Sunday, 28 June 2015

Potton to Istanbul - Sorted

So here we are three weeks into my adventure and I have successfully got Matt and Sarah safely to Istanbul.  

Potton to Istanbul
We left Potton on Saturday 6th June with a convoy of some of my friends and a couple of Harley Outriders to make sure we had no trouble on the journey down to Dover where we were met by a Morris Minor Panda car that escorted us into the port.  We landed in France and started the adventure proper.

 Leaving Potton and the UK

We have passed through six countries and crossed the Alps to get here.  The roads were great for the first part of the journey and getting a little less maintained as we went through Romania and Bulgaria.  The Turkish roads were OK until we got to the old town in Istanbul where they were seriously rough and uneven but I coped.

 Crossing the Alps
I had a few problems on the way but none that couldn't be sorted with a little ingenuity and some luck.  My first problem was the universal joint going.  I'm not quite sure when it first started breaking up but Matt aborted his trip to the SOS Children's village in Tryvania because the noise and shaking was so bad.  Anyway as luck would have it the campsite owner where we were staying knew a local mechanic so I was left with him and he confirmed that the joint had in fact gone (not that Matt knew what the problem was anyway).

Broken Universal Joint

Mischka's Garage
Mischka the mechanic measured up the joint and ordered one which when it arrived needed a little customisation of the prop shaft mountings and the joint itself.  The prop shaft mountings needed about 20 thousands of an inch taken off to allow the joint to fit which then needed around a millimeter off each end to shorten it to match the original part.  Customisation complete I was put back together and we went on our merry way a couple of days later than planned but at least hale and hearty.

Bulgarian roads left a lot to be desired and having to cross a mountain that meant I was in third all the way up didn't help our miles per hour but once we overcame that little obstacle we managed to gain some time and crossed the Turkish border mid-afternoon.  From the border we over-nighted in Edirne and then drove on good roads all the way to Istanbul where after some navigational challenges found our hotel which had a special place reserved just for little 'ole me.

Outside the hotel in Istanbul

The other problem which caused some grief was that I was having some trouble starting in the mornings.  At first Matt thought it was something draining the battery but on inspection in Istanbul he found that one of the bolts holding on the rear plate of the starter motor had disappeared.  It could be that all the shaking from the universal joint problem coupled with the bad roads simply meant the bolt worked lose and somewhere along the line fell out.

Anyway after working out the problem and while trying to find a bolt that would fit, Sarah asked a local who stopped where we could possibly get said bolt and the next thing we know a mechanic is on hand to assist.  I never knew putting a bolt in could be so difficult.  First the distributor had to be removed so the starter motor could actually be removed.  Then a bolt of the right length and thread size needed to be found (amazed at how many nuts bolts and screws this chap had).  Once the bolt was identified the rear plate needed removing as once the original bolt fell out and the other one loosened the spring loaded contacts had also worked themselves lose.  So, back plate contacts reassembled and the plate bolted into place.  Motor tested OK and then re-mounted and hey presto starting was no longer a problem!

The other little niggles which have been sorted are the fan belt working lose.  Tightening sorted that out so Matt needs to keep an eye on that.  Seems there is a small amount of oil leaking from the gearbox.  This has been traced to the drain plug which seems tight but still losing a few drops here and there so need to keep an eye on the gearbox oil level too.

We are now ready to leave Europe and cross the Bosphorus which will take us into Asia and into the next phase of our adventure.  Some stats of the trip so far;
  • Miles traveled from Potton to Istanbul - 2871
  • Miles traveled to last tank full - 2307
  • Gallons of petrol used - 54
  • Miles per Gallon - 42.7
  • Actual days driving - 10
  • Number of speeding fines - 1
  • Number of other fines - 1
  • Number of problems requiring a mechanic - 2
  • Number of minor problems solved by Matt/Sarah - 0

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