Friday, November 16, 2007


Near Miss !!!

I asked Suna to pull off the road so I could water the prairie and we noticed the wheel vibration had graduated to a more serious sounding knocking. Checked the steering and suspension and it looked a bit loose, but OK. Decided to take off hubcap in case that was the problem and uncovered the mess that used to be the wheel studs and nuts. They had loosened and the studs had torn ovals into the wheel and ground away about a 1/4 of the stud thickness. The whole thing could easily have given up a few miles down the road had we kept going. Even worse, one of the studs snapped off when I tried to get the nut off. At this stage it was below freezing and I couldn't feel my face. Suna called for a tow but they said they couldn't help because it was a limo - nice.

After cleaning up the threads we managed to get the wheel on and secured, and limped to the nearest gas station with huge trucks flying by at 90mph. Found a great 24 hour repair shop who helped us get a nearby hotel (for a much needed nap), fixed the hub, and we were on our way within 5 hours. Suna was frantically txting her friends who had helpful suggestions like "stay positive" and "next time stop for funny noises"..... there'll be nobody to hep you in Africa baby ;-)

Now we are back on the road, things are looking up. The car is running well, almost no vibration, and we're making great time. Had one more freakout but it turned out to be a fake - the oil warning sensor lead disconnected and started shorting out intermittently against the block making the oil warning light flicker on randomly - but mostly at idle. All the symptoms of a bad oil pump or bad rod or bottom end bearings. Hooked the sensor lead back up and problem solved. Now just need to burn of the extra couple of pints I tossed into the engine. Hopefully we'll have time to get the oil pressure gauge hooked up before shipping to prevent this sort of thing - will keep my blood pressure under control anyway.

Strangely enough, friends of ours have broken down several times in Morocco and every single time they have, there was a guy just nearby with mechanical skills and often a garage and tricks up his sleeve to get them going again. Strange but true - it's like these guys just materialized out of nowhere!
Come prepared, but in the world where you can never assume anything, assume there'll be someone around who can help! Hang in there!
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