July 9, 2016 - Correlation is Causation: The Gradual Disappearance of the Automotive Bench Seat
and the Declining US Birth Rate
There is a two-track road south of Bahia de los
Angeles, Baja, Mexico I once drove with a girl. It was late in the day, and I was relaxed and contented by the
dull thud of full jerry cans, a half-empty Negra Modelo, and the ease of - ocean on the left and desert on the
right - navigation. We found our way through an erect, suggestive vegetation of barrel cactus and boojums, and
we plunged through summer scraggly Mesquite and Cresote lined Arroyos. Our goal - a campsite on a deserted
She was smiling with her head on my shoulder. Her tank top was brightly coloured and ended
at a pair of red bikini bottoms. It was a struggle to keep my eyes off the two long legs that stretched into the
passenger footwell, and on the two-tracks that were our path through the desert. The rhythm of the ocean, the
stars, and a soft sand beach waited for us. I eased back on the little Land Rover’s throttle - there was no rush
- bench seats were conceived of for this unique form of foreplay.
Earlier this week I had been thinking about this trip and stumbled on an internet article
about the declining birth rates in Western countries; isn’t that how so many great discoveries are made.
Following the bench seat and birth rate train of thought, I discovered the US number of children per family
peaked at 3.5 through the 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60;s; the heyday of the automotive bench seat. I believe in this
case, correlation is clearly causation. Remember you read it at shearpin.org first…
I should also mention the girl is now my wife - I have to keep present day bench seat drives
June 14, 2016 - Series Axles & Great Basin Rover's Replacement Solution
Series Land Rover half-shafts (axles) are drivetrain failure points of legend. As a new owner,
this legend will be imparted to you by the first fellow owner you meet. The responsibility that comes with this
knowledge is the duty to do the same; sharing the legend is the Series Land Rover Owners Club secret
Following my recent half-shaft spline inspection I decided I was long overdue jotting down
some of my half-shaft history; my virtual club handshake. The Great Basin Rover’s axles that I had inspected
have been abused in my Land Rover since 2001. With knowledge of the cure for early Land Rover’s #1 failure part
literally in my hands - I felt further compelled to write.
May 12, 2016 - I am a Vehicle Hypochondriac - a Vehihypochondriac
I can’t put my finger on when my condition began. For those quick to point at my Land
Rover’s, and their reputation for spotty reliability, I can say that my vehihypochondria predated that
relationship. As long as I can remember I have been the sort that cringed when my father missed a shift in the
family MG, and winced as the Kubota diesel in our tractor turned over, and over, and over on a Canadian winter
morning. What I have is not simple mechanical sympathy - it is a real problem.
I do admit that the frequent failure rate of Land Rover parts and pieces is not good for my
condition; any mental health practitioner would be quick to prescribe me a Toyota. Taking my self-analysis one
step further - the various pops, clattering, and bangs normal in diesel engine operation also produce the
negative outcomes of anxiety, manic analysis, and stress associated with my vehihypochondria.
The source of this months symptoms has been a rhythmic tick at idle in the Defenders 300
tdi; or is it a bang. A quick internet search of “300 tdi ticks” produced a long list of terminal engine
problems. It also provided a suggestion - run some diesel fuel treatment through the engine and reevaluate.
I am happy to report that Royal Purple’s Max-Tane silenced the tick. While at my local
Canadian Tire I also purchased an Automotive stethoscope - admittedly a blessing and a curse. All is well again
in my Land Rover world, and my vehihypochondria is the worry of my next mechanical problem.
Canadian M416 Trailer For Sale - Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
have for sale a remarkably unmolested and preserved M416 trailer. This trailer was released in the late 1990's
from a military storage facility and was never used. The perfect blank canvas to build your military tough
adventure and/or utility trailer. For details SOLD - but my For Sale page lives on.
March 30, 2016 - Reflecting on the end of Land Rover Defender
January 29th, 2016 the last Land Rover Defender rolled off the production line at the Solihull plant in England.
The last Defender ended 68 years of a design and engineering concept that remained true to its original purpose
- getting work done in difficult terrain. This unwavering philosophy is part of what made the Defender unique;
this uniqueness inspired owners to keep 75% of total Land Rover Series & Defender production on the road.
