The big day! The longest drive so far, St Petersburg to Valday, about 330km. We got on the road bright and early to beat the morning rush hour. All was going very smoothly, cruising at a nice 65-70 km/h. Then there was a very nasty noise just like shredding metal and the engine stopped…
We coasted onto the hard shoulder and pulled over as far as we could. Now, hard shoulders in Russia are not used for emergencies, they are used as a short cut when the other lanes are busy – it is terrifying. Chris put out the flashing warning triangle and Helen and Arthur took refuge behind a road sign to flag down the traffic in an attempt to slow them down!
Chris worked out fairly quickly that it was a problem with the NEW distributor. The gear was shredded.
He is gutted, having replaced the old one as part of the engine rebuild before he left the UK. Luckily, he brought the old one as a spare and fitted it. Then came a problem with getting the timing right – so out came the “Austin Seven Companion” but Chris was too stressed to understand! Frantic search online, found lots of technical articles and a thread on the forumA but alas just too much information for a basic spanner man! Aha – we phoned Simon in the UK using whatsapp (luckily Chris now has a Russian SIM with unlimited internet access, cost a fiver…) although we forgot the time difference but happily he’s an early riser! Simon talked Chris through adjusting the timing and after several attempts and an oily thumb he got the car going. He’d like to know how to stop it happening again because he doesn’t have a spare now. He’s just taken the old one off again (we’re at the hotel now not still on the side of the road) to clean the nasty bits of metal out of the dynamo drive. He used the oily thumb again brmm brmm!
We drove in to the next garage and sat in a heap for an hour. There was no point moving anyway because the rush hour was now in full swing and the traffic was nose to tail. Except for everyone doing 100 down the hard shoulder of course.