Sommerwind repairs

Sommerwind was the first place where we stopped for the night in Ecuador. It is an official campsite, run by Hans, a German guy. When we arrived we didn’t know yet that we would be here much longer than anticipated. But Sommerwind is a very nice campsite for overlanders: cars, trucks, and tents can all find a place here. There are also cabins and tiny houses. We stayed longer because of the relaxed atmosphere, the German food (schnitzel, bread and beer) and because Hans has a lot of (technical) contacts in the nearby town of Ibarra, making it easier to do some maintenance and repairs on the car. I wasn’t the only one doing repairs!

What I did or had done:
The wheels were outsourced and refurbished by a local wheel specialist because the powder coating was coming off. A lot of rust had developed under the coating, even creating a pinch hole that allowed air to leak through the rim! They did a good job de-rusting the wheels considering it was hand work (no grit blaster available in Ibarra).

After closely inspecting the air filter I noticed that a modification to the air filter housing was not done as well as it should have been: a straight pipe was made to directly connect from the snorkel. But it protruded too far into the air filter house, leaving only a very small gap between the pipe and the filter. Instead of using the entire air filter surface, now only a small spot was used. Also, the “fan” to swirl the air around was removed because it could not fit past the protruding pipe. I had to correct this, because this was not improving the airflow, which was the reason to do this modification in the first place: it removed some extra corners in the air hose.

I changed all the oils. The motor oil was a challenge this time because the last time the oil was changed, it was done in a garage, and usually the guys working there tighten everything too much. Why? Just to be sure I guess, but it was a struggle to remove the oil filter. It only needs to be hand tight guys!!

While changing the gear box oil, a leaking reverse switch from the gearbox was replaced as well.

Brake fluid was replaced, two ball joints were replaced, and a steering rod end as well. I should have taken my own ball joint splitter with me, but I decided against it because it was such a bulky and heavy tool. Now I had to hire a big hammer, including the “operator” to swing around the hammer in order to get the ball joints loose.

Finally I found a new bump stop to replace the makeshift wooden block that I had put in place as a safeguard. When I removed the wooden block it was clear that it had done it’s job, because it was splintered to pieces…

And finally one dust boot of the front shaft was replaced.

Besides the car my bicycle needed some attention too: I had to re-align the rear bicycle wheel because somebody had hit it while it was on the bike rack. It was bad: I had to release all spokes, bend the rim back to a sort of straight shape, replace some spokes and nipples, and then I could align it again. Lesson learned: although I have a very nice set of strong wheels, if you travel the world, go for normal hubs that accommodate hooked spokes instead of straight spokes (better availability) and use aluminium rims ( I did!) not carbon.

The bike rack was outsourced and re-welded -again- partly because a serious crack had developed in the same place as before: it was not superbly welded in Mexico, but also I suspect it is the most stressed part. This time the solution was to weld a plate to distribute force over a larger area.

Anyway, two weeks later one of the hinges snapped off while manoeuvring around on another camp ground. The rack was not securely locked which caused it to swing open. this was too much for one of the hinges.

Closer inspection revealed the start of a fatigue crack. Sooner or later it would have happened anyway. I guess all the huge speed bumps we encountered throughout Central America are to blame for this. Luckily we were close to Quito,the capital of Ecuador. If you need special stuff it is always better to be close to the capital. I decided to repair it myself because of the rare parts I needed, and because it is Metric, not Unified thread. I needed to find two SKF rod ends, an M16 tap and some drills. I was able to find everything without too much hassle. But, I needed to drill out the core because it was rusted solid inside the frame. I tried a left hand tap to remove it but it was just not possible. Originally it was assembled with blue locktite. This should also prevent corrosion, but not in tropical conditions I guess. Luckily I could use the drilling machine from the camp ground. It was slow work but it worked out all right. Now I used lots of grease and a counter nut instead of locktite. Let’s call it an improvement.

4 thoughts on “Sommerwind repairs”

  1. Toch maar goed dat jij zo handig bent en ook de nodige hulp beschikbaar was. Nu kan de Van er weer even tegen en jullie hopelijk ook !
    Alles oké met Binky ?

  2. Still going strong! Goed bezig dat je nu weer wat onderhoud hebt kunnen doen. Met de wegen die ik zo voorbij zie komen, denk ik dat het allemaal wel wat meer te lijden heeft dan in Nederland.

    • ja, de wegen hier zijn wel slechter. En de drempels zijn vaak absurd hoog en hoekig. daar hebben wij ook al veel van te lijden gehad.


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