Life at the end of the road

February 7, 2016

A visit from ‘The Blind Man’

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 3:47 pm

Saturday was a far better day than expected and very productive both inside and out. Little chance of any blogging right enough as it was ‘a late one’ under the ‘Egg Chariot’. What an epic a simple wheel bearing change on a Subaru Forester has turned into. I got the car for wifey on the way back from Birkenhead, we’d been looking for a Forester for a while and this one from Kenmure Car Sales  in Dumbarton seemed like a possibility. It had higher mileage than I was looking for but it was cheap and on the way home. So after catching the train from Liverpool to Barrhead, spending the night at Mum in Laws and buying a concrete floor polisher I went to look at a few Subaru’s.

I gotta say when I looked around it I wasn’t a 100% convinced it was the car for the wife but I was so impressed by the lack of ‘hard sell’ from Bradley Stein the proprietor and his willingness to tell me all its faults that I decided to take a chance. He told me it had a duff rear wheel bearing prior to me taking out for a run, handed me the keys and said ‘take it out for as long as you like’, leaving MiL and me to go for a whirl around Dumbarton.

That was it, I was ‘sold’ on the Forester, got a good discount for the wheel bearing and drove it away a happy chappie, straight up the road home. Of course after a 29 year old Land Rover anything is pure luxury but even with the wheel bearing growling it was still quiet and returned a respectable 35MPG on the way north.

The Subaru Forester rear wheel bearing epic

  So with £300 off the price of the car and a quality SKF bearing for £50 or so from Euro Car Parts in Inverness I was well chuffed. That was until I started removing everything months later and found everything was seized Sad smile I ended up having to cut through several large and serious bolts, and Subaru in their wisdom choose to use a fine metric thread of 14mm which is not so common, especially at 270mm long! As it was becoming apparent that it was going to be major work and I’d be awaiting parts  I decided to do both sides and stiffen up the rear end for towing. The £50 job was turning into a major dent on the credit card Sad smile

When I got the first bearing off it became obvious that the one supplied by Euro Car Parts was not even remotely similar, turned out it was a front one for a SAAB and in the wrong box. More delay but they did have two in stock of the correct ones and I planned to collect them on the way back from the abattoir last week. However the puncture put paid to that . Phoned Euro Car up and got them couriered to Sconser, more delay and expense.  Decided to uprate to heavier springs and new shockers, they arrived 48 hours later! whereas the rear tie bar Polybushes that I ordered took a week to get here and only arrived last night!!! The eBay seller took 5 days to post them!!! However when he finally did (on Friday) they arrived 24 hours later, along with an inner tube I’d ordered on Friday morning, well done Royal Mail.

So, that was it, more than a week after starting the job I finally had all the bits to finish off the job.

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The old bushes are the black ones and I damaged them when cutting through the 270mm bolt that goes through the hub carrier and lower tie bars. Polyurethane bushes are simple enough to fit as they come in two parts with a steel insert. You can push the bush in by hand then press the inserts in with a G clamp. Only problem being they were the wrong frigging bushes!!!! I was livid, almost a week to get them and they’re no even right!! The hole in the insert was only 12mm, not 14mm as required for that dirty great long bolt, nothing for it but to fit the old ones!

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Now they require a little more persuasion, so I made up a puller from a large socket and some washers. By late evening I had it finished and tested and could at last go and admire our new blinds Smile

The Blind Man cometh

I’ve never been one for blinds or curtains, I’m never in the house when the sun is out, we’ve no problem with ‘Peeping Toms’ and with triple glazing there are no cold spots. So, I just don’t see the point,


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why would you want to cover them up?

Anyway, I was severely overruled in that department and before I knew it I was talking to Tony Stridgeon  of Tony just happened to be on the ferry one day a few weeks ago and someone pointed him out. As soon as we got to Sconser he gave me a sample book and then after we chose what we wanted he came to measure up.

A couple of weeks later Tony emailed me to say they were here and yesterday he cam to fit them.

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There are thirteen of them so he was at it until after 14:00 but they really do set the rooms off. I had my doubts about the living room, being allergic to tartan and thinking it would make the house look like a gift shop, but they’re actually very nice, honest. I hasten to add it’s the only room with kilts hanging on the wall Smile

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Well, that didn’t work, I was trying to take a picture of the blinds and the view but the camera can’t cope with the bright outside and the dark blinds.

Anyway, that’s in, guests coming around for dinner tonight so little chance of any action on here. It’s boodly awful outside so I’ve been helping the Hen Lady clean out the chooks.

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Despite all that, and with an outside temperature around 6 degrees but feeling like minus 6 due to the wind chill. Despite that the solar hot water tubes are at 57 degrees and I’ve turned the heating on the house!

