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Frog Van and the Right Spanner

I haven't written about my Frog Van for some time because it's been sitting under our back veranda waiting for some much needed repairs. The last time I pulled bits of the engine apart was to remove the radiator, which I had reconditioned then reattached.

Since then, apart from a dead battery stranding my sister and I in Kapunda, the van had been running particularly well. Well enough for me to trust it driving all over the place and know that it wouldn't break down. It still had problems with running on and backfiring but at least it worked.

When Enigma and I moved house in September of 2010 we used the Frog Van to move all of our furniture to our new home. It took a few trips over a few days but I reckon we probably saved quite a bit by not hiring a moving company (which we did price to see what kind of cost was involved).

Unfortunately on the van's very last trip between houses it died after progressively getting harder and harder to start and keep going. It turned out the problem was a broken part that I had broken and fixed earlier as part of replacing the fuel filter. I managed to re-fix it using the same glue that fixed it the first time but the van never really recovered and it's sat on our back veranda ever since.

I have had a look at it before now and really want to fix the leak it has in the exhaust manifold that should stop most of its back firing problem. However I'm not that confident when it comes to pulling engines apart. It all seemed a bit daunting so I left it in the hope that maybe I could afford to get a real mechanic to look at it.

Nearly twelve months later it's still waiting for a mechanic.

Today I've decided to give it another look. I'm determined not to let it get the better of me. A manifold leak is actually not that hard to fix. The trouble is, to get to it I need to remove the carburetor, which has numerous pipes and wires attached to it. Most of which I have no idea what they do.

I'm taking photos as I pull things apart so that hopefully I can use them to guide me in how it all goes back together. Necessary because I don't have a repair manual for the van and - try as I might - I've yet to find someone who has a copy available to buy. Actually if I had a repair manual I wouldn't be concerned at all about pulling things apart. Not having one is why this task is so daunting. I'm not a natural mechanic.

All those spanners (top left
and middle) don't even come close
to how many I have available.
My problem today has been a serious lack of the 'right' spanner. I've inherited more spanners than I probably will ever use from the owner of our house. You would think with so many spanners I'd be set but no. The size spanner I need is nowhere to be found - and nearly all the nuts in the engine are this one size.

Consequently I didn't get as far as I'd hoped because I didn't want to risk using the crappy shifter spanners I have, which are great for rounding nuts to the point of being un-removable.

Tomorrow I'm going to go out and buy just the right spanner I need and then hopefully I'll be able to get going again. I'll let you know how I get on.

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