Our engine is being pulled

May 23: Day 16. We are in Kalispell, MT, and the car is at the last antique VW repair place we know of before 2000 miles to Alaska.  We took the car in for a  routine service, and they found an oil leak in the seals where the oil cooler connects. The engine must come out to fix it. I am having the repair done because we could suddenly lose our engine oil… and ruin the engine. This will take an extra day and we will now be a day behind the rally until we catch up.

Entering Blackfeet Nation in Montana

Another problem, this one from the repair shop.  The ower doesn’t want to put synthetic oil back in because it “could  ruin the engine.” I insisted on it because it runs longer between oil changes and we don’t have spare time for  oil changes on the way home because of our flight to Paris.

Stewball overnights in Kalispell

The shop’s owner is unhappy with me and opinionated on the subject. He also knows that “antique VW engines never get vapor lock.” Perhaps I am opinionated too but Europeans I know who drive old VWs all use synthetics without a problem. I hope I am not shooting myself in the foot but conflicts like this leave me feeling sick.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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6 Responses to Our engine is being pulled

  1. TBC says:

    Beautiful as Montana is, and it is beautiful, I dare say it would not be considered the automotive center of the country!

    Good luck, and stay firm. Perhaps share some of your European friends’ stories. Perhaps if you had spoken with an foreign accent, it might have helped. German would have been good!



  2. Cathy says:

    Go with your own instincts, Ed. They are excellent! Have a safe trip. Love from all of us at 808 Law Plantation Rd.

  3. Tania and Caroline. Car 7 says:

    We’re rooting for you. Catch up soon. Love from Car 7

  4. Dang, that’s a difficult call, but I would trust your own experience. You guys drove Stewball through half Asia like this, if it would cause problems, it would have many times before.
    Hope you’re back on the road in a day. Enjoy!

  5. Milford Whitaker says:

    I bet the shop owner wanted to charge extra for his advise!

  6. Hey Ed,
    I hope you haven’t removed the engine totally!?
    You just have to get the hood off as well as the upper engine parts – takes (me) 15 minutes to get to the oil cooler – I did it three times in Colombia. Then three bolts and the oil cooler is off – change the gaskets, put everything together again and Stewball is ready for Alaska (after max. 1 hour).
    Sorry for your mechanic! Fully synthetic motor oil (…W-50) is the best you can do for the engine. I’m running more than 90,000 miles around the world just on that!
    Wishing you all the best and air-cooled regards,
    Domi on Herbie’s World Tour

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