Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bleeding Awkward!

For some time now (actually, it’s about 3 months, come to think of it!), the clutch on The Five has been giving problems. (See A Right Pain in the Neck). An inspection from underneath the car early this week shows that we are leaking hydraulic fluid significantly, so it was time to replace the slave cylinder.

The machine now has a shiny new one.


As usual, what sounds like a pretty straightforward job when you read the workshop manual turns out to have its little snags.

In this case, there were two — well, very nearly three, actually.

First thing, which turned out to be a non-problem when I used the right tool, was undoing the pipe union, which was pretty tight. You can’t get a ring spanner on it of course, and the  jaws  of the ordinary open spanner were springing when any degree of force was applied, threatening to wreck the flats. I started to try using a mole wrench, but that looked like mashing things even worse. Then I remembered this tool that I bought many years ago:

There was just about room to apply this cunning device to the union and its self-tightening action proved to be just the solution needed — Phew!

Having disconnected the pipe, it was straightforward to remove the old slave cylinder and mount the new one. Then comes the first really awkward bit: reconnecting the pipe union; if getting it undone was tricky, then doing it up again was very tricky, with quite a lot of [expletives deleted]! Basically the difficulty lies in trying to get the thread aligned and started, against opposition from an uncooperative metal pipe, when you can only get one hand to the job and that hand is your left one.  However, after persevering for quite some time, it finally went in OK.

That leaves only the simple matter of bleeding the system: problem number three! I’m sure it’s not so bad if you actually have three men on the job, as recommended by the manual, but trying to do the job on your own is a pain; especially when your patent one-man-wonder-bleeder gadget appears to have stopped working (well I suppose it has been on the garage shelf for a number of years). So at the time of writing, I’m not convinced that the system is free of air bubbles — decided to just let it settle for 24 hours and then see how it feels.

Still, I’m hopeful that we are on the right track to having a fully-functioning clutch once more.

Cambrian Rally

Enjoyed my first experience of rally marshalling on a forest stage at the Cambrian Rally yesterday.

Weather was not as bad as the forecast might have indicated, with only occasional light rain.

The stage was pretty muddy, and very slippery at our location, resulting in one poor guy finishing his day too early, after losing an argument with the solid steel gatepost

Happily, both driver and co-driver emerged unhurt, and we enjoyed good craich with them during the rest of the day. (Can you have craich with a Welshman, or do they have their own word for it? — if the do, doubt I could get the spelling right!)

Got chatting with some spectators at one point, one of whom turned out to be a theology lecturer and sometime Director of Ordinands: he inquired if I had felt the call to be ordained, but at that point I found myself needed the other side of the track!

One big thing to be said in favour of rallying as opposed to “roundy-roundy” racing, is the hours involved: signed on about 9:30 (so even with a drive of about an-hour-and-a-half, no silly-o’clock alarm was required) and was on the road home just after 4:00!

Think I’ll definitely be giving it another go.

Steve Jobs — A very smart guy

Saddened to read of the death of Steve Jobs this morning. Obviously, lots of people are going to say lots of good things in the coming hours, and more eloquently than I could. Just to remark that I’m pleased to know he was not just a great tech geek and savvy businessman, but also had  a pretty good approach to life …

Our rector, Mike Turnbull (parish of St Mary Wistaston) posted this on his facebook page a couple of hours ago:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Steve Jobs at the Stanford University commencement address in 2005