Life at the end of the road

September 28, 2016

Called back :-(

Dunno when I’ll get this off, me internet has vanished Sad smile not surprising really, considering the weather. It is a little wild to say the least and I’m all on me lonesome so I’ve the pleasure of no TV in the background too Smile So, ‘that’s it’, just me and the ‘wee dug’ and a bottle of red, luvverly. The rain is lashing against most of the windows, which is unusual in that I can see and hear it. Normally you have no sensation of the weather inside the house as it’s so well insulated and triple glazed. Even the wind turbine, just 30 or so meters away is inaudible.

Of course, the fact I’m ‘hard of hearing’ helps, but the lack of TV and or YouTube has brought a sensation back that I’ve not had in years. Total silence bar the weather and clock, a warm internal glow and no impending desire to do anything. It’s not like there’s nothing to do, on the contrary, there’s plenty but I’ve adopted a new more ‘laid back’ approach to the ‘to do list’ and it seems to be working.

Hill start assist!!!!

I dunno when I last posted and I cannae check, but methinks it was a while ago. Darling wife is away and I’ve been working, looking after the Dude and Murray, been a little ‘distracted’ to say the least. Anyway, that’s me already into the first week of a months holiday with not an awful lot to show for it. Of course the fact that I got ‘called back’ for a couple of days to cover for a sick ‘shipmate’ didn’t help, but as part of the ‘new regime’ I wasn’t even bothered about that Smile To be honest the extra cash will come in handy, it’s been an expensive spell on the ‘car front’ of late.

Wifey’s Subaru needed two tyres for the MOT and had a bizarre braking fault that had me tearing my hair out!! The 2007 Subaru Forester had this weird sticking brake fault that to all ‘intents and purposes’ felt like a sticking front brake calliper. Sometimes, after applying the brakes and coming to a stop, the front LH brake would stick on. At least I thought it was that one judging by the ‘graunch’ from that direction, but whenever I got out to check it, it was free. It was ‘doing my head in’ and by Sunday morning I’d still not fixed it.

I had all the callipers apart, freed them off, fitted new brake pads, ground all the rust off the discs and checked everything was nice and free. Yet, almost every time I applied the brakes and came to a halt they stuck!!!! I’d quickly get out of the car and jack it up to find them all nice and free!! I was pure stumped, until I discovered that as soon as the I took my foot fully off the clutch the wheels would free, then I was even more puzzled Sad smile

Much ‘Googleing’ enlightened me, though not before reading of nightmare stories of fellow Forester owners having spent thousands of $$$$$ trying to cure the same fault. Turns out that the Forester has some pish function called ‘Hill Start Assist’ which keeps the front LH and rear RH brake applied if you need to set off on a hill and this had gone ‘pear shaped’. What the feck is all that about???? whatever happened to learning to drive properly???


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There’s the culprit on the LH inner wing, a cable that goes between a valve on the braking circuit and clutch pedal!! It probably just needed adjusting but I took it off and threw it in the bin.

Rainbows everywhere

I know there was ‘a pot of gold’ at the Sconser ‘Kingdom Hall’ last week but of late they’ve been everywhere.


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And that really is just a small selection of them taken with a wee camera, they were far more impressive.

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Settling in

The ‘new arrivals’ finally ventured outside yesterday for the first time and just couldn’t get enough of the ‘great outdoors’. The two Tamworth gilts had been inside the hen shed since I collected them on Wednesday and seemed very reluctant to leave.

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Once outside though they were in very little hurry to come back in Smile

Today I turfed them out and in between showers spent some time digging drains in their field and spending a little time tickling them. They’re still a little ‘jumpy’ but getting better by the day, another week or so and they’ll be eating out my hand.

Dodging toads

I dunno what it is and I cannae ‘Google’ it, but every September around the equinox, the toads go barmy. No kidding, I first noticed this donkeys years ago when I lived at ‘Number 3’. Around about the full moon I’d leave the house of an evening to go and turn off the generator only to be confronted by loads of toads on the concrete path to the shed!! Of course, rarely having a torch at hand I’d usually end up stepping on them in my slippers.

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Well, the last few nights have been the same on the road north, mainly between Glame and Brochel, it’s been pure awash with the little chaps. I guess I must have squashed 1 or two before I realized but after that I slowed down and began driving in what must have appeared a rather drunken manner to any casual observer. Not that I ever meet anyone driving home in the dark, well, other than deer, sheep, cows, hare, rabbits, otters, mink and now toads.

The Land Rover too

Not only the ‘Scooby’ but the ‘Old Girl’ has needed surgery this week, first a new brake master cylinder and then the power steering box Sad smile The cylinder was a simple swap then bleed and change all the fluid, the power steering less straight forward and may be ‘on going’. It was when my son was driving it home last week, it suddenly burst a seal outside the house. The lower one round the shaft that the ‘drop arm’ attaches to and this can be a real PITA to remove, luckily I’ve had mine off several times so it’s just ‘very f*****g tight’ and not the usual ‘f*****g seized solid’ so that came off easy enough in relative terms.  just an ordinary puller  required and not the usual hydraulic one.

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Getting the actual seals out is the tricky bit and this requires a little ingenuity,


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first drill a 3 or 4mm hole. But you’ll a bit that’s a little longer than standard to approach it vertically. If you use a regular length bit you have to drill at an angle and chances are you will scratch the shaft (I speak from experience Sad smile ).

