Cover Story

Up at the crack of 09:00am this morning and out to see what an overnight’s worth of curing time had done to the J-B Weld.

It looked good. The J-B Weld had set hard and the steering lock felt as solid as a rock. In fact, it feels more secure now than I’m guessing it would have done if it hadnae broke in the first place and had only been held in place with that clamp and hex bolt. So maybe the fact that it cracked was a bit of a blessing in disguise?

Praahhper Jaahhhb!
Praahhper Jaahhhb!

With the steering column reassembled [yet again!] t’was time to turn my colossal mind to other things. I’m now getting to the stage where - mechanically speaking - I’m kinda done. At least until I get Herman taxed at the end of the month and can get him out on the road for some nice long drives, to see whether that reveals anymore nasty surprises.

So I just contented myself with another job I’d been putting off, ever since I got the gear-linkage sorted out; that of re-attaching the lower engine bay and gearbox cover.

I’d used up a bottle of washing up liquid and several buckets of hot water yesterday, trying to de-grease slightly, the oil-soaked sponge lining from inside the cover. It was still filthy, but at least it disnae look like a stray spark will make Herman go up like a fucking Catherine Wheel anymore. So it seemed like a good excuse to stick the cover back on.

I was expecting this to be a real bastard of a job. The cover isnae hugely heavy but it is big and unmanageable and heavy enough that - lying underneath the van trying to hold it in position above you with one hand, while attempting to fiddle a bolt into place with the other - is likely to be a tale of woe and frustration.

Engine bay / Gearbox cover - cleaned up [a bit!] and ready for refitting
Engine bay / Gearbox cover - cleaned up [a bit!] and ready for refitting

With the cover slid into position under the van, it was time to hit the dirt and wriggle under on my back and see if I could manage to refit the thing. As you can see from the pic below, it needed to be lifted about 18” into place. Just the right distance to make it too far to elbow up easily, but not quite far enough to get your forearm underneath at an upright enough angle to prop it for any length of time, without too much strain

OK -heave away!
OK -heave away!

After a couple of futile attempts to get that magical ‘first bolt’ in place - I’d always ‘just about’ get it started and then drop the fecking cover…or the bolt! - I hit on the idea of wedging a couple of plastic jerricans under the cover to lift it up a bit more. That allowed me to get more underneath it so I was pushing it straight up, rather than trying to lift it from the side, which made it easier to hold it in place.

I also found, when I slithered over to the passenger side of the van, that there was a metal bracket on the back of the cover on that side which attached horizontally to a chassis cross-member. This was a lot easier to manoeuvre into position than trying to line up the overhead bolts. So with a combination of this and the extra proppage of the jerricans, I was able to get the first bolt in.

Jerrican proppage
Jerrican proppage

Once I’d got one bolt in, it was a relatively painless process to get the opposite corner secured and, after that, I had the cover back on in about ten minutes.

Hurray! -for me and my plastic jerrican supported antics!
Hurray! -for me and my plastic jerrican supported antics!
Meta TAGS: engine bay
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: 22 Mar 2009
AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz