Final pre-Europe spannering…

*Written from the legoland campsite in Denmark* So we had a few issues to resolve in the last days before leaving the UK for the continent.  To cut a long story short, the viscous fan bearing went in quite spectacular fashion (close to home, and fortunately didn’t send the fan through the radiator).  The exhaust also decided to start making contact with the gearbox crossmember (sorted out by Nick Kerner 4WD near Windsor, thanks guys).  And… I somehow managed to warp the exhaust manifold (probably related to the tasteful level of tune applied to the engine, combined with a heavy foot on the way back from Wales).  This was not much fun at all to fix – in the end I sourced a replacement manifold, as we had no time to get the original skimmed flat again.  More than 1000km in (and driven hard) there is no sign of a repeat issue, so hopefully there is a line drawn under this now!  It was a bugger of a job, especially as we were due to drive to Dover the following day to catch the ferry.  As the image with the spirit level shows, there was a significant warp (around 2.5mm).  Amazing how much noise this can generate, once the gasket begins singing…

On a more positive note, I am pleased to recommend the Canvas and Nylon Company to anyone needing rooftent repairs, sails, whatever… ( – sorted out our rooftent cover within a few hours (this is the appalling stitching quality from factory that I was complaining about a few months back – Nakatanenga of Germany, hang your heads in shame…) – top service from Nick, cheers mate!  It is now reinforced as it should have been from day one…

Lots of Flags

We drove to Dover, and we went on a ferry to France.  Daddy had to drive on the wrong side of the road.

We went to a famous beach at Dunkirk.  In World War Two, lots of soldiers were rescued from this beach, (around 330,000!). Then we drove to a campsite in a field in Belgium.  There were sheep, one pony and ducks.  The sheep escaped to eat the clover in the field.  There was also a cat that ate some of my chicken BBQ!

After dinner we walked to a (Trappist) abbey.  There was lots of brussel sprouts and corn in the fields.

The next day Daddy drove for 11 hours through The Netherlands and Germany.  It was boring.

Today was a great day.  We had piklets for breakfast! We camped next to the Nord-Ostsee Kanal.   There were lots of big boats with containers on them.  I ran along the tow path to chase one.

Then we drove to Denmark, to the town where Lego is made.  We are camping in a Lego playground.  My favourite is the Ninjago playground with lots to climb on.  We entered a challenge to win some lego.

There are lots of flags on the car now! It looks amazing!

Cheltenham and camping

IMG_2029A few weeks ago I went to my friend Edgar’s house in Cheltenham with Esme, Jonty, Alexander, Suzie, Scott and Charlie. Edgar has a big swimming pool with a current in it. He also has 16 drum kits and three cats.  There were lots of big beds and we slept in one.  We had a bbq for dinner.

Before we went to Edgar’s, we went to Sudeley Castle where Henry VIII spent a lot of time with his wives. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. There were lovely gardens at the castle with lots of flowers. A wedding was going on in the chapel. The bride looked very nice.

Last weekend we went to Cecile’s woods to camp and bbq.  There is a swing there, and we had a campfire.  There were some naughty sheep who were not supposed to be in the woods.

Heavy breathing…

The TD5 engine is a famously heavy breather – and not in a good way unfortunately.  Given we now have a shiny clean intercooler, it makes sense to try and keep it that way going forwards, rather than let the well intentioned (if a little half-arsed) attempt by Land Rover to “Greenwash” their engineering solutions by diverting the oil vapour (that would otherwise waft free) from the crankcase back to the combustion chamber (via the turbo, associated pipework, and intercooler).  The intercooler fills up with oil and crap, and efficiency goes downhill thereby negating any “Greenness”.  It’s a rubbish solution, especially when combined with the (obviously removed already) EGR system.


A far more sensible solution is to install a proper oil separator such as those used on trucks (not a catch-can, they are rubbish).  Mann and Hummel make a particularly good one (Provent 200) that can be muscled into the TD5 Disco2 enginebay in a few places.  By far the easiest option (and the one everyone else seems to have chosen) is to mount it on the firewall, behind the ABS valve block.  Unfortunately this is also the only place that you can shoehorn a second battery, which I have done already — so it’s a non-starter.

Provent 2

My solution to the tetris challenge is to mount the Provent to the ACE/PAS reservoir (it’s very light – only a few grams) with a few chunky zipties.  Rotating it so it’s on a nice jaunty angle means that using a silicone reducing elbow I  can connect the outlet directly to the factory turbo intake pipe… nice and simple.  The inlet is connected (again via a reducer) to an insulated braided hose run from the outlet on the rocker cover (the top of the engine).

Provent 1

The nasty oily vapour exits the rocker cover and flows down the braided hose to the inlet on the Provent.  It enters the inlet chamber, where it condenses on a filter element, allowing nice clean air to exit the bottom hose and make its way to the engine air intake to burn up in the fiery hell of Solihull 5 cylinder combustion.  The condensed oil flows down to the base of the Provent, and then out down a collector tube (a foot of clear silicone hose – clear, so I can see if there is oil collected) and remains there until I get around to crawling under the car, opening the tap, draining it into a cup, and putting it back into the engine…  Now why didn’t they design it this way at the factory…?  Could it be that cleaning out an intercooler is a nice profitable dealership service item?  Surely not…



Roofrack/Bumper/Dive Cam

We have a new green toy.  One thing that we are very keen to do when travelling through interesting places is to get “over the bumper” footage (we intend to make a few videos to slap up on YouTube).  There are lots (LOTS) of options for actioncams that will do the job, ranging from around £20 for a crap one through to around £400 for the latest GoPro. Given the environments we will be travelling through, and the abuse the unit will suffer, we ended up selecting the unit that based on many independant reviews ranks highest on the Chuck Norris scale of invincibilty.  Footage quality was also a consideration, but survivability is paramount.

Enter the Olympus TG-Tracker.  This thing has even got “Tough” written on it. It is by no means the latest in video quality tech, but happily does 4K at 30fps (1080p at 60fps for slo-mo if we can be bothered with that). It’s Tough. It has lots of sensors.  Its Tough. It’s very water/dust/child proof.  Tough.  Much cheaper than a Go-Pro, and much tougher. I look forward to flexing my digital muscles. Tough.