Dear Keith,

"BALLS!" cried the Queen. If I had two, I'd be King!"

The King laughed, not because he wanted to, but because he had two!

It seems Keith had lost his balls. That is, the ones in his gearbox.

We were travelling down some dinky French road, probably not found on any Michelin map, on our way to meet our fellow Jupiteers enroute to Le Mans 2000. We were following three Jups in our modern (E1SA100R not being quite ready to face the challenges of the open road) on a "shortcut" through some woods that was perhaps wide enough for one American car.

Suddenly the procession came to a halt. It seems that Keith's gearbox had locked up. Fortunately, there was a wide shoulder that could accommodate four vehicles. We started to jack up Keith's Jup. However, the ground was rather soft, and the jack did more sinking than lifting. Luckily, someone had cut down some trees there, so we dragged over a tree trunk to act as a jack stand.

Remove the nearside front wheel. Drain the gearbox - who has cups? Put the cups down someplace where they won't get accidentally kicked over. Remove the starter. Remove the gearbox side plate.

"AH HA! The balls got loose!"

Well, you can drive without the balls. Who has a magnet? Was it Jim Miller that produced a pencil magnet? (It was Drummond Black, the trusty Navvy)

"Count the balls." "Yes, got them all!"

Jack up the nearside rear wheel. Put it in gear. Turn the rear wheel. This causes the gears in the gearbox to turn. Count the gear teeth. Yes, they're all there! "Good".

Bolt the side plate back on with plenty of gasket goo. Pour the oil back in. Replace the starter. Put the front wheel back on. Remove the tree trunk. Hand out plenty of babywipes.

Get on the mobile phone. "We've been fixing Keith's car. Save dinner for us."

It all happened, and I've got the picture to prove it.

With fond memories,


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