We both saw it at once coming up the street, and our heads moved slowly, simultaneously, to watch it slow down and draw to a halt next to the Santana.
It was a Defender 90.
The driver called to us in sort-of Spanish.
Adrian took the easy route. “Habla inglés?”
One of them did. It turned out they were looking for a guy called Jésus, who lived somewhere near and had three Land Rovers, and did mechanical work.
We didn’t know of any Jésus with three Land Rovers near us. We have two Land Rovers though and a Sankey trailer. Our neighbour is called José. Adrian is regarded as a mechanic around here because he has more than one spanner.
Alex explained that he had a problem with something on the transmission but he couldn’t work out what it was.
He pulled up next to the Santana, and Adrian and Alex got underneath. Jeremy and I stood around. By this time we had worked out they were French and he told me they were off to Morocco for a couple of months.
Adrian and Alex checked the prop shafts and found that the rear spider bearing was letting go. They might have got to Algeciras but not much further.
We sat them on the terrace and made them a coffee while Adrian took the dog out. I asked them if they wanted to log into some French forums to see if they could get any help so they did. And then decided they were more confident in Adrian.
So off they all went to the local county town to the motor factor to buy a new spider bearing – a cruz (cross) no less. Once said new part was bought, it was off to work.
The ramps and chocks were brought out of the garage and Alex drove it up. Between them Alex and Adrian took off the rear prop shaft.
Alex had no circlip pliers. So he couldn’t take off the circlips and would never have been able to take the spider bearing out from the yokes. NB Would-be travellers (1). Do not travel without circlip pliers (both types). Make sure the pair you take with you are good quality as the end bits can break off.
Off into the workshop. Adrian put the yoke into the vice, and inserted a piece of wood. He picked up a large hammer. Alex cringed as he envisioned his propshaft shattering all over the workshop.NB Would-be travellers (2). Do not travel without a reasonable sized ball-pin hammer.
The bearing caps popped up and then Adrian took out the spider. The propshaft was still in one piece. They cleaned out the yokes and popped the new one in. Adrian wasn’t happy with the new circlips provided so they used the originals. So far so good.
Next two pix both show some of the disintegating bits
Back to the Defender and time to put the propshaft back. After Adrian and Alex had put it in, Alex tightened up all the nuts and bolts. Jeremy and Adrian put everything away. NB Would-be travellers (3). Always travel with plenty of spare nuts and bolts that are the correct size, plus nylocks for the studs.
We’d offered them a night’s kip if it hadn’t worked out, but once sorted they were keen to get on the road again. Alex’s family had a chicken farm so the back of the Land Rover was well-stocked with tins of chicken. They tried to press some onto us as thanks. Saying you are vegetarian is a pretty good way out of it though. It was a nice gesture, but we didn’t want anything.
The only other comment. It seemed to us that it had let go because there was no grease in it and it was running dry, hence the noise from the transmission that had alerted Alex to the problem.
Although Adrian had put some grease in the caps when they replaced the bearing, he didn’t think it was enough to get them to Morocco and back. He tried to pump grease in with his gun, but wasn’t satisfied so told them to make sure they stopped somewhere en route to get some pumped in properly.
Total cost to us:
• a nut
• a bolt
• a washer
• two coffees
• four hours of time all in including the trip to the motor factor.
A pleasure to help you both. Great lads and bon voyage/buen viaje.