Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Another one has commenced

Well the back of my right hand is rather lacerated after I fitted the breather mounting block to the 4x4.  After a considerable amount of scratching the head I eventually decided the best place to locate the breathers was high on the passenger side of the engine bulkhead. 
Having decided on the location I needed to remove the strip of rubber seal which fits between the bulkhead and the bonnet.  This gave me access to the small plastic clips (arrows A below) which secures the leaf mesh over the rain gutter between the bulkhead and the windscreen. 

A piece of paper masking tape was position where the mounting block will go.  This both allowed me to mark the holes with a pencil and gave me a very a very small amount of purchase for the drill bit.  The bulkhead wall is on a 45deg angle and drilling a hole through steel at 45deg isn’t easy.  My strategy was to start with a 2mm bit and gradually increase to 5mm.  I placed a rag inside the gutter in order to avoid minimise the potential for shavings of metal from the drill bit dropping into the gutter where they would rust.  You can just see a piece of the rag in the photo below

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not going to use the supplied self-tapping screw to mount the block.  I’ve decide to use stainless steel machine screws, washers and nuts.  To both prevent the edges of the new holes rusting and to avoid the nuts coming loose, I liberally applied Sikaflex to the back of the mounting plate (E), the holes, and the reverse side of the bulkhead wall.  The plastic trim and rubber seal were then refitted (arrow D). 

The last part of this stage was to fit the breather filters

I’ll have to drown the 4x4 to get these filters submerged. Smile  Now I need to whip up the enthusiasm to get under the vehicle and do the difficult stuff!

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Maffi’s Problem

Let me be clear.  This is about Maffi’s problem with Open Live Writer and his inability to publish posts with inserted photos.  If you see Maffi please tell him to read this blog post if he wants to solve his OLW problem and be able to publish photos. 

I’ve been using Open Live Writer (OLW) without any issues, so when I read Maffi’s blog post that he was having problems I attempted to establish why.

Well I was so spectacularly successful that I had exactly the same problem.  I couldn’t publish posts containing photos…… and I couldn’t resolve the problem by following my own previous instructions on how to fix this <grrrrrrrrr>.

After two days I’ve finally been able to finally get OLW to publish photos.  This is how I did it.


  1. Delete the existing OLW program via >Settings >Control Panel >Programs & Features >uninstall OLW
  2. >Start >Run > enter regedit.exe into the box and click >Enter
  3. Make a backup of your Windows Registry >File >Export   This will enable you to restore your system Registry if it all goes terribly wrong.
  4. >Edit >Find   enter “openlivewriter” (without quotes) and search the entire Registry deleting all references to OLW.
  5. Load your browser and go to the following website   I’ve checked this hyperlink and it does work.
  6. From this webpage download the file named \Releases\OpenLiveWriterSetup.exe
  7. Go to the location of the downloaded file and right click on it.  Click on the “Run as an Administrator” option.  Go through the setup and login prompts to reselect your blog. This will apply a new authentication token so you don't get an error when you publish.
  8. Once reauthorized, you should see only one listing for your blog (if you deleted all the OLW data in the Registry) If there are two listings, then delete the first listing of your blog and leave the new one. Click OK to save these settings.
  9. Right click on the OLW desktop icon and select ‘Properties’  Click on the ‘Open File Location’ button.  In the new window right click on the file named ‘Update.exe’ and rename it.  I renamed it Update1.exe.  This prevents OLW updating back to the old version.

Open Live Writer should now work correctly

If you load OLW and click on >File then >About Open Live Writer the popup window should show Build

DO NOT download the Open Live Writer version from the Open Live Writer website   This link    This website has the old version which DOES NOT WORK

Monday, 28 October 2019

Another Delivery

Fastway Snailway finally delivered my package…… it only took 11 days!  Meanwhile Jan receive a package from the UK in 3 days.  Well this is Australia……

I’d been browsing eBay when I noticed a breather kit at the very reasonable price of $40.  What did I get for my money?


  • Steel mounting bracket for four breather.  The photo on eBay showed the bracket as anodized black but I’m not complaining
  • A length of plastic tube which will need to be cut for the four breathers
  • Some zip ties to secure the tube under the vehicle
  • Six straight tube connectors
  • Two elbow connectors
  • Four filter/breathers
  • Three mounting screws for the bracket.

