Day 11: Uureg Lake – Border Camp ( 271 km )

The roads may have been good on Day 10, but the drive to the final campsite was even rougher than usual. Although we had not experienced any technical difficulties the previous day, about 145 km from our final camping spot, we could suddenly no longer start or stop the car through the ignition key and it was permanently stuck in second gear. On top of this our rear shock absorbers also gave way, so we well and truly limped to camp.
We thought that we would be able to make it back in second, but shortly before the end of the drive we saw that there was a steep hill that we still had to cover. We tried to reach the top but without first gear we didn’t make it very far.
Mario walked to a nearby construction site to see if they had any vehicles which could tow us up but all the drivers had already left. Luckily a competitor in a Mercedes 300 SE offered to try to pull us up. The first attempt failed but the second time around we just about made it by zig zagging our way up.
Later in camp we discovered that the reason for our problems was that a number of bolts had broken on the gearbox mounting and as a result the gearbox was resting on the chassis frame. Because the gearbox had dropped, it also broke the gear linkage. The really tough roads and the resulting vibrations had essentially led our car (as well as those of many of our competitors) to fall apart.
At the camp we once again started to take the car apart with the help of friends and also a local Mongolian. Fixing the gearbox mounting would have been a huge job and was not very plausible because of the harsh conditions. The camp was located in the midst of what felt like a wind tunnel, which coupled with the sub-zero temperature would not have made working all night very pleasant. The soft ground also made undertaking such a job dangerous as the jacks kept on sinking into the group. At one point Mario had just come out from under the car when one of the jacks gave way, making the car come tumbling down. As a result, we decided to strap the gearbox to its correct position with tie rope and welded the gear selecting linkage back together in order to be able to drive in something other than second. Although this is only a temporary fix we are hoping that it will hold until Paris!

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 11: Uureg Lake – Border Camp ( 271 km )

  1. Roland Veit

    Dear Noele and Mario,
    Your adventures and challenges are truly amazing. How do you physically and mentally keep up with
    these ongoing trials and tribulations? No doubt that all this will ultimately turn out to become a rich and rewarding experience that you’ll be benefitting from for the rest of your lives!
    Mario, belated congratulations on the stellar performance of the Chevrolet motor equipped Indy cars and the Penske team win in Texas last week!
    Best regards,
    Roland Veit
    PS: How is the coffee?

  2. Kathy Yu

    Dear Noele and Mario,

    This is such an amazing adventure, do take care and be safe! Looking forward to seeing you soon and listening to all the stories!

    Kind regards,
    Kathy

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