Well, if I was whacked out on Sunday night, by Monday night I was totally knackered! I only managed the two jobs that I’d had planned the day before, too, but they needed a lot more effort than I’d originally bargained for. For starters, I managed to get all of the light wood ear-marked for the ‘decheterie’ onto my trailer in one load but it took me most of the morning because I had to do quite a lot of hand cutting. This was to separate some decent size stuff that was worth keeping to be used to get fires going, from the real waste and by the time I’d finished, I set off in just enough time to get there before the ‘decheterie’ closed its doors at mid-day.
I had my lunch when I got home and then it was time to get cracking on the front grass. First I had to get my ‘debroussailleuse’ out, which I hadn’t used since the early part of last summer, to slash at some long weeds in one of the front corners. In fact I then ended up going around most of the edge of of the grass and eventually outside onto the bank that drops down from my garden to the small ditch at the side of the road. The reason for that was that the tractor had recently been along and trimmed the grass at the edge of the road and by cleaning it all up now, as it’s getting hotter, things will start growing more slowly and the front of my house will hopefully stay looking quite tidy for a while. The machine has a little two-stroke engine and it was a little bit troublesome, needing me to clean the plug a couple of time, but I got the job done. Then it was time for the heavy stuff – cutting the grass itself. It was a good day for it, sunny but not too warm, but the job took me from around 1.30pm until gone 7.00pm to complete, working solidly. And didn’t I know it at the end of it! It was pure luxury to finish, clear up and get under a hot shower, but I still felt the effects this morning though 😉
But I think it was worth it. Here’s one of my ‘view’ shots made by stitching together a couple of photographs, that shows the front grass from the house down to the road. After all the effort, I was well pleased with the results anyway.
And so onto today. I’ve been champing at the bit for a few days because the new panel has been ready to be fitted in the X-Air for a little while. Well, today was the day. It took me much longer than I expected to get it into place and all the screws tightened up, mainly because access to several of the nuts on the back was quite restricted and I wanted to be careful not to do any damage to the front or the rear. Finally, all were tight, the panel was secure and I’d double-checked all of the connections I’d made. So it was time for that magic moment- the first engine start-up. I primed the fuel, set the choke, turned on the master (nice red LED, good) and set the mag switches to ‘on’. Then I turned the starter key and… nothing 🙁
It’s funny isn’t it, how when something like that happens our first thought is that we must have done something wrong. I’d already removed the starter switch and was about to pull the three connections off, when I thought that everything had tested fine on the bench, so it couldn’t be something I’d done. So I went looking for something else and in a very short time found that the starter solenoid earth was so loose that you could turn the nut with your fingers. That turned out to be the easy bit because of the unconventional way that the previous owners had mounted it, but after disconnecting the battery, removing the solenoid and its mounting and replacing the dodgy connection with a new bolt, it was eventually back in and ready to try again. This time with the master switch ‘on’ the engine kicked when I turned the key, so I’d confirmed that the problem wasn’t down to me, as I’d suspected.
With the starter switch securely refitted in the panel (it needed tightening anyway) this time the engine burst into life and I was relieved to see that all of the engine gauges worked. I knew that the temperature gauge would because as soon as I switched the master on, it gave a reading just because of the heat of the day, but I was relieved to see that the new rev counter was OK and also that the engine hours gauge functioned. I haven’t received the new EGT senders yet from the UK so I have still to confirm that the gauge I’ve transferred from MYRO, which was originally installed from new, is still OK. I seem to recall that one side of the gauge wasn’t working at the time I came to France (it may have been the CHT gauge, though) but I think that was more to do with a broken connection than anything else because I hadn’t strengthened the very thin sender cables and connections in MYRO the way I have done in the X-Air. All will be revealed in the fullness of time, as they say.
I also still have to connect up the fuel pressure gauge. I have the tubing and a ‘T’ piece but as I need to get hold of some small hose clamps, I decided to leave that job until I have them. So how have things turned out? I’m very satisfied with the new panel but people will need to judge for themselves. Here’s how the panel looked originally.
And now here are a couple of shots of the new panel. The fibreglass used in its construction is much lighter than the old panel, which is good, but it means that it flexes easily and may cause the instruments to vibrate more, which is bad. We’ll have to wait and see.
I just have to get hold of the small hose clips now to finish connecting up the fuel pressure gauge. But tomorrow I must first do a bit of shopping and later I’m looking forward to dropping in on Victor and Madeleine. Tonight, though, I can go to bed knowing that the X-Air has life flowing through it once again, which is very satisfying 🙂