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Chitty's first adventure and things went wrong from the start

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    Chitty's first adventure and things went wrong from the start

    Well this was Chitty's first adventure after her restore and major engine repair but from the moment I jumped into her on Friday lunch time the nerves kicked in, will she make it the 16 miles to the campsite we had booked or would all the work I put into the engine come back and haunt me?

    First stop was half mile away to Tesco's to load up with supplies then her journey began to the campsite, I must admit the roads were very quite and I was very grateful for this small blessing, had the sat-nav programed because I had no idea how to get there but followed as directed, chitty was running very well and I came to a straight piece of road and opened Chitty up, speedo bouncing around like a Mexican wave but her in the sat-nav soon told me "You are over the speed limit" for gods sake just shut up I'm testing my engine, the wife looks at the speed on the sat-nav and she said your doing 60 you better slow down, not one to argue I slowed down well to around 58 lol up and down small hills was testing Chitty and eventually we arrived at the campsite and not a soul around, again this was a blessing because I'd not erected this awning before on site except for once in the garden to make sure it looked ok.

    I parked up and started to set up this awning, only to discover I had no pegs with me, having to improvise I cut shaped branches from the hedgerow and used them as my pegs, whilst getting called a few names from the wife as she took the mickey, finally set up the awning after dragging it into place between the pair of us. Kettle on time for a brew only to discover we'd not packed the T-bags, now it's my turn to take the mickey and call her a few names, then she found them so I had to eat humble pie but then we discovered she'd forgot to pack the cups and it all started over but making sure she really had forgot them before I opened my gob again lol I had too unhook the awning from the car remember no pegs? I had the tunnel bit that had elastic with knots in the end wedged into the wheel trims, unhook the electric hook up, wind the legs back up and set off into the village for some cups, shop 1/4 of a mile away and who got lost? 5 miles later we arrived at the shop and got what we needed and returned back to the campsite and set everything up again while the boss got the well earned brew on after a stressful day, some may and some may not understand the stress I felt just worrying about Chitty's engine but so far she amazed me and I was thankful.

    The evening came and around 7.00pm a knock on the tent and it was the owner of the site Neil and what a really friendly guy he is, he knew my reason for being there was to get some photo's with Chitty and being a busy builder and out at work all day and the weekend spent on site building 2 log cabins his time was limited, we'd planned to go home Saturday evening when he said that Sunday morning would be easier for him, he had to remove a car with no front wheels from the front of the hanger doors so I could reverse Chitty in but what happened? Saturday night it rained through the night making it impossible for me to get chitty into the field but give the guy his due, he turned up with his huge forklift to lift this car out of the way but we both inspected the ground, although he had a hard-core drive it still meant that he and I would have to leave this driveway and onto the grass area that the 3 horses had been trampling so I could reverse in, I said I was more than happy to leave it and return on the next bank holiday and he said he would bring it out into the field so I could get some better shots.

    He opened up the small access door to the hanger and invited me in too see the Harrier and the only photo's I could take was with my phone, Now I had with me around £2,500 worth of camera equipment but couldn't use it because stupid here had forgotten to pack my chargers and to top it all my laptop wasn't working in the van, I plugged it into the mains and got nothing but a black screen.....

    What else went wrong? I'd checked Chitty's cooker months ago and the 2 rings worked well as did the grill, the boss decided she was going to cook us a full English breakfast and began the cooking, grilled bacon but I could smell something not quite right and asked the boss what colour the flame was on the grill "Orange" came the reply, "Turn it off quickly I said before the find us both dead in the morning, opened up the windows, sunroof and door to let some fresh air in, I still got my full English because the 2 burners were fine, I could only think that the bumping and vibration during our Journey had dislodged rust causing holes in the grill to be blocked and we never used the grill again.

    We left today for our return Journey home and I programed that moaning woman who keeps telling me I'm over the speed limit, set off for our return Journey only to be met by detour after detour because what we didn't know was the Bath run for life was taking place today so roads closed, Chitty calculated another route and before I knew it, I was in Cheddar Gorge, OMG!!! this can mean only one thing, I had to drive chitty up over Cheddar Gorge some very steep mountain hills and if she makes it up over these then I can give myself a huge pat on the back, on one occasion I almost had to put it into first gear and checking my mirrors I noticed a big flashy Jag up my tail pipe and I'm thinking if you come a little closer mate then you can read Chitty's sign on the back window which reads, If you think this is slow then wait until we go up a hill lol Anyway I didn't have to put it into first and Chitty made it up over Cheddar Gorge and I was one happy man.

    Many things went wrong on our maiden adventure but I'm pleased to say it wasn't with Chitty (apart from the grill) She handled very well and her engine run as sweet as a nut, we slept well in her and we were both warm, on the odd occasion if it got chilly it was a good excuse for a brew up and that warmed the interior up and kept it warm for ages.

