A Grizzled Veteran's Reply and Lament

by Dave Beurteaux (LRO)


So mate, you've bought your one oh nine,

I'll bet right now you think it's fine.

The Land-Rover is an amazing truck,

Because it makes you trust in luck.

It seems so right and seems so good,

And runs so well, (please knock on wood).

I know you love it, (don't we all),

But you have heard the Siren's call.

It starts with something very quick,

A little job will do the trick.

Something simple, something small,

That won't take any time at all.

So fix a tail-light, but the lense,

Is duller than your spouse's friends.

Shot, worn out, it's had its day,

A new replacement is on its way.

But the fitting in the body,

Is looking rusty, looking shoddy.

Sure, take it out, but you will see,

How rusty rusted screws can be.

Three days later, the screws are out.

See what I've been talking about?

But never mind, clean off the dust,

That chassis paint sure has some rust.

It's looking bad in many patches.

(Hey! Put away that gas and matches!)

Yes, spread around the paint galore,

On the wheels and on the floor.

You'll paint the axles and the springs,

And all those little fiddly things.

The rusty bit on that outrigger,

And the spots you'd never figure.

Paint the U-bolts and the shocks,

And beneath the battery box.

Paint the hinges, paint the bumper.

Spill some on your woolly jumper.

Now strip the body and re-paint,

(An easy job that surely ain't.)

And when it's finished, shiny, gleaming----

The radiator will start steaming.

So take it out, to be repaired,

And get a quote that makes you scared.

In fact, a new rad turns out cheaper,

Well buy it---- dig yourself in deeper!

Bolt it in and fill it up,

Measure the coolant with a cup.

Go for a run and hear a sound,

That makes you turn right back around.

(You may as well admit defeat.......

......you haven't even left your street.)

It's a sort of whiny moan,

Like a lawyer on the phone.

Stop in your driveway, get beneath,

Bang your head and chip your teeth.

Look around: there's nothing wrong,

Look some more, but look too long----

You'll wish you hadn't had a peek,

Because a hub has sprung a leak!

Jack it up and put it on stands,

Get to work with your greasy hands.

Pull off the hub and replace the seal,

Stub your toe upon the wheel.

Put on new brake shoes, (yes, both sides),

Find what else this axle hides.

The brake drum, yes, is over-worn,

(You sit on your driveway looking forlorn.)

Replace them both, lift up the wheel,

But what on the sidewall do your fingers feel?

Yes, the tyre has a crack.

(Feel a twinge in your lower back.)

Find a tyre that matches the rest,

Well, near enough, (you did your best).

Now you think you're ready to roll,

I shake my head, you deluded soul.

Go to the front, lift up the bonnet,

Despite the spare wheel sitting on it.

Look at that fan-belt, full of cracks,

Do you test it with an axe?

So you remove it, and get a scaring,

Since the waterpump has no bearing.

(SIGH!) Get your tools, remove the pump,

Throw it in the neighbour's dump.

Can you hear your wallet shrieking?

Because the timing cover is leaking!

It must come off, you know it must,

So scrape away that oily crust.

Remove the cover, but, you dolt,

Into the sump you've dropped a bolt.

Drain the oil, but there's water,

Being where it shouldn't oughter.

Now you'll want to pull the head,

(And give up ever going to bed.)

Sure enough, the gasket's blown,

(From your wallet comes a moan.)

But wait! There's more! Please check the bores!

I think you'll wish they wasn't yours.

As you can see, they're worn right out,

With all four pistons flopping about.

And not to add to your depression,

But those cracked valves can't help compression.

You'll have to fix the valves and springs,

And twenty-dozen other things.

(CURSE!) Lift the motor out of there,

Say bad words and lose some hair.

Say some more because the clutch,

Is disintegrating to the touch.

Remove the clutch and promptly bin it,

But shouldn't the gearbox have oil in it?

(This may be the answer that you seeked,

To why that tranny never leaked.)

Remove the seats, remove the base,

Squirt WD-40 in your face.

Take out the gearbox and you'll see,

The hole in the chassis where it used to be.

Don't look too close! Take three steps back!

You don't want to find that rusty crack!

Can you weld and cut and grind,

The rusty patches you will find?

If so, you'll be living like a monk,

For longer than you ever thunk.

Some years later, now you're done,

Have you enjoyed this kind of fun?

Please don't say it was a bore,

Since there's always plenty more.

That's why they say it's never over,

When you're working on your Rover.