Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 23 April 2012

Problems, problems

Last Wednesday we set off in the motorvan for a short break and to deliver food parcels for our forthcoming backpacking trip, but it wasn't long before it was obvious that there was a problem: the engine simply wasn't functioning as it should. It's a VW 5 cylinder 2.5TDI and the 'T' bit just wasn't working. We eventually got off the motorway and home to our local excellent garage who noted that there was very little exhaust gas coming from the tail pipe: it was being vented into the engine compartment. Maybe a collapsed catalytic converter they thought, but in any event they are fitting it in at lunch time today for a more thorough investigation. If it can't be fixed this afternoon there is a possibility that our backpacking trip will have to be cancelled, since I'll need to take any date they can give if we are to have the motorvan for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday as we wandered the hills we pondered what we could do instead of our planned walk. Perhaps various short backpacking trips could be fitted in before the van was due at the garage for repair? Knoydart or a trip to Rum, maybe. We could salvage something!

However, for no apparent reason, this morning I have pulled a muscle in my back. I say 'for no apparent reason' but in fact it's the reappearance of an old injury. So, I'm sitting here feeling rather pessimistic about things because, even if the motorvan were fixed today, I couldn't risk a long backpacking trip which is now less than two weeks away - at the moment I can hardly move without pain let alone carry a rucksack. It doesn't feel quite as bad as the initial injury did back in 2009 so maybe I'll recover more quickly, but with a B&B to cancel and no parcels delivered a decision will have to be made in the next few days.

Fortunately the Fuizion food has a 'use by' date of 2014 so that won't go to waste but that's about the only positive thing I can think of saying to finish this dreary posting.


  1. As a fellow backpacker stuck in the pits you have my sympathy.

    My only consolation is that I have been able to get out on my bike. My knee replacement is now scheduled for 4th. May, and after that recovery time and the doubts over the other knee have me looking far into the future before I get a chance, if at all, to do more backpacking.

    I hope your problem is resolved so you can do the TGOC. I have never done it but from everything I read it seems to be habit forming after the first time, so good luck.

  2. Thanks Conrad. We'll be thinking of you on the 4th May and I'm sure all will go well.

    We weren't doing our walk as part of the TGOC but independently, starting a week earlier. Ironically, having that extra week to recover might have made all the difference but train tickets are bought and other plans laid so we can't really postpone the walk.

  3. Oh No!
    After all the effort and prep. i hope you find it all comes together and you will make the trip.
    Fingers are crossed.

    The van problem, if it turns out to be what they think is an easy job to do, but stand by for a big bill. They are expensive bits of the system.
    If its a Turbo problem stand by for a longer wait and an even bigger bill.
    Again fingers crossed for the converter or less.

  4. Thanks for all that Alan. I'm not sanguine about the size of the bill, but it's the least of my worries at present. If the turbo has gone on a VW with little more than 32000 on the clock I won't be buying German again. At the moment neither John or his Dad, who own the business, think it is the turbo but can't rule it out of course. I should know this evening.

    A long wait would be a real pain though. As for the walk, if that has to be cancelled then that's unfortunate given all the planning etc that has been done, but a 'West to East' has never been very high on my list of things to do, just something worth doing 'sometime'. On the other hand if the muscle problem keeps me off the hills for any length of time I'll probably go completely off my rocker!!

  5. Gibson, you also have mine (sympathy). I pulled a muscle in my back throwing in a cricket ball over 30 years ago (it was a freezing cold early season day). That old injury still revisits me out of the blue now and again.

    Perhaps the enforced rest is a blessing in disguise: time to let the injury recover. I'd be surprised if a turbo on a VW engine had blown at such low mileage; it might be something like the airflow regulator (that might not be the exact name), if so it's not a huge job; I had to have mine replaced on a VW turbodiesel a few years back. Fingers crossed.

  6. Thanks Dave. If it had to happen, better now rather than miles from anywhere with a heavy pack I suppose. It was bad sign when Lynne shut the (heavy) front door on her finger yesterday. I'm rather glad I was exceptionally sympathetic!

    The airflow regulator might be what I know as the 'air mass meter', The garage folks don't think this is the problem, although initially they did mention it as a possibility. Could even just be the exhaust pipe. soon all will be revealed.

  7. Dave - your comment went to spam for some reason. The only reason I knew you'd commented was because a notification came through to my email on my phone. In future I must check my 'comments' on Dashboard.

  8. This all sounds ghastly, Gibson.
    Get well soon - the van can be fixed by trained guys in overalls - your back needs lots of TLC.
    Best of luck with it.

  9. Thanks Alan. As previously I think it'll take around four weeks to get back to normal, maybe less, as it doesn't feel as bad as the original injury. As for the van, it's still at the garage.

  10. Just back from your part of the world Gibson, and sorry to hear of your woes. I hope they all turn out to be in the 'minor inconvenience' category.

  11. Yes, I noted you'd made a raid across the border Martin.

    The van is only a 'minor inconvenience' in the scheme of things (though possibly an expensive one)but it remains to be seen whether the pulled back muscle falls into that category.