Long ago, in one of my blog entries, I wrote of the useful properties of a product called Kneadit, a two-part epoxy dough that comes in sticks which have an inner core of dark grey stuff, and an outer layer of light grey stuff. To use it, one cuts off a suitable length, and kneads it to a consistent dough, which can be pressed and moulded into shape, fill a crack or used to join broken parts. It sets rock hard and can be filed, carved or drilled. I felt it must be the ultimate repair tool. I have used it on so many things, including toys, car radiators, headlight mounts, a cracked handle of an electric drill, pot lid handles, and reconstructing damaged laptops.
I now add it to the list of essentials to be carried in the outback, following a recent incident that proved its value. One evening last week I was driving the troopy from Mulan to Bililuna after delivering a goat to Tika. In the evening light I misnegotiated a washout.
I hit that bump a tad hard.
Next day as I was driving around the community, the oil light came on. I was a little surprised when I checked the dipstick and found it dry as I had been keeping a regular eye on the oil level. Though I had noted that it had dropped a little it should not have been that low. I called into the store, bought 5 litres of oil and poured it in. The dipstick showed nothing. A puddle appeared under the car engine.
After a careful search I found where it was coming from, and after some consideration and consultation with Clive, who happened to be repairing the road nearby, we figured out what had happened. It appears that when I hit that bump, the suspension allowed the universal on the front drive shaft to hit the side of the engine and it cracked the side of the crankcase.
“No problem” said Clive. He cleaned the area with petrol from my lawnmower, kneaded up some Kneadit, and pressed it into the crack. It sets in about 15 minutes, and is hard in an hour. We waited a little longer. After two hours we topped up the oil (a troopy V8 takes ten litres) and started her up. Not a drop came out.
Since then I have been back to Mulan twice, up the Tanami to Halls Creek and back twice and all the way to Kununurra and back. She’s as good as new.
Clive says, and I believe, the repair is permanent. That knob of putty, about a fifth of an eleven dollar stick, has saved the Shire thousands – maybe over ten thousand – dollars in repairs. The motor would have had to come out and be dismantled so that the crack could be welded.
I bought a stick for my toolkit straight away.