Back in Ecuador!

Our return trip to Ecuador has had an inglorious beginning.

To start, we had mechanical problems on our plane and had to change planes, then multiple delays, but we finally make it to Quito around 1am. Still, Jason biggest stress was trying to figure out how to claim the solar panel and a few car parts through customs – the customs forms make it sound like an ordeal.  But, at that time of night, they just grab your papers, x-ray your luggage and send you through. No worries.

There to greet us in Quito at 1am were our amigos Cristian and Javier. We stayed at Cristian’s house this weekend, and he is helping us get the van back in good repair.

The bus was just as we left it – only with more dust. Jason gave it the full inspection and tune up and decided it was time to address some concerns.

Cristian’s friend, Diego, is a VW mechanic and he has 3 kids to play with. This is very important when hanging out at a VW shop for 6 hours.

Jason was afraid we needed some valve work because of ‘sub-optimal’ compression and was suspicious of a hint of oil vapor on a spark plug. So, they did some tests. Diego told us not to be too worried about the compression because of the altitude – about 2800 meters.

Anyway, one of the tests involved pressurizing each piston and listening. If you hear air in the tailpipe, the exhaust valve is leaking. If you hear air out the carb, an intake valve is leaking. If you hear air in the case (through the oil cap,) a piston ring is leaking. We had a bad piston ring – good ‘ole #3.

At least the kids got to blow up balloons with the compressor when we were done.

If we want to make it to the end of the road, it looks like Red Beard will need some work.  We’ll take it back and leave it for several days.

They will pull the engine, break it down and replace all the rings, make the valves like new, put in a new clutch and some other general maintenance while they are at it. It’s not as bad as it sounds – the work that was originally translated as costing $1, 200 USD is really only in the ballpark of $120 USD! Another Ecuadorian bargain! Phew! And, Bode will get to play with Sofia, Juan Diego and Martina more.

We also met up with (another) Javier. This one is driving a ’76 Mexican Bonanza combi to Argentina. He started in Guatemala, then looped up into Mexico before making his way here via Colombia. We’ve followed similar routes, but he’s done it in only 3 months. He has another 3 months to get his wife, kid, and dog to Buenos Aires to see their family. Obviously, he’s going to beat us there, but we’re going to try to meet up again somewhere along the way.

13 thoughts on “Back in Ecuador!

  • January 8, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    wow, even $1200usd for all that wouldn’t have been bad for all that, but $120 is great. Almost makes it sound like it would be worth shipping a project down there to get it restored and then shipped back. Glad you all had fun at home but I’m so stoked to continue following along on your adventures. Keep on bussin.

  • January 9, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Can’t wait for the blogs.

    Thanks for the post card 🙂

  • January 9, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Nick -prices subject to change, of course, but that’s our starting point. We feel pretty good about that 😉

  • January 10, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Congrats on breezing through customs. best wishes on the rebuild. Cheers mate.

    My son William says: “BIG Howdy Bode!”

  • January 10, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    I’m back reading you, Happy New Year!!! More good things on the way.



  • January 11, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    That engine is still relatively new, is it not? If I remember correctly you bought it new and had it installed during your stay in Oregon several months ago. You are indeed brave to go on such a trip with such a troublesome vehicle.

    Regardless, I’ve enjoyed following your adventure since you started out from Alemeda. You will have a lifetime of stories to tell and re-tell.

    Good luck on the rest of your journey.

  • January 11, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    With all you’ve put Red Beard through, that’s not too bad. Even if he goes over budget that’s a heck of a good price for the amount of work being done. Of course we wouldn’t want to say it too loudly lest that price go up. Best of luck with the next leg of your journey.

  • January 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    We’ve got over 25K miles on the ‘new’ engine. Too early for a rebuild, but that’s not really what we’re having done. It’s more of a ‘top end’ rebuild. 25K isn’t too bad to have the valves reworked, but the piston rings were a surprise. Probably from running too hot sometimes. Considering the amount stress we’ve put it under – jungles, mountains, deserts – I think we’ve done okay. After this little bit of work, it will be like a new engine again and ready for another 25K or more (hopefully!)

  • January 22, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    What kind of top is a Bonanza on that lime green camper? I thought it was a Sportsmobile top but the other picture shows the top extending well over the front doors or is the word Bonanza over the slider and it is like a Sportsmobile? Or is it like a Riviera pop top? Does it pop up all the way from the front to back?

    p.s. I think I’m having Bodeswell withdrawals, need my fix. Wishing you all well on your travels

  • January 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    It looked just like a Riviera top to me. It was made in Mexico, so maybe just a copy?

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  • November 28, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Hi there.
    U wouldnt have tbe address of t he mechanic in Quito?
    Would be super helpful as i nee d a new clutch in my 1970 crewcab.

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