Monday, 24 March 2008

Really interesting looking caravan

If you are a fanatical follower of all things Top Gear, then I suggest you look away now. I am about to show you two photos of a caravan.

Spotted this thing on the Hume whilst heading to Canberra. I've seen a lot of caravans, and even stayed in a few (but never towed one), but I've never seen one like this.

That is a very funky piece of work. I doubt even Clarkson would want to drive a Hummer through that.

Slowing down for this photo did have one deleterious effect on the holiday. This was taken at the bottom of a very big hill, and I had to slow down to 80 to get the photo. I then had to tromp it to get back up to 110, and tromp it hard due to the size and steepness of the hill.

Not long after, I noticed that the back window was a bit filthy, which was odd. The car was relatively clean, and the Hume is not a gravel road, so why was I having trouble seeing out the back?

As soon as I wound down the window, I got a whiff of the problem. All we could smell was that lovely smell of oil starting to burn.

I pulled over and went round the back for a look. The entire back of the car was covered in a fine mist of oil. The underneath of the car was covered in a thick coating of oil, but there were no obvious leaks anywhere, and the dipstick showed that the sump was full.

Wierd. We continued on, albeit at reduced pace, and with me fingering my NRMA membership card, wondering when a tow truck would be required.

We stopped about half an hour later, and a check of the dipstick showed that the oil level hadn't budged. I gave them back of the car a clean, and then settled down for a slow trip to Canberra, with one eye latched on the mirror to see if the back window started to fog with oil again.

Nope. We made it to Canberra in a slightly whiffy car - you could smell it from 20 feet away, something like a fish and chip shop gone terribly wrong. But no more oil seemed to be leaking, so our collective fingers were crossed.

Being Easter, every mechanic in town had lit out for the coast, so I was left wondering whether we would have to hang around in Canberra until Tuesday to get it fixed, or whether it would survive the trip back to Sydney.

In the end, we drove over 600km with what seemed to be no ill-effects. I have this horrible feeling that when I got the car serviced recently, one of the idiot mechanics over-filled the sump. When I put my foot down, it simply blew out a whole pile of oil that was in excess of the "full" level.

So it could be a very cheap leak (ie, steam clean the underside of the car), or a very expensive leak (transfer case problem). We'll find out tomorrow.

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