JINDIVIK RECOVERY RECOVERY.
If at first you don't succeed - send for Cliff.
by David Bussey
time had come to move the dismantled Jindivik project from
Adelaide. Inspected in March last year, it was then stored
in two places, Bob Jarrett's hangar, and a property in the
Adelaide Hills. Our trip was scheduled for late autumn to
allow for the Adelaide Hills brown snakes to slow down a
bit. (In the event, the material was all consolidated at
the hangar by Bob). We have acquired an airframe that is
around 80% complete, though a little battered in places
(A Jindivik's last landing is rarely smooth, that's why
it was the last!) There is also a quantity of new unused
frames, stringers etc, to rebuild most of the bent bits.
Cliff's excursion allowance was taken up by the Metro shift,
but Ian Daniels was keen for a little drive, and had arranged
the loan of his father's F100 ute. Ian and David Bussey
set off south on May 25th, with day 1 more or
less conforming to plan. The vehicle blew a quantity of
oil out of the dipstick on the way up Cunningham's Gap,
but the planned stop at Coonabarabran was reached without
2 saw the alternator light come on about 50km south of Dubbo.
Dismantling showed it to be burnt out, and a return was
made to Dubbo where a 'reconditioned' alternator was bought
and fitted. Stopped at Forbes for the night – a little behind
schedule, but nothing drastic.
3: Diverted off highway to collect a Vengeance engine mount
offered to the museum some time previously. Suffered a flat
tyre along the West Wyalong-Hay stretch, but that was fixed
with no trouble. Stopped at Rankin Springs (population 112)
– refuel and quick feed. Cold and rain flurries, and the
truck barely started. Headwinds or crosswinds all along
this stretch. Day ended at Balranald, with about 2 hours
with the local mechanic, who replaced the condenser and
4: Further session with NRMA garage just north of Mildura.
The run down to Adelaide passed without further incident,
though we were now 1 day behind schedule. We had allowed
one day for revisiting other contacts, but this could no
longer fit the remaining time.
5: Another 'only just' start, and off to Bob Jarrett's
hangar. We called the SAAA, and the guy duly arrived, jump
started the truck and announced the points were sticking.
(Bob's troops had already worked that out). He then revved
the engine, as there was a restriction in upper revs, but
with one last rev, there was a colossal bang and a cloud
of black smoke from under the truck. Having split our muffler
like a barbeque sausage, he then repacked his ute and left
with his ears ringing! One thing about museum volunteers
– they like tinkering, and Bob Jarrett himself has great
experience in car repairs. So we had a collective pit crew
of about 6 people, and finished up with new leads, fuel
filter, the battery recharged and the muffler tack welded
and wired up. In conference with Bob, and Cliff by phone,
it was agreed to leave the trailer behind for Cliff to collect,
and return with whatever could be fitted in the back of
the F100, and our fingers crossed. We did however decide
not to go back via Hay, and chose the Mallee Highway – greater
distance overall, but more small towns along the way. Departed Adelaide mid afternoon and things seemed to be running ok, so we kept driving
after sunset to gain a few extra km. About 10km short of
Pinnaroo, everything went quiet! A clear cold night, millions
of stars, not a light to be seen, and only one vehicle passing
every 20 minutes! Oh, and no mobile phone coverage of course.
We managed to flag down a truck heading into town and contacted
the SAA rep in Pinnaroo. The culprit – the Dubbo alternator!
Day 6: Brand new alternator,
and battery recharged once again, and it was nearly noon
before we could set off. Reached Deniliquin by nightfall.
Ian had a plan – he called his father in law and arranged
for him to drive down and meet us at Dubbo, as a safety
Day 7: 5am, freezing,
and another 'petrol down the carb, pump the pedal and cross
the fingers' start. Vehicle slowly getting louder, thanks
to 'Frankenstein's muffler'. Met at Dubbo as planned - swung
by the electrical guy's premises – it was then Saturday
afternoon and the swine was shut. Resisted temptation to
throw dead alternator through the window!
Day 8: Narrabri, and we
needed the escort vehicle and its jumper leads to get started.
Muffler fell off outside of Goondiwindi and Ian replaced
it and added more baling wire without daring to switch
the engine off. A rear tyre lost a chunk of tread so the
wheel was changed at Warwick, where Cliff caught up with
us on his way down and we compared notes. Back home by
4pm, - and back to work next day. Cliff duly collected the
remainder of the Jindivik, and had a trouble free trip.
He even had the temerity to stop at Lincoln Nitschke's and
Pearce Dunne's to collect a little more stuff on the way
We do all tend to get
a little blasé about long distance driving , and the assumption
that the vehicle will function. We were never going to die
of thirst at the side of the road, but without the assistance
of many people along the way, things could have turned out
worse than they did. I would particularly like to thank
Bob Jarrett and his team, and pay tribute to Ian Daniels'
ability to keep the truck functioning, in between its major
bouts of mechanical rebellion. Many thanks to Cliff and
Yvonne Robinson for stepping in at short notice for an
unplanned extra 4000km worth of travelling.