Monday, 26 December 2011

The new Málaga by-pass, A7 - east to west

And the flip side - east to west. I don't think any text is necessary if you have read the previous post.

Except to say head for Algeciras all the way and you can't go wrong.

A nice peaceful start to the journey

One of those adorable ruins 'para reformar'?

Spanish love their bridges

By-passing Málaga and looking towards Alhaurin

Entrance to the tunnel

Spectacular views on the other side of the tunnel

And rejoining the old road again around the hills above Torremolinos

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The new Málaga by-pass, A7 - west to east

The last time we set off down the N340/A7/goodness-knows-how-many-other-names-it-has, down to Gib, it looked as though the new by-pass around Málaga was finally open.

Either way we missed it. And trotted happily off down the usual old city by-pass route (opened nearly 20 years ago in 1992) which is pretty quiet on a Sunday anyway.

But coming back up from Gib a couple of weeks ago we decided to go for it.

Yes, the by-pass of the Málaga by-pass finally opened at the end of October. A press release from 2008 says it was due to cost more than 83M euros for 4kms. That's roughly 21M euros per kilometre. Think we travelled more than 4kms too. Guess it cost more than 83M in the end.

Wait. I have found something slightly more up-to-date and accurate. We are now looking at a total cost of 339M euros for 21.3kms. Ah, that's more like it. Thanks Costa del Sol News - more info here.

Anyway. It was good. It's not a toll road, at places there are four lanes, and right now, it is not overly used. Not at weekends anyway. And there are some cracking views, although, it is hard in Andalucía not to have cracking views.

If you are heading east, follow the signs for Almería. There is also less lane-swapping for that route, so it is a good thing all round.

Some pix.

Heading off on the new road..

One of the last parts of the by-pass to be completed was the 1.25k Churriana tunnel.

Entrance to the tunnel

Graffiti artists are in there as fast as they can

Looking towards the airport, the new road runs well north

And, with Málaga behind us, heading for the hills of the Axarquía

Monday, 3 October 2011

Fairey winches

We read recently on some Landy forums that people with Fairey winches have been unable to get the original documentation for them.

So, if anyone is stuck, please leave a comment on here and we will try to help.

We have info on the Fairey Series 5000 with mechanical power-take-off, fitting and operating instructions, and the Superwinch Series III Drum Winch kit 6920.

Superwinch sent the information to us some 20 or so years ago, so thanks to them for that.

Here is an interesting thread on winches from the Series2club.

And below, is (one of) ours on the Series III (south of Cadiz)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Tips for driving in Spain ;)

Travelling on the N340 today and watching varying styles of driving, made me think it would be useful to compile one of those lists for how to drive elsewhere - in this case in Spain.

1) The obvious one. Speed limits do not apply. Or if they do, they are the minimum speed for driving.

2) When you are merging onto a dual carriageway or motorway, it is important to go as quickly as possible and push your way on in front of someone, especially if it causes them to ram on their brakes. Those little white lines that indicate 'Give way' certainly do not apply to you. Someone already on the main road does not have right of way.

3) In the unlikely event that a Spaniard is driving in the inside lane of the dual carriageway/motorway, when approaching a merger, they should immediately speed up to prevent as many vehicles as possible entering in front of them.

4) Stopping distances are for wimps. Tailgating at 120 kmh, or more, in the outside lane is the way to go.

5) The obligatory joint, shot of your spirit of choice (eg brandy, anis, whatever) is how to start your journey.

6) The most important thing is to get to your destination as quickly as possible. So drive quickly and don't stop when you feel tired. It doesn't matter if you doze off for a few minutes, no-one will notice.

(The above two points go some way to explaining the meandering style of some drivers and the erratic speed changes).

7) When your mobile rings - answer it immediately regardless of where you are and what speed you are going at. It could be important. You can then slow down of course as you chat away on your non-hands-free mobile.

8) And don't forget when you want a fag, take one or both hands off the wheel to faff around lighting it. When you have done that, continue to drive with one hand on the wheel so that you can enjoy your cigarette.

9) If you are looking for somewhere, make sure you slow down without warning, speed up when it is the wrong exit, and then slow down again to check the next one. Finding out which exit you need before you start the journey spoils all the fun.

10) If someone is attempting to overtake you, immediately speed up and do not let them.

11) If you fail, and they do succeed in overtaking you, you need to get them back straightaway.

