Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Bottoms Up

19th March 2011 by Helen


What a fantastic day!!  We started off by meeting up with Chris & Dawn and member of the Secret Car Club in Ranchero Santa Fe (location of map posting for today), for some of Dawn’s fantastic lemon drizzle cake, coffee and chat.  Apart from Growly, the club’s Series 2 mascot, there were a few other Land Rovers, a lovely old Roller, a few Jags, a Smart Car, a Mini Cooper S (that took us back to when Paul had a Mini in the 1970’s), a Porche, an amazing old VW, among others too varied to list.

a couple of attendees at the Secret Car Club meet in Rancho Santa Fe

a couple of attendees at the Secret Car Club meet in Rancho Santa Fe

Then we headed south a little towards San Diego and ‘The British Garage’ for a bit of Bottom’s Up.  Paul was a little miffed that heading down the I5 we were struggling to keep up with Growly, but it was a fine old procession we were in, being followed rather sedately as we were by the lovely old Roller that could have shamed us all had he a mind to.

Paul & Andy inspect Landy's bottom - and the Sedona mud still clinging to his underside

Paul & Andy inspect Landy's bottom - and the Sedona mud still clinging to his underside

Specialising in Land Rovers and Minis, Andy of The British Garage, had Landy up in the air for an underside inspection.  Despite having had a bit of a jet wash after we left ‘Red Rock Country’ a few weeks ago, some of the famous Sedona red sand could still be found clinging to Landy’s underside.  While up in the air Andy changed Landy’s differential and transfer box oils, and topped up the gearbox oil.  This was all much needed, judging from the colour and consistency of the oil that came out.  Paul was concerned about the worrying quantity of ‘metal filings’ in the transfer box oil, which was very black, as were both differential oils, however Paul was pleased to see that the rear differential oil was not emulsified, as it had been in Russia.  It’s hard to say for sure but it seems quite possible that the ‘metal filings’ in the transfer box were the result of the shocks to the system when we broke the half shaft in Siberia and had to drive some 70 miles back out of the forest again.  The last time those oils had been changed were when we asked the Dealership in Stavrapol to include that in the work they had carried out way back in June 2010.

British Bulldog - the obvious mascot for a British Motor Vehicles garage!

British Bulldog - the obvious mascot for a British Motor Vehicles garage!

Less happily we found that there is some ‘play’ in the prop shaft, which will need to be fixed before we need to put more pressure on the workings as we hit the rougher roads ahead.  But we would rather have found out now than out in the field with a problem.

Lunch was an amazing BBQ and salad at the garage, before we all went our separate ways at the end of the day.  Paul & I were happy to accept an offer to stay back at Rancho Santa Fe, in the guest cottage of one of the club members there.

Campsite – Ranchero Santa Fe

Could it be terminal?

5th July 2010 by Helen

Saturday 3rd July

After the punishing 140 km round trip over corrugated roads between Aralsk and Zhalangash (and the ship cemetery), the clanking sound Landy has been making has worsened.  We are now really concerned about the next stage of our trip.  A stop on one of the many roadside ramps (for checking under cars) did not reveal anything.  Paul hanging on the side of Landy while Helen drove did not reveal anything either.  Finally, after a lengthy roadside stop checking virtually every nut and bolt Paul discovered the front shock absorbers had shed their dust sleeves and the top mountings were moving up and down a couple of inches.  Further investigation revealed the workmanship at Land Rover in Stavropol had been less than competent.  Some components had been fitted upside down and some not fitted at all!!DSC_0309

We were still very much a long way from any village or town and with a full day’s mechanical work ahead of him we needed somewhere to park where we had easy access to supplies.  We drove carefully and very slowly for another 50km until we reached a cafe where we could park for the night and Paul could correct the work on the shock absorbers the next day.

While Paul was diagnosing the cause of Landy’s alarming rattle Helen did some housework and removed the bodies of dozens of grasshoppers from the lights and radiator grill.  We had driven through swarms of them earlier in the day.

Realising that after our long day at Aralsk we were running low on drinking water and siezed the opportunity to stop when we saw a sign for a tap.  We were disappointed to find the water both brackish and oily, a result of it seeping up through oil laden strata.  However, this water is all that is available to the local families of the village, and which these children were collecting in containers to take home.  Look closely at the sand beneath their feet and the black crude oil deposit is clearly visible.


Wherewith the tar baby?

19th May 2010 by Helen

I have always had a vision of Canada as comprising vast areas of land, beautiful scenery, largely unspoilt by the ravages of industrialisation.  An idyllic holiday destination.

But it seems I was wrong.  Or maybe I just believed the advertising.

Canada is developing an image problem.  Canada has tar sands, lots of it.  Of course Canada is not the only country with tar sands, but it does seem to have one of the largest deposits of it.

Tar sands is largely bitumen, on land, at or near the earth’s surface, that large oil companies are harvesting for use, and have been doing for some time.  In Canada this is since the 1960’s.  The problem is that the harvesting of this bitumen is energy intensive and causes significant pollution, requires the destruction of forests, and uses large quantities of water in the extraction process (not a problem in Canada but likely to be a problem in other countries where tar sands have yet to be exploited).  In pure energy terms it is one of the least economic energy products to obtain.

Shell, although not alone, is a key developer in the tar sands extraction, seeing this as having an important role in providing future energy resources.

Not everyone agrees with them.  Growing international awareness of the health impact of pollution, destruction of forests, and the need to be good stewards of the earth’s resources, have led to environmentalists and others campaigning against the harvesting of the tar sands.

As our journey takes us close to some of the many areas in the world identified as having, or potential having, exploitable tar sands, this is something we will have to look out for.