Monday, 30 December 2019

Engine Problems

This battery issue may interest boaties

Recently the 4x4 engine has struggled to start.  Initially I thought it might be a fuel starvation problem as I recently changed both the primary and secondary fuel filters.  Eventually I established that wasn’t the problem.  The issue was the 12V starter battery.  Whilst there was just enough charge in the battery to turn the engine over the voltage was insufficient to cause it to fire. 

I believe the cause is a combination of the vehicle ‘smart alternator system’ and frequent short trips.  The smart alternator system reduces the voltage produced by the alternator.  This make miniscule fuel savings, but when your competing for fuel efficiency and emissions standards I guess every little helps.

Of course these days a vehicle is far more complex than when I first started tinkering with them.  All those on-board computers.  Well I read a forum post where another Isuzu owner had been able to modify his vehicle and disable to smart alternator.  today I did the same taking about 30 minutes.  The cost was horrendous….. 11p.

That money was spent at Jaycars (Maplin equivalent) purchasing a 10K resistor.  Without knowing the load on the resistor I opted for one rated at 1 Watt. 

OK, I had to spend 22p as they came in a pack of two.

I’m going to modify the wiring into the negative battery terminal and circumvent the smart system.

I made a patch lead Using some small spade connectors, spare cable and shrink wrap.  My plan was to make the modification reversible.

In order to trick the smart system into not working I need to permanently connect the sensor wire to a 12V+ supply.  however it also needs a small load which is why I’m using the 10K resistor.

The 12V+ wire was White/Green and the sensor wire Brown/Red.  My plan was to use spade connectors thereby allowing me to reverse the modification should it be a failure.

My patch lead


Heat shrink went over the connections when they were completed.

It was easier to compete the work on the vehicle if the negative post clamp was removed.  This give access to the plug underneath the clamp.  Removing the plug is relatively easy (once I had worked out how).  Place the end of a small flat tipped screwdriver underneath the base of the tag and leaver it up slightly to release the catch.


This is a slightly better view of the tag

the next step was to remove the wiring loom insulation tape from around the wires to gain access.  The wires aren't very thick so they probably don't carry much of a load.  Hopefully my 1Watt resistor is sufficient.

I then cut the Brown/Red wire and connect the patch lead to the battery terminal end.  This was done with spade connectors.  I also put a spade connector on the other end of the cut Brown/Red wire.  this will allow me to reverse the process.

I next cut some insulation off the White/Green wire and join the other end of the patch lead by soldering the join before taped it.

My finished wiring looked like this


A - Patch lead connection to the battery end of the Brown/Red wire
B - Resistor.  It's bi-directional so it doesn't matter which way it faces
C - Other end of the patch lead soldered to the White/Green wire
D - Cut end of the Brown/Red wire blanked off with a spade connector.

I taped the wires back together with black insulation tape and refitted the plug to the terminal before reconnecting the clamp.

The vehicle started <hooray>

My UltraGauge shows the alternator producing 14V.


I thought this was quite good as I've only just finished reconditioning and fully recharging the battery.

I'm now going to monitor the alternator output to see if it drops back to those previously low numbers.  Hopefully the battery will now be more fully charged and its life extended.

Interestingly, the vehicle comes with a 5 year warranty…. except for the battery which only has one year.  I assume those clever Isuzu engineers know their smart alternator system is likely to lead to premature battery failure.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

A Cautionary Tale

Merry Christmas readers.  Yes a day late… and how do I know that?  The local supermarket has hot cross buns for sale so it must be boxing day!

We had a very quiet Christmas Day.  Jan seemed rather disappointed in the morning as she had put out stockings in the hope Pip & Mick’s <nb Oleanna> stocking fillers would also visit us.  Apparently not!  Christmas Dinner was home made hamburgers and very delicious they were.

Much of the time leading to Christmas has been spent inside.  A combination of hot weather and a bad back.  During this period I spent many frustrating hours attempting to setup and configure a very old desktop pc as a PVR (Personal Video Recorder).  The pc has three old TV tuner cards which provides the opportunity to simultaneously record six TV channels.  The operating system is Xubuntu 18.04 which is the most current version of Linux I could find for a 32bit computer.  The TV capture software is MythTV, a rather powerful software with many functions including advert stripping.

Commercial Australian TV companies do not allow the public to download their EPG’s (Electronic Program Guides).  To get around this I’m using a another program named ‘Shepherd’ which integrates with MythTV.  In simple terms Shepherd visits each of the TV company websites and peels off a copy of their EPG webpage.  The data is then checked with the International TV and Movie databases for additional information before it’s recompiled and made available for download by subscribers.  This project is almost completed.

My cautionary tale is about Christmas Day.  I decided to continue with the excavations for the second toilet.  Some care was required as my back is still very stiff.  Anyway, I started digging only to discover there were six (YES SIX) buried pipes in the immediate vicinity of the bathroom window.  There is one large white PVC pipe which I suspect is the stormwater from the roof.  The remainder are copper pipes.  I assume water and (perhaps) gas. 


After digging with the long handled shovel for several minutes and accidentally striking the copper pipes a couple of times a small warning bell started to ring in the back of my head.  Then it got LOUDER!!!!

What was it going to cost us if I accidentally broke a water or gas pipe on Christmas Day?????  Time to stop digging and drink cold beer!

Meanwhile I’ve discovered the free advice from the plumber was incorrect.  He informed me there was no concrete pad under the bath and implied the digging would be easy as it would be sand.

Well there is a concrete pad under what was once the bath.  The only area not concreted is around the bath drain pipe.


What else has gone wrong?  After replacing the four batteries in the tyre sensors the TPMS still makes that beeping noise.  Obviously my guess about the flat batteries being the cause was wrong.  Looks like the TPMS will have to be discarded.  Fortunately after market TPMS systems have become much cheaper in the two years since purchasing the existing unit.

Having mentioned the 4x4 I should also report recently it’s had difficulty starting in the morning.  It can’t be the temperature at this time of the year.  After experimenting I thought it might be air in the fuel line as only recently both the primary and secondary fuel filters were changed.  The vehicle would start after I’d raised the bonnet and manually primed the fuel system.  However I couldn’t find any fuel leaks which might allow air into the system.  Then I discovered the battery wasn’t fully charged.  That damned ‘smart alternator’!  I now have the battery connected to our CTek 240V charger and will try to start the engine after the battery is fully charged.  It’s possible our 2½ year old battery is reaching the end of its life.  It’s the original battery and only comes with a one year warranty.  It’s capacity (430CCA) is also quite small for a large diesel engine.  If the battery requires replacing then Santa probably bought Jan a gold topped 810CCA battery this year Smile

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Tom the plumber

Well it didn’t stay cool for long. We’re back to dry and hot days.  The bushfires in Queensland and NSW have burned out just over 3 million hectares.  The landmass of Wales is 2.07 million hectares which provides some idea of the scale.  I haven’t included the fires in West and South Australia in this figure.  Even more worrying is the first month of the annual official bushfire season isn’t over.  Unless something radical happens with the weather it’s going to be a very bad period.

Meanwhile I’ve been in the backyard digging up the lawn for the planned pool.  Only three rows of turf daily as I’m old, unfit and fat!  It’s also hot!  Well I broke one of the larger pvc garden reticulation pipes two days ago.  This meant we wouldn’t be able to water the back lawn and gardens.  Obviously this was going to be an issue with the current high temperatures.  Consequentially the plan to modify the reticulation system was bought forward and yesterday both of us made the trip to my favourite store to purchase the required fittings.

When the pool is installed it will be surrounded by a liquid limestone pad.  this will make it exceedingly difficult to install any subsequent underground services (pipes, wires, etc) and I therefore decided to include a 90mm pvc duct for any future requirement,


Nothing is ever easy and I unexpectedly hit a large tree root during this operation which necessitated me using the bowsaw to cut a channel


This root is a mystery?  There hasn’t been a tree anywhere near here since my parents first purchased the house in 1994.  My guess is the tree was removed for the house foundations.

I’ve modified the pipe and valve layout to bypass the pool area.


The pipes were then laid the length of the limestone cement pad.


I’m not going to backfill the trench because the pipes might get damaged during the pool evacuations.

A new trench was then dug from the end of the pad to the back fence.  This proved hard going as the grass roots have bound very tightly.  I couldn’t drive the blade of the spade into the ground even if I jumped on it.  This was eventually solved by me using the electric grinding wheel to sharpen the edge of the spade.  The old PVC piping was then recycled and relocated into this trench.


