Life at the end of the road

December 11, 2018

Back on track :-)

Been a while I know but I kinda got swamped by events in what’s been a ‘roller coaster’ of a fortnight, starting with a less than fruitful visit to see my Land Rover at Tayside Land Rover. The six week ‘refurb’ now in its sixth month and with no prospect of seeing my ‘Old Girl’ again this year Sad smile That trough in the ‘sea of life’ didn’t last long right enough, for the day after I was at SWG3 in Glasgow ‘shakin my ass’ to Groove Armada on their 21st anniversary tour. Their first live appearance in seven years and boy, was it just an awesome gig with Andy, Tom and the band on top form.

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The venue was pretty cool too, an old warehouse that used to house Clydeside Galvanisers on the north side of the river.

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Harri of ‘Harri and Domenic’ from the Sub Club opened the evening followed by Mash, then at around 21:00 Groove Armada blazed on to rapturous applause.

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Superstylin, Easy, Down by the river, I see you baby (shakin that ass) where all in the set list and delivered with gusto by a large black lady, an ex Sugababe and a rapper who’s name escapes me.

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I was in my hotel before midnight sober and on my way home after a hearty breakfast before 8:00AM Smile

Methinks three quarters of the warehouse would have been nursing hangovers or ‘come downs’ by the time I’d arrived home to Raasay rainbows Smile

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John Noel Macbeth

The euphoria was short lived, for that evening I received news that my good friend John Macbeth had died suddenly on Raasay. John was only 33, ‘fit as a butcher’s dog’, walked or cycled everywhere and never did anything to excess. He’s left a large hole in many peoples lives I’m sure, he is sorely missed.

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A great champion of renewable energy John had helped me with many of my projects and I with one or two of his Had I access to the Internet right now I could find pictures of just a few of the barmy things we did together like towing 1800m of hydro turbine piping with a 12’ boat some 12 miles at walking pace. Erecting wind turbines and dragging salmon cage pipe over the heather and lifting anchors with 25lt water containers. Not only did John Macbeth have a degree, he had common sense and an ability to think ‘outside the box’, an attribute rarely associated with a university education, at least not in my experience Smile  We are all gonna really miss John.

I could ‘go off on one’ about John’s tragic death and NHS Scotland’s failure to maintain ‘out of hours’ nursing cover on Raasay. I could have a right feckin’ good rant about that and how two other friends tried for hours to resuscitate him cos there’s no friggin’ nurse on the island anymore but what’s the point. I’ve been in tears on and off for over week now and gotta keep an eye on me own blood pressure.

Mini digger tracks

Another thing John and I shared was the recent loss of both of our parents and whilst we did often speak of this, in all honesty I cannot say how he dealt with it. Me, I dealt with my parents passing like I dealt with John’s, I got stuck into something so I’d not have to think about it or speak to anyone. The ‘wimps’ way out I guess and I can’t say it worked very well, for I still kept finding myself blubbering. However, tackling a big job for the first time does concentrate the mind and with a little help from YouTube, it was my Sunday task.

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So, after lifting the tracks out of the trailer and giving Calum a good power washing I settled him down in front of the shed door and jacked him up using his hydraulics. After placing heavy duty 6 ton axle stands under him I removed the cover from the idler expander and loosened the track.

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A block of wood jammed in the drive sprocket and tracking forward assisted greatly in loosening further.

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With the idler contracted as far as it will go the track is prised over it first, then the drive sprocket. I managed this just fine with large pry bars on the new track and blocks of wood under it. However it would have been far simpler with an extra pair of hands to help ‘walk’ the track on using the hydraulics. Once the track was on then I expanded it with Griselda my De Walt cordless grease gun, but any will do Smile Correct tension is 20-30mm droop in the centre of the track but I guess the lower end of that with new tracks.

Kubota KX71- 3 track motor

As well as the left hand track I also replaced the tracking motor on the same side. The motor on that side had been getting a touch lazy when it was hot so it seemed like a good idea to replace it whilst I had the machine apart. All the parts I bought from Astrak and not only where they very cheap they were delivered for buttons and arrived the day after!!!!

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The new track motor/final drive is not identical and a little modification of the pipework is required.

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However, a good selection of fittings are provided in the box along with the motor,


the only thing I had to do was steal some of darling wife’s garden hose to extend a return pipe Smile

Once I’d fitted the new motor and track I the machine about minus the cover on the track motor just to check for leaks, all was peachy so I boxed it up and moved onto another Kubota.

Lachie’s tracked dumper is powered by a single cylinder Kubota OC95-E2


a 9.5HP industrial engine that was needing a heater plug. To be honest, I was dreading this job as access looked impossible, however, once the cover plate was removed from the oil cooler it was actually pretty straight forward.

Once the old glow plug was out it was pretty obviously u/s, the new one was installed with a 12mm deep socket and I then went about wiring it up on its own dedicated circuit. The Kubota wiring and relay having seen better days.

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A nice sturdy waterproof heavy duty starter button mounted on a piece of galvanised angle iron replacing all the junk wiring Smile The wee dumper now starts a treat and needs no coaxing with the blow lamp anymore Smile

Never been so glad to get back to work

After those two tasks it was a case of preparing for the annual ‘pig fest’ with the English TV producer, Swiss surgeon and Russian art dealer. That however requires a whole epic post of it’s own and as I’ve had no Internet since storm Dierdre it will have to wait until tomorrow. For now I’m back at work at least I’ll be able to post this.

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