Life at the end of the road

May 28, 2008

More crows and an ARB air locker

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:20 pm

As I’ve said before crows aren’t daft. They are however thouroughly nasty creatures that will peck the eyes out of a sick sheep or lamb and dig up your spuds given half the chance. Despite this I do have a sneaking admiration for them and only really shoot them when they become a nuisance. Which is just what’s happening now they’re getting far too familiar and cheeky, hanging around at feeding times and who knows what they’d do to a wee sickly piglet so last week I shot one, OK it was in the foot but I did find it dead a few days later and yesterday I shot another, this time it was at 100yds and i got it square in the chest, OK that one flew off as well which just goes to show the resilience of these birds but I don’t suppose it’ll be digging up any more potatoes. My sneaking admiration for these scroungers was bolstered today when after doing the school run I called in on my mate Willy Eyre. Over a cup of coffee Willy thrust a copy of the ‘West Highland Free (what it’s free from I’ve never been able to fathom because it’s not cheap and it’s certainly not unbiased) Press’ under my nose and told me to read this article about a nesting crow on Lewis or was it Harris. Anyway it was somewhere with a shortage of trees. Being somewhat short of a tree to nest in this enterprising crow had chosen a 20,000v hydro electric pole, nothing unusual in that you might add. Well there wouldn’t have been had this particular crow not chosen to use steel fencing wire as well as twigs! The linesmen were duly called out and cut the power to 200 people as there was a risk of a ‘Kentucky fried crow’ They then proceeded to dismantle the nest only to find it rebuilt later! I’m not sure how long this went on for or how many times the consumers of Borve were cut off before the crow got the message but it does make you wonder why they just didn’t shoot it! Unlike a person on Raasay who I shall not name who showed initiative when confronted by a crow that kept nesting in the same tree. As he had no gun to shoot it he cut the tree down now that strikes me as a George Bush solution and whilst I don’t condone it it does have a certain lateral charm. A bit like the people of Argyle that used to ‘borrow’ the eggs out of the crows nests and hard boil them before placing them back on the nest, that way the crow just sat on the nest all summer and bothered no one!

Fitting the ARB air locking differential

Well I’m afraid it gets really boring now if your not into Land Rovers so just go and check out some of the blogs in my blog roll or or or all of which will be much less boring for the non technically minded though last time I sent anyone to Stoneheads blog he was fixing his Land Rover!

The fore cast had been dead right so it was a perfect day for inside work. This air locking diff and rear disc conversion has been on the go now for 2 and a half years, I’ve gradually been acquiring the bits off ebay when I’ve been able to siphon funds ( only joking ) and rather than have the old girl off the road for weeks I got a second hand rear axle and converted it to rear discs and now I’m finally fitting the ‘ARB air locking diff’ which I’ve had sat in my garage for almost a year.

The rear disc conversion is well covered here

and whilst I’d already completed that part of the job today I was replacing the caliper pistons with stainless ones, There was nowt wrong with the ones that were in the new calipers I’d fitted but stainless will last for years and I tend to take the long view. The best and easiest way of removing the old ones is compressed air, just hold one piston in and blow the other out. Do it in a clean environment and lubricate with plenty of brake fluid.

The blue thing is a tyre inflater and I’ve held the opposite piston in with mole grips. I bought the front ones from Zeuss engineering of Exeter and the rears from they were cheap well made and Paolo was very helpful. With the calipers sorted I put them to one side and set about the diff. Now there’s no point me going through everything because the instructions are precise and there’s a good link here

and whilst it’s on a Blazer the axle is identical apart from the threads which are imperial. However heres a few of my observations and bodges of necessity, firstly get genuine ‘Timken’ bearings at first I didn’t and could not believe the quality or should I say lack of it, they were shitpart, sorry ‘Britpart’ and looked like they’d been made from recycled Lada’s in China so I sent em back. This is a big and complex job so you don’t want it going pear shaped for the sake of a few quid. I got all my shims, crown wheel bolts, bearings and collapsible spacer from

L. R. Series: parts and spares in Defender 1985>: Axle: Bearings who were first class and had everything in stock. I’d stripped the axle down over a year ago but fortunately labeled everything so my first job was to press the new pinion bearing on, not having a hydraulic press I made one from a window lintel, 5 ton jack, block of wood and a small length of scaffolding pipe. This worked a treat but a careful eye was kept on the stone lintel as I did not want to destroy the gable end of my workshop! The next stage was to fit the pinion and tighten up the pinion nut to collapse the spacer, now this requires allot of effort the hardest part of which is stopping the axle from moving.

