How to start the road trip all around the world with an 18-year-old car?

In the last story, we talked about how to buy a four-wheel drive off-road vehicle in Georgia with $3,200. 

Despite the skin and durable bloodlines, the old car, still have far distance to become a car that can drive around the world. It must be repaired and remodeled…

Haven’t read the story of buying that car? Please move to this one →→→ “We bought a 4×4 with $3,200 in Georgia and started the overlanding trip around the world

This article was translated by Google Translate from Chinese. I have corrected some obvious mistakes though there would be more. I apology for any inconveniences. You can click the Chinese flag🇨🇳 at left bar to turn to Chinese version, then use any translation tools if you want.

Feel free to make any questions or suggestions by comment:)



Broken “as Scheduled”

We bought the car in Kutaisi, which is more than 200 kilometers from the capital Tbilisi. It was afternoon after the process of completing the transfer, and we immediately rushed back.

The mountain road is twisted and twisted, and it is also cautious all the way. Oh there is a problem: the “transmission overheating” indicator lights up. We had to stop, the water temperature (more than 90 degrees) was a bit high, but it was still in the range, and we didn’t find anything unusual when I opened the front cover. Fortunately, after restarting the car, the fault indication disappeared.

On the way, we stopped in Stalin’s hometown of Gori for one night and paid a visit to the Stalin Museum. It was the afternoon of the next day to drive back to Tbilisi.

After parking, I was still a bit worried. So I opened the front cover again, I was dumbfounded: the engine compartment was filled with unexplained liquid splashed out. The antifreeze liquid !

We have already done the job of buying a used car. Now I have to repair it, earlier than we thought. We have seen this battle and have to ask for help. Just when everyone said that they were inconsistent, the boss of the Youth Hostel called for on-site support – Mr.Lin from Fujian province, who was doing business in Tbilisi. Lin  arrvied with his second-hand BMW. Under his guidance, we bought a large bucket of water and temporarily added the missing antifreeze. Before leaving, he left his garage Gold Card and told us: This is the largest garage in Georgia. If you have any problems, go there and fix it. You can get 10% off with this card.

Just when we felt that we had the best, and the next morning we planned to drive the car to the repair shop to pick it up, another problem appeared: the engine that was cold all night, could not start!

I took out the emergency start-up power supply that was prepared in China, but suddenly realized that it was the model of the gasoline car that was bought at that time. Can the diesel car with a larger current be brought up? Facts have proved that … manufacturers do not have such conscience, said that it is for gasoline vehicles, diesel vehicles must not be  brought up …

The man who passed the road volunteered to help, stopped his small Fit, and skillfully took out the wires (Is every car owner in Georgia has it?). It can be like a small horse can not get a big car, his small fit, let the throttle step on the sky, our diesel car is not a face. In vain for a long time, he could only helplessly give up, leaving behind the wires and going away.

Just as we were thinking of that, he was back, with a large SUV. It turned out that he went for our rescue! The owner patiently slammed the throttle for 5 minutes, and our car finally started!

We know that there is no free things in the world. It took him long time for helping us. How much would he asked for us? When we was secretly calculating how much we should pay, he actually put up the wires, patted the ash on the clothes, waved to us, and drove off!

What? !

What is the Experience of Repairing a Car in Georgia?

Tegeta Motors, the largest garage in Georgia, is so well-deserved, even compared with Chinese ones. It is definitely a high-grade version of the repair shop. The factory area is spacious and tidy, and it is crowded with the owner of the car in the early morning. Lin said that all the employees here can speak English. This is true, but they treated of ask of “suspect” as  “suspension”. When we realized this, we had already driven the car to the suspension area.

“The problem with your car is not small!” The car repairer lifted the car up and looked up and down the car.

“Yes! Where is the problem?” We were like a patient who is meeting a doctor, thinking that there will always be a rescue.

He said a string of proper nouns, we can only look at his finger direction, to guess what it is: “You see that the front brake pads have to be changed, the brake discs have to be changed. This rear shock absorber also life is over…”

We are confused: “…Ehh..we are here to check the cooling system…”

“…Why were you come here! The cooling system is in the engine area, but they are not available today, you will have to come back tomorrow.”

The brake system is the most vital part of the whole car. I originally planned to buy the car and replace it all. If so, then simply replace it.

It is three days after the completion of the entire work. We replaced a pair of front brake discs and brake pads, plus rear shock absorption hydraulics, and of course the front radiator that caused the leak. When we picked up the car, we replaced the old battery and the oil filter, and replaced a previously worn-out “100-brand” old tire with a Bridgestone AT all-terrain tire.

