We knew when we bought Annie that her existing tank was unlikely to pass the next MOT due to the amount of corrosion that was on it and so we decided to bite the bullet and buy her a brand new one which Mud then stripped and repainted in primer topped with the Hammerite Blue heat resistant paint he’d used on her axles, when he had refurbished them.
The end result was a pretty good job but getting from A to B proved to be a nightmare.
Over the last 8 months or so, we have learned that nothing about Annie is simple. Every job that’s been done has had at least one bolt that has been so badly corroded into place that it has required grinding or drilling off, and so we expected much of the same for the old tank. However, much to Muds’ surprise, this wasn’t the case and he managed to get the old tank off without any problems at all.
Much buoyed by this we drained the remaining fuel into a couple of Jerry cans and then proceeded to fit the newly painted tank.
One of Muds’ most common complaints whilst working on the Landies is the lack of a flat, concrete base on which to work. Our drive not only slopes down ever so slightly but it is covered in gravel which makes it not the most comfortable working environment. Mud does put down scraps of thick rubber matting but he invariably wriggles off these during the process of tightening/untightening nuts and bolts. This of course, results in much cursing and complaining, as sharp edged gravel digs into his ribcage, legs and back.
Today, matters were made infinitely worse by the fact that the temperature was below zero and we were both loosing the feeling in our fingers and toes at a rapid rate of knots.
We were reasonably confident, however, that as the old tank had come off with relative ease, the new tank would be in situ in no more than an hour and bearing in mind that Mud would be spending most of this job, on his back underneath the load bed, the gravel drive would be a minor irritation, to be endured for a short period of time. So it was with some relief that a mere 4.5 hours later, we were finally ready to pack away the tools and return to the warmth of the log burner, the new blue tank firmly in place, ready for Annies’ MOT.
So what on earth happened, you could be forgiven for asking.
Well simply put, whoever it was that had designed that particular layout of chassis to fuel tank, had obviously had the tiniest hands imaginable and the ability to contort themselves into the most impossible positions whilst still able to work a spanner with one hand and a socket with the other.
It had taken an hour and a half to site and then tighten the last bolt, washer, spacer and nut set, as the hole for the bolt was almost impossible to reach and there was virtually no room for the spanner to hold it in place with the one hand, whilst poor Mud tried to tighten the nut from beneath, with the other, using a socket in no space whatsoever.
The lack of room also meant that it was difficult to maintain the pressure needed to stop the bolt and washer from popping back out of the hole that he couldn’t actually see. Add to this the fact that poor Mud couldn’t actually feel his fingers at all by this point and you can see why we had a problem.
Finally though, he got it secured and we were on the home stretch …. or so we thought.
Unfortunately the ineptitude of the person who had built the new tank, meant that the intake pipe from the new tank, didn’t quite line up with the pipe from Annies’ fuel filler which made fitting the extremely stiff rubber hose that joins the two together, a nightmare job which took over an hour and involved much swearing and name calling.
However, the job is now done. It is complete and fully sealed, with no leaks and is ready for the MOT inspector. I hope we don’t ever have to do that job again but my lovely Annie is looking resplendent with her bright blue axles and fuel tank and I, unlike Mud, have every confidence in her ability to pass the MOT with flying colours.