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Published: August 6th 2013
Veysel's workshop where I spent almost a whole week.
Veysel's workshop where I spent almost a whole week.
Tues 30th July - Tues 6th of August Erzurum, Turkey
Local Mercedes specialist fixed the two front wheels because they were a bit wobbly, and checked the brakes. Also fixed the problem I had with stopping the engine by pulling a wire. It turned out to be a problem with a switch and not a vacuum problem.
There were 2 holes on the cover of the rear differential and when the car moved, oil was coming out of these holes. The mechanic wanted to remove the cover to fix these holes. I stopped him in time to ask him to try my putty like material that hardens into a metal like material. It worked. The holes were covered and we avoided a potentially messy job.
The bonnet release mechanism broke and it has been repaired properly.
The steering has also been fixed by replacing a joint on the steering mechanism on the passenger side. The steering is now more precise. The front wheels and possibly all four wheels has been tracked or aligned.
The car has also developed a starting problem in the morning or when the engine is
cold. The part next to the fuel pump was replaced and now the car will start normally in the morning.
Front passenger door was damaged by the accident. Part of the door panel near the handle was pulled out. The door handle had to be repaired. Now the door can be operated normally. The rear number plate had to be re-attached and the light replaced.
We looked for a replacement 15 inch wheel and offroad tyre in tyre shops and scrapyard, but no luck. I had to settle for a 16inch wheel and smaller road tyre as a spare.
Part of the radiator came loose, so it was soldered back on to improve cooling efficiency.
The automatic transmission is now working much better with the engine. The gear change now is like a normal car and this has transformed the performance of the car. The engine will now rev much higher before changing a gear, making the car much more comfortable to drive.
After a week at the garage, and spending a small fortune in Turkish Lira, all the repair work added up has transformed the car, giving me a glimpse of what this car
was like when new. I think the car is now fit for travel.
Problem with the cold start in the morning was due to faulty glow plugs and all five glow plugs were replaced - problem solved.
ERZURUM - Tashan and the silk road
After spending days in Erzurum mainly preoccupied with mechanical repairs to my vehicle, I found out that I was in a major centre for the silk road trade - doh!!
Erzurum was one of the most important centres in eastern Turkey and fame grew around the trade in silk in the 11th century. The route used was the Izmir to Tebriz and this is the road that played an important role in making this area an active trade centre. Today, the evidence of the silk road trade manifest itself in the form of a grand old building called the 'Tashan'.
It was funny when I found out the Tashan was a building I had walked past many times before. I had to ask the locals for direction initially by muttering the word "Tashan" and the locals would point the direction to me. The building is now a
shopping mall selling local jewellery. Underneath the facade, I can still see the remnants of what was once the grand trading area of the Tashan.
ERZURUM - PASINLER - HORASAN
I vistited Pasinler and Horasan because they formed part of the silk road from Iran to Eastern Anatolia. Horasan had little or no trace of silk road left behind. A clue can be found when I saw many Perisan trucks being driven on the road of Horasan. There was also a river and plenty of farmland that could have supplied food to man and beast. Pasinler had a great big castle up on the hill. I was reliably informed by a local that people from Pasinler used to work outside the castle during the day and retreated to the safety of the castle at night. Must have been dangerous times back then. Erzurum was the most intereting of the trio. Again stepped in history. It has a 12th century theology college, Çifte Minareli Medrese
, a kervansaray - the Tashan, many mosques, especially the Ulu Cami, ancient city walls, etc. This Tashan was built much later than those I have seen earlier, it was constructed at around the 16th
century. More evidence of the silk road in this part of the world.
Erzurum is about 2000 metres high. It is hot during the day and cool in the evenings.
I met a G wagon owner whilst repairing my car at the local car industry the 'oto sanayi'. His car was of a similar age as my car, but less rust and it had an engine replacement - a 6 cyclinder turbo diesel. The next day, I happened to park my car next to a shop close to the hotel. Then I saw another G wagon, I thought 'there must be lots of G wagons in Erzurum. The shopkeeper invited me for tea and said the other G wagon belongs to him. He had inherited from his father and now he had spent a lot of money maintaining the car. The shopkeeper then said there were only 2 G wagons in Erzurum, one belongs to him and the other belong to his cousin whom I met at the 'oto sanayi'. So by coming to Erzurum, I have managed to increase the G wagon population by 50%.
RAMAZAN or RAMADAN
Great time to be in
Erzurum during the Ramazan. Only problem is there is no food or drink during daytime. Nobody will serve tea or cooked food during the day because everyone is fasting. This is compounded by the fact Ramazan this year occur during the summer when the day is long and night is short. So when fasting is over, I can hear a cannon fire and then the whole town gets down to the serious business of eating their dinner and drinking water. The lack of food and water combined with the altitude of the city made me feel weak most of the time. The upside to Ramazan was I never had to look for a toilet during daytime.
The Iranian travel agency had sorted out my visa, hotels and a tour guide for the full duration of my stay in Iran. When they presented me with an invoice in Erzurum, I tried to pay them. I went to 5 different banks and none of them could provide a simple payment service to an Iranian bank in Istanbul. My visa was canceled because of politics. I will need to visit Iran
Fixing the contact switch
Fixing the contact switch- now I can stop the engine with the key
some other time.
Tomorrow, I will bypass Iran by traveling to Georgia and then Azerbaijan, followed by a ferry trip to Turkmenistan.
Very grateful to all these people who have helped me to fix the car in Erzurum. I am confident now to drive the car to China.
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