Can he fix it? Yes he can! – PART 1

Can he fix it?
Of course he can, well one way or another!!!

This post lists all the bits and pieces that Jon has modified, made or fixed on our truck so far. This period covers the first 6 months of our trip. Each item below answers the following questions:
What did he fix?
When and where did he do it?
Was it worth it?
How much did it cost?

Oil cooler and oil.
AUGUST 2016 – UK
As the weather started to warm up I noticed that the steering was getting heavier and heavier. I decided that fitting an oil cooler and changing the grade of the hydraulic steering oil was the answer. The work was done on a friend’s drive in the UK. The oil cooler came from the very useful Ebay. Click and collect worked brilliantly for us as we had already left our home and had no address anymore.
It has made a massive difference. Coming onto a roundabout on a hot day, with low engine rev’s, I now don’t have to fight with a heavy steering wheel.
Oil cooler; £25
Hose clips and fittings; £15

Rear diff cover gasket.
AUGUST 2016 – Delft, Holland
The rear diff cover had started to leak slightly and I was worried that Canadian customs or the shipping company wouldn’t like it. One quiet day in the campsite, backed up against a row of bushes so as not to attract too much attention, I drained the diff oil and took the cover off. I found there was no gasket at all, just sealer – so, after cleaning it well, I put the cover back on with sealer and a gasket.
It’s always nice when you can keep the lubrication oil inside!
I had had the gasket for quite sometime. It was left over from some Land Rover spares, but they are only a few pounds.

110 volts supply.
SEPTEMBER 2016 – Nova Scotia, Canada
Up to now mains hook up has not been needed as the solar panel system has been brilliant and provided all the electricity we have ever wanted. However the seasons are changing and we are getting more cloudy days and, of course, the temperatures are getting lower. Pretty much all campsites provide a pitch, electricity, sewage and a water supply all in – so we may as well use the electricity and save on propane/LPG to heat the truck.
I bought the necessary parts from the excellent Canadian Tire store and fitted them to a suitable spot in the truck.
It’s a very basic system that has the socket end of an extension cable in the cab, and the other end with a plug on it coming through to the rear body. This comes out next to a twin socket which is wired to a dangling plug on the outside of the camper body. Now we can hook up in a campsite, or wherever, plug in a small fan heater for keeping us and the camper warm and also plug in a battery charger that lives in the cab keeping the leisure batteries topped up in the cold weather. Both the heater and charger had to be bought on the road as they are 110 volts.
The installation and purchase of heater and charger has been very much worth while to keep us comfortably warm and fully charged. This keeps the fridge and the lights on and even helped to start the truck one morning in -15 degrees C.
30m extension cable; CAN$ 35 on special offer
Heater; CAN$ 25
Double socket, male and female plugs; CAN$ 35
Battery charger; CAN$ 75.

2nd alternator belt.
SEPTEMBER 2016 – Nova Scotia, Canada
Just before Hurricane Matthew hit us in Nova Scotia I noticed the voltmeter on the dash was reading low. On investigation I found that there was no longer a belt on the pulleys. Luckily I had a spare, but it was too wet and windy to do much about it this day so I decided to look at it in the morning. After a very windy night and Matthew continuing north, the morning was dry but very cold – so I set about replacing the belt.
I found that one of the mounting bolts was bent causing the alternator pulley to come out of alignment. This, in turn, must have worn the belt out and ultimately snapped it somewhere on the road. Finding a new larger bolt in my box of bits I refitted it all making sure the pulleys were in line and the new belt in place.
New belt to go into the spares box; CAN$ 10

12.5 Thousand Service.
OCTOBER 2016 – Picton, Prince Edward County, Canada
This service mostly consisted of checking stuff for tightness and fluid levels. I did however change the engine oil and filter and also fuel filter. I also needed to replace the rocker cover gasket as this seemed to be leaking oil down the side of the engine.

While I was doing the gasket [which I found had a gap in it] and while the cover was off, I thought it a good time to check the valve clearances too. They weren’t too bad but needed checking at some point anyway. Once it was done, I felt better for having done them – more for my piece of mind than anything else.

I made some simple clips to hold up the sound insulation in the tunnel from some scrap aluminium that I found.

Engine oil; CAN$ 110 – but I did buy twice what I needed so I could fill my oil can and have plenty of top up oil.
Filters: from my spares box.

Snow chains.
NOVEMBER 2016 – Butte, Montana, USA
Having been to Badlands National Park – where we encountered some snow and ice (see the video) we decided the need to purchase some snow chains was getting more apparent. I did some research to establish what size chains to buy as the RB44 has a funny-sized tyre. We found a tyre shop in town and made some enquiries and it turned out that they could get the chains [in 15 minutes they said] for what seemed a pretty good price. One hour and 15 minutes later we had some snow chains and were on our way.
Snow Chains [2 pairs]; U$ 230.

Batteries and fighting the cold temperatures.
DECEMBER 2016 – Oliver, British Columbia, Canada.
One morning after a couple of really cold nights at -15C, the truck batteries struggled to turn the engine over. Fearing that the batteries may be on their way out, I decided it would be a good idea to be able to divert the power from the battery charger to the starter batteries. I went shopping to look for some cable and 2 pairs of Anderson plugs, but I could only find one pair. By wiring it in a non conventional way, I was able to make this work because all the batteries share the chassis as the earth. Now I use just one side of the plug for leisure batteries and one for the starter batteries. Simple and reliable!
Cable and 1 pair of Anderson plugs; CAN $25

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