February 6, 2016

Fancy a taste of the ‘Good Life’ :-)

Afraid this post is gonna be ‘dull as dishwater’ to most peeps, for I’ve spent most of the day under the Subaru or stood on the back of a quad!

Henry wrecked it Sad smile

It was ‘pure pish’ here at the ‘North End’ early on so I spent most of the morning inside the shed  working on wifey’s egg chariot. Mainly finishing fitting the wheel bearings and removing rusted bolts from the rear bumper mountings. The ‘Old Girl’ is going to have to have a new bulkhead this year and that’s a major job. I had seriously considered putting her away and paying to have the job done, it’s a lot of work and I’m hardly blessed with much in the way of spare time. I’d even considered getting a sensible vehicle like Lachie’s Ranger or any one of the other Japanese ‘crew cabs’. Truth is that, sure enough I’d get a decent heater, good fuel economy, dry cab, air conditioning and a radio I could here over 40MPH but I’d have to spend at least £5K, in three years time it would be worth ‘feck all’ and I’d be needing to change the ‘DMF’ and ‘DPF’, that’ll be the dual mass flywheel and diesel particulate filter. So, better ‘the devil you know’ and I couldn’t see any of those Jap jobbies pulling 9 tons of telehandler out of a bog.

I was removing all the bolts and fittings around the stern of the Subaru and lashing Coppaslip on them so they’d be easy to do when I fitted the tow bar. My logic being that if I’m gonna change the bulkhead myself then I’d better still have something capable of towing a trailer or caravan whilst the ‘Old Girl’ is in hospital so to speak. I’ve not actually  mentioned this to the ‘Post Lady’ just yet but I’m sure she’ll understand.

The main task of the day had to wait until the rain stopped, and that was removing the fried stator from my Proven/Kingspan wind turbine. The staggering output it had been achieving throughout all the storms of late had burnt out the stator, or ‘core’ as Kingspan prefer to call it.

Removing a Kingspan/Proven stator/core

The stator/core is the bit of an ‘axial flux’ generator that sits between the two rotating sets of magnets. On a Proven/Kingspan downwind machine it sits behind the black cover at the opposite side from the blades.

Normally when you lower the turbine that bit points ‘up the way’

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making access difficult but I’d already removed all the blades so it would rest ‘doon the way’.  This is all ‘damn fine splendid’ until you remove the first rotor when the reduced weight wants to make the machine ‘point up the way’ again Sad smile So, here’s what I did, first off I got a puller rigged up, to remove the rotor from the shaft. The Proven/Kingspan has some holes near the spindle that are large enough to get 12mm ‘plate washers’ inside.


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I used 2 for each 12mm threaded bar cos I figured it would be ‘effin tight’.


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I then secured a hydraulic puller between the studs and started to remove the outer rotor, as predicted it was very stubborn but eventually came off.

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As I was working upside-down so to speak I tied some 6mm rope around the rotor to prevent it falling off. Just as well really as the loss of ‘ballast’ would have caused the head to swivel round. To prevent this I drilled the rock bellow the head and then secured it with a couple of ratchet straps.


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Not only did this secure the head and prevent it from swinging around but the two straps also also gripped the sides of the stator/core and acted as a brake. The core weighs about 30kg at a guess and is mechanically secured to the galvanized frame with six M8 studs. However it is magnetically held to the second rotor and extreme care must be exercised in it’s removal or you could end up loosing some fingers. It is possible using sever screw drivers to ease off a little at a time but I used a ‘cunning plan’, sadly I never took a picture, I used my 900mm Snap On ‘strong arm’ bar with a socket on the end. The socket I placed on one of the two metal bars of the frame to act as a fulcrum whilst the bar rested on top of one of the studs. I then carefully eased it downwards and put a wooden wedge underneath between the the frame and core. With a good air gap at that end the rest were simple enough to pry down. I used screwdrivers but great care must be observed so as not to damage the core/stator or your fingers.

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As you can see it’s toasted,


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the magnets however are just fine, a few scuff marks and one small chip.

I’ve organised another stator/core from Kingspan Wind who have been extremely helpful with this and other matters in the past. A far cry from the way Proven Energy dealt with their customers latterly. From what I can gather most of the staff are the same, Kingspan obviously have a better ‘customer care ethic’ than the previous management.

Fancy the life ‘off grid’

Well, that’ll be me neighbours in ‘Number 3’ now for over a year.


They’ve done loads of work on the croft whilst   Donnie Macleod of DDK design and Billy Shanks of Shanks Plumbing and Renewables have done loads of work on the house to make it suitable for letting. So the ‘wee hoose’ that was my home for over a quarter of a century is now available for let I could fancy a holiday there myself Smile Nicky, Maya and Mary can be contacted on 01478 660 375 or emailed at

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