Firstly a picture of the missile we missed the first time passing this way..
Woody would not be happy....
Here we are trying to get into a State Park in Minnesota and we'd done all the web stuff (which is pretty rubbish in the USA) but at least we knew the price. Well we thought we did but as we've discovered before they all tell lies. The $20 camping didn't include the $5 park entry so it was too much for us and this is after we've driven there. Shit ! We'd even got meat and everything. Including expensive National Park firewood left over from Yellowstone. Special bug free National Park wood as all the wood in the parks is.
So talking to some nice people outside they offered to pay for us ! We couldn't let them do that, could we. Well yes we could but not all of it, just some of it and they were happy and so were we. They asked us to get a spot next to them and we were quite happy to do that. You know how I like to talk ! All set then.
The lady on the counter the one that had been not too helpful so far wouldn't let us in the park with the wood we had. She wanted it and was going to burn it. Burn it in the same way we were going to. First though she would put it in two bags and seal it up. She wouldn't let us have it back in the morning. "It must be burnt." "It might be carrying bugs". The fact that it was already here and on the roof of our car and in the State escaped her and the rules. So even though the guy she called when I kicked up a fuss who seemed to hint there was flexibility in the rules still failed to secure me getting it back in the morning. I mean I could have driven a mile out of the park, placed the wood under a tree and returned sans wood and gone back to get it in the morning. This solution would be much worse if the wood had bugs but that's just me being illogically confused.....
So the park would be $25 + $7.23 (our wood) + $6 (replaced with their wood)
We left the money we were given (nice people) in an envelope. I hope they got it back !!!! and left disgusted with the stupidity of it all. We missed talking to the nice people and talking about some of the places we'd been. This included Ethiopia where they seemed to have worked previously. I hope they read this and I hope they know how much such generosity means to a tight Yorkshireman.
We slept at Walmart and went to the SPAM museum in the morning. No free SPAM except a sample and its not too bad to split up the day. The exhibits donlt answer all my questions on the product or indeed give too much info on how good the meat actually is or why there is Chicken in some types????
More miles and more fuel. We are almost exactly following the route we did going west coming back east. So its not exactly interesting. We did manage to see the missile in the silo we missed last time as the gate was closed. You know when we went to the Minuteman thing. We are staying in the same car parks and driving the same boring road. The highway i90 isn't the best road in the world and rather like Ruta 3 in Argentina. This time however its all green as last time it was all brown. Its better in green ! Its also got to be one of the least used roads in the world. There's not many vehicles on it so its a pretty easy drive. In a few more miles we will be in uncharted territory so that should be fun!
A+ rating on the boring blog post ?
The oils in the car are being checked each morning. The gearbox oil is red and staying red so we can only presume the new syncro's were the cause of the brown oil, all exactly like Ashcroft's said. I've been using a syringe to take a sample each day and that's the Gearbox, Transfer and Engine all checked. Not that you need the syringe for the engine but you get the drift. We are about due to change Trans and Engine so we are not going to get away with getting dirty before we come home. We have at least one more change to do ! Julie will tell me its in the 50's for the changes. I can't be bothered to look ! When we update the our trip in numbers we will put them all on.
The tourists in Yellowstone obviously think that seeing a Bison is reason to stop dead in the middle of the road....on a hill....inbetween parked cars. Parked illegally of course trying to get that illusive picture of an animal so common there are only 15,000 of them in Yellowstone. We saw maybe 100 each day.....YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS !!!! Not only is it a Fedral Crime its ffing dangerous. Also driving without any consideration to those behind you. Not using your indicators (blinkers to the yanks) and basically leaving your manners, sense and brain at the park gate......
Yellowstone is not a safari park. You are not allowed to stalk animals and your not even allowed to get withing 100yards of a bear. Does that stop them. No it does not. In Kruger if you take a photo of someone doing this type of thing they get a large fine through the post based on their licence plate. They should implement this in Yellowstone. Nearly every vehicle was a)parked illegally b)parked dangerously c)within the minimum distance allowed under fedral law. Of course thats not counting the actual stopping for no reason on the highway which is also illegal.
Serves us right for going there on the day they opened on a holiday weekend and for drving 1500miles back-tracking to get there. Do I wish we hadn't.....yes.
We did meet up with Martin and Nicole from OVERLAND SPHERE. They are setting off on the next leg of their journey. And its been a big one so far. Their actual web site is My Overland Adventure. We enjoyed a camp fire and some drinks....of course we did !
One other good thing (was there another?) is Yellowstone is first come first served on the camping so you might get a spot. Maybe. Just maybe if you are there REALLY early !!!!
The other thing is there are a few animals and some hot water.....worth a visit, yes almost. If only they would remove all the alien species from the park. You know who i mean.....and its not even peak season !
Leaving lovely Alaska and back into Canada. We met some nice people in Alaska and we would have liked to stay longer but we need to get moving. The Canada border crossing was fun. They wanted to take our pepper spray off us but when I pointed out the french instructions about protecting us from "Dangerous Animals" it was allowed as "bear spray" is permitted. They also forget ot give us our passports back so we had to drive back about 3 Km. We strangely didn't realise immediatly. They also looked in the car to make sure we wern't carrying anyone else????
The Gearbox is behaving and the chatter is much less. Maybe the clutch wasn't quite seated correctly and causing that. We can only guess what it was. As the gearbox place said. If its quiet in drive and changes well, which it does, then its fine.
Camped out last night for the first time in a while. We had a fire and made steaks. Luckily we had some in the freezer as we were not expecting to find a spot for free with a fire ring. The weather was good but my improvised hot water bottle in the form of a hot stone was nice. Its still getting cold in the evenings. It was maybe 7C when we went to bed.
