Today is the day… off we drive full of expectation to test the car on Dartmoor, and be photographed by a very tough Dartmoor Ranger (in that he stood in the rain / hale with no hat and smiled!). As we drove out of Nutwell, it was clear the brakes were less than wonderful, with a definite need to pump the pedal to achieve a decent stop. After some argument (which is my way of saying a positive and meaningful discussion) we agreed that this was not air, it was poorly adjusted pads. With that fixed the next thought was why did the steering wheel move at least quarter turn without no effect on the steering? We had changed the steering box, so maybe it needed adjustment. No problem, and with no worries we roared down the M5 at 70 mph . The car was not really going as well as expected, but some tuning will help on Saturday.
The weather was fairly stormy, but inside the car it was like toast. Great, the heater worked and all was well. The windscreen wipers do their own thing at speed, and a stronger spring would no doubt stop them waving to oncoming traffic. We at last reached Haytor, and parked awaiting our unknown Ranger. Now, maybe I am a little pathetic, but I don’t generally like waving at unknown men with beards who appear in car parks in the wind of Dartmoor. Nothing personal about beards, but it seems to me a little forward to jump out of the car and greet someone you have never met, especially if its pounding down with hail. But Nige is a great person for meeting, and claims he can recognise a fellow car enthusiast a mile away. To be fair he was right (what a relief) and we met up with Mike in the car park to discuss in some detail a much more interesting trip he made on the silk trail. I was freezing, and I had hair.
As if this wasn’t exposed enough, we drove off to a higher, windier and wetter place for more wet photos… great. Next it was off to the pub in Widecombe on the Moor .. great, and much more my kind of place! Driving back to Exeter, it was clear Nigel was frustrated. He wanted off road, and he had missed out on Dartmoor. So off we went to Woodbury Common, and yes, the car went through mud, streams, hail and all the weather could throw at it. Best of all, the car didn’t leak, and as long as you stayed inside, it was warm. Getting back to Nutwell, we overhauled the brakes and started to look at the steering box.
As I adjusted the steering box, a rather restrained voice from beneath the car says “I think I have found a bigger issue.” I look under the car, and yes the problem is clear and frightening … the main linkage between the steering box and the front wheels is loose, and almost falling off. Now I didnt check that ……But I have now.