The Isuzu 4x4 has four gearboxes

  • Front and rear differentials
  • Manual 6 speed gearbox
  • Hi/Lo range gearbox.

Why fit a breather kit?  The simple explanation is each gearbox is partially filled with oil and the rest of the void is full of air.  The gearboxes are sealed which prevents the oil leaking.  However when the vehicle is moving the oil and air gets hot.  This means it expands and if there wasn’t a vent (breather) the seal might burst. 

My 4x4 already has a breather fitted to each gearbox and the vehicle can wade through water up to 600mm deep.  The potential problem is when the hot gearbox is immersed in water it rapidly cools causing a vacuum inside.  Instead of the breather exhausting ait it’s sucking.  There is a potential for water to be sucked into the gearbox.  Water and oil in a gearbox can lead to serious issues.

So I’m going to remove the exiting breathers and extend the lines from the gearboxes to my new breather mounting block high in the engine bay.  Well that’s the plan.  However it does mean this fat old inflexible body will again have to squeeze and contort under the vehicle.  something I’m not looking forward to doing.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

What next?

Apparently Andrew Lloyd Webber has put pen to paper……. Coming to a West End theatre in late 2020.

BREXIT – The Musical


OK… I shouldn’t be poking fun at the Brits.   It’s not the average voters fault they are so poorly served by their political representatives.

Actually all humour aside, the situation is bordering on becoming dangerous.  When the people lose faith in their political leaders it can result in extremism.  We know from history, this can lead to major conflict!

Friday, 25 October 2019

Aerobic Exercise

We’ve been doing more than our usual amount of aerobic exercise during the last two days.  Having accepted a quote to lay a Liquid Limestone slab in the patio area we needed to remove the existing pavers.  I’d estimated it would take us 3-4 days but we actually managed it in two.

First task was to clear the patio of outdoor furniture and the BBQ.  The second task was to start removing some lawn from in front of the pavers.  The area will be required for all the surplus soil that needs removing from the patio area in order for the slab to be 80mm thick.  The existing pavers are 40mm which means another 40mm of sand has to be removed.


The surplus soil could be dumped onto the lawn however I have to remove the lawn in preparation for the pool and it didn’t make sense to move the soil twice.

We got into a routine of me lifting the pavers and stacking them into the wheelbarrow.  I’d then take them to the front lawn where Jan would stack them.


Jan is going to attempt to either sell the pavers or give them away.  If neither works we will have to dispose them ourselves. Sad smile

The patio now looks like this…..


I’ve decided to dig a trench along the red line and bury a 4” (90mm) PVC pipe before the pad is laid.  The cost of the pipe is minimal and we may need to get from one end of the pad to the other at some future date.  Hopefully the Liquid Limestone pad will be installed later next week.

Mick on Oleanna.  I still have the comment problem.   When I click in the comment box the email and name box appears.  If I ignore the email and name detail the comment isn’t published.  If I fill in the details it doesn’t accept my Gmail password.  I’ve tried with both Chrome and Opera browsers.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Just how big is Australia

I’ve ordered a ‘Diff Breather Kit” from eBay and the supplier is on the opposite side of the country in Sydney, NSW.  When we lived in the UK usually something we ordered online was delivered the following day so you can imagine my surprise when the supplier informed me my purchase would be delivered 10 days after it had been despatched.   TEN DAYS!   OK, it’s a big country and they obviously aren’t sending it by air freight.  However I used to work in the transport industry and I know it takes the train three days to travel from Sydney to Perth.  Allow one day at either end for pick-up and deliver; so a maximum of five days.  And what is the name of the delivery company?


How appropriate <sarcasm mode off>

My guess is my very small package is being held by Fastway in Sydney waiting for consolidation into a full 40ft container load of goods which will then be railed across the continent.   Fortunately I’m not in a hurry to complete the 4x4 modifications.

