My Speedometer Does Not Work
Gromet Goes Under The Spanner
Thanks go to Steve Graham, Frank King
and most of all Richard Taylor
for Gromet's recovery.
It was the first Monday in April, and the Derby branch of the Series III club meeting was about to convene at the Jonty Farmer, well it sets you up for the month and it gave me a forum at which to pose the question "My speedometer does not work, any suggestions?" How did this sorry state of affairs come to pass? WELL Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, well two or three months ago, I experienced, on a couple of occasions, that awful sinking feeling - I could not engage second gear. The lights turned from red to green, Gromet lurched forward and then nothing; as we rolled to a halt the flashing light on our roof cried out to one and all "Keep clear - Something is amiss" . However it was on our way to Holly Moore Side that the problem indicated once and for all that it was not about to go away.
It was one of those weeks with a Saturday in it. The morning crept in cold, gray and breezy, the map was spread out on the table, the radio was on, folks were rushing up and down the stairs as a shout reverberated from the kitchen - "do you want ham or chicken?" then the clock struck half past nine, we froze, grabbed what ever we could, poured out of the house and piled into Gromet.
We were already half an hour late. With my foot firmly to the floor we took off down the road in a cloud of dust and diesel smoke to the accompaniment of the protesting clatter of a cold 2.1/4 diesel.
As we charge up and down the hills of the Peak district our speedo read 50 miles an hour, 60 miles an hour and eventually 65, we were going down hill, then the needle fell, 50, 40, 30, 20 miles an hour, yes we had arrived at the bottom of the hill and were climbing once more. This climb was promptly superseded by a right hand junction, Gromet would not indulge us, Gromet would not go into second gear and we rolled to a halt. As I tried to pull away again Gromet would neither go into first nor second gear. We had to slowly pull away in third! Five or six miles further on the same thing happened and then as an encore we could not get through the gate at the off road site.
On Entering The Field we discovered Land Rovers all around us frisking and frolicking, leaping into mud pools, weaving in and out of trees, splashing along liquid mud tracks and climbing mud hills, it was too much, Gromet dropped into low box and we all had a great week end.
Problem over? well no!!!
We turned up at the Festival of Transport at Weston Park a couple of weeks later, I will not go into how we arrived on the spot but it was not a happy tale, however all ordeals must come to an end and as we glided onto the Series III stand, in reverse, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Frank King was immediately assailed with What is up with my gear box?Why is my paint work blistering? and should my rear shock absorbers really look like that?
This is where belonging to a club like The Series III Owners Club really does come into its own. Marjorie took me along to the marquee and signed me in, things were calming down. On our return up went the bonnet and in went the heads, yes we were getting somewhere, mind you the problem was really underneath the vehicle but as everyone was having such a good time I did not want to be too pedantic.
You know what to do don't you? Ask Steve Graham. Steve was duly hauled away from his concourse Series III, glittering at the far end of the stand, his is not just any Series III, I might add, but the very first of the truly noble breed. It really is an excellent vehicle, a miraculous transformation, Steve has restored it to all of it's former glory.
No your shock absorbers should not look like that, replace the bushes, the blisters on your paint are caused by the reaction of steel on aluminum and lets go for a drive, just to see what a coil sprung Series III is like".
We had not gone two Land Rover lengths when Steve made his pronouncement "Your lay shaft bearings are badly worn"
This Really Was The Start Of Something Big
Advice was lavished upon my poor numb brain, along with a list of telephone numbers - yes the Series III club was swinging into action, Gromet was really ill.
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By Thursday it became apparent that the only real option was a reconditioned gear box.
Richard thought about it, "Neil's Land Rover is on the drive, we have just finished Dave's clutch, my bulk head should be in sometime on Saturday, bring Gromet round on Sunday, allow the whole day we will sort it, don't worry about the engine crane, I will arrange that and if you can get a clutch we will put it in as well."
I tried a few places for a gear box but to no avail, well there was not much time, then I remembered Steve, he had diagnosed it all, he has a garage and he had a shining example of what a Series III should be, 01642 564964, it was engaged, but on the third try "no problem" said Steve "I will get back to you in ten minutes" I've heard that before, I thought, but NO the phone rang.
"I need a little more time", he said "but the clutch is on its way, you will have it tomorrow".
An hour later the phone rang again "If you go up to Halifax tomorrow there is a gear box waiting for you". I could not believe it, this is what it is all about, I thought, being in a real club.
Richard was phoning around for me, Steve was phoning around for me.
Frank came through on Sunday with the instructions for the over drive or was it to take photos of Richard belting his thumb with a hammer? I don't know but I had contacts all over the country full of very useful advice, with out which I could never have got everything up and running inside three days.
Friday dawned, we were off to Halifax, it was a beautiful day as we drove through the country roads of the Pennines, unfortunately we had to take the Granada, so we flew along the roads, Gromet was simply not well enough to undertake such a long run.
Back in Derby the clutch arrived but, due to a lack of communication on my part, it was sent back to the depot and did not cross our door step again until Tuesday, too late for the transplant.
Saturday was quiet but Sunday saw me outside the hire shop in Derby at 10 am, Gromet and I surreptitiously practiced backing the trailer up and down the road a few times, we were just getting the hang of it.
When Richard arrived, nonchalantly we drove up to the gate, but a car had nipped in in front of us, Gromet and I had missed our one chance to show off, the trailer was unhitched and pushed into place.
The crane was loaded in and off we wentup the A52 to the old farm house, which is Richard's abode. The trailer was unhitched and Gromet was backed into the operating theater, in this case a wonderful old stone barn.
The anesthetic was administered before we retired for a coffee, after all you should start the day as you mean to go on, this was no episode of ER or Casualty, this was real life.
Gromet was about to undergo open gear box surgery, none of your key hole stuff and nonsense here - no, it was the real thing - it was live, we were involved in the complete removal and replacement of a gear box together with all of the possible complications of rejection.