Life at the end of the road

February 8, 2010

Scrapiron racing :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, Land Rover, stonework, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:28 pm

It really felt like a day in spring today, raised temperature, sunshine, snow drops in the garden and tiny wee flowers and catkins on the hazel trees.

And now it’s tomorrow 🙂 6:00am the cockerel’s are doing there early morning competition and I’m a couple of wine glasses short of a sore head 🙂 The ‘man from Mull’ turned up last night with a sweet Chilean number in tow and we polished it off with two venison filets roasted for about 30 mins, the recipe is actually only for 10 at which they’re still raw in the middle 🙂 Whilst wifey, I and the boy don’t have a problem with pink and bloody offerings, I appreciate that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea so we played it safe, as it turned out he would have been OK with it, still it was delicious anyway.

After putting the world to rights and demolishing far more than was good for my waistline he headed home and I went to bed. It was probably not much after 21:00 but I was, yet again shattered. I don’t know why because I’d not done anything particularly strenuous, in fact I’d spent most of it under the ‘Old girl’

Scorpion Racing

I was under my beloved Land Rover trying to trace a few clonks from the suspension that I’d acquired recently and whilst under there found a bit of a horror story  😦

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The right hand gearbox mounting was loose and only had one of the three bolts still in place with its nut on

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one of the disadvantages of using stainless steel fastners being that they DON’T rust so can work loose 😦 Anyway this time I replaced the nuts with ‘nylocs’ so it shouldn’t happen again. The clunk from the rear turned out to be yet another loose stainless nut, this time on one of the rear radius arms but the one on the front has got me really worried and will cost me dearly.

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A crack in the ‘Scorpion Racing’ radius arm, now I was going to have a good old rant about this company of shysters that were big on glossy ads in 4×4 magazines but light on ethics but I see that they’ve gone bust 🙂 Sadly they appear to be trading with the same products under a different name with former directors now as employees so any chance of recompense for their dissatisfied customers is even less likely. Still at least there new website does have prices but I would not touch these so called ‘extreme’ products with a barge pole, mail order only, no address, I’m sure that’s against the law!

My dealings with ‘Scrapiron’ as they came to be known started many years ago when they were one of the few people supplying ‘uprated’ Land Rover suspension parts. Why ‘uprate’ my suspension you ask, well quite simply because ‘Calum’s road’ has destroyed the suspension of every vehicle that I’ve owned 😦 In all fairness to the great man himself it’s more to do with lack of maintenance by the council and the heavy loads that I carry than any fault in the road itself. My last 4×4, a wee Daihatsu had 4 full sets of springs in 7 or so years and the wife’s last car, an Audi 80 had to have new wishbone bushes every year for he MOT.

When I bought the old girl 10 years ago she was already 13 and had sagged a little so scanning the Land Rover anorak mags I saw the glossy Scorpion Racing ad, no prices but very nice to look at so I phoned them up for a quote. Sure 4 new +2” springs, shockers and extended brake lines was expensive but it was a quality product and I love my truck, so muggins parted with the cash.

Sure enough the bright orange springs and red ‘De Carbon’ shocks looked the ‘dogs’ and so did my Landy now you needed to step on a box to get in it 🙂 It might have looked the part but straight line stability was pants as raising the suspension tilts the front axel thus altering the castor angle, the castor angle being responsible for the self centring  effect of the steering, too much castor and your steering is very heavy, too little and the steering wheel will not return to centre. Of course having being a time served motor mechanic, I think they’re called technicians nowadays, I should have realized this, but it was a long time ago 🙂 No problem though, Scrapiron racing sold me a set of ‘special heavy duty, heat treated radius arms that tilt the axle back 3 degrees thus returning your castor angle to normal. Great, after splashing out another £300 my tuck now steers just like it should, only problem being the vibration that has appeared since fitting the arms. The vibration being caused by the acute angle that the propeller shaft is now working at due to the axel being moved 😦 Scorpion to the rescue, for a mere £350 they sold me a special prop shaft to cure it. This was all a long time ago, many other companies are selling similar stuff for a fraction of the cost and this is not really my gripe. My gripe is that when any of their so called quality stuff failed it was the devils own job to get it replaced under warranty and even when they did replace stuff they stung you for carriage. I once had a shock absorber replaced under warranty, not only would they not reimburse me the £5.00 that it cost me to post it back to them but they also charged me £20 postage on the new one. Despite many phone calls and letters to Colin the MD they still have around £70 of my money and there’s little chance of seeing it now!


