Welders and ham

Today has been bi-polar. The weather has switched from rain to sunshine every hour. Nevertheless Anika and I nipped across London on a quest to find a Tintin book. The book we are after is the ‘Crab with the Golden Claws.’ Herge uses the Arabian deserts as a backdrop to this adventure. I thought this would be fitting for Anika as we are going to Morocco! It is also the first occasion where Tintin meets captain Haddock whom Anika absolutely adores. Her other favorite characters are the Thompson twins, and professor Calculus. Infact, Tintin himself is a bit of a sideline! We tried four bookstores without luck and ended up having to order a copy from our local independent bookstore, Pages of Clapton.

Adam and his workshop, Can of Gas

During our London crawl we also popped into the Welders on Clare street to pick up the hand brake sprocket. Their workshop is in a Hackney railway arch. Olie was touching up the sprocket as some of the teeth had worn down. The job was fantastic – better than new! The other guys at the welders are great too. Next time I need a job doing they offered to lend me their equipment if I cover consumables. Their workshop is filled with metal-craft, mutated shapes that hang from the ceiling, wrapped around lightbulbs and brickwork. Stacks of steel sheet and box section rest against one side, whilst the worktops are piled with commissions from local businesses. I shall be paying them another visit.


Anika grabbed a ham sandwich at the Hackney City Farm after the welders.

Sourcing Parts

Today has been a big step forwards. So much so that now I am putting my feet up with a bottle of Italian lager, sitting under the lintel of our front door. The neighbors are blasting some dirty R&B from their car.  Mara and Anika have been out all day at the beach and should be arriving soon.

First stop was Pirtek which stocks hydraulic fittings of every possible thread and size. I found all the connectors needed for my power steering relief valve. The finished unit will look something like this:

I am quite excited as I love the idea of opening the bonnet to see gauges. They are reminiscent of old steam trains and have a wonderfully mad professor quality about them.


I have also been offered numerous all suggestions on how to remove the sticky castle nut. Though my mechanical knowledge is primitive, what I do know I owe to the Zil enthusiasts that meet and talk all day on their forum. I need to buy a slogging spanner (ring spanner that one can ‘slog’ with a hammer). Simple. I can hardly wait!

Other than that – I have ordered the cable and electrical connectors to fit our battery2battery charger (Stirling Power). More on that later…

Truck servicing

Today I took the long train to Horsham where the truck is stored. I have a list of jobs to do. Some are essential, some cosmetic and others fanciful. First I am sorting out the leaking power steering. The Russian steering gear needs considerably less pressure than the cummins pump likes to give out and a seal has blown. So I need to replace the seal and install a relief valve to prevent future blowouts.

I am also servicing the differentials. This is not as easy as it should be. There is one castle nut that will not budge. Like a cathedral gargoyle it sits there grinning at me as I lose blood from a smashed thumb. I will win in the end.