15.09.2010 0 °C
We rose late and ate a hearty breakfast comfortable in the knowledge that the Princess was in safe hands at MSM the Mercedes garage. The first two days in Mongolia wreaked a terrible toll on the rally cars, there are more than 25% of the cars in workshops all over UB. The roads were horrendous. About 9:AM we took a taxi to MSM expecting to see the sump removed and bearings exposed, and get an assessment on the extent of the damage. Alas she had been pushed aside and hadn't seen so much as a spanner. There were nine other cars in the workshop. Bruce Washington in the Chrysler tourer was annoyed as the work done by the mechanics had caused more damage to his vehicle. He located Major Drilling, an Australian exploration drilling company with 22 exploration rigs working in Mongolia with their main maintenance facility. He was having his vehicle towed there and suggested we follow him: we did! We met Rob Martin the manager, a real can-do person. He directed us to a ramp and within minutes a mechanic was removing the sump. An inspection of the residue in the sump revealed fine metal flakes, not an encouraging sign. Removal of the end caps on number 5 & 6 con-rods revealed that the scored crankshaft had damaged the bearings. The chances of grinding the shaft and finding replacement bearing shells in UB were most unlikely.
Three cars were lost on a semi and turned up in the afternoon, taking 72 hours for the 700km journey from the border.
There was a narrow timing window to get a replacement crankshaft and parts from our spare engine in Australia. An executive decision was made to go for it. After frantic phone calls to the Brice office and Damien at Kustom Kool Cars the motor was delivered to Damien and stripped. The parts were packed for express courier delivery to Major Drilling in UB. Normal delivery time through DHL or Fedex is 7-10 days. Michelle Murphy of Major's and Val Brice were super-efficient, co-ordinating the delivery and paper work with Airland Logistics and Cargo Network. The consignment was delivered to Toll Priority with 10 minutes to spare. Michelle has arranged pre-clearance and the parts will be collected from UB airport at 9:40 p.m. on Friday: all just over 3 days. Well done everyone, we owe you big time.
Our schedule was discussed with the route coordinator Kim Bannister. If all the planets remain in alignment, we should catch the rally crew at Almaty in Kazakhstan on the rest day
Colin and I went to the cocktail party with raised spirits and raised our glasses.