Meanwhile we have an acceptable quotation for the patio Liquid Limestone pad.  I’ve made a start on removing some of the adjacent turf and will shortly commence removing the existing brick pavers.  There is a considerable amount of manual labour involved with the project so I’m tackling it the same way I’d eat an elephant…… one mouthful at a time! Smile

Mick on Oleanna.  I can’t leave a blog comment.  Each time I try I’m asked to login to my email address and your security then rejects my email password.  I don’t know why it’s doing this because I know my password is correct.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Toy Box Recycling

Jan’s interior window shutters arrived from China and have been fitted.  It’s taken eight weeks from the time the window frames were measured until fitment.  Curtains and rails have been removed and the holes filled


The lounge windows


Master bedroom

All I now need to do is make the Jarrah display cabinet for the lounge and hang various paintings, photos, etc

Meanwhile the toy boxes are being recycled.  Most of Perth is built on sand so there is very little in the way of a stormwater system.  The rainwater is channelled into soak pits.  Some are quite large and surrounded by security fencing whilst the home owner is expected to supply their own.  My workshop probably needed a stormwater system as the water was being discharged onto the lawn.  that wasn’t causing an issue but I felt something more permanent was required.

You can purchase the framing (box) for soak pits but the price ranges from $60 upwards.  These purpose manufactured boxes are just prefabricated plastic boxes and I think I can save the money.

My solution is to recycle two of the children’s toy boxes.  Our youngest is 40 next month and lives in Manchester so he’s scarcely likely to want them.


The boxes are approximately 18” square and I will bury them in the ground upside down.  I’ve drilled a 90mm hole on one side near what will be to the top.  This will be for the 90mm PVC inlet pipe


Easy digging into the sand at the rear of the shed.  I’ve fitted PVC pipe coupling to the metal downpipe using some self drilling screws left over from the shed construction.  I’ve screwed the connection together rather than gluing them just in case I have to dismantle the system at some future date


I cut the PVC pipe to length on the bench saw using a clamp as a stop and then rolled the pipe around in my hands through the blade to get a square cut


One section of pipe was fitted to the box and then the box was fitted to the downpipe connection



The hole was then back filled with sand in stages.  Between each stage I used the hose to compact the sand with water.


I’ll let the sand settle for a few weeks before placing one of my recycled 2ft square concrete slabs on top

Sunday, 20 October 2019


Jan and I have a considerable amount of sympathy for Sue having read her latest blog post <here>.

Normal citizens have very little interaction with the justice system and when they do, the experience is frequently very disappointing. You enter into the process with the expectation you will achieve a fair and just result only to discover the 'system' isn't exactly impartial.

My own opinion is there are four types of people involved with the justice system:

· The legal fraternity who know how it really works.

· The criminals who also know how the system works.

· The wealthy who can afford to pay for justice.

· Your average citizen who rarely has anything to do with the system and who has an almost na├»ve belief in its infallibility and impartiality.

I've also come to the conclusion those who are members of the legal fraternity tend to favour each other.  I suspect if one party doesn't employ legal representation and the other side does, then the court will usually err on the side of the party with legal representation.

After our own boat builder experience, I would always recommend employing legal representation which specializes in marine law and direct your solicitor to have the matter raised in a specialist marine court. That way the case will be heard by a judge who has an understanding of marine concepts and issues. Moreover marine courts usually have a shorter waiting list.

Taking the case to a civil court will mean the judge will likely have no knowledge of technical marine issues (unless you are extremely lucky and they own a boat). Moreover there is a long backlog of cases to be heard by civil courts which means you wait for ages to get you day whilst the court just wants to get the case completed quickly and move on to the next.

Of course the above opinion is biased as we still have the scars       And we are not alone!

We feel for Sue and Vic

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Calling Houston

“Houston we have a problem!”

This morning Jan discovered the water wasn’t going down the kitchen sink and the problem was passed to the one who is prepared to get dirty.  A quick visual check and the water was indeed not draining from the sink.  Look for the simple things first.  Well it didn’t turn out to be that simple.

Before I could get at the ‘S’ trap under the sink I needed to remove the housing frame that holds the two sliding bins.


I discovered grunting loudly helped with the removal Smile  A bucket was placed under the ‘S’ trap to catch the water in the pipe and basin.  I was also anticipating some rather “yucky” gunk.  However the water was almost clear.  There is an inspection cap on the wall outside which I removed and was then able to see the pipes were clean.  Everything was reinstated and I was thinking we had cleared an air lock when Jan pointed out the water spreading across the patio pavers from the drain under the air conditioner.

