Wilderness Mechanic

A dodgy gearbox is not what you want when driving up the M11. Driving at 70mph (ish) is fine until the gear stick jumps at you and says "Neutral is where I want to be"
Not on my shift mate, I calmly put my foot on the clutch and slide it back into 5th. Just one of those things I say to myself. Knowing damn well that gear boxes don't just put themselves into neutral for no good reason. I was not too nervous until it did it again, twice. Luckily I was 10 minutes from where I was going. Sadly, where I was going was Harlow, and with a dodgy gearbox, when I live South of Reading, The Only Way is most definitely NOT Essex.
Anyway I got to where I had to be, did what I had to do then turned my mind to my lack of gears. After a little inspection, I find that the engine oil leak I couldn't find ages ago, was actually coming from the gearbox. Not good, but explained why the thing didn't want to play. Now, drawing on an experience I had on exercise with the Army (many years ago) I knew that driving on an engine with no oil will not get you very far, but a gearbox can go quite a fair distance before it packs up. Not recommended but in an emergency we used gearbox oil in the engine to get a sick Landrover back to REME so they could sort it out. Anyway, that's another story, suffice to say, I knew I'd be OK if only I could get a bit of oil back into the thing, but how? I was in a black suit and tie and a white (brand new a hasten to add) shirt. I don't carry a shed load of tools with me and my jack is naff.
A trip to Halfords to get a litre of gearbox oil and I'm thinking how to do this. Try it yourself, get some oil, squeeze the bottle having first got it into the most inaccessible hole possible, upside-down, with the lid off, without spilling a drop, and without laying on the ground in the snow, wearing a suit and tie. Trust me, it ain't going to happen.
If only I had some long tubing that I could use so that I didn't have to climb under the car. Then it hit me...
I'm a medic, I carry tubing all the time, and as luck would have it, it even comes with a threaded end on it to attach it to the bottle of oil. What a result. Now there's a slight problem with this. It's tubing designed to deliver oxygen to a patient and I ripped it off a BVM  (Bag Valve Mask) I had in my kit in the boot. Perfect for the job apart from the bore being a tad small for squeezing cold oil down.
If only I had some other method of applying pressure to deliver a fluid...
 It just so happens...

As I was saying, I'm a medic, I do carry stuff to deliver fluids. Not the most conventional way of topping up a gearbox but hey, I got home didn't I. OK, it took about 15 minutes to draw the oil off from the bottle, and inject it into the gearbox. I still had to lay on the floor to get the filler cap off, luckily this is a plastic wingnut type so no tools required (Thanks Renault) But with the help of a few incontinent pads under a patient transfer sheet from mediwrap. I stayed dry and clean, and my shirt is still white. 
Finally, It goes without saying that Jaffa tape was used to hold the oil bottle still while I performed the procedure. No Wilderness Medic worth his stuff ever leaves home without a roll of Jaffa Tape.

So forget spanners, monkey wrenches, and oily rags. Here is a breakdown of tools needed should you ever find yourself, Far From Help, with a gearbox that's dry.
  • Oil (obviously)
  • Oxygen tubing (removed from BVM I got from SP Services)
  • 25ml syringe (larger is better but this is all I had)
  • Jaffa Tape (gaffa tape would suffice, but I like the orange stuff)
  • Incontinent pads (PVC backed ones from SP Services) 
  • Patient Transfer Sheet (don't get the new white shirt dirty)
  • Tuff cuts 


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