Wednesday 17 June 2015

Update on the cars. Ian Neuss

The 3 cars were left in warehouse of Kazakhstan - Australia LLC, on the outskirts of Almaty, under the supervision of Sansybai, the warehouse supervisor. Sansybai was like a steel fence and let no one near them for the six months under his care.

We took off the rear wheels and soaked them in linseed oil and turps to try to get the wood to swell and thus tighten the spokes. That went OK but at sometime the linseed solidified and deposited itself on the wheels. We covered the cars, put them on blocks, disconnected the batteries, drained the radiators and hoped they would be there on our return.

And they were, better than ever. We spent a few days cleaning the wheels and putting them back on to drive them into the sun. The Dodge started first go, as all Dodges do. The Whippet had run out of fuel so that took some adjustments and a bit of the copper hammer (Bill’s all-purpose favourite precision tool) before it got going. The wheels and the brakes got the most attention as we were planning to drive back into the hills of Kyrgyzstan. We gave them a good service, grease and oil change, did the points and tightened a few bolts. Overall the cars had fared well on the 12000 kms from Bangkok.

On the trip we have been fortunate to be able to find good places to store the vehicles if we are unable to get them into our hotel. In Samarkand they got to stay in an abandoned hotel and we got to service them next to a pool currently still in use by some enterprising locals. In Bukhara we were allowed to park them in a security car park of a larger hotel. A crowd usually gathers to view the maintenance being carried out.
They have required continuous maintenance on the road. The brakes and the rear wheels of the Dodge are taking a hammering with some of the rough roads, pot holes and steep mountains. They are surviving and the roads are getting flatter, but with more pot holes and the weather getting hotter. They are running very well in the cold morning air but, like their drivers, are starting to gasp and heat up by the time it reaches 40. Cutting the speed drops the car temperature to manageable levels but does little for the drivers. Swims in the irrigation canals help.

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