CAR / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123
Run by Graeme Hurst
Owned since Nov 2011
Total mileage 267,854km
Miles since February report c3000km (odometer broken)
Latest costs R980 (c£45)
CURE-ALLCOMES TO THE RESCUE
Pratley’s Epoxy Putty: it’s a South African product that can fix just about anything and comes in glue or putty forms. And no home should be without it. Or car for that matter, as I recently discovered when a tube of it got the TE out of a sticky situation after the sump was holed on a journey to the Karoo.
The trip was a re-run of one that we made last year to stay on a remote farm near Matjiesfontein, some 220km out of CapeTown. It’s 20kmfrom the nearest phone signal and tarred road. Only this time a little too much exuberance behind the wheel in the excitement to get there led to the car bottoming out in a dip in the gravel track while at speed. I didn’t think too much of it until we stopped about a kilometre on to open the farm gate and a mate (who had got out) commented that there was a thin trail of black oil behind the car. Yikes!
Not wanting to be stranded with no lubricant and a car that I couldn’t move, I elected to cover the last kilometre as fast as possible. Luckily, the oil-pressure gauge was still at the top of its travel (typical Merc style) so the sump wasn’t empty.
Once we were there, we all spent a maniacal few minutes searching for a suitable container. In the end, a dustbin lid had to suffice and I was able to collect some oil for re-use – and save the pristine gravel car park in front of the guest cottage.
Once the stream of 20w50 had subsided, I could see the damage: the sump plug had taken a serious clout from a rock and the surrounding sheet metal had folded in. It probably would have been okay, except that three sharp corners of the plug’s octagonal head had pierced the metal, causing the leak. Fortunately, the farm had a barn full of tools that I could plunder and I found a suitable socket to allow me to straighten the plug with a hammer so that it could be undone.
After cleaning it and the surrounding area with petrol, I was able to glue it in situ. I let it set overnight, poured the oil back in and checked the dipstick – just enough to register and get to Matjiesfontein and replenish… that was a relief!
Sump holed after suspension bottomed.
Hurst sets to, with canine support crew… …resulting in an effective temporary fix.
Abi and Diesel always love trips out in the Merc, here at the period pumps on Matjiesfontein High St.