Break down story number 15
The blown fuse
The days of me driving to work are long gone, these days I catch a train, but a few times a year I drive to work. The TR7 has been, for many years, my main source of transport but on this occasion the TR7 was out of action so I drove the Dolly to work, (Wyong to Ultimo).
Now this Dolly was on club plates for many years but when my sisters MK I was stolen I put the Dolly on full rego so she had a car to drive and once she no longer needed it I kept it on full rego. During it’s time on club plates the Dolly had been very reliable, that balance of driving it enough to keep everything working but not too much that things wear out seems to be around 1,000 to 1,500 km’s a year which is about the average I would do on club plates. Now back on full rego the Dolly does need to be worked on more often.
Anyway, I left work at 3.45 for the trip home. Sitting in traffic about 300 metres from the Entertainment Centre on the road that leads up onto the Harbour Bridge the Dolly’s engine just stopped and would not restart. I was in the middle lane on a flat piece of road so I got out and started to push, no one was too keen to let me into the left lane but I forced the issue and just kept pushing and of course, no one came to offer help, but luck was with me and I managed to push the Dolly into a drive way.
My TR7 has enough tools and parts in it for me to rebuild in on the side of the road but the Dolly only had the most basic of tool kits and what I really needed was a test light, which I didn’t have. I pulled the main coil lead out and rested it on the end of the coil and turned the engine over, now normally you could hear the spark jump, but there was too much traffic noise so I asked a passer buy, who informed me that there was no sign of spark.
The tendency in these circumstances is to think the worst and that is what I did, I concluded that the electronic ignition (black box) had died and that I needed a tow truck. There was a tilt tray parked just down the road so I walked down and asked for a tow, but he was contracted to the Harbour Bridge and as I was not on the Bridge he could not help, so I decided to walk back to work so I could use the internet to find a tow truck. Now it does not seem far when you drive it but it was quite a walk. Once at work and after lots of phone calls I found a tow truck company willing to come to my recue. My thinking was to get the Dolly towed to work and I would catch a train home and deal with the problem the next day.
I got a taxi back to the broken Dolly and sat there waiting, but boredom set in so I started to fiddle around under the bonnet. I unplugged the power lead to the black box, connected a jump wire to it and with the ignition on tried touching it on earth to see if I got sparks, I didn’t. So I connected the jump wire to the positive terminal on the battery and turned the key. The Dolly burst into life. The power wire to the black box lead back to the fuse box and there I found a blown fuse. Why did I not check that two hours ago, I said repeatedly to myself? It would not have mattered much as I did not have any fuses but I would have got it going a lot sooner.
At this point the tow truck pulled up, so I gave him some inconvenience money and with the Dolly still jerry rigged I drove home. The Dolly now has a better equipped tool box which includes a test light and fuses. The fuse has not blown since and so I don’t know why it blow on that day. The Dolly is about to go back onto club plates as I have too many cars on full rego. This will bring my tally of club plate cars to four (three Dolly’s and one MK I).
This break down sowed the seed of thought that I should stop driving Triumphs as general transport and buy something a bit more modern, now this is something I never thought I would do, but the real problem with the Triumphs as general transport is tyres. All the Triumphs in the family (three Dolly’s, two MK I’s and a TR7) have 205/60 13 tyres and I can’t find a quality tyre in that size. There are about four or five companies making that size but they are all made in China or Korea etc and after trying a number of them, well I will no longer drive those cars in the wet. My father’s MK I is the only car that is safe to drive in the wet and it is fitted with 15 year old, half worn out Toyo tyres (not made anymore). I plan to try some Yokahama street legal race tyres on the TR7 but they will not last long on a car used as general transport. Some people have suggested fitting larger diameter wheels, but I think Triumphs look silly when fitted with bigger wheels and I would rather not own them at all if it came to that. I never thought I would say this, but, I have purchased a Toyota.
Now another one of my pet hate’s (other than Triumphs fitted with big wheels) is front wheel drive cars and so this limited my choices when looking to buy a modern car. I could never own a BMW or Mercedes as they generally belong to Doctors or drug dealers. I would find it difficult to drive around in a car with people thinking I was a Doctor. (“First against the wall when the revolution comes”) Anyway, I have ended up with a Toyota Celica GT4, which has 16” wheels so I should have no trouble getting good tyres for it, but considering I can get just about anything for the Triumphs, I am have great difficulty getting rear shock absorbers for the Toyota.
So ends another break down adventure.