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Wed
30
Sep '09

Day 58 – 59: Monday and Tuesday, 28-29 September 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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Hi it’s us again, Buddy and Me, but I’m afraid to have to inform you it’s a very sick Buddy and Me. Monday morning I was up nice and early, packed and heading out back to Middleburg and then supposedly continue on to Belfast. When I started Buddy he started fine but still had the slight grinding noise which I was sure was the starter motor, but I had asked my brother in law Richard of RAD Auto Electrical in Germiston to see if he could locate a refurbished starter motor for me – at a decent price of course – so that should I need to I could pop back into Germiston and have a new one fitted without much delay to my scheduled itinerary.

Soon after leaving home and while driving down the Springs highway (N17) thinking about how good it had been to be home with May who provided me with coffee and toast in bed every morning, I couldn’t help thinking of the sign I had seen in the B&B I had stayed in while in Groblersdal – LekkerBreek – which read “If you want breakfast in bed then sleep in the kitchen”, but back to my drive. About 10 kilometres out, the grinding noise got steadily worse, and after 20 kilometres, just before reaching the Witbank highway, there was an almighty horrific grinding noise and it sounded like Buddy’s heart (engine) was popping out and Buddy ground to a halt!

I made a call to my ever faithful friend Ryan Robins (President of the Derelicts MCC of which I might add I have been made an Honorary Member) who arrived with our other buddy Sean, and Buddy and I were towed back home. On arriving home, Sean immediately got out the spanners and after the starter motor was removed it was established that the starter motor has now gone to that special place in the sky specially reserved for starter motors that have travelled extensively around Africa in Beach Buggies doing good work.

I bought a new starter motor (a major blow to my already depleted budget) and Sean fitted it. I was hoping and praying that by fitting the new starter motor I could get straight back on the road and resume my journey through to Middleburg and Belfast and so not have to make any drastic changes to my schedule. I turned the ignition key with, believe me, more than a few butterflies in my stomach and cringed when I heard this terrible clanking sound coming from the engine compartment. Sean and I just looked at each other and the expression on his face and the shrug of his shoulders said it all!

Buddy while in first stage of surgery

1 – The generator cover where I had fitted spacer (washers) to stop the fan scraping on blue engine cowling

1 – The generator cover where I had fitted spacer (washers) to stop the fan scraping on blue engine cowling

2 - Bonnet seal broken to expose dashboard and new ignition

2 - Bonnet seal broken to expose dashboard and new ignition

3 – Brand new starter motor fitted

3 – Brand new starter motor fitted

4 – Buddy exposed

4 – Buddy exposed

The only thing left to do was to speak to the ‘expert’, so I drove through to Gideon at GP Beetles in Alberton North and explained in my best technical terms what had transpired. After spending about twenty minutes telling him the whole sad story he shook his head and said “Steve, better you just tow Buddy in and let me check him out”, and so this morning – Wednesday 30th – at 7am, Ryan arrived and towed ‘Buddy and Me’ to GP Beetles where he was scheduled to undergo extensive surgery.

At around 10:30am I received a call from Gideon who informed me that I must brace myself to expect the worst! Buddy, it seemed, from the initial tests – trying to start – showed signs that the crank was cracked and Buddy’s heart (the engine) was caput!! I immediately summonsed the help of my esteemed bunch of friends, who form the nucleus of Buddy and my survival team, to source a strategy to pull Buddy through this life threatening situation, and many phone calls were made from a number of cell phones to all parts of the country to source Beetle engines and even attempts were made to source 1400 Nissan engines; one was located in Pietermaritzburg (Kwa- Zulu Natal) and even one in Langabaan (Cape Town), and the guys were prepared to travel to both places to go and get the engines. Fortunately at 2:30 in the afternoon, Gideon called and gave us the good news – that fortunately only the flywheel had been split in two by the seizing of the starter motor and that Buddy’s heart (the engine) was fine!

Buddy’s medical aid support team, (from left to right) - Gaston, Uncle D, Michael, Ryan, Sean, Paul (front) and Me

Buddy’s medical aid support team, (from left to right) - Gaston, Uncle D, Michael, Ryan, Sean, Paul (front) and Me

So with Buddy’s heart out, temporarily, I decided that a new (reconditioned) gear box might as well be fitted; this is because Buddy, for the last couple of days, has been jumping out of fourth gear, making driving a bit of a pain in the butt. So guys, good news!!!! ‘Buddy and Me’ will definitely be back “On the road again” on Monday morning. So until tomorrow, Thursday the 1st of October, when I visit Buddy in surgery, keep well, keep your feet on the ground but reach real far into the skies for the stars. Buddy and my wish is to keep all children safe.

Caring regards from a very sick Buddy – and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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