    Looking forward to our next trip in her and my wife is over the moon that she now has a little camper she's always wanted.

    A couple of photo's.

    I told the wife we were parked next to a bomb and it was ticking, it's a fuel drop tank from the Harrier, the photo looking into the distance is Glastonbury Tor not visible in the photo but I could see it through me telescope,

    WP_20170309_14_33_10_Pro__highres (Medium).jpgWP_20170311_11_47_15_Pro (Medium).jpg
    WP_20170309_14_34_37_Pro (Medium).jpgWP_20170312_09_34_45_Pro__highres (Medium).jpg
    Last edited by Jeff Brown; 12-03-2017, 19:06.
    "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

    #2
    I'm so pleased for you both Jeff.

    All that hard work paid off. Well done. Have a pat on the back and now sit back and plan where to go next.

    We once went camping in Dymchurch. Two small kids and a tired husband. Put up the frame tent, got everything out only to discover I hadn't packed the stove. We had to give the pork chops away and go dinnerless!! I never have lived that down
    Last edited by SandraM; 12-03-2017, 20:16.

    Comment


      #3
      lol. Thanks Sandra, I am so pleased with Chitty's performance over these past few days and I even found it quite nippy at times, well going down hill anyway lol...

      The trouble is that if you don't plan ahead and write it all down then things will go wrong, my main concern was with Chitty's engine and breaking down but I was well pleased with her. We now have a book that we wrote up with what we need and what we don't need. Once you've done it a few times then you'll know what and what not to take, we did a lot of camping when our kids were younger and one day my brother-in-law gave us a huge amount of different steaks to take, rump, sirloin, even fillet and T bones, he filled up one of those ice boxes for us and by day 3 we gave away half an ice box of steaks to this couple with a dog, we gave it all to the dog but walked past their tent that night to see them both sat around the table eating steaks lol

      Our next trip will be focused on the actual trip and not on the engine.
      "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

      Comment


        #4
        Your thread title had me worried.

        Glad to learn that what did go wrong was human and weather related. Sounds like Chitty passed her test with flying colours. Even when done well so much work on a vehicle usually means numerous niggles and fine tuning at first. Quite a result I think and yes, I can imagine your worries. The potential for disaster and that feeling of dread in your stomach.

        A good thrash and a stiff hill climb suggests that all is well with the motor anyway.

        Just needs a bit of work on the "operators" perhaps?

        Comment


          #5
          Fantastic nothing should go perfect first time.... We all learn from mistakes. And I ought to know I'm an expert at making mistakes.

          But really glad it went so well

          Kyran

          Comment


            #6
            Pleased to hear all was well with Chitty. Suggest you keep essentials such as pegs, tea bags and cups on board permanently to avoid such "operator errors" in future!

            Comment


              #7
              I'm really pleased that Chitty behaved herself.

              You'll soon get a hang on the packing. I second Caz's suggestion on keeping essential items in there permanently.

              I'd also recommend creating a packing checklist, and ticking each item on the list off as you pack it (or checked it's in there already).

              It might also be useful to create a "driving away" checklist - it's embarrassing when you drive off to get some shopping, and hear a bang because you've forgotten to unplug the electric hookup, wind the legs up, or run over something!
              Schrödinger's cat:
              Wanted Dead and Alive.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by blackadderkate View Post

                It might also be useful to create a "driving away" checklist - it's embarrassing when you drive off to get some shopping, and hear a bang because you've forgotten to unplug the electric hookup, wind the legs up, or run over something!
                Yup... and if you are as absent minded as me you will affix it to the steering wheel or in front of the dash so you can't drive off and forget to check the check list.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Chitty's behaviour wasn't exactly 100%, I have a problem with 3rd gear crunching, if I keep the revs low she'll pop in and out of 3rd gear with no crunching but that's not always possible if your trying to climb a hill or incline and you need a little more pull from her but apart from the 3rd gear issue she did really well especially over cheddar gorge.

                  We have left some stuff in there and the boss has made a list of other things to stay in the camper all the time. We have a check list that someone posted and I now keep a note on the dashboard to read the before you move off notice on the door along with another note I keep there saying "Shut the sunroof stupid" after I tried to drive out of my daughters garage with the sun roof open, the glass was fine just the plastic handle snapped, so notes on the dash reminding me lol

                  I need to re-wire her radio to run on the Auxiliary battery because the radio has a TV built into it and I can connect a monitor to it and running a TV all night on the engine battery is just asking for trouble, so a re-wire is on the books.