12) Wait until the very last minute to swap lanes to avoid the toll road. This has the added bonus of cutting across all the vehicles who want to use the toll road. Similarly if you are speeding along in the outside lane and want to take the next exit, it must be a last minute dash across the lanes.

13) Indicators are unnecessary. They are a waste of time and whose business is it where you are going anyway? So never use your indicators unless you are bored and want a little diversion. Especially at any roundabouts - where - if you do use one, make sure it is the wrong one (assuming you know how to indicate at roundabouts).

14) If you are suddenly going slowly - for whatever reason - do NOT put on your hazards or give any indication that you are dropping speed.

15) This last one is perhaps the most important. If someone is foolish enough to indicate to pull out into your lane - DO NOT LET THEM. Never pull into another lane to allow someone to move out. Even if there is enough room for them to pull in front of you, you absolutely must speed up so they are stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. Keep them out at all costs and watch them lose speed and be totally unable to pull out. Oh! So! Funny!

This is a tongue in cheek guide, I hasten to add. I neither recommend nor condone anything on the above list.

We also saw numerous examples of every single one of the above in a two hour drive today.

Is that because we drive a Land Rover??

Monday, 27 June 2011

On the road to Mongolia

This is a travel post - maybe not in a Landy - but natch, there is a Landy link.

Not long after we had embarked on our own travels through France, Spain and Portugal (in the Landy), we received a letter from a friend in the UK.

Like us, he had a Series III 109 with a V8, so there was never a shortage of conversation. Might have been a shortage of different topics - but who needs more than one?

He worked within a radius of up to 100 or so miles from home. When he rewired our Series after the rebuild - there was no charge. A genuine Land Rover mate.

Anyway, his letter told us he was off to work for a private company which ran maintenance contracts on a British Army base in a previously war-torn country. As with most of these international interventions, the role had changed to peacekeeping and reconstruction.

The next time he got in touch, he was off south - to somewhere colder. This confused us both. South is invariably warmer. Unless it is Antarctica. On his way back home, via what seemed like half of South America, he called in to see us in Spain - as you do.

In fact, he flew into Malaga, found the bus to our village, and when we were still busy cleaning the place for his arrival there was a knock on the door. Were we ever impressed. 'Hello,' he said, and smiled.

A good week or so ago, we g0t an email announcing the next short journey he's going on. Mongolia. In an ambulance.

So below are some links - ones for his team, and the official web site for The Adventurists.

I'd never heard of The Adventurists before, but it's a fascinating site, if a bit of a pain to negotiate.

And the other relevant Landy comment is - you can't take one on any of The Adventurist expeds :( Unless - it is a public service utility vehicle, eg ex-mil ambulance or fire engine, but you would have to check up on that. If I'm wrong, no doubt someone will correct me.

Nevertheless - well worth a read. Suggested page on the official site if you want detail is the handbook download. Most of the rest of the sections are pretty pix but don't tell you much.

Teams participating in the rally raise fifty per cent of their money for a local specified charity in Mongolia, and the other fifty per cent is for a charity chosen by the team.

Each team needs to be self-supporting as there is no official back-up or support team. When they hit the road, they are on their own.

Good luck to our mate and his colleagues from work in the Antarctica - not long to go now to the start date, 23rd July from Goodwood UK. Hope to read about your all your adventures on the team blog. Have a great trip.

Main links posted on here will also be included on the sidebar for easy reference.

Adventurists' home page

Mongol rally link on Adventurists' site (download of handbook available on this link)

Mongols blog

The ambulance(s)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Import duty into Gib - update

We had a query about importing a vehicle into Gibraltar so I thought I would answer it in a main post so everyone gets to see the answer. (Original post here).

Here were the questions:

What is the accurate duty fee to pay? Is it 30%, 40%, 12%?

And how does it vary depending on engine size?

How is the value determined and is it worth using an online evaluation of the plates to get an idea of how much will be required to pay?

thx for the usefull article!

My article referred to importing a second hand vehicle. The duty for these is as follows:

Up to 1500cc - 25%
From 1500 - 2000cc - 30%
More than 2000cc - 35%

For new vehicles the duty is less (ie half the second hand duty):

Up to 1500cc - 12.5%
From 1500-2000cc - 15%
More than 2000cc - 17.5%

That answers the first two questions.

