The oldies still run fine.
On Thursday 13-4-2000 the alarm went at 3.30.
I got out of bed to my old-timer (VOLVO FB 88 from 1970 with 1141000 km on the odometer).
We were about to go to Sweden to collect an old Volvo NB 88 and a Scania141. Together with Ad van Dijk which we would meet in Sweden. I took the F88 out of the garage and hooked it up with a 3 axle low bed trailer, now I went on may way to Schiedam where I picked up my colleague André. He had to park his truck there so another driver could use it for the next 2 day’s.
At 5 O’clock we could than finally start with the real trip to Sweden. It was new for both of us, since André had never been there before and I was the last time there 15 years ago. At 6 O’clock the first jokers already started calling asking where we are, if the truck was still running and if we needed a tow. We had to go to Frederikshaven in the north of Denmark in order to get the ferry to Göteborg. On the way to Frederikshaven we got 3 more of these phone calls, but we replied every time that all is well. That we were losing pressure on the clutch when we reached the Danish border we off course didn’t tell. I thought that it wouldn’t become a problem but only 50 km before we reached the ferry we lost pressure completely. So we stopped on a big truck stop just before Frederikshaven thinking that they would be able to help us there in the garage. Unfortunately they couldn’t, however they were willing. There were only young mechanics who never worked on a F88 and therefore didn’t know what to do. So we asked for the manager, who was the only one that spoke English, and explained the situation to him and asked if I were allowed to fix the problem myself. This was no problem and before you knew it the were helping me and I could use all the facilities. After 15 minutes I had pressure again on the clutch system and although I knew that it wasn’t 100% we left anyway. I figured that we were half way and if we could do another distance like we did than we would be home again. So off to the ferry we went and on to Göteborg. Once we left the ferry the trip went on, but not before we had to explain to a curious customs official that we really came from Holland. Since the truck is an old-timer we can drive with the old license plates that are blue/white instead of yellow/black. After he was convinced we could move on. We were to go to a big parking where we would meet Ad the next day. Once we arrived there it turned out that the parking was full and after a short talk with André we decided to drive directly to the place where we had to pick up the trucks. We figured that if we had found it up until now, we would also find the pick up place. So with the guidance of the directions we got from Ad we were at the location in Marstrand already after 20 minutes 00.45 at night.
Happy that we could get some sleep André struggled to get in the top bed and I got into the bottom bed. Shortly after we were both sleeping.
According to André I have cut down a complete forest that night, I off course haven’t noticed any snoring. At 7 O’clock we were awake and I went out of bed to have a look where we were. Since we arrived at night we couldn’t see what kind of place it was. André remained in bed until I found out which trucks we had to pick up. At that time we didn’t know that since Ad would pick up my F88 somewhere else, we also took a truck for him back to Holland. At 8.30 I managed to get Ad on the phone and he told me that he couldn’t be there before 12 O’clock and that he had the keys for that truck. I assured him that we would still have loaded the truck before he arrived also without the key’s. After checking out the truck I decided to take about the back window and send Andre through this small opening into the truck. Since he was able to get into the top bed he should also be able to get trough this opening. Once he was in he opened the door and now we only had to start the truck. Since it didn’t have any batteries we had to tow it out of the line of trucks to give it a jumpstart. Since there was no air pressure all the brakes were locked and therefore we had to do this carefully. After we finished we put the F88 next to it, put a nail in the ignition and tried to start. The jumper cables turned out not be thick enough and started to smoke, so the next thing was to take the batteries and put them on the Scania and with the next try it finally started. So we put the batteries back on the F88 and drive the Scania on the low bed trailer. Off course we also put the back window back into the cabin. Now we were finished and only had to wait for Ad, he arrived at 12.45.
I asked a Swedish friend from Ad for a oilcan in order to pump some oil in the clutch system, the oil I had already bought at a gas station. We looked at some more old trucks that were there and than we went on the way back home. The trip back went trough Sweden to take the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingör. After an hour driving we decided to get something to eat and I also pumped the clutch system back on pressure. It was loosing pressure faster now, but if this would be the only problem than we would get home without problems I figured. On the trip home we had a small disadvantage since we had only 260 HP and Andre in his Scania 142 had a lot more, while climbing the hills he was faster, but since our truck wasn’t limited we could catch up quickly every time. When we arrived at the ferry we found out that we couldn’t get on right away, since we were in different lanes we also got on different times on the ferry. But they sail every 20 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long for Ad on the island. Here we fuelled up a little bit since the diesel is expensive here and pumped the clutch system back on pressure. This had already become routine and we did it in 2 minutes. Also the phone calls with questions of were we are, is it still running and do we already have to give you a tow started to come again. Because I had faith in a good ending I off course didn’t tell about the clutch problem.
The journey went on without new problems and we took the ferry from Rödby to Puttgarden and the trip through Germany to Holland started. Another stop in Holland to pump the clutch on pressure and on to home. At night the old F88 was running fast and we even overtook a truck from Soonius which normally don’t drive slowly. I don’t think he liked it a lot. But on Saturday morning 7.45 we were home again “without problems”. Happy to get some sleep again because loosing a night isn’t that easy if normal day’s you only get sleep from 12.00 to 6.00. The truck managed to do 2.55 km on a litre and didn’t use a drop of oil!
The oldies still run fine.
We would do it again anytime.
Leo Bol en Andre Voskamp