Gotta Love Fred

My spare power steering pump has been under my fridge through China and back and all around South America, came into its own today

A Fred in need

As we turned into the slave fort at Cape coast the steering on Nelson suddenly went very heavy and then back to normal. Over the next few days this began to happen more and more often.

This is a real worry as the next section of our route is the tough Nigeria to Cameroon jungle crossing of remote jungle mud tracs, without power steering this would be a nightmare

Consultation with the manual and the internet Land Rover mind suggested that it was either the steering box or the power steering pump failing. I have a brand new spare power steering pump under my fridge ……

Fan out pulley drive off, the pump is buried at the bottom of the engine and took some shifting

Fred runs the best Land Rover Garage in Accra, apparently, so unsure of my diagnosis and never having worked on the steering pump before I decided to seek Fred out, he agreed with my diagnosis rubbing his chin and looking worried, when I told him I had the spare he broke into a smile, “we can do that now” and a price of £30 was agreed.

Just as well as one of the nuts took a lot of shifting with two guys working on it, I would have struggled doing it solo. Checking the old steering pump once out it was clearly sticking so did have a fault, and after half a day the steering has been smooth and faultless. All done by 10am

Fred, Justine, james and Gerry once the job has been done

We love Fred and his guys

After our success in the garage we headed to the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we had loads of reports of problems getting the visas for this country further south, many being point blank refused and told to go to the border for visa on arrival, only to find no such visa is available on the border.  Three people we know have taken the boat from Cabinda to Sogo as they could not get across the DRC which only takes a day.  The boat is reported to be $800 and goes once a week if you are lucky so we decided to chance our luck at the DRC embassy in Accra.  To our surprise they said yes, well actually they asked for lots of copies of lots of documents and $250 each in cash and then said yes come back tomorrow!  Two major problems solved in one day, we celebrated with a well deserved coffee.

Then we tried to get an alternative split charge system for our camper batteries, this involved going from recommended place to recommended place to be told there was no such possibility

The auto market in Accra has almost everything but not a DC to DC charger to be had in the city

That turned out to be a good thing, as I was trying to rewire things that evening I discovered an anomaly in the voltage readings that led me to examine in detail a fuse in the wiring, it turned out it was partly cracked, not properly blown but enough to distort voltages and confuse the charger.  Once that was resolved the charger returned to behaving itself so we cracked three things in one day, a cracking day!

About Gerry Mulligan

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