Today was going to be a
cracker and everyone was looking forward to
it. Some nice tracks in Collingwood and Bulltown Spurs, a
casual look around Grant, including wandering through a
mine. Crooked River is always a favourite, with its 24 odd
crossings, and then plans to get back to camp nice and early for
Campfire smorgasboard cookup after an extended happy hour for New Years
The trip up Collingwood Spur was uneventful, and after having come down
it twice in the last couple of days, it was nice to get the different
aspect. Once we got to Grant, everyone was out having a
look around the old town site. Morning Tea was also on the
agenda and there was quite a queue around both the information booth
and the loo as everyone stretched their legs.
A short drive up to the mine, and we squeezed our cars in so that there
was room for us all. With headlights and cameras at the
ready, we squeezed into the mine – it must be 200m long at a guess and
it was lovely and cool. Darren explained that the pieces of
timber extending out through holes in the roof were ventilation shafts
and that they tethered sails onto the top to collect air and send it
down into the mine. A couple of scratched heads (perhaps
gouged!) where people weren’t wary of the low roof – notably Matt and
Ivan but Matt was sensibly wearing a hat – Ivan came close to a stitch
or two! We got all the way to the end and then turned back
to get a group photo in a fork in the mine, before heading out and
checking out the exterior – very bright and very hot in comparison..
We got back on the road and wandered down Bulltown Spur before hitting
Crooked River – Craig giving us all a bit of a history lesson about the
various bits and pieces which were located along the track.
Darren up front got on the radio to ask Ivan a question about a rubbish
bag the previous day (At the top of Billy Goat, Ivan had found his bag
on the spare wheel had come off the top and was upside down and was
empty – the guys that Darren was talking too had picked up a full
rubbish bag, and were now meeting us on the Crooked River track –
complete with Rubbish Bag.
Meanwhile, even though Ivan should have cared about the rubbish bag, he
was otherwise engaged, listening to a clunk in the rear which did not
sound at all healthy. Not having felt any wheel spin, wheel
grab, or heard a bang, he got underneath to check the suspension –
perhaps it was a shock clunking – but all looked good. He
pulled up onto flat ground and in the mean time, Matt had come back to
give him a hand – on flat ground it was unfortunately diagnosed as a
blown diff.. Darren came back as well, and between us (with
Matt underneath doing most of the hard stuff), removed the rear tail
shaft. We hooked up Matt’s car to assist in the drive out
(Prado with only front wheel drive equals a Camry – and with all the
weight up the back and not on the front, was going to make getting out
of here interesting).
Worse was yet to come, with a lot of resistance even with the tail
shaft removed – we tried rocking the car to free up the diff, but still
no good. At risk of putting a hole in the diff casing, we
found a suitable hollow to prop the vehicle over, and with a couple of
jacks, got the car high enough to wedge some decent logs
underneath. Plan B was to remove the diff completely (which
involved disconnecting brakes, and pulling the axles forward), and
removing the crown wheel. Some major surgery on the
track! Luckily, we had three fifteen year olds who were
keen to learn and got involved in the process.
With the crown wheel removed, we replaced the diff and looked to find
some way of putting the oil back in (more to protect the axle bearings)
– tried a combination of drink bottles, but no good. Brain
wave – use the hose for the drinking water – this was a perfect fit in
the diff filler, and allowed us to stand up next to the rear wheel to
replace the oil.
