About Bertie

Bertie is a 1996 Fairway Taxi who was in service in London for 15 years. He moved to Essex for 3 years, and then sat for a couple of months before we found him and brought him to Lincolnshire. This is his continuing story.

Sunday 25 January 2015

And headlining tonight…...

I was getting a bit fed up of the headlining in the driver cab to be honest. It was flapping about a fair bit, and having thought through a few options decided to buy some thin oilcloth. I did start using silicon sealant as adhesive, on the basis that it's easier to detach than no-nails in the future, but after a few 'sealant in the hair' incidents, I resorted to my trusty DeWalt heavy duty stapler. A few 12mm staples, and a bit of stretching, and here it is. Not perfect, but if you'd see the 'before' picture! The oilcloth was £12.50 from 'Only Oilcloth' online. Bargain!

Sunday 18 January 2015

New front crossmember

The crossmember had corroded on the drivers side, so this prompted a trip down to see Stewart in Harlow. He already had the crossmember kitted out with the discs, pads and callipers (which also needed replacing). He's now all good to go. I've got a list of things (which I know most Fairway drivers do) to do, so I'm slowly working my way through, starting with changing the transmission fluid and filter to see if it helps Bertie to go above 10 mph within the first 5 minutes when it's been below zero overnight. Luckily, where I live is 5 minutes drive either way to a main road. That's Stewart on the left. I think he got stage fright when I took my phone out!

Tuesday 6 January 2015

I went to pick my daughter up from a nearby town last night in the dark. Bertie felt a bit sluggish on the way out. I don't know about you, but you really just get to know the feel of a car. I thought he might have been running out of fuel, but with my dashboard light on (not always; it comes and goes), I could see I had over a quarter of a tank full (cue laughter from anyone who runs a Fairway). A few minutes later, with daughter on board, and we're doing the cruise on vapour, with heavier steering than my mother's early 80's Capri laser (Momo 12 inch wheel, wide tyres, no power steering). Yes, we had indeed run out of fuel. This gave my daughter the opportunity to practice rolling her eyes. A short walk to the garage (0.5 miles) and we were all set up again. (My daughter told her friends we walked 4 miles……honestly!). It took a good 5 minutes or so of 'cardiac' pumping to bleed air from the fuel system, not knowing whether the pump was still working or not. Just as I was about to give up, I gave it a few more pumps, and he started. Phew! 400 miles in, and about 20 journeys, and I've not been stranded yet!

Sunday 4 January 2015

Fairway to Belton

We went to Belton House today. It's a great place to visit, even in winter. Barely above zero, but great to get out with the family in Bertie.


A bit of condensation on the windows, but all good.
As you can see from the second photo, they have his namesake as a refreshment van. I was given a tow bar for a taxi when I bought him……hmmm I wonder?

Lastly, I've found that more of him starts working as each day passes.    
The overdrive light now works, and the full speed wipers have suddenly started working. On the minus side, my LHS full beam was having an off day today. Two steps forward, one step back.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Fairway health check

Stuart serviced, and got Bertie through his MOT before we bought him. Even so, I thought it best to give him the once over. Dave and Colin, our local mechanics in the next village, have looked after our broad variety of cars over the years. A few years ago, Colin even filed down a washer to the right size to repair a shock absorber mount in an emergency on the day we set off for Cornwall…...You get the picture! Dave didn't seem too enamoured with London Taxis when we talked. Colin seemed more enthusiastic, so I guess it's going to be Colin's job. He's most positive mechanic I've ever met. His catchphrase is 'Not to worry, I'm sure we'll sort it out.' I've just sourced a workshop manual for the Fairway, so I'm hoping he will add it to his post-Christmas reading list.
Bertie's horn sounds like a teenagers voice breaking - a loose contact. Gearbox doesn't change up from first until we've travelled quarter of a mile (due to v. cold weather - common with the Jatco auto box apparently). I'm going to get the fluid and filter changed in the auto box - might just help a little.
Steering fluid is something to look out for - might need to reseal, as we do have the renowned steering screech as we turn left and right. Nothing serious, but just need to watch the levels.

A clean Fairway

Well, I must say, a bit of a clean and some polish does the world of wonders. He has his fair share of rust, but that will be for dryer days. We had our first 'big' trip just before new year to Yorkshire. A 180 mile round trip. All fine - Bertie pottered along superbly. I did find that going into a head wind was like driving with the handbrake on (and yes, I did check!). Steering is quite light, so big gusts of wind take you by surprise. I was forced from my usual style of right hand on wheel with elbow on velour door rest pad, to both hands on wheel, white knuckles for the duration.

It's worse than that he's dead Jim

Our first family outing in Bertie. We all went out to eat, happy to be driving in Bertie. After we hopped in the car, I turned the key…….and nothing. Not even a splutter, or whirr. I'm no technical expert, but knew that even if we had full lights etc on, we would hear something. It had to be a connection to the ignition system. I called Stuart (Bearing in mind this was Christmas Eve!), who picked up, and as I looked under the bonnet, he directed me to a wire to wiggle. I wiggled the wire as my wife and children looked on hopefully. I turned the ignition to hear………..Bertie roar into life! Phew. I made a mental note to sort out the connection, and find myself 10 days later remembering I must look at it!