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You Couldn’t Make This Up !

September 30, 2011

The sense of freedom on finally leaving Lillooet was immense – we could finally get back to travelling again after a month of mechanical mayhem.

First we had to drive the wrong way up to Kamloops to return our hire car. From there we headed due South with our next destination being Harrison Hot Springs. In the last month the days have been getting much shorter and now it is dark just after 7pm. We didn’t make it as far as Harrison but instead decided to look for somewhere to free camp just short of a town called Hope.

We drove down a side road next to the freeway and found a good turnout by a river, so we pulled in and got out ready to settle in for the night. But no – we could hear a loud hissing sound coming from the truck – what now we thought – A PUNCTURE. We couldn’t quite believe our luck !

With the dark gathering quickly we got out our jack and placed it under the axle to provide some support. There was no way that we were going to change the tyre that night though. I did test the lug nuts though to make sure that I could turn them – and all of them turned – that was a serious relief.  We spent an anxious night – moving around very gently to make sure we didn’t knock the truck off the jack  – before resuming at first light. Although just our luck it was pouring with rain in the morning.

We have two spare tyres – one under the truck on a pulley system and one on the back with a winch to get it down. Well we soon discovered that the one on the winch was bolted on with bolts which we didn’t have the right size spanner for.  Fortunately the other one was bolted on with nuts the same size as the tyre ones – good design.

It took us a little while to figure out the pulley system to get the tyre unloaded but we eventually had it just above the floor. We wedged a stick underneath to make sure we could get purchase on it before disconnecting the pulley. I then had to lift it upright (no mean feat – these tyres are heavy) and we rolled it round to the other side.

It didn’t take long to undo all the nuts holding the flat in place and then slide it off. However we were then faced with the challenge of putting the new tyre on. Not easy as it was too heavy to lift. Through a combination of pushing and using the jack to move the hub up and down we eventually managed to get the spare onto the hub and then it was an easy matter to screw the nuts back up.

The only challenge left now was reloading the punctured tyre onto the truck which was fairly easy now that we had worked out how to do it.

We had managed to change the spare, in the rain, in only 1.5 hours. If there is a next time we will be quicker.

The town of Hope was a short distance away and we went to Kal Tire there who put a new inner tube in the punctured tyre (after breaking the valve of the old one instead of fixing it). They then took the spare off the truck and put on the new fixed tyre. We want to make sure that the tyres wear evenly so we can get them regrooved all together.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Colin permalink
    September 30, 2011 8:58 pm

    I’m waiting for the post where you set fire to your truck and fly home….

    Still, makes good reading for us ‘armchair explorers’.

  2. October 10, 2011 4:43 pm

    A thought for the tire…

    Having had a CDL for several years, and running dumptrucks and buses, I have changed a tire or two in my past.

    Here is a thought for you. Find yourself a nice long metal pipe or bar. In the order of about five feet long (1.5M will do). When the tire is standing on the tread you can put the bar under one end (towards the front or rear of the truck). Then push the tire towards the bar a bit and lift with the bar. This makes the tire MUCH lighter and you can position the tire with the bar easily for mounting on the hub. Did that make sense? I could try to phrase it differently if it did not. Otherwise just stop into any truck tire store and watch them change the tire on a big rig, you will learn fast enough, and again it is a much easier way to leaver the tire around. Makes it lite really.

    • October 11, 2011 3:40 pm

      We’d worked this bit out after seeing how Kal Tire put the fixed tyre back on. Made it look easy. We’ve since bought a metal bar for just this purpose. Also got an impact wrench to run off our onboard air to make sure we can get the nuts undone.

      Things you learn !

      • October 11, 2011 3:42 pm

        Yes, the impact wrech works amazing wonders! It makes the job so very fast! I did not suggest it oweing to the weight and size, most overlanders seem to be stuffed to the gills as it is. But congrats, and I am glad you knew before I wrote.


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