Yes, I am back home again. The new fuel pump arrived in Wodonga yesterday
(Wednesday, 12th Dec) morning and Alan and I were on our way about an hour and a half after the motel owner delivered it to
our room. The trip back to Sydney was - fortunately - uneventful, other than a couple of Klingon-inspired rapid
decelerations. No time to relax (or post) however, as Alan had to be at school for his Year 6 graduation Mass and supper by 7:15pm!
Our planned Friday evening departure had to be put off so that I could
accompany Carolyn to the end of year dinner put on by her new boss. This resulted in a late night, so I resigned myself to
sleeping in and having to meet the rest of the Frenzy-goers in Wangaratta. No chance! I was wide awake at 4:15 and unable to
go back to sleep, so I was able to have some breakfast and coffee, get Alan sorted out and depart by 5:15. Of
course, it was pouring rain, and intermittently showered liberally on the previously clean shark until we were
south of Goulburn.
Tracey rang to check our progress (Murphy's Law: I had SMS'ed Mark, whose phone
was out of range!) and said that they would wait for us (an omen of things to come!). We arrived in Albury at
11am and were able to enjoy the hospitality of the cafe and the company of Tracey, Theresa, Olga and Mark before we formed
our shark pack for the short and leisurely drive to Wangaratta.
Not long afterwards, the parking area was full of 928s and we were putting
faces to the names we have "known" via the list for so long.
We were told of the Red 928 which had joined the pack on the way up but had pulled over in
Wangaratta after it suddenly emitted a cloud of black smoke. One of the mechanically-minded listers had stayed with it,
so I didn't think that I could add anything ... until I recalled that my car
had produced a cloud of black smoke as the air pump belt shredded itself around the seized pulley and thought that I would
offer this information (just in case the belt had disappeared completely and its absence wasn't noticed ....
There was nothing obviously wrong with the Red 928 but, as has been reported already, its owner did not join us
at the winery later, as he said he would.
After a very pleasant and leisurely lunch at Brown Bros Winery, we departed for
Drage's Airworld. We were late, which justified our increasingly rapid progress across the Victorian countryside.
Having missed out on the shade at the winery, I spotted a nice spot near the entrance, on the opposite side of the car park
to the hangar; fortunately!
The distance back to the 928 enabled me to see something hanging underneath the car as we
emerged from the hangar after our tour. I'd had the sunroof open on the way to Drage's, and am using a borrowed
Central Warning System board for my non-CWS equipped car, so the "!" light is always on; hence I didn't see the
alternator light come on when the belt gave out.
I suspect that the near-redline burst in third gear to stay with Des and
the others who were really keen to put the last few kms to Airworld behind them was where the belt gave out; I have to
confess that I wasn't looking at the instruments too closely then!
Those of you with S4s and GTs will, no doubt, be relieved to know that the
alternator belt is at the FRONT and no other belts need to be removed to replace it. For S2s and earlier cars, it is
behind the air pump and power steering belts; I don't know about S3s (I looked at Ric's, which has an S4 motor). Fortunately, I
knew where all the mounting bolts are located, having had all the belts off in the process of replacing the left cam
box gasket earlier in the year (which hasn't prevented the oil leak onto the exhaust manifold returning -
GRRRRR!!); so, once I decided to do the job then and there (on the relatively cool engine and in plenty of light), it took me only
an hour. Tracey, Mark and their ladies kept me company, after all the others were assured that nothing could be gained by them
staying and missing sampling the wares at Des's favourite mustard factory.
(FREE WHINGE: Why doesn't the power steering pump not only have no
adjuster, like the aircon, alternator and air pump, but an angled
mounting bracket which makes it difficult to lever the pump to increase the belt tension?)
As has been described by others, we have a very enjoyable dinner (especially
after we established that Alan wanted to order from the adult menu!). The evening really was over too quickly, though
it was well and truly late enough for the kids!
Sunday hardly seemed to have started before my fuel pump failure ended my
participation in the organised activities. (At least we got in a little spirited driving through the mountains and a couple of
photo shoots.) The 928 had a couple of big misses a few seconds apart so I pulled over as soon as I found a slightly
wider section of shoulder (half in someone's driveway). A visual check of the engine bay revealed nothing, but the car
would not re-start; after a couple of seconds of stumbling idle, it would not fire at all. When we realised that the fuel
pump wasn't running when the engine was being cranked, I though "you beauty" as I have carried a spare fuel pump relay
for the past couple of years. No such luck, however! We established that the fuel pump would run just enough to keep
the engine idling roughly - if it was tapped continually with a spanner! Nothing we tried changed this, so I had to
resort to calling the NRMA to have the poor shark flat bedded to Wodonga.
