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DOWN & DIRTY PROJECTS: Land Rover and Mitsubishi Pajero

10 August 2016

Deziree throws a tantrum
Our poor old Landy has had a tough time recently. 

Deziree’s municipal registration has, for the past month or two, been a challenge. The problem is a red tape one: the Cape Town city council reckons the vehicle should be registered in Johannesburg, and the Johannesburg city council says she must be registered in Cape Town. So at the moment, poor old Deziree is left in the middle, not welcome in Cape Town nor Johannesburg. We continued sifting through details and registration forms to try and make sense of company registrations and so forth.

Unfortunately, the registration maladies were not the only hardship for our poor old Deziree. Since she was due to head over to Onca 4×4 in Kempton Park for some custom fabrication, before heading off to a paint shop, we decided to give the chassis a proper clean at the Autowash carwash at the Northgate Shopping Centre. This entailed driving Deziree onto a ramp, which lifted her high into the air. The elevation allowed a man with a high-pressure hose to get cracking
on her chassis.

A few hours later we returned to pick up Deziree, sporting a gleamingly clean chassis. But there was a problem, said the personnel at the wash. She refused to start after the wash. Oh dear, it seemed as if Deziree did not appreciate these strangers spraying her belly with a high-pressure hose at all. Not too worry, we said… we have some experience coaxing the old girl’s straight-six engine to life. So we did what we normally do: we attached some jumper cables to her battery, jumped in behind the steering wheel, turned the key and… well, er, nothing.

The engine would turn over as if it was running on one cylinder, but only for a few seconds, before Deziree played dead again. Opening the bonnet, it was clear some of the water had made its way up to the carburettor and distributor areas. We dried, fiddled, dried and fiddled. But Deziree clearly felt violated by this spraying of her nether regions, and continued with the dead routine…

eventually, colleague Gerhard Horn tried the charm route. “Oh, come on Deziree, don’t be like this? They just sprayed you to make you look beautiful, you know… come on, Dez, start now, please? Pleeeeez?” Turn ignition key. Pump accelerator for good luck. Brief one-cylinder action. Deadness. Blimey. Since it was a Friday afternoon, and since we had other places to be, too; we organised with the kind folks at Autowash to store Deziree for us until we could fetch her. As it turned out, this was only on the Monday. Expecting the worst, and armed with the number of  a tow-in service, we headed over to Autowash, first thing in the morning. Deziree was standing under the shade netting, in a corner. She looked a bit sad, it must be said.

We went through the routine again. Hook up the jumper cables, jump in behind the steering wheel, give the accelerator pedal one blast, turn the key and… vroom! She started as if there was never any problem whatsoever! In theory, it seemed as if our ‘tough love’ policy had worked, but in more practical terms, the water that may have lodged itself in her distributor had obviously dried.  Anyway, this little drama had delayed Deziree’s delivery to Onca 4×4, but we will soon be loading her onto a trailer and transporting her to the company’s Kempton Park workshop where the custom fabricators will get to work on creating some unique new panels for  the Landy. The journey continues.

Pajero cocks a wheel
We recently handed over our Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2Di-D to SA driving legend Willie Nel, who competed in the Bridgestone 4×4 Challenge with 4×4 television presenter Tumelo Maketekete.  Next the Pajero will depart our offices for a short stay at Front Runner. The Pajero will then be used on a 4×4 driving course, and it will also visit the company’s workshop for the fitment of some additional accessories.

This will include a Front Runner Slimline II roof rack and some underbody protection plates. Meanwhile, the Pajero’s unique motorsport-inspired jacket is receiving plenty of attention, and it certainly stands out in a crowd of Pajeros.