By now all my sweating, huffing and puffing had caught Jan’s attention and she started expressing concern about my continuing work.  This eventually led to enticements of cold beer.  <love that girl>

The work isn’t complete.  I’ve blanked off one pipe which will eventually need to go in a new trench across the other half of the yard and supply water to the flower gardens.


The larger 90mm pipe will terminate here where it can be accessed should the need arise.

I can report the bottle of cold Aldi lager went down the throat without touching the sides!!!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Success and Failure

First the failure.  This morning we purchased four new batteries for the TPMS tyre sensor.  The damned control box still beeps which means I’ve made no progress.

The good news is the camper trailer hot water system works.  I needed to purchase an adapter for the gas regulator and a cigarette lighter plug.  The latter was used to make a 12V extension cable which now has the cigarette plug at one end and an Anderson plug at the other.  This lead connects the external 12V cigarette socket on the side of the trailer to the water pump.  The trial system looks like this….


The pump sucks the water from the jerrican into the water heater.  The shower rose has an On/Off button and with the button OFF the pump turns off.  When the shower rose is tuned on both the pump and water heater start.


The water temperature is more than sufficient to have a shower.  I’ll have to adjust the temperature knob on the heater.  The pump, hoses and cable all fit into the compartment behind the freezer when not required. 

There are two final steps.  I need to build some method of securing the heater to the trailer.  It won’t be permanent and I need the shower system to be portable.  I also need to fit a collapsible shower cubicle to the trailer.  Actually I probably don’t required the cubicle if I’m travelling solo.  There will only be the wildlife to frighten!

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

More Fires

The recent heat wave has moved further east and now affects Adelaide.  Our temperatures have dropped to the mid 30’sC which is a slight relief to us and a major relief to those out fighting the surrounding bush fires.  However we’re not in the clear!
Mid afternoon we had a strong smell of wood smoke through the house followed by the sound of low flying aircraft directly overhead.  Obviously there was a new bushfire nearby.  Upon checking the State Emergency website I noticed a new fire some 3km away.
WA fires1
The bushfire situation in the south west of the state
WA fires2
One near us
The fire appears to be located in scrub land to the west of Highway 56 (Alexander Drive).  I’m assuming we are only hearing fixed wing water bombers overhead as the helicopter bombers will be fill from the lakes at Alta Laguna Park which is between us and the fire.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world Jan informs me many UK families who voted leave will be sitting down to a special Christmas dinner menu this year……. no brussels! Smile

Monday, 16 December 2019


I was quite surprised to discover how dependent the south west of Western Australia is on coal fired thermal electric generation. There are four generating stations located around the coal fields at Collie, some 200km south of Perth.

These four stations have a cumulative maximum output of 1677MW. However 107MW of that is produced by one station which supplies the local aluminium smelter.

The most modern of these stations is Bluewaters (416MW) built in 2007 and is privately owned. It's also the lowest polluter. The oldest station is Muja (854MW) built in 1966 and is owned by the state government. It's by far the heaviest polluter. The 4th station is Collie (300MW) and is also owned by the state government.

There are a further 20+ natural gas powered generating stations scattered around the state. Most of these have a relatively low output compared to the coal fired stations.

The largest and oldest station is Muja, which has 8 turbines. Of these 4 produce 60MW, 2 produce 200MW and 2 produce 233MW. In 2007 the government announced the four small and least efficient turbines would be shut down. However a year later the government announced they would not be shut down due to a shortage of natural gas.

In 2013, after spending $250M on recommissioning the oldest two of the smaller turbines, the government announced it was suspending work on the project and the turbines were to be mothballed. But work quietly continued on the turbines and they were recommissioned the following year.

In 2017 the state government announced the entire Muja station was to be closed down by September 2018. However the 2018 state budget allocated $48M for refurbishment work

In August 2019 the state government announced Muja would continue to generate power using the four large turbines until 2022. Then two turbines will be decommissioned. So the state's oldest, most inefficient and worst polluter will continue to operate after 2022.

It appears the bulk of the station's capacity isn't being closed down to reduce carbon emissions but rather the adoption of residential rooftop solar arrays has reduced the demand for 'base load' power. Old coal fired stations are expensive to run and not easily turned on and off to meet peak loads. Whilst power costs to consumers in other states are forecast to decline over the near future they will continue to rise in West Australia. It's not hard to see why!

