Day 20: Samara rest day

Wow surprised, we are now in 4th in class and 7th overall, cant get too excited as we are only at day 20. Still 13 days to go and anything can happen. SO many came limping in last night on flat beds or towed or so late. We made it within one minute of our time. It truly was a miracle. LAst time trial ws cancelled so the flats didn't adversely affect our time. We have also decided to ask for a reference from the mechanics here as we are now the experts on tire changing and may apply to Formula one. Just need them to go back to tubed tires. We are getting our time down slowly, next time i am going to start a stop watch. We have now taken the record from the other couple, by 2. So 12 flats and the one we limped in with last night. Just to go flat 5 minutes after arrival.

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We now know our jobs well ad, on arrival I searched out the guys to find us tires and Tony arranged to get to the mechanic shops. He is concerned as we are dripping oil from the differential and the left spring is actin up again. We wonder if it is not the spring but one of the bolts that joins it. His description would be better than mine but he has left for the mechanics shop and I can't get him to explain. Maybe later. He is also going to fill in about the day in Novosibirsk which was really entertaining unlike mine which was laundry and finding talc. He got to work with mechanics in a shop. He came home at 7:00am that day with a bottle of vodka under his arm. They fed him and watered him. He said he kept having to refuse the vodka as oh how these Russians can drink.


I left Lee this morning to go to a local shop and have our front left spring looked at. When we arrived after some 20 minutes of following a russian taxi to the repair shop I  arrived to find the shop full to overflowing with cars. No chance of seeing this done by days end. Fortunatley met Andy, one of the ERA team mechanics. We had a look underneath and pronounced it repairable in the hotel parking lot. 

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We drove back and he went at the left front leaf spring with a team of 3 mechanics. They took the spare front main spring I had been carrying behind the drivers seat since Peking and tried pressing in the bronze  bushings.

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 There was no way to get the bushing to fit. So they resorted to using a broom stick handle, whittled down by a machete, to fit into the spring end and then drill out the bolt hole. In effect creating a wooden bushing. 

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With no other alternative remaining this would have to do as an interm fix.It was recommended I drive slowly and limp into Kiev where we might be able ot get Carl from the PRiory to drop ship some replacement springs.

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Lee and I called the local Citroen  dealer to see if they would take our car for a fluids change. They had left a flyer offering service to the cars of the rally. They were kind enough to change out our differential fluid  and service for free as long as we took some photos of them with the car. 

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We stopped at a local hole-in -the wall shop to have the engine oil changed. Andys bash plate is so inpenetrable that disapbling it to get to the oil pan plug was too difficult and we had this small shop 'suck' the oil out of the engine via the equivalernt of a soda straw. Took forever. But managed to draw out 6 litres of black goo from the engine and replaced this with the best 5-50 SAE weight oil we could find. I am sure the Bentley will run happier. 

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Filled the steering box with almost a pint of thick gooy fluid. Don' think it will help the stiff steering effort much. New air filter and some liberal oil can lubrication of odd things and linkages etc and that complete our service.  Tony


© Anthony Strelzow 2013