December has arrived. That means, in my house anyway, all of the decorations that have lain boxed up in a dusty loft for eleven months of the year now see the light of day once more. What that means for me is a great deal of work putting up decorations, hanging lights on trees and this year it comes with the new experience of putting lights up on the outside of the house.
The only problem with hanging lights up on the outside of your home is the fact that you have to get right up the outside wall balancing on a ladder whilst holding onto the long length of dormant lighting simultaneously hammering in the wall clips to keep it all in place.
Ten years ago this would not of bothered me but these days I am not overly keen on balancing on one foot on the top rung reaching as far as I can with a hammer wondering why I don't have two pairs of hands because that would make the job so much easier. My daughter asked "Are you scared of heights Dad?" to which I answered "The heights don't bother me kid, it's the falling from them that does"
Funny how as you get older you realise you would much rather not do some of the things you used to do without thinking. I recall running up and down the same extended ladder cleaning windows on three storey Victorian houses in the wind without batting an eyelid. You literally could not pay me enough to do that now!
Still the lights are up and it will be at least a month before I have to climb the ladder again to take them down again, or I could just leave them up until next year...
Progress is being made again on The 110. This week has seen me still focusing on the 200tdi lump I popped in earlier. I decided to have a stab at re-piping the fuel lines and it is here that I must admit that I got it completely wrong.
It looked good with all bases covered but there was just one snag, I had not run in the from and returning to the fuel tank. This may have caused the odd running issue so I posted my bad pipe work online with a big help attached to it and quickly got a large number of responses. I seemed to keep getting this relatively simple task tangled up in my head so I popped around to have a look at a friends motor and as soon as I saw underneath the bonnet I had a "Of course you tool" moment.
It was a tad dark and cold when I got home so the following morning I rearranged the spaghetti pipework and it all now proudly sits where it is supposed to.
I could not find a diagram to easily explain it so I have tried to make one up. Feel free to tell me I have got it wrong!
As I stood with my wolly hat on drinking a brew convincing myself that it was not quite as chilly as my body was trying to tell me I was getting I thought I may as well tackle plumbing the the meagre heater once again. Lets face it some heat is better than no heat at all! I knew I did not have the correct 200tdi pipework but what I did have was a tub full of old pipework, so I dug that out and soon mackled together a system that would work. Its not the prettiest looking set up and I no doubt will return to it in the future to redo the whole system but for now it is functional and lets face it, you don't look under the bonnet when you are driving along. That and this old beast is not going to be winning any beauty contests any time soon.
The only thing left to do really on this engine is to change the cambelt over. Now I have never done this before and there have been offers of help that I will happily accept as not to bugger up the lump before I begin using it.
First up though was to remove the water pump and those swine bolts that like to snap off inside the engine.
Lessons have been learnt in the past of trying to force rusted bolts then ending up weeping quietly in the corner before having to drill out and re-tap the threads, so caution was the buzzword of the day.
Nearly all of the bolts cracked off and out easily enough but there was of course the two that did not want to move, at all. Off I toddled into the garage to get the long bars and with more force put onto the bolt heads than I ever wanted to use they started to move slowly. I then kept gently moving them back and forward clearing their threads of the rusty crud that was helping to keep them in situ.
Patience was the name of the game even when I started to get a little bored with this game but I was rewarded ten minutes later with every bolt having come cleanly out of the water pump! A rarity indeed!
I did put all of the different length bolts in a piece of cardboard so as to recall where they all go back into so as not to repeat the transfer bolt mix up!
The ease of teh bolts coming out and the fact there is no play at all in the water I have just removed leads me to think it could not have been on the engine for too long before the whole lump was removed. I will still replace it with the shiny new one I have bought though just to be on the safe side.
It really is nice to be on the service and put back together side of things now. It feels like the project is running towards getting an MOT which should only be a few months away...