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 welded the collar onto the bearing and we were back in the hunt. We did notice some cracking on the front shock towers so we welded those too.

The next day, we set some fast stage times. We lost fuel pressure just before the end of the special stage and it took a while to diagnose the problem and clear it out. This cost us a lot of time in penalties.

We reached Ulaan Bator and I went shopping for bearings and managed to find some Russian made ones to keep as spares. A rest day is badly named, it should be called a no driving day because there was no rest. We worked on the car all day.

The next night, coming into camp, during our spanner checks, we noticed that the rear shock towers were also showing signs of cracking. This required us to drain and remove the fuel tank so we could weld.

As you can imagine, with all this work, we weren't getting much sleep at all.


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