lundi 17 février 2020

Pic de Cabanatous

Susie was leading a group choreography workshop today, so Jasper, Ruby and I made the most of the lovely weather and their last day to get a day in the mountains. The circuit of Coumebiere, Pic de Cabanatous, Etang d'Alate, Port de Saleix, filled the time perfectly.


 first snow

 about 1m deep

 Etang Bassies frozen

 Steep descent from the summit but soft snow

 Comedy

 Snow a little harder in the shade


 Etang d'Alate frozen and snow covered

 Last snow of the day

Return to vegetation

mercredi 12 février 2020

Pumpkin after a piggy back ride from Al

Mum not interested either

Jasper and Ruby are here for a week, time for a rest for them and a catch up for us. Nice to see them both at the same time!






samedi 8 février 2020

First lambs of 2020



Clearly William's apron didn't work, first lambs born this morning to Apache. A pair of twins, one of each.

lundi 3 février 2020

Tuc de l'Adosse and Le Picou

 A spell of warm weather after some rain has saturated the snow and increased the avalanche risk so we opted for a walk with sun and views of the the mountains rather than being in them. Tuc de l'Adosse from near the Col de le Trappe fitted the bill!




We took a slightly different route from the last time we did this peak, contouring below Quer Martit and continuing until just before the col on the main ridge west of Tuc de l'Adosse, where we struck straight up an open rocky ridge to land on the summit.





Lunch on the summit in the sun, with spectacular views.



We followed the ridge eastwards to Le Picou before descending to the Quer Martit and regaining the path of ascent.




 Descending the craggy Quer de Martit 


mercredi 29 janvier 2020

Tractor day 9

Another long day but at the first attempt the tractor started....stopping it was another matter! I'd fitted the shut off lever slightly wrong, so had to block the air intake to stop it. Quickly and easily fixed all is now running smoothly. Tomorrow half an hours fine tuning of the throttle and clutch and all is done. The tractor starts in a second and there's no smoke!

mardi 28 janvier 2020

Tractor day 8

Fitted the engine to the tractor today, see-sawing the engine on an ever increasing pile of wood off cuts worked, so there was no need for a hoist. Next all the controls, electrics, hydraulic pump, fuel tank, battery and starting motor had be connected.

I discovered on reassembly that the accelerator mechanism had been badly repaired/bodged with some bits of misaligned plate welded on the old OEM part. The cable snagged on the oil filter and there was a lot of friction and play. An hour of work put it right.

The electrics are a bit of nightmare, the cables are old and brittle and the most the connectors are hanging off. It's a long job trying to sort them out.

The starting motor was a sod to reconnect, I should have done it much earlier as the bolted connections were now virtually impossible to get to but somehow I managed without taking too much skin off my knuckles!

New dust boots for the steering ball joints arrived which I fitted, only the retaining wires were left but with some re-greasing the ball joints seem fine.

My neighbour Nanou re-welded a broken hinge pin for the bonnet, which he dropped off this evening.

STILL TO DO LIST

Connect horn, bumper and bonnet, re-organise cables to starter, re-connect exhaust, fill up gearbox oil, fill up engine oil, re-fuel.....try to start!

dimanche 26 janvier 2020

Tractor day 7


After a day and a bit of further cleaning, lubrication and re-assembly the engine is more a less ready. The clutch should arrive sometime tomorrow and once I've re-borrowed the 46mm socket and breaker to reassemble it, I can reattach it to the tractor, fill up with oil and fuel and see if she starts and runs!

vendredi 17 janvier 2020

Tractor day 5/6

Works were delayed by the need to remove the clutch plate and housing which required a 46mm socket and breaker bar. The local tractor dealer "Dijeau" kindly lent me one overnight and the following day I was finally able to remove the engine from the tractor, move it into the shed and open the crankcase.

On inspecting the crankshaft, the damage doesn't seem as bad as I had at first feared, with only one of the connecting rod journals affected. The inner lining of the shell had melted over it and a few lumps were stuck to it. The material is much softer than the crankshaft and once the lumps had been removed I was able to re-polish the journal back to the original metal by using some 400 grit emery cloth, a flat shoelace wrapped around that to even the pressure and plenty of WD40. A bit of 600 cloth and it has a mirror finish.

