New Year. New travel plans. Same old Ruby. A catch up since last summer.

Flash back to summer 2018. We had just completed a three and a half week trip around France, and had encountered many difficulties. Since that journey, we have spent the best part of seven months overhauling the brake and the cooling systems. Two of the major problems we suffered as a result of driving many miles in the French summer. We also had her resprayed AGAIN, as a result of Willow’s wrestling match with a giant boulder in Agde. We started with the brakes. After the brake malfunction, driving down a Pyrenees mountain, we replaced the faulty brake servo and can safely say that we now have fully functioning brakes again…yay. With the brakes sorted, we spent the first part of our first half term preparing her for a second respray.Finally, her horrible battle scar was gone, and we can pretend that Agde never happened.The main lesson we learnt from our summer vacation, was that our custom cooling system located in the engine bay, could not handle it’s main purpose of cooling the van. The thing couldn’t even cool the van on a cold drive to Scotland, so it had to go.Replaced by a purpose built cooling system where the radiator is located underneath the van with a big scoop to push lots of air through the radiator.Now as Lemmony Snicket would say. This is the part of the story where I would like to tell you that we drove off into the sunset, all our problems now firmly in our rearview mirror.Unfortunately that is not the case.For the past few months, we have been road testing Ruby, trying to get the cooling system running properly,but this is where we have had to face multiple setbacks (none related to the actual radiator set up I may add). For any readers who are friends on social media, you may have seen a post a couple of weeks back, with this accompanying picture.This here is a picture of Willow trying to put Ruby’s rear wheel back on, after it fell off on a Friday night on her way home from work down the Bristol Road. This was actually harder than you would think, as Ruby has very high ground clearance, so was difficult to get under and jack high enough to get the wheel back on. Luckily, a night in a shinning Rover street wise (me) turned up with a trolley jack, and helped get the wheel back on. Not a good start, but no problems with the new cooling system… We thought. This next picture was taken a few days later.This is Ruby parked up on the side of Slade Road, as Ruby had been overheating all the way back on Willow’s drive home from work. Again, I received a phone call asking for me to pick up a big bottle of coolant.It turned out we have two problems with the system. The first was that we had leaks in a lot of the cooling system joints. Meaning that we were losing a vast amount of fluids out of the system. The second problem was that there seemed to be lots of air in the system, meaning that the coolant was not actually getting into the radiator causing Ruby to overheat. What followed was many days of bleeding the system, testing her, pulling over because we hadn’t bleed the system and then repeating. We did eventually get the system bled, partly thanks to a handy bleed pipe which Willow conveniently installed into the system. And so we gave her a proper road test to Kettering.This was the first time since last summer that owning her has actually been enjoyable.In other trip related news, we have spent the year getting our big American trip organised.After a visit to the American Embassy in London, we were granted six month visas for our trip. Things were definitely a lot smoother on this part.We are currently speaking to shipping and clearance companies trying to confirm the shipment in August. And I think that brings us to now. I am currently writing this on the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, as we are giving Ruby one last major test before her trip to the States.Hopefully this time I won’t constantly be writing about regular break downs. However knowing Ruby, you can never be too sure. Watch this space.

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