WILD AFRICAN QUEST 13
11 – 15 January 2020
By the 12th January, Glenn had made his way down to Tanzania and that evening camped at a site about 85km south of Central Tanzania in Iringa. By the next day he was in Zambia where Morgan’s spares had sat for almost 20 days. The good news though is that come the 13th, the spares had finally made there way to Nairobi, ready to be dispatched for Uganda.
At 06h51 Morgan received a text, “Processed for clearance at Kampala – Uganda January 12 2020 06h50 Local time.”
The energy and excitement in the air was palpable as Morgan leapt into a cab and raced off to DHL.
“I must say, they were very professional and the spares were released timeously. Then it was back to my digs where I loaded the parts onto my bike and headed across town to Ibrahim, the mechanic who was going to work on the bike with me. When I arrived I was very apprehensive about riding in the city with its insane traffic and mayhem on the roads, however by now I had got the feel of it and decided, if I can’t beat em, join em. Kampala traffic is now a breeze!
Once at Ibrahim we proceeded to strip down the bike. The two front tanks had to be removed, then the front fairing, radiator, air box, carburetor, and all cable ties from the wiring harness had to be cut in order to access the cylinder head and barrel. Now not wanting to admit this, I had Wayne from KTM in Durban available throughout the bike heart surgery as I needed to confirm a few points; locking the engine at TDC (Top Dead Center), and you always wonder what an arbitrary bolt is sitting on the side of the motor for? But after Wayne pointed it out, voila, TDC bolt removed with the use of an Allan Key – not quite the right tool but it worked.
After removing the head we also had a TDC for the cam shaft etc, timing chain off, and then came the head, followed by the barrel. Then came the gruesome find – a broken piston ring and a scoured barrel. No wonder she was eating oil.
We checked for broken bits of piston ring in the crankcase before fitting the new piston. The entire process took us about 4 hours. It was already getting dark so we decided to only try to start her up the next morning and so we headed to the local Java café for some well earned dinner and a few Nile beers.
The defining moment came early morning when we turned the key and sound of the engine purring away happily sending us both into a jubilant dance! What an amazing sound. For those who missed the video, click here.
The only hard part is that you just can’t get the oil you want. So we made do with what we found.
I took the bike out for a 70km/hour run and she ran beautifully. All that was left for the day was to collect my Sudanese visa at 14h00 and head as far from Kampala as I could get.
A huge thank you to Ibrahim for all of his help and his knowledge plus the use of his tools and Wayne O’Neill for politely answering my dumb questions.
Post by Debra Bouwer