Break Down Story Number 2.
The Broken Suspension.
Summer 1991, after two years of life in Sydney I found myself unemployed and back in Grafton. If you ever want to get the sack from the public service, well it’s easy, just refuse to do a medical exam, and you will be out of there like a rate out of an aqueduct. How was the Dolly going to handle life in the country, the constant pounding of dirt roads, the dust, the mud and the hard work? The Dolly’s pre-decessor had handled it surprisingly well, rallies, motorkhanas, even hillclimbs but they were a piece of cake compared to day to day life. During the building of my house the poor Marina hardly ever went anywhere with out a box trailer in tow loaded to the gunnels with bricks, sand, gravel or timber. During a prolonged drought I use to drive to my parents place to fill a 44 gallon drum with water every day. Also, unlike the Marina I would not be able to just pop down to the local wreckers for spare parts. Would the Dolly stand up to this sort of treatment? Only time would tell.
I was on my way home from a trip to a small village about 25 km’s west of Inverell having visited a relative. On the outskirts of Inverell as I approached the 60km zone I put my foot on the brake and the front right hand wheel locked up, so I took my foot of the brake but the wheel stayed locked. The Dolly came to a stop about 100 metres down the road, in the middle of the road, luckily there was no traffic around. I thought, hay up, I think I have a brake problem here. I tried first gear, but the Dolly was going nowhere, then I tried reverse gear and we had movement. As I backed off the road into a track stop the steering felt a bit funny. On closer inspection the problem was not brakes but broken from suspension, the front suspension arm that goes from the lower control arm to the sub frame had broken, this had allowed the front wheel to move back and jam against the inner guard. As luck would have it the bush, large washers, nut and broken suspension were all still there. So here I was a long way from home, on the side of the road with a broken Dolly, a good 38 degrees and not a tree in sight.
I pulled the front suspension apart, locked the car and started walking. About 1 km down the road I found myself in an industrial estate and soon located a welder who welded the suspension back together. I walked back to the car and put it all back together, and my goodness, it was hot.
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. The road from Glen Innes to Grafton must be one of the quietest pieces of road around, from a few km’s outside Glen Innes to Jackadgery there is nothing but national Park, State Forrest and sheep paddocks, not a house in site, and no traffic either, I think only one car went the other way in the whole trip.
The local newspaper in Grafton use to print stories about what was on the front page of their paper 50 years earlier and one of those stories was about the discovery of asbestos at Jackadgery and how this was going to bring prosperity and employment to the Grafton district. Ah if they only knew.
The welded up suspension stayed on the Dolly for some time before I got around to replacing it. So ended another Dolly Break Down Adventure.