Day 13 14

We met Yuri at the Autocenter Peugeot in Berdsk. Thanks to Denis Rastorguev, this had been prearranged many months ago in anticipation and they set to work diagnosing the problem which turned out to be a broken u joint.

The next morning Fanis arrived with the mount and spare head. The engine was fine, so the head is now on one of the photographer's trucks. 

Yuri found us a driveshaft specialist who repaired our u joint. I was very happy !

Yuri and his team installed the mount and, repaired the prop shaft and did some more work on the exhaust and aligned the car 

We shopped for supplies and cleaned the car and modified our rear door to have an external door lock because it was failing. Our other rear door is inoperable. 

We checked the valve clearances and found the cause of our misfire, a broken king lead connector. Tony, one of the sweeps helped us with a replacement. 
The locals loved the cars and we signed autographs all day. It was amazing !

Here she is, ready for our drive to…

Day 12

We made it TC 11.3 at Chike Taman in the Altai mountains. But we were now getting a very bad clunking and grinding from the driveline. We decided there was no option but to request a tow truck to Aya.

Unfortunately, it took 13 hours for us to get a truck, and another 5 hours to reach Aya in the truck. This was a very difficult day and night.

We reached Aya at 5 am, slept a couple of hours and followed the truck in a taxi to Novosibirsk

Day 11

We crossed the border into Russia. The formalities went fairly swiftly but many cars were broken and needed transport.

As we headed to Camp, our broken exhaust continued to cause problems, and we realized that our gearbox mount was starting to melt.
The local rally support team went to work on our exhaust. It was quite a sight. 

Meanwhile in Athens, Thanos was hatching a plan to get us a new mount and a spare head just in case there was engine damage.
He arranged for Fanis, who didn't need a Russian visa to fly in, but not before locating a mount in Paris. In his own words:
My Paris 504 brother called another 504 brother who opened his store and got the part late at night. Late pm scramble with stewardess friend found other stewardess with colleague flying to Athens next   morning   Handed the part to stewardess, I picked up in Athens and gave it to Fanis 

Day 10

By now, our exhaust was severely damaged from the rocks. We removed most of it and put it on the sweep truck. We had no way of repairing it, because we couldn't access it nor did we have any material to reinforce the broken parts with.

There was a lot of rain on the mountain and had a some very very steep hills to climb. The broken exhaust was causing a lot of overheating and we were worried about the impact to the engine valves, gearbox and steering rack which were exposed to the hot gases.

We rolled into Achit Lake camp after we changed a wheel and tire that was damaged by rocks in the deep sand.

Day 7, 8, 9

This was all a bit of a blur. As we entered the special stage in Murun, we lost the right rear wheel as around 100 kph. We hit the ground pretty hard with a broken shock, broken rear brake and the same collar failure. We were angry with ourselves for not having welded both sides, but that was only in hindsight.

A passing Mongolian family took me in their Subaru back to Murun to find a welder. Dean stayed with the car, replacing the shocks and capping the brake line and getting increasingly worried about being stranded in the desert. I eventually made it back with the welded axle and were were thirty seconds from victory when the jack failed and dropped the car on the ground !!

Luckily a passing Mongolia UAZ lent us their jack, and combined with the Subaru jack we got the car lifted and rolled into camp around midnight.

Day 3 to 6

Sorry for the long gap, but it's been a wild wild wild ride.

After leaving Beijing we went to Hohhot and then Erenhot. Our rear axle seal was leaking so we disassembled it and cleaned out some debris from the seal and solved the leak. We also bought a very loud airhorn since it's impossible to drive without one and it served us well later on with the flocks of sheep, horses, camels and cows on the trails in Mongolia.

Crossing the border into Mongolia was very very slow and difficult. As a result all time controls were cancelled and we used the time to get up to speed on gravel. As we approached camp, our left rear wheel came away from the car ! This is due to the design of the 504 live axle. The bearing is held on by a cold pressed collar and the collar had failed, allowing the bearing and consequently the axle to fall out. Luckily it was only part way out, and we were only a few miles from camp.

We got a ride in on the photographer's truck and the Nomad support team welde…