My simple task suddenly became considerably more complex.  We had an underground blockage somewhere in the sewer pipe.


Water was bubbling up from this drain

I removed the circular plastic grate from the pipe discovering there was a lead weight attached by wire to the underside of the grate.  This grate is actually the access point to another larger ‘S’ trap.  There are at least two ways of clearing this blocked pipe.  Hiring a powered flexible auger or using a plunger.  The latter is the cheaper option.  Fortunately the plunger worked and the kitchen sink drain is again clear.

One of the causes of this blockage was the lead weight attached to the underside of the grate.  It looks like a divers weight.


I’m guessing this drain has previously blocked (perhaps frequently) which would result in the plastic grate floating off.  Attaching the weight to the underside would prevent this but also mask the problem.  Now my parents used to own the house and my father was a qualified diver which tends to point the finger of suspicion at him!  I’ve cut the weight off the grate and we will monitor the drain more closely in future.

Don whilst your suggestion has merit I have another idea.  I’ll fill the barrow with bath rubble and wander the street at 2AM filling my neighbours bins. Smile

Friday, 18 October 2019

Another project has commenced

It was time to start a new project.  This one will take some time.   The bath is going to be removed and replaced with a second toilet.  We’ve not used the bath and never likely too.  Showers for us!


After carefully examining the bath I recognised the wall tiles had been fitted after the bath had been installed.  We want to keep as many of the wall tiles as possible which means I’m going to need to work carefully.  Time would be an important factor for a tradesman so they would probably use power tools.  I will be using a cold chisel and hammer.


This is where I pause the project.  Paying to have the removal done would involve hiring a skip for the rubble.  I’ve filled the bath with the broken bricks and tiles.  These will go into the wheelie bin and as I already have so previous rubble to dispose it will likely be a month before the bath is empty.  The bath isn’t metal and I therefore intend to cut it horizontally with a jigsaw at each end.  The idea being I’ll then be able to ‘wriggle and jiggle’ it away from the tiles.  Of course the bath will also be cut up and placed in the bin.   There are a number of other projects to continue with whilst the rubble is removed.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Who is scaring our grandchildren?

After watching 16 year old Greta Thunberg speak at the United Nations I started wondering who is scaring our grandchildren.  Thunberg suffers from mild autism, Asperger syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Frequently this results in restrictive and repetitive interests.  Greta appears to be fixated on climate change.  She should be enjoying her late childhood, instead she is being manipulated by adults with their own agendas. 

In the last few days Extinction Rebellion (ER) has been protesting about climate change whilst a week ago school children took a day off their studies to protest.  One assumes with the support and encouragement of their teachers.  ER wants to legislate a vegan diet and family air travel restricted to once every six years. 

In January of this year US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated at a rally “we only have twelve years or the world will end”.  The UN Secretary General informed the General Assembly he had recently visited the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu which was sinking into the ocean as sea levels rose.

It’s simply nonsense to suggest climate change is going to destroy the world in 12 years if we take no action.  Any reputable climate scientist will confirm that.  The UN Secretary General is also wrong.  An Auckland University (NZ) study has shown that the total landmass of Tuvalu has actually grown by more that 2% during the last forty years.

ER advocates nonviolent civil disobedience and wants supporters to be arrested (see ER strategy).  This strategy of self sacrifice for one’s beliefs has been effectively used by earlier pressure groups.  Suffragettes and early Christians being fed to lions immediately spring to mind. 

So why isn’t ER attempting to implement the changes they advocate by standing for election?  The recent European Parliamentary elections may provide the answer.  ER fielded 9 candidates in the London and the South West England constituencies as Climate Emergency Independents.  Between them, they won 7,416 out of the 3,917,854 total votes cast in the two constituencies.  That’s 0.1893% of the vote.  It must have been obvious to them adopting a strategy of effecting change through the democratic system wasn’t going to work.

I recall a discussion with a colleague 35 years ago.  He was alarmed because his son at university wanted to quit and spend the last few years of this life enjoying himself before the impending nuclear holocaust which one of his lecturers had convinced him and his peers was going to happen.  