All bills: After discounting, a total of 2,400 Georgian Larry, about 5,800 yuan.

So cheap!

Making an “Overlanding Camper” by Hand

Our off-road vehicle, in terms of the interior space, is in fact no different from the SUV running on the street: the length of the car is 4.6 meters, two rows of seats, plus a small trunk. If you pull the front seat to the front position, just enough to put down a 2m x 1.4m bed – for the uncle 183, it is simply too cool to straighten the legs.

Below the bed is the storage space. In order to facilitate pick-and-place, it is necessary to use the sorting box for modular classification. This is a good feeling for domestic Taobao, and you can only go door-to-door on the market. The eight ugly 40L black boxes that were finally bought at a price of about 50 yuan are almost all of our storage space. Take a closer look, it is still made in the Netherlands (not Henan)! In order to get more space, the back seat that can’t be used can only be removed, and it is given to the proprietress of the Youth Hostel, and the leather sofa in the store continues to play the heat.

The structure of the bed is also very simple – a bed with a few legs. The part of the front panel that occupies the front seat space is made foldable, and is usually put away, and then put down when sleeping. In order to cope with the possible driving crimes, the storage area is closed with a locked tailgate. The most valuable electronic products were specially designed in the center of the storage area to be sealed with a fully enclosed and relocked wooden box (used as the central support for the bed).

Buying wood in the decoration market

This design is simple to say. The two of us spent five days (2 days of purchase, 3 days of construction) before they were basically completed. Without us, the most daily work we do is to screw the screws and screw all kinds of self-tapping screws of different lengths into the board. After a few hours, we must be so tired.

Close to the completion of the work, there is no tailgate left

What is in the Car?

Compared with other modes of travel, the biggest advantage of self-driving is to expand the baggage capacity several times. Our luggage space is divided into these parts:

2 boxes of personal items (1 box per person)

Mainly clothing and uncommon debris

1 tool for car tools

Including socket wrenches, screwdrivers, tow ropes, wire, vacuum cleaners, etc.

Commonly used sundries 1 box

It includes chargers, data cables, etc., and various sundries that will be used every day. If you stay at a hotel/homestay, you can move directly into the room.

Kitchenware 1 case

Pressure cooker (can be called travel artifact), pan, wok, outdoor set of 1 set of 3, 1000W electric stove, outdoor gasoline stove, plus fried spoon board and other kitchen items

1 box of ingredients

There are always rice, noodles (noodles, pasta, instant noodles), oil and salt sauce vinegar and other spices, Laoganma and so on. The rest of the ingredients are bought with the food.

Electronic product 1 pack

Including computers, tablets, hard drives, drones, etc. Because they are all valuables, they will be packed into the inner box that is locked twice.

bed linings

Everything is light and light: use a down sleeping bag to make a mattress and a winter quilt, use a fleece sleeping bag to make a summer quilt, and use a cloth bag to make a pillow. Practice has proved that sleep is very comfortable!

Regarding the detailed configuration strategy of the items in the car, I will write another article to introduce it carefully.

New Year’s Eve’s Nightmare – Life and Death

Our global plan is to go all the way west from Georgia and into Europe via Turkey. However, before this, Armenia, a neighboring country that has not had time to go, is suitable for the test drive before departure – even if there is any problem, you can go back to Tbilisi and repair it quickly – without thinking, it is a word.

I heard the road of Armenia before I left, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I arrived in the country. Except for a small section of the highway that is still in good condition, all other roads, regardless of level, must be spread over large and small pits. In the hole, the vehicle can only move very accurately along the S shape to avoid the potholes. Otherwise, it must be a huge sound and a heartbreaking bump.

In seven days, we rushed for 2,000 kilometers, circled a small circle of Armenia, and even went to Karabakh, a disputed area between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

This 18-year-old car has been eager to compete, whether it is the seesaw road in the southern mountainous area or the traffic jam in the capital city of Yerevan, it is easy to deal with.

The last day is the New Year’s Eve of China. Our plan is: I will drive back to Tbilisi from Yerevan in the morning, arrive at 3 pm, and count the time difference with the domestic 4 hours, just to catch up with the domestic Spring Festival Evening, it is perfect!

This road, the journey is nearly 300 kilometers, the first 100 kilometers are smooth, and when we are 10 kilometers away from the Georgian border, we added the last oil, thinking of Georgia with lower oil prices, and then filling the fuel tank.

Who knows how long it has not been open, the accident suddenly comes: after a deceleration of the corner, the car is like “lost a gear”: let the throttle step on the sky, the speed is 3,000, still can not accelerate. Only after a long time, when the automatic gear slowly jumped to the second gear, it improved.

