If you’ve landed here recently without benefit of Facebook re-routing, you probably went “gack?” when you saw Chris post about taking the Delica apart to release the engine.
We (I) tend to post more to Facebook these days…life is busy and Facebook is usually the quickest way to get information out there.
A bit of background for non-Facebook readers…
Chris and Stephen were headed to Berkeley earlier this week to attend a gasifier workshop. Chris bought the parts from a company in California when we passed through in January and had partially assembled them here in Darfield. The workshop is free to purchasers of their kit, so we organized the Delica with 12 big jugs of pre-filtered oil, Chris and Stephen pulled all the seats out of the back and built a platform over the jugs that they could sleep on at night, and the coolers were packed with all of Stephen’s favourite junk foods.
We pulled out of the driveway on Tuesday, the girls and I in the pick up truck and Stephen and Chris behind us in the Delica loaded for California. Chris and I were going to put in a few hours of work in Kamloops, then we were going to meet our homeschool group in the evening to watch The Hunger Games, then Stephen and Chris were to carry on for California.
Five kms from our driveway the engine oil light came on and Chris was musing this development (the van is 18 years old and there have been a few faulty or non-existent lights and switches). A short time later the van made a huge bang and died.
Stephen called me on the cell and I drove back about 10kms to find Chris already changed into work clothes on his back under the van. Within minutes of my arrival, he’d found the problem. When he changed the oil filter, the O ring from the old filter remained in the housing. Chris installed the new O ring and filter without realizing the old one stayed behind. Obviously the seal was imperfect and at highway speed the oil blew out of the engine, draining the system.
It was shock to Chris; he’s changed hundreds of oil filters over the years, from all the forklifts, loaders, cars, trucks and sundry small machinery. The question became, not whether there was damage to the engine, but how badly it was damaged.
Chris consulted my Dad briefly on the side of the road. We called the tow truck, brought the van home and carried on to Kamloops to work and the movie.
The next day Chris and I hit the phones to determine our worst-case scenario. After speaking to every Delica dealer in Canada our worst case scenario would be $3,500 out of pocket. Most of this would be the cost of a new engine, with some labour component if we decided to take the van to the shop.
Yesterday we cranked the engine backwards and got some easy movement out of it. After some discussion, we decided that to determine whether the engine was hooped or just damaged, we would need to take it out of the engine compartment.
Chris started this process yesterday. His posts are fairly succinct. He wanted to record each step so if we decided to re-install a new or rebuilt enginer, we would remember the order of disassembly. I have been able to help him for a few hours each day, but the bulk of the work has been on his shoulders.
During this time, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get ourselves and the kids to our various events and responsibilities with one vehicle. I’ve started begging rides and it’s inevitable that we will be cancelling a few things.
One of our biggest impressions, after only a part week without our veggie powered van, is the amount of money we had been spending on gasoline. We conservatively save $100 per week with our commitments for work in Kamloops.
To this end we are trying to rush the job a bit and to get the van on the road as soon as possible.
Chris will be able to attend another workshop in California later in the year, I’m sure. But it sure was disappointing for everyone. The boys’ roadtrip was no more and the girls and I had plans while they were gone.
C’est la vie.