Day 8: Scoop Dogg
Waking up to very bright sunrise after a few hours rough and uncomfortable sleep in a cramped 2 man tent, we had our first full English breakfast of the rally and started to put a plan together for repairing the Ligier.
Splitting up, Aaron and Pete, from Team OMJ went to a local scrap yard to try and source a radiator, a new fan and some bolts with the help of Nick, the campsite owner. Arriving at the first scrap yard, which were about as welcoming as a fart in a Jacuzzi, they showed us to a range of parts that had no relevance to what we were after. The second yard were much more helpful and showed us a range of parts that might fit but unfortunately, after looking long and hard, we had no luck in finding any Ligier replacements. This left us high and dry as without a working cooling fan we would just cook the miniature Lombardini engine. Back to the drawing board we went where we started to re-wire the old fan which was still recovering from the pounding it took from the Transalpina. Sure enough with a couple of new lengths of copper and some connecting sleeves the re-wire worked and the 10 inch blower was back in commission.
Whilst we had the rest of the afternoon to kill, Aaron decided it would be a good idea to service and check the tuning of the carburettor. Covering just under 2,000 miles, this would be the first advanced service of the proposed 3 or 4 that were needed if we were to make it all 10,000 miles (servicing intervals are recommended every 3,000 miles). Draining the well-cooked tar coloured oil, changing all the serviceable filters, both spark plugs and topping up the transmission fluid, Aaron decided that more modifications were needed to help the engine breath and cool a bit more efficiently to help it cope with the increased temperature and steeper inclines the rest of the rally would unleash. 20 minutes of very precise engineering later Aaron asked Nick the campsite owner if he had an angle grinder and 5 minutes later we had a massive gaping hole in the bonnet that he called a well-engineered air scoop.
During the servicing we found that the rough Bulgarian roads had wounded the French chuggabug even more, breaking the exhaust just after the downpipe. To stop the urban warrior sounding like a Harley our friend Pete reattached the flexi sleeve higher up. The exhaust finally returned to a gentle purring sound we were all accustomed to.
Now that the engine had been given a full service and the cooling issue was sorted, we finally got some down time and a chance to have some well-earned local Bulgarian beers whilst planning our route to the Turkish border that we would tackle the following morning.