There are currently no firm proposals to construct new power generating stations of any type (coal, gas, hydro, solar, biomass, etc) in Western Australia. The private owners of the Bluewater coal fired station have approval from the state government to double the capacity of their existing station but to date they haven't progressed the project.

The demand for electricity continues to grown with the need currently being met by residential solar. However the take up of residential solar is going to reduce either through the number of homes requiring it contracting or the cost rising as the solar rebate is reduced. Meanwhile private industry and investors are not prepared to invest in major power generating infrastructure until they receive a clear indication from government regarding their emissions policy. There is no clear direction from government because the two major parties have completely different policies. One argument for this inertia is federal government change too quickly Looking back over the last 36 years the record shows the following

1983 - 1996 Labour (13 years)

1996 - 2007 Liberal (11 years)

2007 - 2013 Labour (6 years)

2013 - 2019 Liberal (6 years)

Both federal parties have been re-elected at least twice during this period.  No rapid rotation of governments (this isn’t Italy).

Why does the thought of Nero and Rome Burning spring to mind!

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Too hot to sleep

Jan told the heat prevented her from getting much sleep last night.  She was definitely not in bed when I started to consciously examine the inside of my eyelids around 7.20am.  Whilst checking our solar array production I noticed the spike in the consumer line at 5.04am. 


The 2000 Watt kettle must have been used for the first morning cup of tea.  The next spike is 8.10am when she made more tea for both of us.

You can see the standard solar array ‘bell curve’ from the previous days production.

bell curve  

Jan’s first cuppa must have been at 5.44am yesterday!  A few peaks around 5-6pm when Jan was making toastie sandwiches for dinner.  The later spike is me made the evening cuppa at 9pm.  The 2kW power consumption line from 9am to 10pm is predominantly the air conditioning units.

The large bushfire to the north of us continues to burn.  We are fortunately the wind is driving it further north.  Not so good for those on the other side of the fire front.  Overnight the Boeing 737 water bomber has been relocated to Perth from the other side of the continent.  Hopefully that will assist the fire fighters in containing the blaze.  It’s only the second week of the official fire season and we have another 10 weeks to go.  moreover the fires actually started in September well before the official season.  If this keeps up there are going to be a large number of exhausted fire fighters.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Beep Beep Beep

Have I found the source of the annoying noise?

If you dredge back 18 months in this blog you’ll probably find where I wrote about fitting a Tyre Pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to the Isuzu 4WD.  TPMS has been mandatory for new vehicles in the USA since 2007 and this was subsequently adopted by the EU.  Australia has yet to follow, which means most vehicles are sold without a TPMS.  Having a TPMS is an important safety feature.  A significant portion of non vehicle to vehicle incidents are caused by tyre failure and a tyre monitoring system assists in reducing that risk.

Our after market TPMS came from a Chinese eBay seller.  It consists of a control box, monitoring button, tyre sensors and antenna.  The control box has to be wired into the screen of the vehicle head unit which then displays the status of each tyre.  The screen can be displayed by either pushing the monitoring button or automatically should the status of one or more tyres go outside the user settings.  Each tyre sensor wirelessly communicates the current tyre pressure and internal temperature to the control box.

My problem is the system has never worked.  When turned on the control box emits a constant  “beep.. beep..beep” noise.  My initial assumption was I’d incorrectly wired the control box into the vehicle.  After several attempts to check the wiring I came to the conclusion there was nothing wrong with my wiring and with other projects requiring attention I suspended work on the problem. 

Several months ago I wrote to the manufacturer asking for advice on what the sound from the control box meant.  Had the control box failed or was it my wiring?  To date no answer has been received.   


A bad back and high temperatures here in Perth had me once again looking at the TPMS.  I started to think “dead battery”.  Perhaps the beeping was a warning there was a flat battery. Remember the unit is 18 months old and battery life was quoted as 5 years.   It wasn’t that difficult to work out how to dismantle the monitoring button and put a multimeter on the lithium battery.  It was fine.  This left the four sensors which are screwed onto the tyre valve stem.  They obviously contain a battery but the units looked to be sealed.  Eventually I worked out I could dismantle the sensors by placing them upside down in a vice and carefully unscrew the base with a pair of water pump pliers.  All four batteries were flat!  Is this the cause of the noise problem and defective system?  We will have to wait until the temperature falls before venturing out to purchase replacement batteries.  

