Life with my Swift Kontiki and this new lifestyle
Well, after picking up my Kontiki in Dumfries and then finding out that her cylinder head gasket had gone, I finally (nearly 3 weeks later!) got her back on Thursday of last week for a pricey sum! We had been beginning to think we'd never got a campervan!! The garage were quite impressed with the engine, telling me that all she needed doing was the Cylinder head. Excellent! I felt confident setting off.
So, the first outing - the maiden voyage!
We were initially planning to head for Oban via the A82, but i decided against that because of the wicked windy stretch between Inveruglas and Ardlui. I thought I'd better break myself in gently - driving a much bigger, slower and wider vehicle! We headed for Pitlochry instead, up the relatively straight A9. We headed to the garage to fill up with gas before setting off, turned around a roundabout not far from home and heard quite a loud bang! I thought she had died, but I started her up and she was off......we got to the garage were stunned to discover that it was full after £30! Magic! The lpg thingy in the cab now had one amber light and 4 green ones - take it that means full!
Off we went....... once on the road, we thought she was a bit noisey and rather smelly of fumes (and wondered if that was anything to do with the loud bang we had heard?) But an hour or two later we were soon passing Perth and approaching Pitlochry. No more hiccups. We tried a few campsites in the area, hoping to hook up for the first trip out, but they were all closed! Plan B. Wild camping! We had a new gas bottle, and as far as i knew the leisure batteries were ok, so we parked a little way down the road to Tummel Bridge on a country walk carpark. It was off the main road up a hill so once our lights were out, we were invisible....
I turned on the gas, made us a cuppa and soon settled down for the evening..... lovely.... we had a great meal (curry we had brought) and I had a wee glass of vino. The central heating was lovely n snug - we were warm and cosy. Before long we had to get busy making up the bed. We got settled inside our double sleeping bag - very cosy and drifted off to sleep.... until.... 3am came and it was fecking freezing!!!! The dog (wee Tara our Jack Russell Terrier) was moving around, obviously cold and she jumped up onto our bed wanting in for a cuddle. We all snuggled down again and it was soon morning - not too bad a night for our first venture.
Next morning we made breakfast and set off to find an lpg garage. The lpg thingy in the cab was now showing only the amber light. We had used up all 4 green ones on the way here. In the cab was a 2008 lpg finder of Britian. No garages in Pitlochry, infact only about 3 in Glasgow in this book we had!!! I'm sure they were a bit more up-to-date now surely?? We went back into Pitlochry and asked the girl at the counter where the nearerst garage was - Perth she told us. So off we went in search of the illustrious Lpg! On the way down the A9 I decided to switch to petrol as I was told the camper wouldn't start on petrol (by the guy I bought it from) so I thought i'd better conserve that amber light full of lpg for starting - I switched to petrol......
Here's where the fun REALLY began!!! The switch I was expecting was a slight delay once I switched over and then the petrol would kick in and we'd be off. Well, it didn't really happen...., I waited for the delay and it went on longer than usual (before I put it into the garage) then the kangaroos began! It was chugging and spluttering - not sounding very healthy at all!! It seemed to get better the more I put my foot down, so that's what I did.... I was now going at just over 60mph down the A9. We only managed to get around 2 or 3 miles when we noticed a real smell of petrol..... we thought it might have just been as a result of the changeover..... well the next thing we knew the smoke alarm was going off in the back! We had to pull over and see what was what..... we managed to get the fire alarm off and the cab was really filled with fuel fumes. I popped the bonnet and on looking into the engine - spotted the air filter hose just lying on top of the engine! Not attached to anything!! That's why it was smelling then?? We managed to re-attach the hose onto the air filter and into the other thing... (still don't know what it was!) We managed to tighten the jubilee clips enough and tried to re-start the engine. Now I had to do it on lpg, so switched it back across..... turn the ignition key and then more pops and bangs! It kept cutting out. We were in quite a big long layby and once I got it started on the lpg, I reversed it up the layby and drove it down the layby. After many pops, it eventually came good. We decided to chance it and try n get to the garage on the remainder of the lpg. We were on a wing and a prayer - but did also have AA cover in the event of a total collapse. We (and don't ask us how!) managed to make it to the garage and fill up again with LPG. After the fumes incident and not running at all on petrol, we had to cut short our planned weekend away and head home while we were ahead. Next stop would be the garage the next day. We made it all the way home to Glasgow on the LPG without a hitch (except cutting out at roundabouts)
Well the next day I take it down to the garage I got it from the Thursday before and tell the guy that its not running at all on petrol and he says "oh aye, you need to have someone look at the carburetor. (Now that was good seeing as he'd not even looked at her!!) "I could've told you that on Thursday" he said!!!
i said "well it was working on both fuels lovely before I handed it in here for the check over and new cylinder head" to which he said "well I've only got your word for that" "It was a non-runner as far as I'm concerned" !!!!! I said I drove it in here.... Then he said "well you see, we can't fix it - modern cars come in here with a computer and that tells us what's wrong - your van is old-school. you need someone to have a look at the carburetor and re-set it..... there's an old boy in the garage around the corner I could get to have a look at it for you..... so she's in waiting for the Old Boy to have a look.
Now I think the garage's due to get this fixed for me as it was going fine before I handed it into him..... and surely it's covered in the money I paid to him for fixing my cylinder head gasket - his mechanic should've re-set the carburetor surely???? what shall I do if he tries to charge me??
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