We've heard some great bush mechanic stories, but this one shared by Ellenbrae Station on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley is a beauty...
"This photo was shared with us by Allan. He and his family were travelling in the Kimberley in 1986 when their back axle broke near the Gibb River Road. When it happened they sat down, had a cup of tea and came up with the plan you see in the photo. They drove the 110km like this from the corner of the Kalumburu Road all the way back to Derby, even passing a tourist bus to get a reaction. This is certainly thinking outside of the box to get off the Gibb River Road!"
And here are a few more great bush mechanic's and Ingenious Australians; and you never know, some of these may help you out one day... and if you have one to share on social media please tag it #ingeniousaustralians or add it to the thread on the RFTTE FB Group or send yours to RFTTE via email.
Here are the Top 5 bush mechanic moments from the 1998-2001 classic ABC series 'Bush Mechanics'... starring Warlpiri people and filmed in and around Yuendumu, a town a few hundred kilometres north west of Alice Springs, NT.
"Got flooded in one year at Nicholson Station and had a tinny but no outboard to get across the river to meet the mail plane with our supplies, so had to knock one up out of scrap steel, an old firefighter motor and a kubota belt, and some pulleys off the old power hacksaw. Got across the river, just, as it was flowing pretty fast, and walked the three kms to meet the plane then lug all the gear back and splutter back across the river. Still got the old contraption lying around... " c/o Joe Grace via RFTTE.com
"Grass stuffed tyre to get home with a ripper of a flat after using all the spares on that particular trip" | Posted by Sasha Busch
Rob Justin Giumelli Blakeney sent this one in which happened whilst I was writing the blog (Oct 2021)...
"This was yesterday to Travel 384kms back to Weipa from Elliot Falls on dirt and corrugations. Exhaust dump pipe snapped off at the turbo flange."
Craig Taylor posted on RFTTE.com "Done a bush (suspension buffer) in the torsion bar at 2am in the middle of the paddock, polly pipe fixes everything!"
"Bolt snapped on caravan shockers, lost bushes as well. Had driven around 80km before finding out. Stole bolt, washers and nut from jockey wheels, made bushes from hose and gaffa tape. Got us home another 500+ km" | Posted by Karryn Dolan via RFTTE.com
"Was on a bore run and the king pin bearing collapsed and the studs all snapped and the bushes on the steering arm flogged out, the wire jobs didn’t help a great deal but it got me out of trouble and home 3 1/2 hours later driving in 1st gear the whole way" Posted by Troy Campbell
"Lost a dust cap and damaged a bearing on the camper van traveling along the Tanami, NT. Had a spare bearing but no dust cap. Baked beans tin, cable ties and silastic, lasted 2000km home" | posted by Dave Leslie.
Although Jeff Becker came up with a great solution so you'll never lose your dust cap...
"Belts broke on the concrete mixer, upgraded it to a motorbike chain and sprocket" | c/o Richie Snell
My boss asked me to make a float cover that wouldn't break or bend I think I went overboard on this one! By Camille Boon (and we love the tomato sauce bottle used as a valve protector!)
This excellent series, 'BLACK AS' came out after the BUSH MECHANICS episodes but yet again it has plenty of clever ideas from some Ingenious Indigenous Australians!!
From the wreckers to laps down the main in no time!
"A mate had his gear shifter snap on his bike in the bush. We found the broken piece with enough metal on it to get a foot under so we slipped the piece over the shifter and cable tied it backwards all the way back to the spline and rode the whole day like that!" posted Max Putland-Ferry.
"Tore the engine mount off the chassis and knocked the gear selector off the gearbox. I had 3 horses onboard as well. I had 87km to go after doing 3 days travelling from Victoria to Qld" posted Mark Barwick... the strap is wrapped around the door to hold it in place...
Cable tie's (or zip tie's as we sometimes call it here in Australia) or 'Ty-Rap' being it's brand name in the US, was invented by Maurus C. Logan in the mid 1950s. He worked for Thomas & Betts, an electrical company, and finished his career with the company as VP of Research and Development. Logan died on 12 November 2007, at the age of 86.
The idea of the cable tie came to Logan while touring a Boeing aircraft manufacturing facility in 1956. Aircraft wiring was a cumbersome and detailed undertaking, involving thousands of feet of wire organized on sheets of 50-foot-long plywood and held in place with knotted, waxcoated, braided nylon cord. Each knot had to be pulled tight by wrapping the cord around one's finger which sometimes cut the operator's fingers until they developed thick calluses or "hamburger hands." Logan was convinced there had to be an easier, more forgiving, way to accomplish this critical task.
For the next couple of years, Logan experimented with various tools and materials. On June 24, 1958, a patent for the Ty-Rap cable tie was submitted. Source: Wikipedia
CABLE TIE BUSH MECHANICS:
The first 2 images come from 'Fastcar Eugene' on Twitter: "This is how my multi national corporate employer fixed a split guard on a Ford Ranger Ute!!"
"Took a U bolt out on the Nullarbor" says Julia Lockwood, always carry zip ties, see 3rd pic.
Zip Ties, never go bush without them! John Connor posted the first pic below: "This got us 150km's home after the u bolt broke..." (4th pic)
A 'bush plumbing' fix from Mark Schrag... "4” to 2” adaptor, care of a jam tin and an old tank fitting..."
Some more bush plumbing and ingenuity..."Made this bush shower/dunny for the stock camp at Birrindudu Station about 15 years ago. The upright donkey was a grader rim, a truck rim, a Toyota rim and a gas bottle all welded together with a bore casing flue up the guts and some fittings and a pressure relief valve welded on. Just ran a poly line from the turkey nest and a fire under the donkey and all the girls in the camp were happy little vegemites, even had a mirror. | Joe Grace via RFTTE.com
Whatever gets you out of trouble! A guide to fuse replacements...
This is an ABC Conversations podcast with Lach McClymont, Lach learnt the ropes by working as a ringer everywhere from the Kimberley to Cape York, to Victoria; always looking to learn from older hands, and with his eyes on a very big prize.
We love how Lach goes up in a chopper so he can get reception on his phone, then he can look up YouTube videos on how to fix stuff in his camp!
Bush Mechanics in the city! Sent in by RFTTE member Rhonda Finley
A few more deserving a mention...
This bush mechanic fix happened in the USA... Tom Jj writes on the Bush Flyers Down Under FB Page:
"Super Cub in Alaska got attacked by a bear, no worries, just get a box or 2 of duct tape and a new wheel dropped off and all good to go. That will teach you not to leave your lunch in the plane in bear country!
BTW It was originally called duck tape because of its water repellent properties. Invented in WWII It was used to keep ammunition boxes water tight as well as being easy to remove in the field. After the war it was sold in hardware stores and used to repair air ducts in homes. (Trevor Morgan).