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Tinkering …

For the last year, I have been driving a Mazda Bongo Mk. I, a rarity in the UK. But apart from checking the oil and water levels, I don’t mess around too much with it. It ain’t broke so I am not going to fix it. And anyway, the engine is under the front seats and not too easy to get at.

But I have a couple of other “projects”. I recently acquired two Oxford Allan Scythes. For those who don’t know, these are grass  cutters, with reciprocating blades mounted on the front, a pair of 21″ wheels with pneumatic tyres, all powered by a Villiers 147cc 2-stroke engine.

Needless to say, neither machine works – yet.

I have stripped the carburettors (there is more technology in a baked bean tin) and cleaned them, washed out the petrol tanks, and tinkered with the throttles. All that needs to be done now is to check the coils and points, then a quick pull on the starter cord and I will be able to clear my one acre paddock like a knife through hot butter – well, that’s the plan.

But during this last rather wet week, I have not  been able to do much, so I looked up the workings of a typical two stroke engine. And it occured to be that if it were attached to another motor, it would make a reasonable water pump.

So, if one of these scythes doesn’t work, guess what the motor is going to be turned into? And if it works, I will be in the market for a few old two-stroke engines in Kenya!


On another tack, looking to the future, I will need a vehicle when I am in Kenya. So I contacted someone there who deals with Japanese imports out there (is there any other sort of vehicle in Kenya?). I want a 4×4 that will climb up a wall if necessary. I was thinking Pajero or Landcruiser. But my contact suggested the Hilux Surf.

Now, I am only guessing, but judging from the name, I guess this is the car version of the indestructable Toyota Hilux. If this is the case, I want one.

I have watched the Top Gear team try to destroy one of these. It has withstood accidents, being submersed in the sea, having a caravan dropped on it, being hit by a demolition ball and parked on top of a tower block that was then demolished. The vehicles looks the worse for wear but the engine started.

These clowns were so impressed that they have ceated a shrine for it.

So, if it is good enough for Clarkson and Co., it’s good enough for me.

I have acquired one here in the UK now. It is comfortable, very comfortable and the immense tyres soak up the bumps, even with the suspension in firm mode.

It’s not very big, no bigger than the average family estate. It is just the tyres that make it look big.

  1. September 13, 2008 at 09:51

    …there are various 4×4 vehicles in Kenya, my suggestion is you go for a stronger car than a Toyota surf. Think of Toyota Prado, Land Rover Tdi110, Toyota Landcruiser VX 8 or a Pajero. We are the Kenya safaris experts and we know the conditions of off-roads, in the African bush.

    Lexxas Travel Team

  2. Stegg
    September 13, 2008 at 16:42

    Thanks for your comments. I would love a Prado or Pajero but budget is a big constraint, not only for buying the vehicle, but also funds to keep fuel in the tank. We are, after all, a charity, not a big one like the UN who have fleets of 4x4s that are sitting around in compound – what a waste of money they are.
    My contact in Nairobi also knows a bit about Kenya’s roads and off-roads, having been involved in the Rhino Charge for several years.
    My main routes will be from Nairobi to Kisii, Kisii to Malindi and back to Nairobi. The last time I did it was in our 1992 Corolla 1200cc, which was sadly put to death during the PEV. Mind you, much more treatment as I meted out to it would have seen it in its grave through misuse!

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