By Mike Peake
When I left you last, I was on the way to Chieveley Services on the M4 for the relay that would get Poppy and me the rest of the way home after our thoroughly enjoyable group meet at the Boston Bubble Car Museum and my failed petrol pump at Northampton.
It turned out that this relay was a huge HGV flatbed lorry and after 20 minutes or so to swap Poppy over, I was feeling all the excitement of a little boy as I climbed up into the cab. I’ve never been in an HGV before, so I really quite enjoyed the 40 minute trip home.
If I’d hoped to arrive anonymously and quietly I would have been sorely disappointed. Breakdown men seem to go out of the way to announce to the world that your pride and joy had suffered the indignity of needing rescue and casting your mechanical skills at the feet of your neighbours for ridicule. (I know! "What mechanical skills?" I hear you sniggering!)
So it was that at 10.30 pm on Sunday evening, I finally arrived home with an ear splitting hiss of air brakes and eye searing yellow flashing lights penetrating the neighbours curtains and letting them know there was something exciting happening in the street. Curtains were set a twitching far and wide and our shame was on full view. Mrs FB and eldest daughter also appeared to take photos and laugh at a tired and forlorn Fatbloke.
Blocking the entire road and causing even more embarrassment as a small traffic jam built up, Relay Man unloaded Poppy into the middle of the street. Mrs FB took the wheel and Relay Man studiously had her trying the brakes and steering, telling her that she needed to get an idea for the extra heavy feeling of driving a car without the servo and power steering working.
I could see that even Mrs FB’s lips were twitching in an effort not to laugh out loud at this display of “expertise” from our man. However, I couldn’t help but burst his bubble and took great joy telling him that Poppy wasn’t fitted with these luxuries anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, both chaps were jolly nice and a great help. Overall, I was very impressed with the service provided. At least these guys turned up - unlike the RAC when I called them after Bressingham! (Shameless Plug…See my blog “Poppy goes to Norfolk” for details! …end Shameless Plug)
I was exhausted after our weekend adventure and with Poppy safely on the drive, I was able to enjoy a soothing pint of Merlot before retiring to bed.
Fortunately I had booked the Monday off work as I had a feeling I’d need it (I’m getting too old for this!) and I had all day to diagnose and sort Poppy out. So, after a small lie in I was up and out of bed. I soon began preparing for the task ahead by staying in my PJ’s and watching old war films and John Wayne westerns. Yes OK - I had a duvet day! I did spend some time tracking down an original AC Delco fuel pump and rebuild kit though, so I wasn’t completely non-productive. I also had to face the wrath of Mrs FB as she can’t bear the thought of me doing “nothing”. (It's pure jealousy, I tell you! - Ed)
A brief drive into the deepest darkest wilds of North Wiltshire was required to collect my original AC Delco petrol pump and have a pleasant chat to the “Head Herald Honcho” that is our very own William Mark Davies of this group. Bill is an exceptionally nice Welshman who knows absolutely EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING about Heralds.
Every Herald owner should have Bill as a FaceBook buddy because he will be able to sort out every problem you may have and has a large stock of hard to find parts that he is happy to supply at very reasonable prices. Not only that but he’s a jolly good egg! Thanks Bill.
I set about rebuilding the pump while Mrs FB was at work - definitely not on the coffee table in the lounge. I meant to take photos during the rebuild but got a bit engrossed and forgot.
Friday afternoon found me back on my drive with socket set in hand. Fuel pumps were swapped and Poppy was running again. All without any blogworthy incidents or dramas. No, really! It all went amazingly smoothly. I was as surprised as you are.
My MOT was due and I’d booked it in for the following Saturday so guess what? My horn stopped working….. again! I’d already replaced the old horn with the proper twin high note / low note arrangement and replaced the slip ring on the steering column and replaced the pencil brush with the proper Moto Lita brush and had it all working lovely (eventually). So I was pretty miffed to now have a completely non-functioning horn. Not even intermittent. Just nothing. There was no way my MOT chap would let me off this after all the trouble It had caused him over the years (He never used to be able to get it to work and I’d turn up, place the steering wheel just so and sound the horn to get a pass and embarrass him. Naughty I know.)
So it was time to get out the multimeter again and pretend to know what I was doing with it. I suspected it was the horn push on the wheel as this is the only thing I haven’t changed in the last year or so, but when I wired the meter up and pressed the horn button the meter went down to zero ohms. I started following it back through the circuit to try and find the problem and it wasn’t until I’d got right back to the lead horn that I found it.
My less than one year old high note horn was dead! I am getting really fed up with the quality of brand new parts now, but quickly had the bad one out and wired in the low note on its own. It was now working with every single push of the button as I’m sure my neighbours will be pleased to verify.
Poppy was then treated to 2 brand new rear tyres as the old ones had been on for almost 12 years now so they were really overdue for change. Front ones will be done next pay day, but she was as ready as she could be for her judgement day date.
I’ll let you know how it went.
to be continued...
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