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That done you can screw in a long screw and pull the steel seal out with pliers, the other ones you can prize out carefully with a small screw driver.

You can press the new seals in with a length of 32mm soil pipe or something, but I broke the retaining circlip when removing it so am awaiting another in the post. Hopefully that will be it sorted then.

A trip to ‘Snecky’

Another day of my holiday was spent going to Inverness for a hearing test, seemed a bit pointless really cos I know I’m audibly challenged and there’s not a great deal I can do about it. Sure I can wear my hearing aid but it’s useless in a noisy environment, falls out whenever I take off my ear defenders, hard hat or glasses and doesn’t actually help me hear conversation. Sure I can here a sparrow fart at ten paces now and every rattle squeak and bang on the Land Rover but I still can’t tell what people are saying Sad smile

Anyway, I used the opportunity to do a BIG SHOP at Lldl, too big in fact, I filled the car with a compressor and table saw too!!

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A 100lt/min compressor with 9m hose for £79.99 and a good 1/2” drive impact wrench with sockets, extension and oiler for less than £20!! The saw bench is 2000W and 230mm and works a treat, that was less than £100 so I was ‘well chuffed’.


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There was also this ‘Moggy Thou’ van in the car par, we had two of these in the car version when I was a lad. Took one of them to Italy in the sixties over the St Bernard pass at that!! Gosh it must have been a squeeze, it looks small even next to Phoebe!!



  1. Does the scooby have a conventional handbrake? they usually only fit that hill start assist device on cars with a push button handbrake.
    I always have the radio on loud in my land rover, without it there are far too many worrying noises!

    Comment by Kev — September 28, 2016 @ 8:33 am

  2. I am like you deaf as a door post and the constant cacophony of Cicadas in my ears. I blame it on my fish harvesting days standing next to a lister engine driving the old fish vacuum, it was probably the best job to have as you kept warm against the lister but as a result of no ear protection I have constant tinitus. Your little compressor will sound like it has a thousand little men inside bashing the tank with hammers, but being a diver you will know that. Best place it as far a way from where you are working as possible and get a long hose.

    Great post as usual Paul keep it up.

    Comment by artimaginguk — September 28, 2016 @ 8:39 am

  3. The tester at last weeks MOT for my car was telling me about this Subaru hill start assist.The garage were tearing their hair out trying to fix the thing.Turned the cable just needed adjusting.
    However,still not as useful as the old LR self-oiling chassis and other parts system :-).

    Comment by Andy — September 28, 2016 @ 9:07 am

  4. Hey Paul – can’t find your phone number – got a problem with the turbine – my inverter has packed in so am on the hunt for another one – I remember there was a proven orphans forum…??? any help gratefully recieved – Chalkie

    Comment by John White (Chalkie) — September 28, 2016 @ 11:36 am

  5. Hill start assist on the forester is great until

    You get in a car without it


    And want the PDF of the workshop manual?

    Comment by thinfourth — October 1, 2016 @ 7:10 am

    • Hi TF,

      managed just fine for 43 years without it and I’ve been stuck on some serious hills with serious loads 🙂 Just another gadget to go wrong if you ask me and I wasted an awful lot of time sorting it, not to mention looking like a prat every time I stalled it trying to set off cos the the FNS and ROS brakes had stuck on. Great car though, I love driving it and I am not easily impressed by motor vehicles 🙂
      Thanks for the offer of the PDF but I have one, perhaps I should have read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 4, 2016 @ 9:43 am

  6. Been struggling for months with a stuck brake problem on me old “75 VW campervan resto project. Driving me nuts. Doesn’t help that, having a toddler and a serious “day job”, I can work on it maybe one half day in three weeks. I’m procrastinating one of those half-days right now. I already changed the calipers. I just yesterday changed all the 20 year-old flex hoses, only to find that it’s worse. Previously the two front brakes were properly stuck, the back two only partially so. Now all four are seized solid. Still, that is data. I’m guessing that the hydraulic pressure from the unknown faulty mechanism wasn’t previously reaching the back brakes due to bad flex hoses, and now is. There must be something wrong with the master cylinder or power brake booster. Today I’ll pull off the vacuum hose for the booster just to see what happens.

    Comment by Mick — October 1, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

    • Hi Mick,

      try slackening off the two nuts that hold the master cylinder onto the servo, that’ll eliminate any issues with that or the pedal.

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 4, 2016 @ 9:35 am

      • You’re ahead of me. That’s my next move, although my test will be to switch out the cylinder, not just loosen it. Disconnecting the vacuum hose had no effect except to reduce brake pressure. Nice to know the servo was working, but no help otherwise. Removed the (brand new) master to the bench and tested it, noting the return spring seems to work fine. Reassembled everything, brakes still sticking on. There is, however, a buzz about these Brazilian master cylinders on some VW sites. Seems some may have a faulty check valve. One guy fixed his problem on a Bug by reverting to his original cylinder. I’ve thrown mine out already (first time in years I threw out an old part — that’ll learn me!), so ordered another. Comes this week, just in time for our “Columbus Day” bank holiday weekend.

        Comment by Mick — October 4, 2016 @ 9:43 am

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