Last week was dictated by Bloomie and arranging replacement transport. We do expect (and are used to) some troubles with a car at age. But what a hassle if that happens outside the Netherlands.
We drove away from Italy last Friday, on to Zurich, Switzerland
Full of good spirits. We decided to drive over the San Bernardino pass (2100m!) In order to enjoy even more the sceneries of the beautiful Switzerland. Because when entering our previous homeland, it did hit us how beautiful it is (in particular driving in from the south). But just turned to the route of the San Bernardino pass we noticed that Bloomie was less enthusiastic than us today. As soon as the road had a light incline all engine power dropped. After pushing on at lower and lower speeds we conclude that we would not be able to make it over the pass (in any safe manner to ourselves and others around us). So we decided to turn back and go through the Gotthard tunnel. Less steep, much more boring, but the sensible choice in this case.
But to get to the Gottard tunnel you still need to drive concur a few hundred feet elevation and after a while, we were wondering if we were going to make it in all.
We only where able to go 30 km/h (on the highway!) when there was a long slope. We were overtaken by lorries as we made way through the use of the emergency lane with emergency lights blinking. After a long and somewhat scare (and illegal?) ride, we arrived at the end of our day with our dearest friends in Zurich where we were warmly welcomed and the food was ready for us.
But what now
We had the plan to drive to the Netherlands after a stop in Zurich. But the big question now was whether Bloomie would make it. We accept some level of inconvenience that comes with an classic car, but this was a little more then that. Especially when Ewout starts to doubt, you know that it is better to call for help. And that’s what we did. The next morning we called the ANWB (2nd time on this 8 weeks journey through Europe). They thought it was better to send someone over and have a proper look then stranding on the highway the next day with 2 kids…
The TCS (Swiss AAA) arrived around noon
The (fairly young) mechanic was a nice guy, enjoyed the car and was determined to figure out what was wrong. He checked and tested. Consulted with (elder?) colleagues via phone. Drove another block liking the experience, not liking the inability to pinpoint the issue. Anyway, the problem was not found in the end. Ewout’s suspicion of low compression in one (or more) cylinders did not seem likely to the TCS guy. The engine starts smoothly and runs neat stationary. In the low rpm range the engine seems to deliver normal power but higher up in the rpm’s it doesn’t want to go anymore. Maybe something in the intake or exhaust sections (fuel pump, filter, catalyst, etc.)?
Too many options to be properly identified by a non-specialist. That is why the conclusion / advice: further driving to the Netherlands is not an option. What a disappointment. Where we were so happy to be back in Switzerland it was at the same time a disappointment that things did not go well with Bloomie.
And again some phonecalls…
We again repeatedly called with the ANWB and finally we were told us that Bloomie would be transported to the Netherlands and we would get a replacement car. Note: We already dropped of Bloomie at the TCS depo several hours earlier and where patient in coordinating the discussion between ANWB and TCS… (SIAM / Supply Integration anyone?). The next morning a replacement car was brought, from Germany (from a location 600km away…).
We received the keys of a (T5) VW Bus.
Pretty much brand spanking new. We packed all our stuff over that afternoon and with some fiddling and measuring it all fit. The dimensions of a newer bus are larger then Bloomie’s (or any T3 / Vanagon) but usable interior space is not. A lot of plastic, airbags and other Tupperware but less ‘boxie’ (and the engine is of course on the wrong side of the car 😊). When Ewout wanted to connect Bakkie late that evening prepping for early departure the next morning, we had a late discovery: Despite inquiry by ANWB, the Bakkie connector was not the same as on the replacement bus (13 instead of 7 poles version).
After calling the ANWB this turned out to be a regular issue for them (ANWB does ask and gets promised by their foreign colleague organizations the right version but to often ‘the other version’ is picked). There was no other option than to go to a car parts shop the next morning trying to find an adapter. Not a hopeless effort but yet another day in a row starting with ‘organizing something for the car before being able to do something else’.
It wasn’t that straight forward
At 7am Ewout was at the Bauhaus. Unfortunately no correct adapter plug there. After a search through several filling stations, the Toyota dealer, who has just opened it’s doors had this adapter on stock (and willing to sell to a consumer). It did fit and so we finally could go to the Netherlands at half past eight.
It was a long day of driving
But we did get there. We had the plan with Bloomie make a stopover in Germany. But with the replacement bus we could drive more comfortably and it wasn’t to busy in the road, so we pushed on. And that evening we arrived at he vacation location in the Netherlands. Now we enjoy the convenience of the Netherlands again (language, connections etc) before we leave and head out to: beautiful South Africa!This entry was posted in Uncategorized