The value of the vehicle is determined by the customs officer who examines it. Bear in mind this is part of their daily job and they are experienced at it. We considered we were given a fair valuation.

So, no, I don't think an online evaluation of plates would help because at the end of the day it is the custom officer's decision.

If anyone is bringing their vehicle in from Spain - or elsewhere - don't forget to take it off the other system first BEFORE you import it into Gibraltar. If you import into Gibraltar, without taking it off another system, it will just cost you money to run on two systems.

I should add that different rules apply for the military who can get a bond and avoid paying duty as they are 'temporary residents' and intend to take their vehicle back home.

Although there were changes made in the 2010 budget, they did not affect duty on private imports that I cited above.

I include the quote from the budget below:

Import duty on pedal cycles, which is currently 12%, is reduced to zero;
Import duty on electric cars is reduced to zero;
Import duty on hybrid cars is halved for dealers to 6.25%,7.5% and 8.5% for cars of less than1500cc, 1500 to 2000cc and above 2000cc respectively (12.5%, 15% and 17% respectively, for private
Mr Speaker, 2 stroke engines create more pollution than 4 stroke engines, yet the duty on two stroke under 50cc is 6%, while the duty on 125cc 4 stroke is 30%. We need to discourage, not encourage the use of 2 stroke engines. Accordingly the duty on a 2 stroke under 50 cc motorcycle rises to 30% for dealers (it is already 30% for private imports) and all 2 stroke engines, regardless of cubic capacity will have a duty rate of 30%. In contrast, the duty on a four stroke motorcycle of any cubic capacity is cut from 30% to 15% for dealers (private imports will remain at 30%, except 4 stroke under 50cc which will remains as it is at present, namely at 6% for dealers and 12% for private imports.
Import duties on motor vehicles is increased for dealers as follows:
- Less than 1500cc by 2.5% from 12.5% to 15%
- 1500cc to 2000cc by 3% from 15% to 18%
- Over 2000cc by 4.5% from 17.5% to 22%
They remain unchanged for private imports

Don't forget, to import a vehicle onto Gib plates, you need to be a Gib resident or have a business registered in Gibraltar.

Hope that helps. But it's always advisable to ring customs and check. Or walk in, depending on where you are.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Gib mil vehicles

Couldn't resist these two RN Landies parked outside John Mack Hall when there was a parade this weekend.

And, when we went down to the dockyard to watch the 21gun salute for the accession to the throne of HMQEII, we checked out the Reynolds Boughton that is being done up very nicely.

Had a query about importing into Gib, so that will be the next post.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ready to go

Here we are, not long before we set off on our travels.

We'd done a total rebuild and she was pretty fit at this point.

New chassis, new 1 ton springs, second hand bulkhead, second hand back body, ex-mil doors, a load of others I can't even remember. We'd even sorted the brakes.

But first up, a few trial trips around the UK.

More later.....

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Not such a pane - the trip to Arcos

As this blog is about travels and trips as well as mending Landies, I thought I would finish the series of glass-hunting posts with some - 'phone - photos of the trip taken on the return journey from Arcos.

We've travelled up the beautiful Cadiz coastline before, up through Jerez, via Sevilla, and into the Cota Doñana, and we'd travelled inland around the Medina Sidonia area, but we'd never been through the centre and the Alcornocales Natural Park.

So when we had to change our travel plans - due to lack of scrapyard at Jimena - I took a quick look at the map and off we set to Los Barrios to pick up the A381, which is the main route to Jerez.

I was most put out that we weren't going to Jimena. It looked a good route, I had planned a couple of geocaches into the trip and all in all it should have taken about half a day.

One look at the map, and the trip to Arcos was a full day's trip. Nearly three hours to get there, another three to get back, goodness knows how long to find the scrappy, and then if we were lucky, faffing around to get the relevant bits off.

And I hadn't packed any sandwiches for our picnic. I would be STARVING!!

But once we started on the road, my bad humour disappeared. The scenery was stunning. The natural park is full of what seem to be huge lakes, but which according to the map, are apparently reservoirs.

The road cuts through the south-western part of the park across two reservoirs that seem to stretch for miles. Despite the main road dual carriageway status of the A381 it was incredibly quiet. It was like being on a toll road at the weekend, except there was no toll to pay and this was Friday, usually a busy day on the roads.

We came off at the Medina Sidonia junction, as I couldn't face the idea of traipsing off towards Jerez, and then back on ourselves towards Arcos.