                  The LED strip lights I fitted under the curtain pelmets are brilliant, the wife fell on me during the night when she got up to make a cuppa, I woke up startled and thought it was daylight but it was those LED strips and using far less power than the tube florescent lights I'd recommend them to anyone.

                  Tomorrow out into my shed to get the bag of pegs that are no doubt in there when I put the awning up in the garden and never put them into the pole bag.

                  Lots to learn, Just give me a backpack and I'll be fine and make do with what nature provides, well she provided me with plenty of pegs so we could keep the awning up.
                  "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Jeff,
                    Thank you for that very entertaining account

                    I thought at this point, after the performance report I ought to paste a link to the original 23 litre Chitty Chitty Bang Bang https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Zborowski

                    On a serious note you have reminded us all that we are all fallible. Now I think the pod will only go local for the first outing - short distance to pick-up cups, pegs etc etc (still trying for a name "Clockwork Orange" or "Tango" as the pick-up part is orange).

                    It is good to know the weekend went well - me and Sandra would probably be half way to seperation and recrimination. On a serious point don't you have an onboard charger for the camera?

                    Jon
                    Support the NHS go to Just Giving

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Love the original awning.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks Jon but I don't think I could afford to run a 23 ltr engine, unless I pinched one of those fuel drop tanks and attached it to the roof lol. I had to put some diesel in Chitty so I used Tesco's while we were there getting supplies, I was thinking to myself, do I fill it up or shall I just put a few gallons in it, I thought nope I'm not going to fill her up in case I broke down and have to call the AA out. I stuck £45 in the tank and when I jumped in and turned the ignition on the tank was almost full, cuss, I didn't want to fill it up, I'm used to taking my car in to fill up and sticking in around £70 worth and there's me thinking that £45 will half fill chitty's tank lol

                        No on board chargers for camera's, I have 3 Nikon Dslr camera's and each requires a different charger and different batteries. My 2 main camera's had flat batteries and the only camera I could use was my infra red one, not much good for taking photo's of chitty or the harrier.

                        Almost forgot until the boss reminded me. The water tap worked fine but then on Saturday it began to play up, she tried to turn off the tap with the little switch the switch turned off the water flow but it wouldn't turn off the pump and I had to turn it off from the master switch.

                        I just spent the last 90 minutes servicing the cooker and my thoughts on rust blocking up the holes in the grill was correct, on tipping the cooker on it's edge a large amount of rust dust came out. I have a set of jet cleaners and cleaned all the holes of the blocked jets and it was caked in there and now all cleaned free of rust and crud and I'll reinstall and test tomorrow.
                        Last edited by Jeff Brown; 13-03-2017, 00:09.
                        "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by blackadderkate View Post
                          I'm really pleased that Chitty behaved herself.

                          You'll soon get a hang on the packing. I second Caz's suggestion on keeping essential items in there permanently.

                          I'd also recommend creating a packing checklist, and ticking each item on the list off as you pack it (or checked it's in there already).

                          It might also be useful to create a "driving away" checklist - it's embarrassing when you drive off to get some shopping, and hear a bang because you've forgotten to unplug the electric hookup, wind the legs up, or run over something!
                          Or, as in my case, do the big drive round, waving goodbye to everyone, only then to realise the Hylo roof was still up!

                          I enjoyed reading about your first big adventure.
                          Carpe diem! :)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            A comment on your third gear.
                            Over the years in the motor trade I have often heard complaints about "crunchy" third gear selection.
                            Before Synchro-mesh gearboxes were invented the driver could only select another gear (without horrible noises) by matching the engine speed to the transmission speed before selecting the gear.
                            Since gear changes from top to third is done at relatively higher speed than other selections it needed an increase in engine revs during the change for a clean and quiet selection. Consequently in gearboxes with synchro-mesh and a modern driver who relies entirely on the synchros to match the relative transmission speeds the sunchros will eventually "wear out". Particularly the third gear one.
                            The only remedy is a gearbox overhaul OR advice from a driver old enough to have experienced gear changing on older sliding mesh gear boxes.
                            In my younger days, with synchro-mesh gearboxes, for a bet I would demonstrate changing gear crunch-less without using the clutch.
                            I still cannot get over the ingrained habit of revving the engine as I change from top to third or in any other change down.
                            Jim.
                            Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Lovely account of your first journey out and I'm glad it was just a few teething problems you had!

                              Re. the grill... they are pretty useless anyway, I gave up on mine when I had one in my demountable, and just used a frying pan! If you are going to give it a try, get a shallow tin pie dish or similar, turn it upside down, and put your grill pan on top of that, to get the food a bit nearer to the grill jets! I don't have a grill in my caravan, just the two rings, and I can't say I miss it! I have a cutlery drawer there instead, and it's much more handy than the grill ever was!

                              Comment

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