What’s this? Car repairs on an allotment blog!
That’s right. Although this blog is about growing food it is also about ‘Self Reliance’ and ‘Frugal Living’ and home car repairs and maintenance falls into both of those categories.
I started repairing cars as a child. I would have been about 7 at the time and there was a guy in our road who used to work on peoples cars for a bit of extra cash. He was a bit of a boffin and built things like metal detectors and his own wetsuit etc.
I used to ‘help’ him and really did learn a lot about how mechanical things worked. He gave me stationary 2 stroke engine that I used to strip down and rebuild over and over again.
Jump forward a number of years and I got my first car. It was an ageing series 3 Land-Rover that had had one owner from new. Unfortunately that one owner was a farmer who really used and abused it and knew exactly when to sell it. When I took it for its first MOT the mechanic ran out of space on the failure sheet and had to start writing in the margins and on the back of the sheet.
They quoted me nearly £1000 back in 1993 to get it through the MOT which was more money than I had so I was faced with a two options, either scrap it or repair it myself.
I bought a simple set of tools, a Haynes manual and borrowed a mig welder and set about doing the work myself. I learned a lot about simple mechanics on that project. My brother helped with the welding and I had to get the gearbox repaired by a professional but apart from that I did all the work myself.
Later I got into old VWs and that is when I really needed to learn how to maintain a vehicle. There is no way I could afford to keep a 1972 camper on the road if I didn’t do all the work myself. This is when I taught myself to weld.
Anyway, back to the job in hand. I still run older vehicles for two reasons. I can’t afford to buy a newer vehicle and I probably couldn’t repair the newer vehicles with all their electronics and non maintainable parts.
We need to run a heavy 4X4 for the simple reason that we live in a vintage Airstream Travel Trailer and it cannot be towed legally behind a normal car. We have taken it off the road for a few months so I can do some much needed repairs to the chassis, the bodywork and the fuel system.
One of the jobs that desperately needed doing was the chassis to body mounts. These hold the body securely to the chassis but a couple of mine had completely rusted away and were not hold anything securely.
If I searched hard enough I could probably source the replacement mounts but being a bloody minded self reliant frugalist I decided to make my own from some 3mm steel I had hanging around.
So todays job was to cut off the old mounts, repair the chassis, fabricate new mounts, weld the mounts back on and them bolt everything back up again.
Here is the mount as it came off the truck
As you can see there is not much left of it. In fact I didn’t need to cut it off the chassis as it was no longer attached.
It had also left a hole in the chassis itself so I had to make good before I could fabricate a new mount.
Then came the fun part. I do enjoy fabricating parts. I could have probably sourced a new mount but this one is of 3mm steel and has cost very little bar a bit of time.
I ran out of welding wire before I could weld the mount to the chassis so I will see if I can get hold of some more wire for tomorrow