Simple dramas - Revcounter 435

By: Guy Allen

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Is it always the easy things that trip you up?

It’s one of life’s little mysteries that sometimes when it comes to old vehicles, it’s the allegedly simple things that trip you up. Over recent years, I’ve had reason to either tackle or find the right spanner-twirler to undertake weird and wonderful jobs.

My old six-series Bimmer is a good example, It’s a relatively complex gadget for 1976 and electrics are often occupying the mind. Now if the early L-Jetronic fuel injection starts to play funny buggers, I know just the mechanic to go to – young Tony at B&M Fuel systems, who is about 30 minutes up the road from my house. He’s tackled them before and, despite the now outdated science behind the things, he knows how to successfully wrestle one into submission.

Every now and then it throws up some odd issues, such as the electric windows playing funny buggers. So I order a new set of switches from Germany – which take barely a week to arrive, and a little time in the shed sees everything humming along again. Oh that, and a decent whack on the door trim near one of the rear motors, with a rubber mallet, just to wake it up. (Sometimes a little brutality is required with old cars.)

Then there was the time when the clutch in the cooling fan spat a bearing, making a convincing attempt to eat the radiator at the same time. That was messy, and we were on the wrong end of Tasmania at the time – the wrong end being the one furthest from the ferry home. In the end, with the aid of a packet of cable ties, we managed to jury-rig something where the fan was roped down to the shaft. It looked hideous and did its job perfectly for the 300-odd kays we drove to get it home.

Again, the replacement part wasn’t all that expensive and took a week to arrive from Germany. Just quietly, owning this car has done a lot to blow the myth that old Euro cars are too expensive to maintain. (Is that tempting fate? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that – watch this space!)

So, last week’s challenge was to get long-overdue windscreen wiper blades for the 1970 Chevrolet C10 work ute. Now this thing is the very expression of tough simplicity and almost the direct opposite of the BeeEm. It looks and feels like it was built using an axe and a large hammer, employing maybe half a dozen moving parts.

Somewhat optimistically, I wander into the nearest general auto parts store – hey, it was worth a shot. The model designation throws the young bloke behind the counter into a bit of tailspin. No drama.

I then ring a local American auto specialist, who is clearly having a bad day. Maybe he stood on his dog’s tail and it bit him. It’s a theory.

The moment muggins says ‘C10’, he says "we don’t do truck parts, mate". When I try to patiently explain the wipers are a 15-inch bayonet fit that goes on countless Yank cars built through the fifties, sixties and seventies, he shouts the we-don’t-do-truck-parts thing at me again and yells the name of a truck spares retailer. Despite what he says, I don’t believe this chap is really my mate.

In the end I order what I need online from Amazon and they promptly send me one wiper. What?! Clearly I didn’t properly read the instructions on the web page, but who in hell sells just one windscreen wiper when you need a pair?

Yeah, okay, I’ve ordered a second wiper. Wish me luck…

 

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