What made my misfortune worthwhile, however, was the opportunity to see the
depth of camaraderie within the group.
Des, who had been behind me, pulled over with me; and Mark, who had been
immediately in front of me, came back a few minutes later when he realised that I wasn't there. Several phone calls
later, the rest of the group had been assured that nothing could be gained by them coming back, so they proceeded to
lunch. The statement Mark posted - "we waited until a tow truck had been called, then left" is misleading in its
brevity; he and Olga left at about four o'clock (I think), having kept us company with only a couple of umbrellas for shade for
well over three hours (I didn't take note of when I stopped). Meanwhile, Des and Judi had taken Alan into Beechworth to
buy lunch for us all, and Tracey and Theresa returned while they were away.
The flat top arrived after only a few bites of my roll. I have to mention how
impressed I was at the care taken by Jamie, of Grealy Motors Towing Service of Wodonga, in firstly getting the 928 onto the
flat bed without scraping the spoiler (or pulling out the towing eye) and in tying it down when the wheel tie-down bars'
locating mechanisms were found to be too high to fit under the lower wishbones. (A word of caution: DON'T allow a
tow truck operator to tie down your rear end via the flat lateral locating link; have him use the lower control arm
instead. Most won't even ask.)
Des and Judi, having missed the lunch he organised, saw us onto the truck and
headed home. Tracey and Theresa had planned for a leisurely trip back to Sydney, with and overnight stay, and
kindly offered to keep Alan and I company ... at the suspiciously named Blazing Saddles Motel (provided by the NRMA). (I
have to confess to having visions of some of the drinkin' and fightin' establishments, with similarly colourful
names, which abound around Penrith ...) The motel turned out to be very new, with good rooms, a tennis court and pool,
which Alan and I later put to good use). We had dinner and a few drinks together, and found out that you have to have a
very large appetite to bother ordering both an entree and main course from the bistro! Neither Alan nor I finished both of
ours, and that's saying something!
On Monday morning, I first rang Bruce Buchanan, who confirmed that the symptoms
I described were those of a fuel pump dying of old age (internal electrical fault). Then I rang York Motors in
Sydney to order a new pump, thinking that dealing by phone with a Melbourne dealer who didn't know me night be difficult.
I envisaged a pump being couriered up from Porsche in Melbourne, but York's had one in stock. I was advised that
same day service would cost a heap and, after checking with the motel owners about local couriers (to which a
Sydney based courier would hand off the parcel when it got to Albury-Wodonga), York's suggested Express Post, which it
they had used successfully on numerous occasions. "Fine by me, as long as it gets here tomorrow", I said. We
then headed into town with Tracey and Theresa, where we had breakfast and said our goodbyes.
Alan and I spent a couple of hours sightseeing in Wodonga, most of which was
spent in a military disposal store - with an awesome range of old equipment, including radiation meters, and
oscilloscope, radar sets and other fascinating stuff - and the hardware store where I bought 6mm and 7 mm sockets to remove the nut on
the positive terminal of the fuel pump (turned out to be 7 mm).
Unfortunately, York's didn't check to find out that, while there is a next-day
Express Post service to ALBURY from Sydney, there isn't to WODONGA. The motel owner checked their post box at 6am,
and returned with the vexing news that, while the daily Express Post delivery had arrived at the post office, my
To make a long story short, I wasn't too happy for the rest of Tuesday. York's
confirmed that it had sent the pump by Express Post without checking for next day service. My demeanour wasn't helped
by being told by Australia Post "No, we can't fish out your package and send it by courier BECAUSE IT WILL HAVE LEFT
YESTERDAY FOR MELBOURNE, FROM WHERE IT IS FORWARDED TO WODONGA."
Seriously. It wasn't at the distribution centre in Albury; it really did the trip to Melbourne and back! The Porsche Centre
couldn't get a pump to me any sooner, I was told.
Throughout all this, I received several phone calls from various
Sharksters who had been hoping to hear that I was already on my way (including calls today from Mark and Tracey). All the moral
support made me feel as though we were not stranded completely on our own, and made being stuck that much easier to
bear. It is great to be part of such camaraderie, even though I would rather have spent the time getting to know you
all a bit better! Hopefully, we can
meet up again (without the troubles) in the not too distant future.
Thanks to every one of you for making Frenzy 10 so memorable.
Thanks especially to Des, whose organising made it such a great event.
'80 928 petrolblaumetallic 'S' look 5 speed