I really must apologize for that long and probably, to most people boring moan and get back on track.

After crawling out from under my Land Rover in a fit of depression and ordering some new radius arms from Paddock’s we had a succession of visitors that gave me a good excuse not to crawl back under with my welder 🙂 Anyway I’d had quite enough of being in the shade of two tons of metal for a while and wanted to enjoy some of the sun.

After spending some time with the pigs I started work on the new header tank for my ‘Stream engine’, of course when I say new, I mean ‘newly acquired’ as in lifted from my parents yesterday. This 25 gallon galvanized steel water tank will be ideal, made out of 3mm thick riveted steel it’s the kind of thing that they used to make in Britain when two thirds of the world map that hung in my classroom was pink 🙂 Weighing well over 50kg it took two of us to lift it in the back of the Land Rover, fortunately I had gravity to assist in getting it out and once on the ground I just rolled it over to my workshop. I’m sure a plastic one would have done just fine but this one is unlikely to be disturbed by pigs or the burn being in flood and of course it’s recycled. Of course it’s much more difficult to cut than plastic but at least I did not have to make up a backing plate for my heavy steel fitting.

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First of all though I made up a thick rubber gasket for the pipe flange fitting then I cut 8 x 20mm holes with a hole cutter.

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The bolts were only 16mm but I’d no cutter small enough and the extra 4mm would give me a little leeway, holes cut for the bolts I then cut the large hole with a jigsaw. This fitting is for the 90mm ‘pennstock’ pipe which will be the last to fill so is near the top of the tank.

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Just look at that tank and flange, built like a battleship and so far no cost apart from the turbine, everything else from skips and scrap 🙂


That was about it really on the Sunday front, it was nearly dark and my mate from Mull was on his way with that bottle so I called it a day.

Monday arrived fine, clear and dry, unlike my boy who awoke all snottery and full of a cold, wifey and I had an appointment with the factor in Portree so we left our sick boy with a friend and caught the 8:55 ferry (just) 🙂

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Driving past the magnificent Cuillins at Sligachan and then stopping at Aros for a walk in the woods with the ‘wee dug’ our appointment was not until 10:30 and we’d no need of shopping.

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From our vantage point on the Aros centre car park we could clearly see the island of Fladda and just make out two of the three cottages there. Behind the low lying tidal island are the old volcanic rocks of the north end of Raasay beyond Arnish and Torran and in the back ground the snowy peaks of Torridon.


The unseasonal weather had obviously affected the herons who were making a racket in the trees at Aros and seemed to be getting ready for the breeding season.

I wished I’d taken the Land Rover

The meeting was over in a jiffy and I went on to an undisclosed location to ‘see a man about a dog’, I’d heard from a friend where I might get some buckshee pipe fittings before they got sent to the dump or buried. They weren’t new but were surplus to requirements so after speaking to the man in charge I came away with some real treasure for my mini hydro scheme. To say I was ‘over the moon’ would have been an understatement, these were mainly steel fittings and I’d just priced the plastic ones up at £22 each + VAT and delivery so lord knows what this haul was worth 🙂 I just wished that wifey’s car had been bigger!

Despite getting distracted in the skip we made the 13:15 ferry and after picking up our sick child headed home.

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Taking the ‘low road’ we passed Lachie Gillies and his right hand man Angus laying a very heavy Caithness slab on top of the fine wall they’d built last year.

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Once home I proudly surveyed my treasures before crawling back under my Land Rover with the welder to do a repair on the radius arm.

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Managing to get finished just before Rocky and his adopted brothers and sisters arrived 🙂

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Pigs really are inquisitive creatures that will provide you with hours of entertainment, every one should have two 🙂

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With a good deep weld that any self respecting pigeon would have been proud to have deposited on my radius arm I fitted one of my newly acquired flanges onto my ‘Clyde built’ water tank.

Which took me up to dinner time and then bringing you up to speed on developments, so now at just before 22:00 I’ll leave you with the weather.

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