There is nothing new in this type of fear campaign and with time, it will naturally die out <no pun intended> provided the ‘oxygen’ feeding it starts to dry up.  Hence the ER desire to get arrested (and media attention).  My main concern is ensuring we don’t allow our grandchildren to be convinced they don’t have a future.

On a more amusing note.  I chuckled at the photo of the ER protesters inside MacDonalds after their rally.  Haven’t times changed in the justice system.  Arrested ER protesters vehemently complained about the lack of vegan food supplied by the authorities.  A hundred years ago all prison food was vegan….. bread and water!   Which does make me wonder why people taken into custody are provided with food in the first 24 hours.  Not eating for 24 hours won’t kill you and there would be a financial saving to the tax payer.  Some people might even decide not to get arrested.

Here in Perth the police were able to deploy a very effective strategy which quickly terminated the second attempt by ER to close the CBD.  The police deployed a mobile Centrelink Office (Job Centre Plus for UK readers). Smile

Finally, a comment about Brexit.  Those wanting to remain refer to it as the Benn Act.  The Conservatives refer to it as the Benn – Surrender Act.  The Brexit Party refer to it as the Benn – Dover Act.  I’m not sure what a port town has to do with the legislation?

Saturday, 12 October 2019

One completed and another started

The coffee tables have been varnished and are now beside our recliner chairs.


I’m reasonably pleased with the way the colour and grain of the Jarrah turned out.


The amusing thing is we’re not using the tables and chairs as we are waiting on the delivery of the internal shutter blinds for the bay window.  At the moment the room is almost empty which means any noise echoes rather loudly.

A start has been made on the next project.  If you’ve been reading this blog over the last 15 months you may recall my first serious outback trip and how the suspension on the loaned camper trailer broke on the second day. 


All four shock absorbers had totally failed.

Our ‘new’ Chinese camper trailer has exactly the same shock absorbers.  They do come with a 12 month warranty and if they did fail the trailer supplier would probably provide replacements.  Which would then also fail.  I’m not a suspension engineer but I do want to understand what the problem is and how it might be rectified. 

So under the trailer I went with a jack and tape measure.  I measured and marked one of the shock absorbers when the trailer was both empty and partially loaded.  Then I removed the shock.


The black line is the shock fully compressed.  With the trailer half loaded the shock has 35mm of movement before it ‘bottom outs’.  The maximum extension of the shock is 180mm.  Now the role of the shock is to counter (dampen) the upwards movement of the spring to keep the tyre in contact with the road.  As you can see from the photo; if the trailer wheel hits a bump in the road then the shock only has 35mm of upwards movement.  The spring has significantly more upwards movement before striking the bump stop.  I assume this is why the shocks in the loan trailer failed.  Another issue is the poor manufacturing quality of the shock.  After being compressed the shock should start to extend when the pressure is released.  But this one doesn’t!   end result is I have four cheap and useless shock absorbers.  Which raises another question….. Why four shocks? (two each side).  The 4x4 only has one shock each side.  My assumption is the Chinese manufacturer believes doubling the number of shock compensates for the poor quality.  Of course the shocks would probably be satisfactory on a relatively smooth bitumen sealed road.  But outback tracks are going to kill them very quickly

A trip to the local suspension supplier proved to be interesting.  The parts storeman confirmed the quality of the shock was shocking <sorry couldn’t help myself>.  After measuring the shock he consulted their database to identify a compatible replacement.  I nearly had a full litter of kittens when he informed me each shock would cost $227.  That’s $900!!!  However he went on to explain the shock he was recommending was one of their “upmarket” nitrogen foam models which would probably outlast the life of the trailer.

All this leaves me searching for another solution!

Monday, 7 October 2019

Great Excitement

This morning there was great excitement in our street when the Google StreetView car with the 360° camera on the roof drove around.  We must be due for an update!  OK I exaggerate….. almost everyone else in the street was away at work, so Jan was probably the only person to see the vehicle!

I never saw the car as I was in the workshop working on the coffee tables.  One has received it’s final sanding and is awaiting varnishing.  The frame of the second is complete and I’m now working on the top, which is currently clamped whilst the glue in the biscuit joined mitre corners cures.


