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Preparing for the next Adventure

Since the end Bangkok to Helsinki Penny has had a lot of work done to prepare her for the forth-coming trip to Bhutan and beyond.

I’ll start this with an update of the preparation for the trip.
Penny arrived back in Australia and cleared customs in early February while I was traveling to a Turf Conference and Skiing in the US. Sadly I returned from this trip with a cracked rib from a fall and this was going to be quite a handicap to the restoration process.

Julie and I started the restoration process the first weekend of my return and just as well we did. Due too a cracked rib I could only get up and down of the floor very slowly and with great difficulty.

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Julie was Fantastic in getting Penny dismantled and ready for the trip, she worked with me every weekend and did all the work underneath for the removal off the gearbox, differential and the engine. I would tell her what needed to be undone and removed and in no time it was being passed out to me. While Julie was under the car I was working on the higher parts that didn’t require a lot of bending and being on the floor.

In the preparation process we knew the gearbox need work because of how we had welded it up in China so it was the first out and on the bench. Our Diff had only been rebuilt about 50,000 kilometres ago but some diff gears had been built at the same time as the gearbox giving us trouble so we dismantled it to check how thing where going and just as well. The diff centre with all the gears in it was broken and both the axles had cracks in them so it required a lot of parts and work. The engine had done 70,000 kilometres so I knew it would need to be checked due to some strange sound that it emitted on the drive from Helsinki to the UK for shipping home.

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Upon dismantling the engine it was found the white metal on the Big ends was cracking badly and not going to do many more miles. While under the car Julie noticed the front left spring pack had 3 broken leaves so out with the front springs. While the springs where coming out we noticed cracks in the front dumb iron that needed some welding. Luckily this was the end of the list of major repairs as we started repairs in March and Penny needed to be ready to go on the boat to India in August.

Julie and I worked every weekend on Penny and some days during the week when I could get away from farm work. This meant for three months there was no Sunday lunch drives to Maleny in Veronica, which is the other 1923 Vauxhall we have.

The gearbox didn’t get finished in time due to parts being built and it was low on the list as I could use my spare gearbox that had only done the trip around South America.
The diff was fixed with great thanks to Maurie Smith my great sidekick from Bangkok to Helsinki. Maurie offered to do the machining in his workshop at Mackay where he repairs mining equipment. I walked into his workshop full of huge Mills and Lathes and wondered how was he going to build small parts for an old Vauxhall but amongst the giants was some small machines that he and his staff did a fantastic job with so the diff was all operation in no time.

The engine was fixed quickly as I had already started the process of getting a second complete engine built up ands it was finished in ready for collection and installation in June.

Most of the other bits and pieces work was done in my shed and we started the car in mid July with a couple of short shake down drives around the block sorting out little bits and piece and working on oil leaks before going to NZ skiing with Lawrence and James. This skiing trip was very short for me as I was back home 30 hours later with a broken hand.

Hence I was now more incapacitated then with my rib. The hand required surgery and plating so my car work was zip. Penny was taken to David Ford’s at Stanthorpe for all the final oil leak repairs and tweaking ready for the trip while David had the car he put some running in miles on the car for me, as I couldn’t drive with the cast.

Penny was finally home so Julie and I packed all we could in to her then delivered her to Sydney for loading to India along with Frank and Ross’s Willy’s in late August while we were in Greenland and Iceland.

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See earlier in the blog for more photos and video of the preparation.

The next update will be our departure later next week