Sadly our trip has come to an end! But more about that later.
In Osh we collected our tyres. Adrain from ROARR had arranged to get them to Osh for us to collect from Evgeniy his contact for the rally in the Stan’s. We strapped the tyres on and headed towards Sary Tash ready for our border crossing into Tajikistan and the Parmir Highway the next day.
All afternoon we tossed up between homestay or camping for the night. Eventually camping won out, so we camped beside a river for the night with most wonderfull colourful mountain setting.
The next morning was another clear crisp morning with water bottles frozen and frost on the car.
After breakfast we headed off for Tajikistan with great excitement. This all came to an end about 25k’s up the road with a death-rattle from the engine bay and the cabin filling with smoke and the engine stopping as soon as the clutch was pressed. Opening the bonnet told us nothing special.
Pressing the starter the engine bursts back to life, a little rough but running fairly nicely. However the engine breather is puffing out massive amounts of smoke. This can only be caused by either a hole in the piston or major ring failure. Our only option was to call our contact from yesterday, Evgeniy.
Evgeniy was great in our hour of need as he had a flatbed truck on the way in and hour to collect Penny and he was on his way in his VW Touareg to collect us.
We broke down about 1/2 k from a village and in no time a young boy was soon with us. In not much more time 4 more kids arrived with 2 donkeys to join us and most stayed the 4 hours until we were collected. One boy even went back to his house and got the wiring diagram form his dad’s truck to try and help us fix Penny plus mimed that a welder was available in town.
Julie was knitting to pass the time which soon turned into knitting lessons for the whole group with them all showing great interest. This also lead to the kids wearing home beanies that Julie had been knitting while waiting for meals on the trip.
Penny arrived back in Osh just on dark so we left thinking of our options until the next morning.
Saturday morning I was at the workshop as soon as it opened to get things sorted. We did a compression test which confirmed my suspicions as we had no compression at all in No4. Sticking a camera in the plug hole we could see a lot of bore damage.
Option 1: Fix the piston and bore here. Not viable as we would take a 7 to 10 days to complete and we would run out of time to exit Russia as we were already pushed for time getting out of Russia due to the delays in Bangkok.
Option 2: Pull the top and bottom off the engine, remove the failed piston and drive a 3 cylinder car the rest of the way. Gave it some thought and would have been the preferred option if on a organised rally with a defiant final date and support should we have more trouble. With a lot of remote desert to cross yet and some big days driving to get out of Russia in time, this was not great option.
Option 3: Arrange to ship the car back to Brisbane from Bishkek through Almaty.
Option 3 was chosen with a lot of sad faces and heavy hearts as this was the first time we have had DNF for a trip in Penny. We have had a fantastic time so far and had already decided that we need to come back and spend a lot more time in the Stan’s that we had planned so the car is going back to home to be fixed properly then we will come back here as soon as we can fit it in.
When Penny eventually arrives back home we will try and sort out what went wrong and make sure that it never happens again so we can travel relaxed next time.
So Tuesday after all our car stuff is sorted, Evgeniy is driving Julie and I the 600 k’s to Bishkek to fly home via Dubai on Wednesday.
To anyone who isn’t on Julies list you can see her posts and photos at her journal page here https://juliestephenson.net/journal/
If you have not seen all of my posts there can be viewed at http://www.adventuresofpenny.com/
Thank you all for following and I hope you enjoyed coming along for the trip with us both. We will keep you posted with our plans for the future.