The fluting around the top was done with the router whilst the rebate for the inlayed panel was cut out using the bench saw.    Tomorrow I’ll start on installing the inlay panelling.

The frame has received it’s final sanding.  I’m in the process of gluing some corner bracing in the top.  All the fluting on the legs and rails was done using the router.  The joints are all dual doweled.


And this is the finished table


The varnish should bring out the colour and grain in the timber (I hope).

Friday, 4 October 2019

More projects

Ladies looking for something to give the special man in your life!


Now as for the latest projects.   I’ve been making two coffee tables from recycled Jarrah timber.  If I get it right they will go beside our recliner chairs.  More on that later.

The other major project is a swimming pool.  Jan has always wanted a pool.  Somewhere to cool down on those hot Perth days!  We’ve visited a number of pool manufacturers and Jan has decided on a rectangular fibreglass pool with one curved end that has steps.  The question was whether it would fit into the proposed location.


Some calculations were required to ensure the pool would comply with the minimum gap between neighbour boundary fences.  The pool will ‘just’ fit although the curved entrance end butts against the pergola paving stones.  I’m planning to fit the pool pump, filter, etc behind my workshop in the bottom right of the above photo.  Pools are required to be fenced in Australia and our existing property boundary fences aren’t sufficiently high.  Moreover we would need fencing on the other two sides.  We obtained a fence quotation and at slightly over $5000 I’ve decided to do the work myself.

The pool will go on this piece of ground.  I’ll need to dig and remove all the grass otherwise we will be paying $700 for a skip and excavator.  My plan is to piled the grass and allow it to decompose before disposing it in the wheelie bin over several weeks.  The existing corrugated fibre cement fences will be replaced with a higher steel colourbond


After looking at the condition of the brick pavers in the pergola area we’ve decided to remove them.  I’ll stockpile the bricks and if I can’t find a use for them they will also go into the wheelie bin a few at a time.  The brick pavers will be replaced with ‘liquid limestone’.  We’ll do this before the pool is installed.  Once the pool is installed we’ll also do the pool surrounds in liquid limestone


We’ve decided on a frameless glass fence between the pergola and the pool.  A metal or solid fence would be more of a visual barrier.  The quote for the glass fence was $3200 and so I’ve decided to install it myself with the materials costing us around $600.

We don’t want the glass fence at the end of the pool so I’m going to position it back 500mm from the edge of the existing pavers.  Perhaps you will now understand why we are planning to do the liquid limestone in two stages, 

The photo below shows the planned location of the fencing.  Two the left and at the rear will be high steel colourbond.  To the right an aluminium tubing fence and the purple line is the glass fence which will have a gate to the pool.


The purple line is the location of the planned glass fence and the arrow points to the edge of the pool


I want to take my time doing this project.  I’ll probably complete the two colourbond steel fences first  and then remove the pavers.  Once the pergola pavers have been replaced with liquid limestone I’ll install the glass fence.  Then the glass can be removed and the affected inground lawn sprinklers capped off.  I’ll also need to dig a trench from the house to the workshop for the 240V electrical supply. 

I think all of this is going to keep me out of trouble for several months. 

Thursday, 3 October 2019


My best efforts to avoid scratching the panels of the 4WD appear to have worked.  Only a few shallow scratch marks which I was able to polish out.  The interior of the vehicle took longer to clean.  Probably because the pressure washer makes the exterior cleaning so much easier.  Upon opening the bonnet I found the engine covered in orange ochre dust.  Most of it could be brushed off.

After eating Ken’s dust on the track for four days I was pleasant surprise at the condition of the air filter.  No need to replace it yet.


The same couldn’t be said for the oil catch can.  This is an ‘after market’ accessory I fitted to the engine.  It catches and holds the majority of the oily fumes emitted from the engine and which are usually returned back into the engine for a second burn.  This process is part of the engine emission control measures.  I don’t want to return the oil to the engine as it can potentially combine with engine carbon to form a hard sludge which chokes the engine intake.

I used a large syringe to draw the oil from the can via the dipstick hole rather than unscrewing the base of the can. 


Approximately 50mls of oil and water (gunk) has been captured.