Truck versus road roller!

Truck versus road roller!

It was a fine day, and the road was at least a road. A wide well graded road, which was a distinct improvement from some of the previous impersonations of a road, which were barely a track, and in some places barely passable.

16 Bomag BW220AD A Tandem Vibratory Roller something like this but with a rudimentary cab. Photo from the Historical Construction Equipment Association. was beginning to pick up, or otherwise said as, there was more than one vehicle a day, even one an hour, as we travelled further into Kenya. A bright orange slash of gravel through the verdant green of the rain forest on either side. The road was raised on a slight embankment as we approached a slow-moving large road roller. A bus was coming the other way, but there was plenty of room on the wide road and the ruts had been removed with the last grader treatment.

I applied the breaks to slow the truck, intending to allow the bus clear passage before overtaking the road roller.
Nothing happened. We did not slow. The distance to the road roller was shortening quickly.

I pumped the breaks. Still no response. I applied the emergency air brake. Still no response, and the road roller was now perilously close. Choices, ditch, road roller, bus, or try to squeeze between the two.

Another pump of the breaks.

At last, the emergency air brake comes on and brings us to a hasty stop, not too soon to my mind.
Apparently, the emergency break only functions if the normal foot brake is not applied at the same time.

Disaster avoided.

Downgraded to a drama

Not all over yet but downgraded to a drama.

The master brake cylinder had failed. To replace one, you would normally require a clean garage to avoid contamination or damage to the seals. We had a dirt road with traffic.

Time to slowly manoeuvre the truck, and to crank the trailer, so as to allow the EMs out of the back of the truck. Without the trailer being at an angle the split tailgate cannot be dropped, making for a difficult exit. Then to tell them that we were going to be here for a few hours and to explain why. Not surprisingly, the news was taken differently by different people. Some wanted to help, some to sit around beside the road. Wolfgang and Lucas even caught a local bus into Nairobi, intending to meet up with us there. Others, just complained, unfortunately.

Under the tarpaulin of the trailer, and under the EM’s luggage, there was an Army Surplus ammo case, of the large variety. It was meant to be waterproof, with rubber seals around the top, but just in case, everything inside was also wrapped in Denso tape/waxed paper. In amongst the myriad of spares and equipment, there was a new master cylinder, and a master cylinder seals kit. It was there somewhere! We knew what was included in pandoras box, just not exactly where.

Found! Both the cylinder and the seals. I think given the location, beside the road, I would have opted to go straight for the master cylinder, partly to reduce the risk of contamination, and partly to avoid trying the seals and then having to change the cylinder anyway. Perhaps, if we were already in the campsite in Nairobi and there was something for everybody to do, to keep them entertained, I would have tried the repair with the seals, but not in the middle of nowhere, with little to amuse them, apart from those that chose to go off on their own.

However logical that maybe, I can’t actually remember which I chose.

It is not too long a job to swap the brake master cylinder on a Bedford truck. However, bleeding the brake fluid to ensure there are no air bubbles adds significantly to the time. Soft spongy brakes are not acceptable.
Some hours later, and it is time to unhook the trailer, and go for a short test drive, leaving the EMs behind, but not out of sight.

All is well.

Time to wrap the old master cylinder in the wax paper, and to repack the contents of the ammo box. Check that its sealed properly. Afterall, driving through a muddy river, could severely damage some of the spares in there if it leaked, which could ultimately be deleterious to health, if they were needed where no help was available.

The trailer was packed and re-coupled to the truck.

All aboard.

Onward, towards Nairobi. (Wolfgang and Lucas did find us.)






Related Articles




Free counters!




 The flag counter below is for my original travelogue, which is slowly being replaced by this one, but can still be found here.

free counters



News Flash

Repairs following hosting move


Spending some time this May repairing links and photos damaged in the move to the new website host. Particularly the articles transferred form the previous travelogue to this, the current Travel website. 

Change of host Sept 2023


Change of host Sept 2023


In the begining of August 2023 I transfered my sites, including this one from 123-reg to IONOS. It was meant to be a simple task. However, that was to to be the case. The reason for the move was primarily the hugh increase in price that 123-reg was applying regarding email boxes. Previously, the upto 500 of the boxes were included in the various hosting packages I had. Now they were going to charge for each mailbox based on size, and as far as I could make out, this was going to cost me nearly £2,000. This was not acceptable, and I did not get satisfactory answers from support. So I turned off all the auto renews and stated to move sites and domains accross to IONOS.

Travel data problems


Travel data problems

This is where it starts to get a little technical.

The site is built on a content management system, CMS, using Joomla. Joomla is moving forward and version 3.10.?? is being discontinued. Future developments are for version 4.??

Similarly, PHP 7 is being replaced with PHP 8.

Part of the migration is relatively simple, I have already changed to a new template which works on the new platforms.

However, some of the helper applications, which work within Joomla are not yet ready.

Fabrik is one of those applications, if fact a significant 'Joomla Custom Website Application Builder'.

Refresh 2021


Site refresh Easter 2021

I decided to give the site a bit of a refresh over Easter 2021 and install a new template and some additional functions. One of the things I didn't like about the old site was the delay in text appearing which probably meant some people left before the content appeared. This has been disabled now.