This I achieved by using 2 ratchet straps to secure the axle to the stands and a bent bit of steel with 2 bolts in to stop the pinion turning whilst I torqued it up. Once this was done there was allot of fiddling about with shims which I won’t go into but is well covered in the instructions. With the shims sorted the next step is to fit the old crown wheel to the new diff. Now ARB tell you to put it in the oven or boil it in water, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE OVEN unless you want your next few meals tasting of gear oil.

Trust me I speak from experience, far better to wrap it in tinfoil and place it on a stove or low electric ring not a gas one. With the crown wheel fitted I decided to call it a day, though I have to thank my little helpers that turned up just when I needed a hand.

I don’t know what it is about this litter but 5 of them just ran past the kitchen window! the other 2 litters just stay in their fields with mum but these 11 just rush about everywhere!

Some rest!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:31 am

I promised myself an easy day today but it never happened UK Wind Map said it was going to rain tomorrow so I went a bit bonkers with the paint brush as the day was a scorcher. It was even warm and sunny at 7:00 when I fed the pigs but to my disgust it was midgie as hell so I figured I’d paint the wind turbine mast at the back of the house as it would be quite breezy at the top and by the time I got half way down the wee beasties should be away once the sun got higher.

Sure enough my plan worked and I was well pleased with the result, the bottom section is the original one and is 19 years old but I’ve extended it twice since then to improve the flow over the turbine. With wind turbine masts the site and height is very important, they need a clear unobstructed aspect, ideally all around but at least from the prevailing wind. Trees, fences, houses or any nearby objects will cause turbulance reducing the turbines efficiency but worse than that it will make the turbine constantly turn on it’s yaw bearings wearing both them and the slip rings out. A roof top turbine will not work well constantly turning in the gusts created by the house and when it does spin up and run it will transmit vibration into the house. STAY WELL CLEAR OF THE LIKES OF ‘WINDSAVE’.

With my mast looking lovely in it’s new green coat I cut the lawn which has hardly grown in a week due to the lack of water. It’s almost June and this is only the second time the mower has been out, well that’s fine by me. At this point I should have done some relaxing in my garden, perhaps even with a beer ( apart from the fact that I’ve not got any ) or even done a spot of weeding around the potato patch. Not me, at 2:30 in the afternoon I decide to start painting the roof of the house’

Cat on a hot tin roof

Bearing in mind that this is a job that once started is better finished and that the dreaded midge usually starts rearing it’s ugly head around 4:00pm then it was probably not a wise decision. Now I was never a fan of ‘crinkly tin’ that was until started living with it. When I bought this place I’d always planned to replace the roof for tiles but after a couple of years I got really fond of it. It’s far less prone to leaks than slates or tiles at this latitude with our constant winter gales driving the rain horizontally like a power washer and it’s far more durable than most people think. A coat of paint every couple of years and it should be good for a century.

This signature is one of many on the underside of our byre roof and was written by Mary Macleod in 1934! a the roof may well have been on for a few years then and there’s still plenty of life left in it. Anyway as I’ve been trying to write this for several hours due to my cr4ppy internet connection I’ve somewhat lost the thread. In fact I started last night and gave up suffuce to say I’m well impressed with corrugated iron and I got the back half of the roof painted for 8:00pm.

After which I went down to the shore to meet Bill Cowie of who was picking up a passenger from the old fish farm slip at Arnish that has a wonderful gaelic name that I can’t even pronounce let alone spell!.

And as Bill, Iain and their passenger set off into the sunset I was left securing the scrap cable that I’d rescued from the dump onto my quad amidst the clouds of midge’s. It’s all different lengths and sizes but I’m sure I’ve now got enough to wire up my hydro turbine ( once I buy it! )

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