboseli Park, we managed to pop one of our rear shock absorbers – then had real trouble sourcing replacements (+2 lift…). Eventually “Selim the Parts Guy” got involved, and within a few hours presented us with a pair of shiny new Bilstein’s. Needless to say, ride quality has drastically improved… Around the same time it became apparent that one of the radiator mounts was busted, an easy fix fortunately.
One niggling issue that has been driving me mad for some time has been an intermittent problem with the auto box stick having difficulty selecting gear – this came to a head a few weeks back with the box dropping into limp mode (3rd gear only) – the classic flashing M&S lights issue we have had before, in Finland. That episode led to a new XYZ switch, but they cost a fortune… so I removed the XYZ (painful), drilled it open, and found corroded tracks (it’s a rotary switch). After cleaning it out, reassembling and many hours of alignment faffing, the autobox gearchanges are silky smooth, and a few thousand km down the road the issue has not reoccurred.
The big one… we drove a horrible stretch of road leaving Rwanda, managed to get the truck a bit airborne, and upon landing tore one of the front spring mounts clean off the chassis, as well as cracking some welds in the roof. To be clear, we hadn’t realised the damage was done until a few days later (it must have been hanging on by a thread of steel, and there was no change in handling or “stance”). We were about 50km from our planned campsite (Lake Shore Lodge, on Tanganyika) when the steering became incredibly heavy, and I had a nasty feeling that we had lost our Power Steering. It turned out that this was the shock turret slowly making its way up through the engine bay, and was now in contact with parts of the steering system. In the village 5km from the lodge, the metal finally parted, the shock turret popped the bonnet upwards at a jaunty angle, and the driver’s side wheel ended up firmly in its arch.
We limped up to the lodge, and as fate would have it we met the owners who were more than happy to help us out – workshop, staff, welder, cold beers… all put at our disposal. Top job too, and at an incredibly reasonable rate. Chris, Frankie, Pruva – you guys are amazing. Not sure about bare feet in the workshop, but I can’t dispute the quality of the work!
If anyone gets the opportunity to stay here, don’t think twice. And the food is sublime. Eleanor will blog all about it. So the chassis is back in one piece (replacement spring mount is being provided by the lovely Marsha from SpannerMonkeys in the UK, will get the chassis chopped and welded again in Windhoek), the pillars have been welded (B’s have held nicely, A needs a bit more TLC down the road) and the bonnet is pretty much back in shape. How the shock turret managed to miss everything vital on it’s tour of the engine bay remains a mystery. That’s it for now…