About three hours from start to finish, we were on the track with Matt
pulling the Prado/Camry, and Ivan doing his best to keep the strap
tight – we got out past Talbotville and were able to take the strap off
so that Ivan could progress under his own steam
Meanwhile, Bob had an issue with his 100 series, with the fan going
through the radiator (one of two 100 series with this issue on the
trip). Unfortunately, he didn’t realise at the time, and
the sender unit only works on hot water, not on steam – so he didn’t
even have a temp gauge to warn him. (in hindsight there was an
indication that something was wrong, the car began to idle roughly,
which I put down to perhaps dirty fuel from Dargo but turned out to be
the smashed fan running out of balance. based on this the damage was
done halfway along the Crooked River track which included several water
crossings of varying levels. We had performed numerous water crossing
in the days prior to the damage including one trip we drove along the
river a couple of hundred metres before exiting. There seemed to be no
formula for which water crossing was a problem while others were no
problem although when the splash tray underneath was removed, the
notorious "foam strip" was found water logged and in a ball at the back
of the tray so it would APPEAR that it finally became dislodged
allowing water to enter between the fan and the radiator (it had been
checked before leaving Sydney and was in place). I can't be sure that
is how it happened, but based on previous posts, I suspect this is what
After arriving in camp, Bob and co (‘co’ being a term to describe the
support being received by the on site LCOOL community – from qualified
mechanics giving support and assistance, to able bodied helpers, to
those ‘supervising’ with beer in hand – Bob had the lot for quite some
hours as he removed and repaired his radiator (see photos below).
The initial inspection was to find the cause of the rough idle, but the
problem soon became apparent when, while removing the air filter to
inspect and clean, several pieces of fan were discovered scattered
throughout the engine bay.
The end result was a fan which was trimmed down so that it was somewhat
balanced (with full blades cut down to match the broken ones), a
repaired radiator, and unfortunately a suspected head gasket issue
(much better than the complete engine replacement he thought he was
Lots of swimming today, and those who had been doing repairs on the
track were busting to get wet (and to have a beer) - before long
though, Happy Hour was in full force, preparation for tonights
Smorgasbord was under way, and New Years Eve festivities were apon us.
Some lovely treats for Smorgasbord, including Nachos out of the camp
oven, Darren's Chilli Bean Dip, a range of curries, and dessert
followed as well.
Craig pulled out an old favorite in the visual department - the
Catherine Wheel (see photo below), and John had located some other
visual delights that he brought down with him.
Many stories told around the fire, and midnight was apon us - bedtime
came too and those who had had a big day weren't too far away -
tomorrow is another day!
Mark and Trudee's camp
just before setting off
Terry, Ivan, Darren and Glen - up to no good..
Lined up at Grant for
lots going on - people out
looking at the old town site, reading the info booth material, grabbing
the loo while they can - oh, and it's morning tea time!!
Grant Township Site
Site of the Royal Mail
Ted reading up on the site
- his immediate family is from Grant, and even has a relative in one of
the photos on the board..
We moved up to the mine
site and got ready to go in
Very solid, but look out for the roof - jagged rock - suits short people
Matty with his old mans lead light - no wonder he banged his head!
Just near the fork in the mine
Coming out - from cool and dark to very hot and Very bright!!
Waiting for the rest to come out
Craig doing some track work on Crooked River
The start of Ivan's diff repair - or crown wheel removal!
Matt and Jordy working hard to get the vehicle in place
Matt underneath doing the hard yards
There's our problem
Jordy and the boys knocking back the tabs on the carrier under Matt's
End result, Crown wheel and bits in a bucket on the back seat..
Meanwhile, back at camp, Smorgasbord delights are starting to cook
Tables are set up
Meanwhile, the kids get more of the river
Isaac getting up on the boogie board
Darren - you just know he's up to no good!
John takes a break while everyone hoards the table
Busy times - lovely tucker!
Options for everyone
What's that bottle on the end of the table - will that come out later on
Bob's radiator receives some attention
And a bit of extra insurance
Bob in his 'Man Cave', working on the radiator - loads of LCOOL support
given during the repair - some helpful, some nearly helpful ;-)
Terry has the fairy wings for being last to Sergeant of Arms
Around the fire
Action - water games not over yet!!
Craig's Catherine Wheel at work
Mark, Raff and friends having a chat
Is that torchlight on the ground - or a well timed photo for a well
timed 'flash' ;-)