31st January 2020 Part 3 of the big trip.

Goodaye all, as part three and ending the big trip, last Sunday I had left you in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the world. Of course, it wasn’t and after a kip, we travelled on to Perth arriving late Saturday evening and because we were two up, arranged a motel room for two nights. We did some washing, along with a few bits and pieces catching up etc.

Monday morning, three full trailers to load, back and forth south of Perth, a visit to Kenworth to get a throttle position sensor and harness, but either a sensor or a whole pedal, so a whole pedal as they did not keep the harness as a part and I was told the shaft in the pedal pivot can wear and then affect the sensor. Considering the pedal was over 9 and a half years old, and it had done over 1.9 million, maybe better to replace the whole thing, but of course, a fair bit dearer, so had to get permission. Then tarp all three trailers, a customer requirement just for fun, that done out to Northam with the first, back for the second and off east as a two trailer roadtrain.

We made it to Balladonia midday Tuesday and I jumped in the TIV, did a lap round the servo which went fine and told Greg, not to take offence, it simply didn’t want him to drive her! So he headed off back to Perth to get his other trailer, I hooked up, backed up to get fuel and as soon as I tried to move forward, it failed again. I got it to the bowser, fueled up and then managed to get it away from the bowser without disconnecting again. Sorted the fuel and thanked the staff for keeping an eye on the truck whilst there, they had offered to do so and ring me if anything happened.

I had discussed the problem with our head mechanic and there is a procedure to reset the throttle sensor, so I tried that a few times without success, and was then told to disconnect the batteries, so cab up, disconnect two, still power, pull the bottom two out and disconnect, still power, must be a short, oh wait, there is a shared earth on the EGR sensor, take that off, but it had a childproof fitting and I could not get it off without breaking it. Power gone now, so hook it all up again.

By then I had had enough, waiting for return calls as being Australia Day, mate was playing golf, you must get your priorities right. So having packed all my gear away, he then rang and said, no, you will have to change the pedal. I had suggested this when I had to buy the pedal complete, but was told I wouldn’t be able to do it, it was a bugger of a job. So I asked, if it is such a bugger of a job, why are you telling me to do it now? Oh, well sometimes it is easy and sometimes not, it might take 15 minutes, or it might take an hour plus. So I pulled out my mats and that is another story for later, how the raised floor section near the pedal is not good for your spinal health.

It is bad enough when something fails as it has worn out, everything does, but when you find whoever worked on it last, has not only done a lousy job, but also left it half done, it can take the fun out of it all. I do believe it was a dealership, as they had finally fixed the engine ECM harness problem that had plagued me for some time and as part of that, had started with the throttle position sensor.

They did not only shear one of the bolts that mount the pedal to the floor and leave it in there, but instead of putting the harness through a specially cut slot, had put it under the edge of the panel (and then not even put all the screws back in the thing) and pinned it, so it seems to have been squashed and either rubbed or chaffed through. It did take me a while, but that included dusting and cleaning the floor, trying to get some of the accumulated dirt out from behind the panels and wiping all the mats etc. Then I went to bed.

Getting up after finishing my break, into gear and off, all working fine, problem solved. So to Adelaide, rang ahead, can I get a roadtrain in to unload, yes we have a big yard, mmmm. Rang again the next day when nearing the site, I asked yesterday about getting a roadtrain in, “So it is bigger than a b-double?” Yes two full trailers, yes you will be right. A couple of turns taken wide and got in the yard to unload. Got the first one untarped, unstrapped and ungated, so it could be unloaded while I did the second one, the fellows there did help me with the gates and the second tarp, thanks gents, confirmed I could have a bit of time to secure everything and have a 5 minute lunch, was told when we are getting ready to go, you will see us lock the in gate. No load available, so round to dog up the dolly and then the second trailer, thanks to all the gents at Verdons for their help and hit the road home.  

I did get an important call before I finished, held them up a little bit, but that is a story for the future. I was getting keen to get home, but wanted to get a bit up the road, check all the straps again, as I did not have any chains, they were all still in the third trailer and having got fuel and checked them all once, pulled up at BP Blanchetown to find a sign “Rump and vegies or salad and chips $14.95”. I do not normally eat steak, I find it a bit heavy and prefer rissoles or sausages, so I asked about the rump. “How do you have your steak?” Medium, “So you should get the rump” and I did.

Friendly staff too, $1.85 I think extra for the gravy, but for the money, a bloody good value feed. Good size, the salad had no beetroot or onion, but came with pasta and slaw, bread and butter included and delicious. Thanks and am told that the same company operates the Keith and Port Wakefield sites with the same deal as well.

Pulled up much later that night to get a fault code, a new one this time, but with no phone service, time for bed. Up Friday morning and no code and away I went, getting closer all the time to home. Made a couple more green reflector bay stops, have many people to ring and pursue, at least a few days work there when I can get the time, made it to Dubbo to find all the workshop staff going home. Ok well can you ring me if you want to check this code, as I am booked to leave Sunday.

Rang Saturday morning, busy but bring it out, only to try and it would not start, the code back up and stopped it winding over. Rang again, I have an appointment and will try after that. Back home, started first go, out to work, computer on and left it there to try and find the problem, more codes in a different harness. Got a call, have Sunday off and we will fix it Monday, too many issues and parts and time needed. So it has been a bit of an adventure, thanks to all for your comments and I hope you have enjoyed the tale as much as I have. I was asked on my return, so you made it back, would you go again? My answer, “I would go again tomorrow”, but of course, that would mean even more work as I would then have more time and bigger list of people to chase, we will see it if happens. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. 

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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