We've now seen more bears than we care for and they are everywhere. The hightlight today was a very young cub but we missed the photo as there were cars behind us and we couldn't just swerve off the road to take some pictures.
We are in A&W having a burger and Wi-Fi. Its a bit expensive ! Julies birthday is on Monday. Where will we be......She's not very impressed with the places we've been on her Birthday in countries past. Can we make Edmonton?
Hi, Shona. We haven't had chance to respond to your messages. You seem to have taken over from Gayle in being the frequent poster.....
Here we are with the gearbox fitted to the car. I say here, as we are in McDonalds....We have driven here.
Blue is dead.....long live two...
My ball(s) and sceptre (pictures) giving way under the pressure of being a mechanic....did I really say that. I'm and Engineer dammit. I have letters after my name to prove it. My workmanship may not be 100%....we shall see. We had a massive crotch failure after I spilt oil over "them".
Another first before we get into it. We have two full on earthquakes since we've been here. One off the bucket list. Even though we had one in the UK but these, like everything in the USA are bigger. This was a 5.5...wow!! Pretty big and we felt it in the car. Not far from us and in the middle of the bay just south of Anchorage.
So firstly, Thanks to Ed for technical support and use of his shop, Jason for being more stressed than me and providing lot of humour, Andrew for running Julie around to the shops and providing some food now and again, Kathy for cooking for us and Curtis for loaning us his long bearing puller. There are few others who delivered Pizza and sanity for the short periods that I wasn't freaking out. I was working 10am to 2am almost every day and getting up at 4am again to contact the UK. I'm knackered.
The box came apart like they do with the help of Curtis's puller and much swearing and heavy lifting. The use of Ed's shop made it much easier. I even managed to do Jason's timing belt on his pimped up 300Tdi whilst I was waiting for parts. We had some fun with his pully and crank seal. His crank is very tight! I'm not sure that I've been paid back for that "help". Maybe he should read my pay it forward posts. Andrew stole some of our beer and never quite lived it down. The guys made my stress almost tolerable. Andrew and Ed were preparing for a 3500 mile dash to overland expo. Andrew hasn't been that far, ever ! I wonder how they are getting on? They left yesterday with only 6 days to get there. Pictures of the leaving below along with Jason and his ride.
One of the bearings was gone in my gearbox and the reverse gear dog teeth were damaged. The fifth gear running surfaces were worn both on the main shaft and the inner of the gear. Maybe that was due to the metal paste in the MTF94 gear oil. We've refilled with Redline MTL now as we cannot get MTF94 here. I hope the pump is pumping it round box......it seemed to be working.
That one little main-shaft bearing(pictures) was causing all the trouble. According to Ashcrofts the ones that are supplied the gear-box, that lasted only 14,000 miles, are a "common failure". So why do they not get a better bearing and only fit those? I think they do indeed have an upgrade for it but its an option! Why is it only an option? It should be mandatory. The bearing is an RHP. We do not have the option fitted even now as its a like for like replacement. The parts were sent for free and all credit to Dave at Ashcrofts for being online all weekend at very strange hours and on a bank holiday. We could have only expected more had they sent a new box. Parts are quicker however. This is considering the box actually now lasts the distance so to speak. I'm still worried. Its not like we had all the tools to do this quickly and easily so I'm still stressed and listening for noises. The chatter is terrible in neutral but normal according to form. However its MUCH louder than before. I've asked him for an opinion on that.
We managed to do most things twice as you do when you do not know what you are doing. The first "oh shit" moment was the syncro rings. Two are different and we'd fully reassembled the box to an almost no return point and couldn't get gears. I'd put a syncro ring on wrongly and we needed to take it all apart again to change it round. That meant all the shims needed doing again. Luckily the different ones are not inside the bearings we'd just pressed on. Phew !!!!
Once the box was fitted the clutch didn't work so we had to slide it back to get to the pressure plate and make sure it was engaging properly. Not easy to do but made easier with the hoist. I'd luckily put the clutch on correctly as you can fit the friction plate backwards. The springs go towards you! They normally have "front" or "flywheel side" written on them but mine does not. Not sure why the clutch wasn't working. Ed seemed to think it wasn't priming but the arm seemed very far back so maybe the input shaft was not engaged squarely and it was pressing the plate.
You need to fit the gear lever turret before lifting the box in. Not the levers just the turret base as its a RPITA to get it on once its fitted. You cannot get the selector fork into the coupler easily when its in the tunnel so fit it first. Make sure you fit the trans box chassis mount as you fit the transfer otherwise its a nightmare to get it in the little space. The syncro rings and the unique ones. Its pretty easy to tell where they go as the have a slightly different taper on the inner surface. Resetting the selector forks to the correct position is also key. There's something in the book about that. There's also some pictures on the web of a correct selector fork position.
Blue is now dead....lasted well but seemed to fall apart with all the oil. We now have (blue) two. I wonder how long it will last. Hopefully we never need to use it !
I'm sure I've forgotten loads of things but to be honest I don't want to remember most of the experience. Its been pretty terrible made better by the people we've met. I'm hoping the box lasts until we are back home....not a lot to ask really after all its cost us a few thousand dollars in the first place and now a few hundred in oils and stuff. Luckily we had the help of Land Rover people like Eddie Angel. He truly is. Thanks.
Finally we've seen the Aurora.....Bucket list ticked....a quite amazing display for this time of year. Pure fluke for about 10 minutes and we caught it. Photos don't do it justice but you get the picture so to speak....
1:45am and tired...gearbox parts arrive tomorrow. Crank seal installed today and golly those bolts were tight.....massive day building a gearbox tomorrow.
Get notifications of new Blog Entries by filling in the box below. No risk.