The Drought is Broken


Finally, after a break of nearly twelve months, I’ve managed to get out and get some dust up my nose and bush pin-striping down the side of Rusty. There have been any number of reasons why I’ve been unable to get out bush, ranging from kid’s sport, domestic responsibilities and generally just being too knackered to get among it. But mostly the problem has been Rusty.

As much as I love that old chariot, our relationship has been strained of late. It all started with the incident I recounted in one of my previous blogs, when the oil pressure dropped and the engine cut out halfway up a steep hill climb. I don’t know how you’d react, but this kind of dented my confidence when it comes to taking this thing for an outing. I mean you don’t want to be out, enjoying a drive and have to turn around when confronted with a hill.

Being of limited means, I had to concede that Rusticus wouldn’t be doing too much in the way of adventuring for quite a while until I was able to rustle up some spare fundage to find out why I was losing oil pressure at such a critical moment. But that was ok, I was looking forward to tax time in a few months, so would take care of it then and just try to enjoy the company of my kids in the meantime.

Apart from being my ticket to off-road Nirvana, Rusty also happens to be my daily driver to get me to and from the train and for general running around. So while I couldn’t get into the mud and dirt, I could at least still enjoy puttering around town in it, which I continued to do until around six months ago when I was able to get it into the mechanic to see what the go was. He couldn’t find anything other than the gasket between the oil pick up and the block was a bit dodgy. So he replaced that and we’d have to wait until I found a nasty hill again to see if that solved the problem.

Sweet as, I thought. Problem potentially fixed, at last I’ll be able to have some fun. But then for some reason the car decided it was going to start having issues with starting. Sometimes I’d turn the key and the mighty 2B would roar into life without a hitch. Other times it would sound as though the battery was dead flat and other times the starter relay would click but nothing else would happen.

Golly gosh darn it, I would say when these instances would happen, or words to effect.

So with a depressed eye on the bank balance I took the starter motor out and ran it over to the sparky to see if he could recondition it. Much to my surprise he informed me that it was actually in great nick, nothing wrong with it. That’ll be $200 than you very much.

Back home, whack it in and it starts. Ok, I thought, whatever he did must’ve fixed it. But nay, dear reader. That was not to be the case. Not only did it go back to its old tricks, but while driving home one dark winter’s eve I notice the lights start to dim. They continued to dim until such time as the headlights were darkened and even the dash lights were asleep.

Back to the sparky.

Turns out the external alternator regulator was coozed and a couple of wires in the charging circuit had been burnt as black as the ex-wife’s casserole. Because the battery had obviously not been receiving decent charge for god knows how long, it too had now gone to a better place. $450 thank you very much sir.

Well at least this must have it sorted I thought. But once again, nay. A couple of days later it again failed to start. Oh Lordy I said calmly and with no expletives whatsoever. After I regained full control of the Queen’s English I thought rationally and decided it must be the starter relay, so a couple more dollars and lazy hour on a Saturday arvo and I’d put in a new relay. And guess what dear punters. It didn’t work, at least not straight away. It did kick over the following day however and from that day forward I slowly regained confidence in the old girl. Maybe its last failed starting attempt had somehow left something just off kilter enough to prevent it starting, but now that it had a good start under its belt all was now right in the world. For a good couple of months there was nary a hint of any more starting trouble.

So a couple of weeks ago I got a message from an old Army mate, who was also my best man on that fateful day I said ‘I do’ to my future ex-wife. He was coming down from The Isa to take his youngn’s to a cricket camp on the Sunshine Coast and wanted to catch up for a bit of an afternoon belting around the Glasshouse Mountains.

Sweet as. What a way to break the drought and get back out among it all. For two weeks I was as toey as a roman sandal, keen as mustard to get some dirt under Rusty’s wheels and all was looking good. Friday morning I jump into Rusty to get to work, turned the key and ‘click’. The relay clicked in, but the starter motor showed about as much life as a backpacker in the Simpson.

Expletives may have been muttered, but not much else could be done at that moment so I accepted a lift to work in my daughter’s Vitara and spent the day cursing the gods who have been constantly dogging my attempts to indulge my favourite pastime.

And so it was that Saturday lunchtime found me sitting in the driver’s seat, with fingers, toes and eyes crossed with all the hope of the desperado. The key was turned. Nothing. It was time to play my final card and so with a suitable lump of metal in hand I arced out the contacts on the starter motor and heard a distinct clunk, but nothing more.

“I wonder?” I dared to think.

Back to the ignition switch, turned the key and halle f*&%$en lujah. It lived! Not a hint of not wanting to play, so off we went. So long as we made it to the meet up spot, we’d be sweet. If it didn’t start after that, then at least there’d be someone around to give a bit of a tow start if required. But after all the angst, the gods finally smiled on me. For the rest of the day, she gave me no problems at all. I don’t care if it plays up tomorrow or the day after, it lived long enough to get me out for the day and to blow some of the city smog out of my veins and finally break that bloody drought.

Life is good.