Tanya’s car going up in smoke left us with a slight transport problem.

You see, the Rand-Lover was leaking water from the thermostat housing, and I figured it’s the gasket. So I pulled the housing, bought velumoid, psyched myself up for the job, thought about it, drank beer, and otherwise procrastinated, as dictated by my basic nature.

Which lead to me hurriedly bolting things together on Wednesday evening. And guess what? It still leaked. Made it to work by pouring water in the top faster than it could run out the bottom, or side, in this case.


Removed the thermostat housing and got our driver to take it to a MIG welding place, where the fellow shook his head and frowned. Whereupon I phoned around, looking for a replacement, but no such luck. Apparently these things have by now all corroded away in a similar fashion to mine.

So Tanya had to give me a lift home last night, which also means that I had to give her a lift to work this morning.


I used the opportunity to shoot through to Bellville, where I have a shipping container, will all the stuff I’d accumulated when my ex kicked me out, as well as a bunch of stuff I’ve accumulated since then. Gads, I love my stuff.


And there I found, as I rightly suspected I should, the thermostat housing which I didn’t use, because it was then the worse of the two, but of course now it’s by far the better of the two.

Which means that the Yellow Rand-Lover rides again.


For your further edification, I present Plan B. Or is that Plan C?

This is the bottom thermostat housing off the front of the Chev 2.5 engine head (in other words, the bit that the broken bit in the previous pics bolt on to). With a piece of pipe, an angle grinder and an arc welder, one can create a functional equivalent to the aliminium part, but one that should last as long as the rest of the head.

Which means all of y’all can relax now.

First AD rolls his deer magnet, then Breda gets rear-ended, and then Tanya’s car catches on fire on the M3. Tanya blogs, so I guess it counts.


As far as we can tell, the aircon fan shorted out. Smoke poured out the dashboard, Tanya pulled off, called me. I got there, yup, looks like smoke all right. Opened the door to open the bonnet, and the fresh air fanned flames, coming out the dash. Hmmm. Not an easy fix then.

Disconnected the battery, left the car to stew. Fellow pulled up, handed me a fire extinguisher, I shot it at the dash, closed the doors again. We figure that might have helped keep the temperature down to “smoulder” instead of “burn”.

Fire department arrived around an hour later. Dumped a few hundred liters on the dashboard, making sure the smouldering is out. Car was a write-off anyway.


So now Tanya and I smell of smoke, and we need to go car-hunting again.

Moral of the story: make sure you have marshmallows in the boot.



…where the Devil couldn’t get for stinging nettles (Whoever was responsible for developing the Opel Astra Classic rear brakes, that would be).

You see, Opel G cars come with rear brake calipers from either Bosch (I think) or Lucas. The former being much more common.

Of course the pads that fit the one caliper are almost but not quite entirely unlike the pads that fit the other.


For your edification.  The pad on the left is what they’ll give you if you mosey on down to Goldwagen and say “brake pads, Opel Astra Classic”.

The one on the right is what you want if you have Lucas calipers. This will entail printing out above picture (because the sample has to go back in the car so that Tanya can get to work) and taking it to Masterparts, then waiting for half an hour while the fellow finds the right thing.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Another tip: don’t believe the manual when it tells you to line up some indent with some boss when compressing the piston back into the caliper. Apply force with a G-clamp and turn the pistol with a waterpomp tang.

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