Friday, 13 December 2019

Rear camera installed

After waiting more than a month for the blind, lame and geriatric camel to travel across Australia with the dash camera I’d ordered from Melbourne we declared it lost and claimed a refund.  Fastway Snailway Couriers have excelled themselves.  Jan ordered a replacement camera from a different eBay seller on the 11th and it was delivered this morning.  Even better, this camera came with the gps option and hard wiring kit.  Despite the heat, I enthusiastically fitted everything this morning.


Now we have recorded coverage should anyone hit us from behind. 

I’m still not satisfied with the power supply to the after market accessories.  The problem is the Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) between the starter battery and the accessories.  It cuts out (switches off the accessories) at 12.7V.  This is the voltage of a fully charged battery.  As a consequence the accessories get disconnected shortly after the engine stops.  I need power to the accessories to remain on.  But I don’t want them to stay on a flatten the starter battery.  My solution has been to buy a different VSR.  This one has an adjustable voltage cut out which I’ve set to 12.6V.  This is approx 75% of a fully charged 12V battery.  I just need to find somewhere to mount it in the engine bay.  Which happens to be very short on space Sad smile

Jenny it is the hottest start to summer on record.  There are currently two more bush fires to the north of us and I don’t envy the volunteer fire fighters with their attempts to contain it.  Regrettably it appears one might have been deliberately lit.  During period of extreme heat the sensible pensions without air conditioning (or money to run them) catch the bus to the nearest mall and sit there in the air-con all day.  How do I know this?  All the seats are already taken when I try to do it Smile

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Great stuff

This Sikaflex adhesive is great stuff.  I first used it on Waiouru securing the galley glass splashbacks to the tumblehome.  Yesterday I used it again for a couple of very small repairs.  The antenna port in the TPMS printed circuit board had parted.  It’s too awkward to solder or weld so I’ve held the two parts together with Sikaflex.


There will be no strain on the connector once the antenna wire is screwed on.

My £3 stainless steel watch strap from China broke at the join between the flexible strap and the watch anchor point.  I smeared some Sikaflex into the end of the flexible stainless steel strap and more on the anchor plate before joining the two pieces and leaving the adhesive to cure for 24 hours.  It appears to have worked!


The small stainless steel latch above the watch is one of six I ordered from China for the camper shower box.  I hadn’t realised they were going to be so small, however I think they will work if I can find screws small enough.

Here in Perth we have had the hottest start to summer since records have been kept.  The temperature is back up to 40C and likely to stay that way until the middle of next week.   The heat woke me at 5.30am; Jan had already been woken by the temperature.  We were probably sensible having the two additional air conditioners fitted in winter as all three are currently being used.  Fortunately we also have the solar panels which means no increase in the electrical bill.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Recovery component and the gas

One tip Ken and I were shown on our recent 4WD training day was how to connect two or more snatch straps.  Brief explanation.  A snatch strap is a strong fabric strap about 3” wide and 7-9 metres long.  It will stretch under tension much like an elastic band.  The purpose of the snatch strap is to recover a vehicle stuck in sand, mud, etc.  One end is tied to the stuck vehicle and the other to a recovery vehicle.  The recovery vehicle then drives away stretching the strap snatching (pulling) the stuck vehicle.  One potential hazard with doing this is only using one strap.  There is a risk the recovered vehicle will ‘spring’ out of the ‘hole’ and hit the recovery vehicle.  The instructor explained it was better to increase the distance between the two vehicles by using a second strap.  Very interesting but I only had one snatch strap purchased from Aldi.  That all changed when Outback Armour gave me a complementary recovery kit with my recent suspension purchase. 

This is how the instructor explained the snatch straps should be connected.

Each strap has a loop at each end.  The straps are laid out parallel to each other and opposing loops are passed through the opposite loop.  In the drawing below the blue snatch strap loop passes through the red loop at the right end and the red through the blue loop on the left.  The straps are them pulled apart.


The straps are them pulled apart.