The road would probably have been good but it was full of hellish roadworks, and a huge wind had picked up, presumably the usual Poniente from the Atlantic.

Once past Paterna de Rivera, and the roadworks though, it was another lovely route, and eventually we hit Arcos with plenty of time to find the scrappy before lunch and the inevitable three hour siesta, or so we thought.

Finding the scrappy was the nightmare we envisaged. We had been told it was on the main road in from Jerez (it wasn't), so we ended up having to ask directions every couple of kms as it was quite complicated to find. We took it in turns to get out of the vehicle and ask in our brilliant Spanish 'Dónde está el desguace?'

It is, incidentally, on the road out of Arcos towards Algar - the CA5221. There is a sign next to the venta. (Pic on post from last year in May).

Post scrappy visit, we stopped at the venta and I asked where the road went. I figured we were heading in the right direction and shouldn't need to traipse back through town. We didn't. So we followed the road down through Algar, over the most vertiginous dam that reminded me of the famous Land Rover ad, and back down through, towards Alcalá de los Gazules and to rejoin the A381. Well, admittedly we made the odd wrong turn in Alcalá and ending going back towards Medina Sidonia. But we got back on track in the end. Thank goodness for the GPS on my iPhone! *Blush*

If the first trip had been pretty quiet (roadworks excepted), this one was unbelievably tranquil. We had hit siesta time by now so the whole of Spain seemed to have gone to sleep and we had the road virtually to ourselves.

It was, in the end a good day out, a successful mission, and a lovely round trip. But damn! I wish we had thought about the striker plates.

And we still haven't been to Jimena, so maybe that should be the next photo-trip post.

Arcos de la Frontera - stunning place and worth a visit

Spring flowers - reminded me of English countryside which doesn't happen often in Andalucía

The winding road to ourselves


Entering the reservoir zone with trees growing in water

Crossing one of the reservoirs

Sunday, 13 February 2011

What a pane - lessons and costs

Here is the much promised post about lessons learned and costs when replacing the glass/doors, based on our mistakes.

Short and sweet:

1) When you find a windscreen at the scrappy, take the frame as well. The glass is easy to get out of the frame of the donor vehicle, but it is a pain to put back in yours. And new windscreens are dear. As we know to our cost.

2) Don't be in so much of a rush when you buy doors that you forget the striker plates. They do vary. Again .. as we know ....

3) With the rear sliding windows, make sure you line up the aluminium box sections correctly. At least we got that one right this time around.

4) Washing-up liquid helps to make working with the rubber seals easier.

5) Don't rush. Sit down and think about what you need to do. We started off by pricing new glass from UK suppliers and the price was horrific. Don't rush at the scrappies either. If you are reading this from Spain, the system is different - normally you have to wait for them to take off bits, but if you take your tools they will usually let you do it yourself. Use forums and ask for help. It doesn't hurt, it doesn't cost, and you may get some useful info. We did.


The first lot of glass we got was from El Inglés at the Poligono Industrial in Málaga. The cost was €25 for each piece of glass regardless, ie the back door, windscreen, two front doors and two pieces each for the two rear ones. Eight, if anyone is counting.

And at San Miguel in Arcos de la Frontera, €40 for each middle door.

So far so good, €280. Until the windscreen went and it was another €300+ to get it done professionally in La Linea. More than the cost of all the others put together.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

What a pane (5) - Cracked it!

Last but not least, the windscreen.

This was the one we really lacked confidence for. Anyways, usual story, knock out all broken glass. Remove window seal and get rid of rest of glass.

Lubricate both faces of seal. Refit to glass. Start to insert glass and seal, slowly and carefully into frame.

Fuck it up at last corner. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Plan B

Undo all bolts from roof and jack up with hi-lift jack. Place bits of wood at each side and then remove HLJ.

Take out frame. Take to glass firm in La Linea (Carglass). Return on appointed day - come tomorrow, mañana of course - which was Fiesta! For ever! so shop was shut. Slouch home miserably.

Wait for them to ring - which they did a few days later, asking where we were?

Go to collect glass. Ouch!! Cost more than everything else put together.

Refit. In reverse order. Luckily it hadn't rained.

And there we are. All sorted. Give or take striker plates, and a few other door problems. But hey, looks a hell of a sight better than it did.

