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    12.000km check-up

    Saturday, September 29th, 2007

    In Srinagar we reached the 12.000km mark since we left total bike mileage 54.500km), more or less half way through our original route.
    So I did a check-up of the bike.

    We found an nice house boat on Nageen Lake, near a park. The owner “persuaded” the gardeners to let me park the bike inside the garden 🙂 , so I had a nice spot for working.

    check1.jpg   check2.jpg   check3.jpg

    I replaced the spark plugs, since the very rich condition caused by the altitude was bound to foul them. At 5000m there is roughly half the sea-level air pressure.


    I checked the valves, well five of them since the front cylinder exhaust valve is so difficult to reach. They were all
    within the specs, the rear cylinder exhaust valve was at the tighter end of the spec so I’ve loosened it by a hair.
    The read brake pads were badly worn (on the road from Kargil, I only used the front brake), so I’ve replaced them.

    The Africa Twin air filter is quite large so I could not bring a spare. I clean it regularly with compressed air (and hope it will last).
    After all the unsealed roads it was quite dirty 🙂 . 

    Here is a nice story that illustrates the differences between india and the other countries we’ve been in (Pakistan, Iran).  I usually go to a tire shop and ask for some compressed air. The owner comes out, watches in amazement as I extract the air filter, cleans it, and gives it back to me (this was the same everywhere), now I ask how much should I pay. In all the countries except India the owner would smile and say “nothing, have a good trip”, in india he said “special price for you sir, 10 rupees” 🙂 .

    The chain and tyres (Metzeler Tourance and D.I.D.) seem to have plenty of life left in them. The tyres have developed
    some micro-cracks since about half-way through Turkey but seem ok.

    check4.jpg   check5.jpg   check7.jpg

    Back home I usually change the oil every 5.000km. During this trip my strategy regarding the oil is as follows: I started with fresh oil
    and filter and took 3 more filters with me. I kept the first oil for 6000km. The subsequent oil changes have been changed
    every 3000km (since the local oils are of unknown quality), I change the filter every two oil changes.So far I’ve been able to find Castrol and Shell
    20W50 oils, which seem to be ok( the changes were in Kashan-Iran, Quetta-Pakistan and Srinagar-India).

    There were some other checks: fuel filter, sprockets, front suspension. Everything seems to be in excellent condition 🙂

    fuel issues

    Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

    first it happened after the pakistani-indian border, we were doing 100 km/h on a b road and suddenly the engine stalled. I stopped on the left side of the road (we are in india after all), pushed the starter button, and the engine started again. I blamed the pakistani fuel and continued to armitsar.  Although I felt the distinctive signs of fuel starvation I was afraid to consider what could have caused it. 

    the second day it happened 100km after we left armitsar. First a cylinder stopped and then the second one. I couldn’t ignore this anymore. I disconnected the fuel line just after the fuel pump and asked Ioana to press the starter button.  The engine came to life immediately. I hoped that the fuel filter is clogged up and decided to investigate the problem in dharamsala.

    10 kilometers before dharamsala the engine stopped again, this time for good. For the first time since we left bucharest, I experience the weird feeling of being stranded on the side of the road. There is no fuel going to the carburetors and the fuel pump is so hot I can’t keep my hand on it. All signs point to the dreaded fuel pump failure, but how could this happen ? I’ve added an additional relay to prevent such a failure!

    As a last resort, I bypass the relay.  The engine starts. We manage to arrive at McLeod Ganj. I check the relay, and to my joy it doesn’t work anymore. This is a Tyco automotive relay rated for 40A and 10^7 cycles. I’ve used it for 4A and it only lasted for 500.000 cycles. Luckily I have a spare relay. I replace it, and all seems to work smoothly again.

    Here are the pictures of the damaged relay:



    C’est parti

    Friday, August 3rd, 2007

    So after all the commotions with the visas,

    iran visa

    the endless packing lists,


    moving all our stuff in the attic,


    we are finally ready (or at least we think so).

    so, tomorrow morning we are leaving….


    Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

    The fuel pump strikes back.

    I’ve bought an automotive relay, and modified the fuel pump as per Mr. Heldund’s suggestion.

    Here my father is assisting with the soldering:

    I’ve installed under the left hand fairing, near the CDI:

    fuelpump relay

    New gear from louis

    Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

    The new gear arrived:

    – heated grips

    -clutch cable and lever

    – brake cable and lever

    – air filter

    – chain kit

    new gear