Yes it’s a very rough drawing.  The two loops join in the middle.  Obviously the loops will form a very tight knot during the recovery.  To prevent this rolled magazines are inserted between the two loops.


It will look something like this with the grey vertical bar representing the magazines


The instructor stressed the importance of using the correct type of magazine for this task.  Consequentially I’ve used two copies of Jan’s “People’s Friend’ magazine.


According to the instructor you can also use  Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, House & Garden, Vogue, Elle and Playboy.  OK I’m joking about the last one.  Under NO circumstances should you use ‘Wheels, 4WD Action, Hunting & Fishing, Esquire or Men’s Fitness’. Smile

My two copies of People’s Friend have been tightly rolled together and bound with Duct Tape.  It now resides inside the recovery bag


The gas instant hot water burner had once again started playing up.  It wouldn’t ignite if the shroud was fitted to the unit.  I got onto eBay and purchase a new high voltage module which arrived today


The old module.

It was a reasonably simple task to exchange the modules.  Whilst it’s early days, the heater appears to again be working with the shroud back in place.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Ken to the rescue

A 7.30am start on the suspension upgrade and after two hours I had reached the point where the first of the front suspension struts was almost ready to be removed.  I was also considering whether I should continue with the upgrade or reinstall what I’d done.  We need the vehicle for Monday and this “alleged” four hour job was likely to take me a week given the current state of my back.  It was also apparent I’ve lost 80% of my physical fitness in the last eight years.  I’m physically getting old and my brain needs to realise that.

Fortunately ‘young’ Ken arrived to help.  OK Ken is only several years younger than me…. But he’s still in better shape physically, which made all the difference.

I’d only just started on the first strut when this photo was taken.  Why take the photo?  I wanted a record in order the reinstall everything correctly.


Ken arrived in time to remove the top three nuts from the strut when then enabled us (him working me supervising) to install the larger Outback Armour strut.


Once everything was installed we went around checking all the nuts and tightening them where necessary.  The original struts look quite puny compared to the new Outback Armour replacements.


By now it was 1.30pm and I’d been working on the vehicle for six hours.  So much for it being a four hour job! 

We stopped for an hour to have lunch before replacing the rear coil springs and shock absorbers.  As you can see in the photo I continued to supervise!


No… Ken is not working under the raised vehicle with just the small bottle jack holding it up.  The 4WD was sitting on three jack stands not shown in the photo.  The rear proved to be slightly easier than the front and the task was completed by 4.30pm. 

It was time for a test drive.  Ken and I have the same model vehicle which enabled us to provide comparison thoughts on whether the change in suspension was noticeable.  The ride was certainly ‘firmer’.  That’s probably not surprising as the manufacturer would have designed the vehicle suspension to have soft ride for the average owner driving around town or on bitumen.  When turning a corner the outside front part of the vehicle used to dip or roll.  The new suspension has stopped that.  It will be interesting to see what the ride is like when I next take it off road.

What it now requires is a wheel alignment.  The camper trailer also needs a wheel alignment, which means they will probably be done together.

Thank you for all your assistance Ken Smile

Friday, 6 December 2019

Preparing for the lift

When I initially started discussing replacing the suspension on the 4WD with something more substantial many of the salesmen immediately espoused the value of a “lift” their suspension system would give the vehicle increasing ground clearance.  That’s nonsense!   Increasing the height of the suspension does not increase ground clearance.  Out Isuzu has a live axle at the rear and independent suspension in the front.  Increasing the length of the coil springs raises the body of the vehicle but the springs sit on top of the axle.  Therefore the height of the axle (and ground clearance) doesn’t change. 

One way to increase ground clearance is to increase the diameter of the wheels by replacing the tyres and rims with a larger diameter.  I’ve already done this and increased the ground clearance by an inch.

My objective in replacing the standard suspension was to make it stronger as I’m concerned about the stresses placed on it when travelling for hours (and days) off road.  I wasn’t looking for a ‘lift’.  Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to replace the standard suspension without getting a lift.  One other advantage of a suspension (body) lift is the suspension might settle back close to ‘stock’ height with the addition of fitted items like a bullbar and winch.  Plus more load in the back.  However a disadvantage is the increased angle on the constant velocity joints (CV’s) in the front.  An increased angle increased the potential for the CV to snap.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is cooler temperatures.  High 20’s rather than high 30’s.  Ken suggested this might be a good day to change over the suspension.  In anticipation of that occurring I measured the current height of the suspension which I’ll be able to use as a reference point to see how great the left was after the new suspension. My method was to use two right angle squares.  These were used to measure the perpendicular distance between the top of the rim and the bottom of the wheel arch on all four wheels.


