Wheel alignment

Monday 29 November 2021

A busy time now that summer is almost here

Daytime temperatures of the mid-20's C and minimal rain makes time to enjoy outdoor activities.  Sadly, motorcycling isn't one of them at present as my tyres are down to the wear bars and need replacing.  I could probably order them online and fit them myself but that involves a hassle and there's plenty of work on the task list already.  With lockdown restrictions shortly being lifted where my favourite dealer is located, that problem can be sorted fairly quickly provided that there aren't any supply chain problems for my favourite tyres, the Michelin Road 5's.  The KTM also needs a service. Since writing up the end of life review HERE , I've been for a couple more rides and Road 5 effective life is better than 11,000 km.  That will do just fine, considering that they haven't had an easy time.

Road 5 front hoop - in dire need of replacement

Owning the MG is still providing a steep learning path. Even with eyes wide open before purchase, routine maintenance is substantially greater than with modern cars; particularly lubrication of engine and drivetrain plus suspension and steering.  I'm finding that many automotive workshops excepting specialists aren't keen to work on classic vehicles.  There aren't any specialists within a 2.5 hour drive so the routine stuff is down to me.  A fair bit of the lubrication schedule involves access to the underside of the car and I haven't got a pit or proper hoist.  Fortunately, the car doesn't need lifting very high and jacking it onto axle stands is fine for routine work.  Hoisting it with a scissor jack is tedious and time-consuming so a trolley jack was an obvious solution.  

Perusing ones for sale at NZ's major automotive parts outlets didn't fill me with confidence.  By and large, they looked cheap and nasty.  On-line reviews weren't confidence-inspiring either with a surprising number of purchasers mentioning hydraulic failures and other breakages in an unacceptably short time.  Purely by chance when looking at a classic car parts website, I found one which was made from substantial steel plate that was CE/ANSI/ASME certified.  With a 3 tonne capacity which I didn't really need, it wasn't vastly more expensive than the crappy ones at the main automotive outlets.  The only downside was that it weighed 35kg and was too heavy for NZ Post, so had to be couriered to us from Auckland. Service from Hawkswood Classic Car Parts was outstanding with it arriving the day after purchase.  As an amusing aside, it was delivered by large truck and the driver wasn't keen to tackle our steep drive.  Instead, he left it in a safe place near the bottom.  Just about had a hernia loading it into our 4x4 for the trip up the drive as it was in a slippery box with an absence of handholds!  In summary, it's an absolute cracker - a quality build.  Makes life so much easier and can lift to 495mm.  Great to deal with Hawkswood too, exceptional hassle-free service.

A seriously good trolley jack

In a previous post, I mentioned the need fit a USB plug for smartphone charging.  The first attempt failed as I'd incorrectly identified an earth return wire.  This was easily fixed by earthing it to the body behind the instrument cluster .  The blue LED inside the inside the USB plug looks quite pleasing too!

Awww...... pretty!

AliExpress have been good at supplying various peripherals I need at very sharp prices and considering the current world-wide supply chain problems, delivery is consistently good too.  One of my most useful purchases has been an extremely bright rechargable inspection lamp.  Equipped with a swivelling base, clamp and additional magnets, it can be positioned virtually anywhere.  Delivered price to NZ?  Around NZ$20 which is great value for money.

LED inspection lamp using a magnet to affix to the bonnet

Currently awaiting a timing gun as I gave mine away at least 2 decades ago, a 500 ml syringe for doing an oil change on the diff and an LED replacement for the standard internal car lightbulb which at 5W, is nigh on useless for seeing anything. All the extras when owning an old vehicle sure do add up.  Still, as getting one was Jennie's idea, she can hardly complain!

We've covered around 800km so far and fuel consumption has been about 11.5 lt/100 km or 25 imperial miles to the gallon.  This is in line with expectations at moderate speeds and should give a range over 500 km which is quite reasonable. Adding the anti-valve recession additive at the same time as refilling the tank is no big deal.

Pohutukawa tree coming into flower near our house

We also managed to get out fishing in the boat for the first time in months and for once, I caught more than Jennie. It's not so much being able to catch your own dinner as fishing in spectacular surroundings - good for the soul.

Jennie waiting for the first strike

With the summer weather upon us,  gardening is the other activity which soaks up time.  Most of our property is in trees, shrubs and other plants which require minimal maintenance as we love gardens but not gardening if that makes sense. Here are a few of the items in the garden at present.

Pink Bottlebrush - quite hard to find compared with the red ones

Bougainvillea Scarlett O'Hara - training it up a pergola

Subtropical Bromeliad

Bird of Paradise

One thing is for sure, at 74; finding stuff to keep active isn't a problem!


  1. Winter is around the corner for us here in Philadelphia. I hate cold weather with a passion.

    1. Me too Kofla! Fortunately, frosts are rare where we live and it rarely gets above 35 C either. Just right for this old body!

  2. It sounds like you are enjoying life. The MG maintenance could be a lot if you needed to rely on others. Doing it yourself simplifies things.

    1. Hi Richard,
      A bit of variety keeps things interesting. I just hope that the MG doesn't take up too much time or it will be on the market! It should be fine - just need to satisfy my OCD by checking everything thoroughly 😁. I guess you had a similar experience with your mobile home!

  3. You sure do like doing maintenance - Boat, vintage car, garden so much to do. Your weather is much like ours and I dont like the cold either.

    1. Hi Steve,
      Before we retired, we said that we'd buy a single storey house on a level, no maintenance section on the edge of a city. You've been here - the polar opposite of what we ended up with! Mind you, we've been blissfully happy but it's going to be an issue in a few years!

  4. I am so loving your garden pics. We had our first snow yesterday, all slushy. Otherwise it's cold and grey and wet over here... Enjoy the reopening of your neck of the woods. We will likely get our next lockdown soon thanks to the Covidiots being scared of getting "chipped".

    1. Hi Sonja,
      Thank you! The criterion for any plant in our garden is that it has to be low care 😁 . I was only reading about your lockdown issues this morning. Every good wish.

  5. Nice one Geoff. It's been a bit busy down here too, I've just moved house - but now I' have sheddage!

    Hmmm, I'm telling Jacinda on you - my evil Euro 5 diesel ute does a fair bit better in the economy stakes than that new/old thing of yours ;)

    1. Congratulations Andrew! More space to totally fill up with "stuff" 😁. I hope that your pooch approves! Yeah, vehicles from that era weren't too fuel efficient but at least it's better than a Mustang or Cobra!


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