For us longtime enthusiasts - the end is particularly difficult. There have been redesigns
and engineering advancements in the past that have tested our faith in Land Rover. I am sure the appearance of
coil-springs and disc brakes were cause for skepticism and concern in the early 1980’s; I was too young. I do
recall the introduction of computer management in the TD5 engine. Computers in Defenders were unanimously
rejected in the enthusiast community as working and expedition vehicle folly. Reliability, an anxiety never far
from a Land Rover owners heart, was sure to suffer with the introduction of a component irreparable with the
contents of an under-seat toolbox. But this news - the end of Land Rover Defender production - where do we go
Myself, I have decided to strengthen my resolve to travel farther, maintain and repair to a
higher standard, and adopt the air of superiority befitting an overlander with a silicon chip free Land Rover
Defender. I foresee legions of enthusiasts also adopting this muddy path into an unknown future. By building a
vehicle that attracts oily, bloody-knuckled romantics, I think Land Rover has done well to ensure their
Having reached this inner-peace, my wife sent me reeling back to my garage hermitage with
her reaction to the news - “Does this mean your going to have trouble getting the parts you constantly seem to
March 17, 2016 - Happy St. Patrick's
St. Patrick's Day - as good a day as any to think on my people that called Ireland home.
"May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home."
With spring fever setting in, my thoughts have also turned to my long neglected blog. It has
always been a goal of Michelle and myself to travel and keep the family Land Rovers going (that goal is,
admittedly, more mine); this blog plays a role in forcing us to look up from the daily plow, and make time to
plan and get out of the city.
For this post, a bit of inspiration from last summer. This video is a quick GoPro edit from
a logging road in northern Ontario, Canada. With the family 3 up on Eore's bench seat, I looked over and had one
of those contented moments. Astrid was singing to herself and drawing in the window condensation. Michelle had
slipped into a nap - with no Viking blood, Thor's hammer had given her no rest the previous night; thunder
rolled and heavy rain had pelted our tent. Myself, I smelled like wood fire and "night in a tent", and enjoyed
the slow pace of the forest and lakes going by.
July 7, 2015
In the late 1990’s I trusted “The Club” to ensure Eore -
my transportation, my weekend home, and my travel companion - was always where I left him.
Peace of mind came from “The Club’s” all-metal construction, extending locking mechanism to
fit any size steering wheel, and high visibility red finish. Reaching over the seat and that characteristic “The
Club” ratcheting noise was always part of parking.
With time and a better understanding of Eore’s mechanics I developed better anti-theft
methods. During these late night, solo repairs I also made a discovery that saved my “The Club” from
obsolescence and a landfill.
As a solo mechanic there are times when an extra hand or foot is necessary. Or, something
with a rubberized non-marring finish, the capability to extend to various lengths and lock, and possessing
sufficient strength to not buckle. “The Club”.
"The Club", conveniently hanging on a nail in my garage, has been invaluable for:
Depressing the clutch pedal for bleeding.
Depressing the brake pedal for bleeding.
Holding various body parts
ajar for painting.
Holding unreachable bolts in place for washers and threading
Holding wedged wrenches on bolt heads for tightening.
Knocking out hard to reach fasteners and parts.
June 22, 2015
For years I have read favorable reviews of the the
various brands of mechanic's gloves available in the marketplace. Being the stubborn sort, I have persisted with
the latex variety that bloat with my sweat until they eventually tear apart.
During a recent trip to my local auto parts supplier I could not turn my back on a colorfull
sale display for the well respected Mechanix branded gloves. With a cross-shaft O-ring repair to address in my
110's LT230 I purchased the gloves, and I walked out happy.
My hopes for the gloves are four-fold. Firstly, I am hoping the snug fit and glove design
will result in a minimal loss of dexterity. Secondly, I hope the strategic padding will offer some protection
during those desperate moments when I use the fleshy part of my fist as a soft mallet. Third, I hope to avoid
those superstitious moments when a blue latex glove tears when I pull it on; that "is this a bad omen" moment.
Lastly, I hope to be able to thrust my hands into ground hamburger beef without worrying about the stubborn
grease trapped under my fingernails.
Seized nuts, dirty linkages, and cursing are in my future. Check back for a full review of
my new Mechanix gloves in the near future.
June 16, 2015
It has always been my intention to blog on
shearpin.org. Today I am going to start. Shearpin.org is one family’s opportunity to share our travel
experiences, Land Rover enthusiasm, and the influence both have on our lives; a quick mission statement. For an
introduction to our family and our Land Rovers, please visit the About Us and the Garage
sections of this website.
It has been my experience that both travelers and Land Rover owners are a vibrant community.
We enjoy dialogue with both and would love to include any comments, encouragement, and criticisms - please email
firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.