Hopefully everything will go without any issues tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Reviewing the plan

Shortly after I’d published yesterday’s blog post Jan received a fire “watch and alert” message along with a recommendation for all recipients to review their bushfire plans.  Almost simultaneously we started to hear the continuous sounds of helicopters passing overhead.  I suspect most readers will know much of Australia is experiencing high temperatures and significant bushfires.  Our turn had arrived!

The city of Perth is on the west coast of Australia and the prevailing winds comes off the Indian Ocean.  But not yesterday!  The wind was from the east bringing with it high temperatures from the ‘Red Centre’


Perth courtesy of Google Earth

We are located on the NE fringe of the city in the suburb of Ballajura.  To our east is a conservation park covered in native vegetation.  To our west is suburbia all the way to the coast.

In the Google Earth photo below you can see the boundary between the suburbs and the native vegetation.


A bushfire has started out in the conservation park and the wind was blowing it towards us.

The helicopters were could hear were water bombers collecting water from Emu Lakes and dumping it on the fire.  Ground fire crews had also arrived and were attempting to contain the blaze.


The critical issue was ‘Time’.  The helicopters can’t fly at night and it was 5pm.  At this time of the year the light has gone by 6.30-7.00pm.    Time was on our side and the fire was contained (not extinguished) before flying ceased.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Wired for sound

I’m now wired for sound…. only for 24 hours!  A visit to a different cardiologist practice this morning as I wasn’t happy with the competency of the last one.  Two tests before I have a consultation.  The first was an ultrasound echo test of the heart.  I was able to verify the comments about my heart from a former colleague were wrong.  He told me I had a heart of gold…….. small, hard and yellow!  Well it’s none of those things.  Actually it large, semi soft and sounded like the boat Whale Gulper shower pump. 

Next I was fitted with a ‘holter’.  This is a small electronic device that records your heart activity.  Three electrodes have been stuck on my chest and connected to the recorder which will run for 24 hours.  I’m wired for sound.   It’s not possible to shower during this period and as the temperature outside is in the high 30’s – low 40’s I’ve decided to spend most of my time inside limiting my perspiration (well Jan does have to share the bed tonight!).

The poor old postie can’t avoid the heat.  He must boil in his hi viz jacket and helmet during temperatures like today.  It’s also the pre-Christmas rush period which means large volumes of mail for him to deliver.  Two of the packages were for us.

My hose connectors have arrived.


If we were in the UK I would have been able to quickly purchase them from the local chandlers.  Not that easy in Oz.  Eventually I found a supplier on the other side of the continent, and they weren’t cheap.  Delivery was also slow.  No doubt it was that blind, lame and geriatric camel bring them across.

I rushed out in the heat to reach the workshop where it was a two minute job to fit the the hose connectors to the pump.


The sides have yet to be fitted to the pump box.  I’m not going to do that until the inlet and outlet hoses have been fitted.  My pump box looks like this


Water inlet and outlet will be at the base with the 12V on the top.  you may have noticed there are two  12V Anderson Plugs fitted to the top.  One is the supply to the pump and the other a ‘pass thru’ plug which can be used to run a second 12V device.

A start was made on the outside excavations for the second toilet in the bathroom.  I removed the pavers and started to dig almost immediately striking a copper water pipe <@#$%^&>.  This is going to complicate the excavation.  fortunately it became too hot for me to continue and the task can now wait for a cooler day.


Paul the consumer law may be the same in Australia and the camper trailer seller did offer me shorter shock absorbers when I showed him the “problem”.  But they would have just be more cheap Chinese shocks.  Actually the existing shocks work on bitumen and gravel roads.  It’s only when the trailer it taken off road and into seriously rutted terrain that they bottom out.

Dave the drawing wasn’t to scale.  However the shocks can’t be fitted vertically as there isn’t enough travel in the suspension.  Fitting them vertically would mean they would only be about 150mm long and you can’t purchase a shock that short.