Although no fault lights are on, I understand that this is definitely not a minor fault. But at the time we were in the desolate area in front of the border between the two countries, how to look around is not like a reliable garage. After checking the engine compartment in the parking lot, I didn’t see any unusual, I decided to gamble, first open to Georgia and say.

In just a few kilometers, the condition of the car deteriorated drastically. From the first stop to the second or third gear; the moment the car was about to enter the front door of the frontier, the car was completely armpited and walked in one step. Not moving.

A group of uncles gathered at the border came together. When I got off at the direction of their instructions, I discovered that the unknown liquid was coming out from the bottom of the car, and I missed it in a while! Take a closer look, this is not the transmission oil that was checked and added in the past few days!

With the help of the uncles, we temporarily pushed the car to the parking area on the border. What can I do next?

At this time, Molly, who ran out for help, brought back a message: Someone helped to contact the rescue vehicle. The other party quoted: $100, which was dragged to the garage.

what? 100 dollars? Just open a dozen kilometers, only to the car repair factory that does not know which backcountry, how can I know that they can not repair well?

This is too dark!

Can be asked again, actually not dragged to the vicinity, but directly through the border, and then ran for more than 100 kilometers, has been sent to Tbilisi! Moreover, to which garage, we said it ourselves!

This sudden surprise made us completely stupid.

After 10 minutes, we are already sitting in the domineering trailer cab, and the ones that enjoy the “special car” treatment behind us are our unsuccessful car.

Because the rescue vehicle was a truck, it was a long delay when crossing the border. Watching the watch is already the time for the Chinese Spring Festival Gala. At this time, WeChat has been constantly sending information about the New Year, but we are not even tempted to grab the red envelopes in the group. We hope to return to Tbilisi smoothly.

Two hours later, the bell of the New Year is about to be ringed in the country, and when the Tegeta garage is about to get off work, we finally arrive, and in the crowd, the car is once again pushed into the familiar workshop.

I have been receiving our car-builder before, and we have seen that we are back, and it’s so strong that we are holding back.

He had been worried about our car situation before. Now, I am afraid that his inner drama is: Are these bad children coming back? ! Tell you not to buy such a broken car, you see, something is wrong!

At this time, we can only throw the car at the repair shop, clean up the simple luggage and go to the newly set bed and start the late year.

A sumptuous New Year’s Eve is probably the biggest comfort after this tortuous day.

Thanks to Carmen’s Almighty Carrefour, all the Chinese ingredients and spices are available, even including the frozen Qingdao Spring Roll!

However, Chinese dumplings are naturally not available, but there are Georgian dumplings that are similar in appearance and taste.

The few kilometers that the gearbox oil ran after the light leaked, I kept worrying about it – if the gearbox was burned out, and whether the old antique car could find a replacement, even if it was lucky to find it, it would take a few more weeks. From somewhere in Europe, this cost must be far more than the $3,200 purchase price – so, don’t you fix it?

The next day, just after we had settled in Tbilisi for the next few days, when we were going to fight a long-term battle, the repair shop actually called: they checked the oil leak, which was a pipe at the bottom of the car. Caused by damage. As for why it is broken, it is normal aging, encounter bumps, or oil pressure is too high, they do not know.

Also, to know if the gearbox is burnt out, you must first replenish the pipeline and refill the transmission fluid.

Speaking of this, they didn’t have no responsibility at all for the oil spill – after all, just a week ago, we just checked the transmission oil at him and added 1 liter of oil according to their suggestion. There is no problem. So, regardless of whether the gearbox failed because they didn’t detect the hidden danger last time, or because they added too much transmission oil, the pipe burst, even because their negligence caused the old and new gearbox oils to be incompatible. Can’t escape the relationship.

Perhaps they are self-aware, they offered to repair the pipeline no longer collect money, but the reloaded transmission oil has to be charged as usual. Fortunately, the price is not expensive, we have no energy and then carefully theory with them. In short, we connected the trailer, we spent a total of about 1000 yuan to get this thrilling fault.

When everything is in order, refilling the transmission oil, the car actually ran back happily – at that time, only thanks to the 4AT of the love letter, even if it is 18 years old, even if it is running out of oil, it is 10 Km, still no delay, it will revive the glory!

From then on, until now more than three months, we are driving this old car on the edge of the crash several times, from Georgia in Asia, across Europe, to Africa, now back to Europe . On the road of more than 15,000 kilometers, there have been no major faults.

Photographed in the Sahara Desert, Morocco