Costs, and lessons learned on final post to follow.

Check out the new music on the sidebar. It's relevant.

Had a bit of a musical fit with this one too - every caption sings a song.

Who shot the sheriff?

Heart of glass?

Broken down angel

Highway to hell

Spanners - from the album 'A spanner in the works'

Broken down

Led Zep - The Rover

Jumping jack flash

The Jack

The very best - hit the road, Jack

Wild Rover

Breaking glass

Back on the road again

Monday, 10 January 2011

What a pane (4) - a wind up?

Getting there. Front door windows next. We'd looked for some decent doors because ours need replacing, but had to settle for the windows only.

Like the rest of the glass, they are windy up ones, not sliding, so sorting out the scissor-style winding mechanism was something to contend with for the first time.

Remove door card. Then remove all broken glass (lots) from inside the door. Take out metal panel and winding mechanism.

Insert glass at an angle, ensuring ball rollers go into the track at the bottom of the glass. Again two pairs of hands are good. Three would be better and then there might be more photos.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What a pane (3) - own goal - no strikers

We found a lot of glass at a Málaga scrapyard. What we didn't find was glass for the middle doors, or even any decent replacement middle doors.

But, after a drive up to the scrappy at Arcos de la Frontera, we found some middle doors, complete with glass. They were from an earlier model, but hey anything will do when you are struggling.

It had taken us ages to find the scrappy. The directions we had been given initially were not good, but once we got to Arcos, we just kept asking in Spanish for the scrapyard. Each time we asked (we were taking it in turns at this point), everyone gave us directions so far - and then said 'ask again when you get that far.' Which was exactly what we did.

Gotta love the Spanish though because it worked. Although I was slightly worried when we spoke to a council worker who kept repeating the directions. By the time he had finished I thought we had to turn left 50 times.

We arrived around 1.15/1.30pm. Not good. There was a queue. Spanish scrapyards are - er - not like British ones. You don't go armed with screwdrivers and socket sets happily to dismantle bits and put them in your basket to pay at the check-out.

Oh no. You tell them what you want and they look it up and then dismantle it for you.

We spotted a promising looking Santana and asked if we could go look. Spaniards shrugged their shoulders at crazy foreigners. Perfect!! Middle doors (ours were crap anyway and needed replacing).

'We can't do it now so come back at 5pm after siesta.' How long does it take to take off a couple of doors? Did we want to wait three and a half hours? Not forgetting we hadn't brought the dog as it was hot so he was on his own in the flat.

Assertive Brits swung into action and we said we would take off the doors. Spaniards looked surprised as this is all part of the service and why would you want to do something yourself? But they agreed. We shot up to the Santana and had the doors off in no time. Young lad came with a small car to take them back to the check-out. We paid up and off we happily went.

What had we forgotten in our haste to rip off the doors before lunchtime and closedown? The striker plates. Another trip may be called for. If they even have the same vehicle or a similar one. Live and learn.

Don't think you need the details for this one. But anyway.

Remove door card and check strap that prevents door from swinging wide open. Undo screws and nuts on hinges. Lift up the door and pull it out. Preferably with an assistant.

Replace in reverse order :D

Saturday, 8 January 2011

What a pane (2) - in the rear

We hadn't been unlucky enough to have to do this one before. The hardest bit here was getting the small rubber back in - the equivalent of the one that covers the pop rivets on the side window.


Knock out as much broken glass as possible.
Take out the small rubber from the centre of the big rubber.
Remove big rubber from door and clean out all remaining glass.
Lubricate the face (that fits into the opening) of the big rubber with washing-up liquid and refit to door.
Then lubricate the other face that will take the glass.
Next, fit glass. Very carefully. In our case, using a blunt flat-head screwdriver (ie British rather than American) and a putty knife.
The final part of this is fitting the small rubber. It is a good idea to remove your spare wheel if it is on the back door. Sadly this wasn't possible as one of our mates had borrowed the relevant socket.
Lubricate this as well, and with patience and the same screwdriver, it eventually fits in.

Back window before

Interior of rear door

Glass out

Rubber seal in

Exterior of rear door

Glass out

Rubber seal in

Pushing new glass gently into place

Getting distracted

And that last piece of rubber

Using the screwdriver carefully to push the rubber into place

New glass and rubbers finally in

And then, time to do a bit of cleaning out too.

Glass gets absolutely everywhere :(