Our First Purchase

JCB arrivesWe always intended to build our house on a budget and to do most of the work ourselves so it seemed obvious that we were going to need some kit. It was easy from this position to convince ourselves that what we really needed was a JCB. "It will pay for itself in no time" we told ourselves!

We searched the internet for weeks and eventually found our dream machine a JCB 3D with a good selection of buckets, good tyres and all its glass still intact. At £3.5k we thought we had a bargain.

Setting offWhen it was delivered we were so excited we set off through the village towards our field grinning like idiots at all the people we met. They grinned back, or possibly it was a look of sheer terror as our beast lurched all over the road. There was lots of play in the steering wheel (and as we found out later in every part of the machine) so it was hard to keep to the road. Still we weren't going far, it would be fine. Suddenly the lurching was replaced by a coughing and spluttering and our new toy ground to a halt in the middle of the road. Now we found the hand-brake didn't work so we had to lower the bucket to stop the digger rolling backwards down the road. After a bit of head scratching we came to the conclusion that we had simply run out of diesel. Sadly there was not a simple solution to this problem as the whole fuel system needed bleeding, a very slow and laborious task. Although we live in a very sleepy little village where there's not much traffic, even we couldn't block the road for several hours while we sorted things out.

Blocking the road

The solution Pete came up with was to tow our JCB (with our pickup) up to the field and then to sort out the fuel problem there. Amazingly the pickup was up to the task, though without the engine running we had no steering in the JCB. As Pete drove on in the pickup, I (Anne) found myself heading at speed for the nearest hedge. Shouting for attention was hopeless so I was forced to dab on the brakes. After Pete had recovered from the whip-lash caused by my emergency stop he came up with another ingenious plan. He connected a spare battery directly to the starter motor which powered the hydraulic pump enabling us to finish our journey.

 

Repair work

 

Once on site Pete was like a schoolboy with a new toy. Out came all his tools and he spent many hours, not just bleeding the fuel system but tightening up and oiling every nut and bolt he could find.

There is no doubt at all that our JCB is going to be a great talking point at the pub. Hopefully it will also prove to be an invaluable tool on our build.

Time will tell!