A literal Shakedown!
In the biking world a ´shakedown´ is a practice run before a big trip. We had intended a 2-3 month shakedown in France over the summer of 2021 before leaving for the big trip in October but COVID and delays in exchanging on the cottage put that plan in the dustbin.
We therefore had no choice but to head off with no practice run and see what happened. Fortunately we decided to start the trip a month early and spend the extra time in Spain where things are pretty easy before heading to Africa where connectivity and cultural differences really start to challenge us.
We started the trip pushing Henry to his limits off road through the Pyrennes – not a lot of roads will be much more difficult so it was a great test.
A week in and we started to see the fall-out. We were literally shaking everything down and testing it´s suitability for our new lives.
In order, so far, the problems have been :
|Wifi Hub||With a UK sim card in it worked perfectly in the UK. Dead as a Dodo in Spain! We´re hoping that the UK sim card simply can´t roam but with woeful technical support from the supplier all we can do is wait until we´re in Morocco with a Moroccan sim card|
|The projector broke – irrepairably!||Amazon offered a full refund so it is being sent back once we arrive at our friends Nick and Petra´s villa in Moraira, thank you Amazon!|
|James´s IPhone lost all connectivity to the network||Fortunately EE managed to sort it out over the phone and even provided us with an emergency freephone technical support number to call when we leave the EU – thank you EE!|
|We killed the laptop!||Shaking it around on the trails, the 6 year old technology just couldn´t cope and it turned its toes up permanently. RIP laptop!|
We´ve ordered a new, rugged one again collected at Nick and Petra´s but strangely it´s all in Spanish……
Always keen to make the most of a bad situation, whilst the laptop was in the repair centre having our data recovered we had a wander around to see what was about. We had landed in Figueres being the nearest large town and were fascinated to find it was the home town of one Salvador Dali! So a visit to the Dali Theatre had to be done and all I can say is Wow! How does all this come out of one person´s head??
Then we come to Henry´s woes and straight back down to earth!
Firstly the diff sensor went down so we had no idea whether the diff lock was in or not. Easy fix – new sensor ordered and delivered to Nick and Petra´s ready to collect a few days later
Then the clutch started sticking to the floor. James climbed under the bonnet with all the various tools to tighten things up but bizzarely we didn´t have the right spanner so the nut wouldn´t budge! Spanner ordered and delivered to Nick and Petra´s ready to sort it out when we get there…..it was looking like a busy few days ´relaxing´ at their villa!
The driver´s door had been adjusted by the guys who fitted the deadlocks and no longer quite fit. Out on the trails is started rubbing quite worryingly putting pressure on the frame. At one campsite James decided to take matters into his own hands and bent the door away from the frame to release the pressure….it no longer rubs quite so much but there is a strange breeze when we get some speed up!
We then suddenly lost all steering. James did a thorough check on the side of the road but found nothing obvious, so suspected a very expensive new steering box was required.
A hair-raising 45 minute drive to a garage later, we jacked her up and found two problems – firstly the rear trailing arm nyloc nut had come lose so the rear axle was moving in a very unnatural way. As James put it – Henry was steering like a camel on acid!
This one was fixed by the wonderful Josep at ´Off Road Exclusives´ in Sant Jaume de Llierca who is an absolute star!
Our budget and expectations allow for much time to be spent in garages around the world, this was just the first of many we have no doubt!
The second problem has proven to be of more concern. The wheel hub on the rear passenger side was replaced just before we came out but was not original Landrover. It seems it wasn´t up to the job – Josep noticed that it had warped out of shape so the bearings were loose inside and the whole wheel wobbles all over the place.
There was nothing he could do except clean it all, re-lubricate it and advise us to replace it as soon as we could. That, sadly, is not very soon – new hub, bearings and stub axel have been ordered and delivered to the UK address of the guys we´re meeting in Morocco who will bring it out to us on their truck at the end of October.
Until then we are firmly on-road, no more wreckless trails for us for a month 😦
Let´s hope everything that was not man enough for this trip has now been shaken out into the open and we get a bit of a break for a few days!