Billy the Bus's Blog

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Billy went to Glastonbury

Billy went to Glastonbury this weekend. He was wicked, he got there like a dream, not a hint of a problem. There was a lot of rain, and a lot of mud, and Billy kept as dry and warm and entertained by the radio. We felt spectacularly smug, and I may even treat Billy to a hand car wash and wax to say thank you. He even performed better than most getting out of the car park - only needing a push at the last minute through what can best be described as milkshake.

Monday, June 18, 2007


It's taken me a while to get round to blogging this sorry episode, because various misfortunes have befallen me, and Billy's was only the first. They said bad things come in threes, and sadly this whole weekend only counts as one (having badly twisted my ankle, and then suffered from a 6-day shitting disease since all this happened).

Nearly there: breakdown at HammersmithOthers have recounted the disasterous (but ultimately fantastic) bank holiday weekend in Cornwall already, so for this blog I'll keep it to the Billy bits. Ben, Lucy and I set off for Cornwall from Clapham at about 6pm, and only made it as far as Hammersmith. I'd been thinking just the day before (when I had the engine lid open) that the fan belt and 'stuff' sounded a bit noisy, but didn't really have the time to get into it. I really should have.

The rattling was probably the alternator bearings getting ready to give up, because the alternator itself seized on that railway bridge in Hammersmith (though I didn't know that at the time). Somehow, the tension of the fanbelt managed to stall the engine. I started the engine again, and it stalled again. I started it a third time (as you do when you've stalled) and gave it some gas. Smoke came pouring out of the engine, and that's when I decided to stop.

The fanbelt had melted on to the pulley wheel (that was the smoke, thankfully), and the pulley wheel itself had ground a groove all the way round the front of the alternator casing. By luck and coincidence, two really nice guys (who called themselves members of the BBC - "Black Beetle Club" :) drove by, and pulled over and tried to help us out. They pulled things apart, which revealed the extent of the damage and helped make the decision that billy had to go home. Meanwhile, we proceeded onto cornwall via Polo.

New alternator £200. Annoyingly, I only had that alternator fitted in 2003, when I first bought the van. It was clearly a shit alternator - either a rubbish second hand one, or a cheap new one - thanks very much cowboy VW nobhead in Ringwood.

Onward to Glastonbury...