Number of tie wraps: 16 (8 added since last post)
Countdown: 4021 miles down, 4564 to go
Quote of the day: “We got spring!”
First, a picture of a nice contrail over our hotel in Novosibirsk. I’m a bit starved for airplanes on this trip!
At 10 this morning, we caught a taxi back to the auto market to put our rear shock plan into motion. The goal was to make a field repair that will get the Roadster to Moscow, where Luke has a friend who can fabricate some shocks if we still can’t get the ones the Roadster really needs.
First, we found a can of “Tire Doctor,” which Luke thought he might use to re-inflate and seal the deflated air bags on the rear shocks. The can holds a foam that can be used to make an emergency repair to a flat tire when a spare isn’t available.
Next it was time to look at springs. Lots of springs. Luke’s idea was to put the springs over each shock on the outside and clamp them in place.
A set designed for a Honda Civic looked like they might work.
After getting some heavy-duty clamps, we returned to the hotel parking lot, and laid out the goodies.
First up was the Tire Doctor. Note the label, “For Professional Use Only,” so we let Luke do all the dirty work (not!).
But first the rear of the Roadster had to be jacked up, using this handy brick from the side of the parking lot to help out. The brick is now part of the Roadster toolbox.
Here’s what the collapsed air shocks looked like.
Luke hooked up the nozzle on the Tire Doctor to the air valve used to pump up the struts and started spraying. At first, the foam seemed to be going into the tubes and into the shocks, but after about 20 seconds, the white foam started spewing all over the Roadster, the spare tire, the ground, and pretty much everywhere but into the air lines.
At that point, we thought the Tire Doctor wasn’t going to work, but then Luke checked the struts and found that they had re-inflated a bit, so John started spraying the foam while Luke stayed under the car to watch the progress. After about three more minutes of spraying the foam in a bit at a time, Luke called out, “It looks like they’re holding!”
After pumping up the shocks with a bit of air, John tested them, and the patch job seemed to be holding.
After a lot more air, Luke lowered the car back onto the rear shocks, and they now have about 120 pounds of pressure, which four hours later, is still holding steady. The rear of the car looks much better now — you can see the tops of the tires again!
The springs are now a backup plan in case the Tire Doctor fix doesn’t hold. Luke figures he can put the springs on in about an hour by the side of the road if necessary.
John and Luke also repaired some damage to the right rear fender of the Roadster shown in the photo below.
Luke patched the crack with Gorilla tape (a suitable substitution for duct tape, I’m told).
John worked some tie wrap magic to pull the fender closer to the frame to reduce the vibration, adding eight more tie wraps to the total. With a little luck, the fender repair will last until Moscow, where Luke’s friend can spot weld the crack.
This afternoon, we walked around Novosibirsk for about two hours and watched people enjoying the nice weather in the central square,
as well as a celebration in a large park, where there was fun for both young and old.
Tomorrow morning, we head to Omsk to try out the Roadster repairs from the last two days.