Asvarta in Spain hold all the spares for ruggerini engines so I've been able to get a full gasket and seals set, filters, shell bearings, oil pressure sensor, injector seat washers and crank shaft seals (the one facing the clutch had failed). All for under 200 euros, so I'm feeling more hopeful of a positive outcome.

Spent the morning cleaning everything, so now I must wait for the parts before reassembling and calibrating the engine.





The clutch disc central friction plate is partially broken, I found parts of it in the bottom of the clutch housing, which explains the vicious clutch and stiff gears I've always had on the tractor. Valeo no longer make the clutch disc (the tractor is 34 years old) but amazingly I just found one on ebay still in its vacuum sealed wrapper!

mercredi 15 janvier 2020

Cirque de Cagateille


A wander up into the Cirque de Cagateille with Sheri and Michiel. We hadn't planned on a long day, it's been sub-zero at night and the cirque gets little sun. We had two vague ideas - either head up to the Etang de la Hillette or take the little path that heads left two thirds of the way up the headwall to reach the Etang de Piède. We opted for the latter because none of us had done it before!

Waterfalls all frozen but not enough ice for good climbing

  The steep climb up the headwall

The left path continues to climb steeply through the forest crossing below the arête of Mont Terquet (below the Pointe de la Hillette) before emerging from the trees at about 1600m. Shortly after we hit the snow. 5 cm of relatively fresh stuff on top of iron hard névé or water ice. The path was quickly buried under a slope sat at about 35 degrees. I went ahead with ice axe and crampons and was soon forced to front point up an increasingly exposed and icy slope. I reached the water ice in the photo below, where I decided onward progress was too difficult and dangerous without rope protection, plus we only had two axes between four of us.


We turned around and headed back into the forest for lunch.



A bit of a disappointing sunless day...but snow is coming!!



lundi 13 janvier 2020

Tractor day 4

Only a few hours on the tractor today as I had architecture work to do. Some problems trying to get the flywheel off, but in the end I made a flywheel puller from some steel angle and bolts and eventually after some "hammer persuasion" it came off. Engine plate, alternator, starting motor, hydraulic pump, etc removed. Tomorrow I should be able to remove what's left of the engine from the tractor and get it into the workshop to finally remove the crankshaft.

dimanche 12 janvier 2020

Tractor day 3

 head pistons and cylinders removed

One of the connecting rod shells (cousinettes) had overheated and melted over the crankshaft. Hopefully I can get this machined off to save having to buy a new crankshaft at 1350 euros!

The rest of the engine

samedi 11 janvier 2020

Tractor day 2

The morning was spent restocking our firewood in the house, which took longer without the tractor. After finishing the bobbins for Susie's spinning wheel (I've been waiting since Christmas for some brass tube to arrive), it was time to press on with the tractor again.

After checking that the hydraulic pump hadn't seized as this might have been blocking the engine from turning, it was time to attack the main engine. A lot of bits to remove before I could get to the head. The injectors, rocker arms, fuel lines, exhaust manifold (very choked with carbon inside), air intake and lots of other bits of bodywork and support. I took off the first head (it's a 2 cylinder 2 litre engine). Thankfully the cylinder and piston both look OK, the connecting rod bearing was stuck, it'll need to be replaced and after removing it the engine is turning. Still have to inspect the crankshaft for damage but at first glance its looks OK.

Things are looking more hopeful. If I just need to clean and rebuild, replacing gaskets, copper washers, the oil pressure sensor, the connecting rod bearings, oil and filters. I could get away with 150 euros of parts and 4-5 days of work. I'll find out for sure tomorrow.

vendredi 10 janvier 2020

Tractor problems

The tractor (an Antonio Carraro Tigre 2700) is probably our most useful tool. It transports our firewood, hay, building materials, etc, cuts the fields, makes hay, harrows, pulls cars out of ditches, fallen trees out of the fields, and mulches branches.

On Wednesday it sudden died whilst operating the mulcher. After a couple of tries at restarting it seized.

After removing the sump and some other exploratory work it seems the oil pressure sensor was broken and so I didn't notice it was low on oil - the oil pump may also have failed. Crankshaft looks OK from underneath.  The next step is to take off the head and see how bad the damage is internally. Hoping I can rebuild the engine if the head isn't damaged.

The engine a ruggerini RD220 isn't made anymore, though parts are still available. Haven't been able to find any reconditioned engines on-line.