I believe my last blog was the end of the festival season on "Dibbsonthat" my blogger spot jobby, and I last poked my head up properly a good couple of weeks ago. So it seems like a good point to make the switch over to my own website blog and fill you all in on whats gone down this year so far.
As alot of you will be aware we fucking smashed the "A Pickle down under" Kickstarter, not only hitting the £4500 target but blowing that out the water with a whopping £6063.
This ment that the fuel for #apickledownunder was all covered with a bit more for other expenses (like monster truck wheels), and I would be on a ferry soon after posting out gifts to backers.
If you hadn't already gathered thatg was just short of a month ago and I'm still here.
"What Happened this time? " I hear you ask.
It was all in place, Target raised, two weeks post everything out, put pickle in to be tuned up for a day, pick up the GoWesty lifting kit and other goodies from Campervan Culture, head up to slambassador fit it all, then tour my way down to Dover topping up funds as I go.
It was about phase two of that list it went wrong. "Pickle" decided she wasnt ready, and what I thought was to be a quick carb tweak turned in to a nightmare.
I was without the van for weeks due to a buggared carb and everytime I thought I'd found one the lead tailed off to nothing.
We finally got it running with the old carb and I seized the oppertunity to get down to Campervan Culture and collect my swag.
The van ran rough as old ball bag but it was great to see Jed and it was like christmas had come round again.
Armed with Fox shocks, Gowesty Springs, LED headlights, recovery tools, and shed loads of other awesome stuff we hit the pub for 2 to 9 pints :)
On my way back to Grand Chapel Studios I realised I'd almost done a whole tank of fuel in a round trip of about 120 miles!!! my Carb issues were far from gone.
I panicked alot, cried out for help, and almost had a breakdown when Martin Eva came to the rescue. Martin works at weber and got me a brand spanker sent out and instructed it'll need a choke cable making up and may need jetting but if so he can send out some jets as well.
Martin thanks so much dude!
All kitted out I tweaked the old carb to make it as lean as possible and made my way up to Skelmeresdale to finish "Pickle" prep with Den at Slambassador.
On arrival I got straight on mounting my CVC highlift jack and a few other essential bits and bobs and we started searching for some 15" steel rims, to go with the all terrain General tyres I had ordered. These rims are always about apparantly, but could we bloody find any?
We eventually found a set of merc vito wheels in Preston, so the next day I went up there collected the wheels and went to put the tyres on and get them balanced.
Got back to the workshop Den's booked the van in for the new carb tuning a couple of days down the line so we got stuck in with fitting the lifting kit.
Up She goes!
I've gathered over my time at Slambassador that Dens super efficient and organised.
Shocks, springs, CV joints, brakes, and everything else all get laid out in their rightful corner on the floor before going any where.
We (Mostly Den) completed the front and thought best we got the wheels on to check all swell there before moving on.
wrong sodding wheels!
The offset was way off.
These were ET 60 and after firming up with Jed at CVC it was a ET 30 we needed, more money down the drain.
Jed saved the day mind and got a set of 5 Mefro 15" ET 30 couriered out for the day after.
If your thinking of lifting and upsizing your rims I would highly recommend heading here http://campervanculture.com/shop/15-mefro-steel-wheels-set-of-5/
Their strong, dont cost a bomb, look pretty, and you'll get it right first time.
We got the rear on the next day, breaks, bearings,Cv joints, suspension, and old wheels, ready to go get the carb sorted.
Shiny new CV Joints.
In goes the gunk!
Break on, Break off.
Up early next morning to go and finally put my carburettor ghosts to rest, arrive at Slambassador, follow Den in to town to meet our carb guru, no one there.
Turn out the poor dude had been out with his dog the day prior, had a fall and got mangled up in a load of fishing tackle that had been dredged out the river bed recently and piled on the bank.
We returned to the workshop with mixed emotions, partly really pissed off and partly really sorry for the old chap.
Fair do's to him mind, he said if we bolt it on he'll go in the next day specially to tune it.
Another day not to plan but I got on with some more interior fittings and Den got going on a beetle he's got in to cut out all the rust re-panel and weld, and in the evening we'd get the carb on.
The carb went on nice and easy and after establishing that the coil I'd put on a month or so prior was dud, and replacing it, we got the old girl started.
I went off in the Morning to meet up with (the carb dude) and what a lovely guy he was.
I was expecting it to be a fairly lengthy process and had already been notified that it may need re jetting, but nah.
I was there about 15-20 mins most of which we chatted about travel and diving whilst he tinkered away and in what felt like no time at all he said it was pretty perfect. We wished each other well and off I went to play silly buggars with my roof rack.
As a lot of you may know, the rack was scored early in the season last year with "A Pickle Down Under" in mind, but ended up acting as one of the coolest stages on the festival circuit (if I do say so my self)
Now it needed to serve a new purpose and the slats were rotting at the ends where I need to bold on jerry can cages, so as good a time as any to rip em all up and replace.
I started off gently trying to drill out the screws and remove in one tidy piece, but these screws have been in there for like 25 years so I moved on to a crow bar and angle grinder.
All slats up and roof kind of cleaned, I handed over to Slambassadors residential chippy "Wig".
Wig has been a legend during my time here at Slambassador, jumping in with help and ideas through no obligation.
Pickles got some tidy bits of beading going down not to mention the extending bed flap.
A super talented carpenter with an awesome creative flare, you should check out his T4 interior and skate boards when you visit.
Wheels rolled in the next morning, so I headed over to the tyre joint again to switch the tyre from the vito to the new mefro wheels and get em balanced, more treasure down, but hey no one said it'd be smooth sailing.
Here she is!
We finished off a few more little bits but then I'd kinda run out of excuses too stay. The Old girl was pretty much looking as I had imagined when I first came up with this project and it was time to give it road test back down south before taking off on "A Pickle Down Under"
I can not thank Den, Wig, Toni, and little Harry enough for all the Slambassador family support and backing for #apickledownunder, because of you guys I have a van with a much better chance of making it to OZ now.
Myself, Wig, and Den.
The cruise back was steady with only a bit of a knocking to report when accelerating from the offside rear, just new joints and suspension settling in I preassumed.
The next day I discovered what the knocking was... a very unhappy CV joint that dramitically gave up whilst trying to pull out. I present to you the start of the reason I'm still UK bound.
I looked on the bright side and took the approach that it was better it happened now and I got some practice at replacing CV joints here in the UK where I can easily call for advice, rather than be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no clue as to what I was doing.
I cracked on at the side of the road, got the right bit to tighten everything up the next day and on the test drive got a whopping 4 miles before that one went as well!!!!
I got a hand rolling the van back to a rest spot and thought best take the whole drive shaft out this time and fix in the dry and light.
I ordered replacements and spent alot of hours over the next couple of days here,
Honestly? I'm still not convinced about the CV joint that has gone twice as I have a knocking when hanging a left, but its done a couple of hundred miles now and I'm seeing Campervan Culture next week and Jed knows his stuff so I'm sure we'll Iron out this little crease together.
As it stands I'm in Windsor. I've done all the goodbyes I could fit in on the way down, I'm sorry I've not had chance to catch all I had hoped to, I have a choke cable to fit and some bush tweaking on the van but I'm gonna be getting on a boat in a matter of days.
I'm gonna be hitting up Bruges, Belgium first so if any ones about or knows any one that way that may be up for jamming, hanging out, and/or showing me some cool stuff/places Belgium has to offer point me their way.
Some wicked exciting stuff going down in Switzerland in March, involving BBC World wide, gigs and snowboarding but I'll fill you in when I'm there.
It's finally happening!!!
Video to follow soon!