Friday, 19 December 2008

About how we never left for Africa

So i am back. Sooner than expected. Now i hate the people here even more. I hate the mud but somehow it's home. There were people i didn't manage to see. Perhaps now is a good time. But let's start at the beginning.

It's yesterday morning and we're good to go. The radiator on the Toyota is getting mended, so everything is in order, the mechanic from Land Rover reassured us there's no problem with our Defender so we set off. All packed, all ready and willing, leaving behind only the memory of the dirty cloudy rain in Bucharest.

400 and something kilometers later the engine stopped. Just stopped, in the middle of the motorway. Our luck was that it stopped some kilometers away from a friend of a friend's car service. What were the odds? We got toed there and popped the hood.

A few hours passed, in which we tried all simple solutions to revive the car. The symptoms and effects were simmilar. It would start after 6 to 12 keys and die like it would run out of diesel. Bugging. Even the mechanic, who was an Extreme class racer as well, had no clue of what that might be. Hours passed, we took out the fuel filter, fuel tank, electronic engine management, unplugged all power chips and reset the computer and nothing happened. We were at the end of the rope.

A friend was called, who took two of Land Rover's best mechanics from Bucharest to our little middle of nowhere. 5 and something hour trip. Meanwhile we went for dinner, where we discussed all manner of things possible, from deadly car crashes to jokes, and get some sleep.

They managed to arrive at 2:30 am, and set off to work. Nobody slept until now really. The car was torn appart from rear to front, taking EVERY, and i mean EVERY piece of metal that could cause this, off.

The most difficult part was left for last: the engine. We hooked the laptops up to the computer and the diagnostic cables and started looking at all possible faults. Apparently the ccylinder balance was completely off, varying from -16 to +26 on the same cyclinder, which, for those of you who don't know cars, qualifies for the first prize in the "as bad as it can get" competition.

The engine was opened up, all pistons taken out and cleaned, and in the process discovered that the copper isolation gaskets for the fuel injection pumps were beyond worn out and had not been doing their job for a while. Needless to say that we called everyone, from the coast of ther Romanian Sea, all the way to Hungary, and nobody ever had any problems with them, let alone change them or have spares.

Defeated and sleepless, we left the Defender in Sebes and returned home awaiting the parts so we can go back and fix it. Five days have been alreay lost of the expedition, along with all possible reservations, taking into account the fact that we were supposed to be in Fes on the 22nd of December, which coincides with the date when the gaskets in question will be arriving in Bucharest, thus the expedition is off and we have alot of free time on our hands all of a sudden. Not to happy about it. So, in this peculiar situation, do try not to get on the wrong side of me, as people have been known to get hit by randomly flying car parts.