Beto and his wife Kuki welcomed us with open arms, fed us, and let us pop the top in their driveway until we could figure out what to do next.
The next morning, after rearranging several VW’s, we pulled the bus into the shop and dropped the engine. After a few hours, everything was apart and we even split the case – too much play in the crank. The front main bearing (thrust bearing?) was a little wobbly, so this means we will have to line-bore the case.
The increasing oil consumption and low compression also meant that we would re-do the heads and piston/cylinders too. We knew we would do at least this from the beginning. Overall, a pretty major overhaul, considering it’s our house and we’re stuck until it’s all completed.
In all, we got somewhere around 30K miles on the new engine we bought in Portland. Sure, we ventured to some pretty extreme locations, but the engine didn’t have any idea where we were. We changed the oil continuously, adjusted the valves and tuned it up religiously. The bearings wore out after 30K because… ?
If we were in the U.S. and lived in an actual permanent home, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. Transport yourself thousands of miles from home, where you don’t really speak the language, don’t know anyone, don’t know how or where to get things done, and are sleeping the vehicle you are about to remove the engine from… and well, it’s a slightly bigger deal.
Anyway, the really cool thing is that we’ve got help. We had never met Beto and only corresponded by email a day prior. He doesn’t know us from Adam. Now, we’re sleeping in his driveway (they offered a bedroom,) we’re sharing dinner, vino and mate, Bode is best friends with the dogs (Tobi and Gala circle the bus at night waiting for him to come out and play). And, we’re communicating (often poorly) solely in Spanish.
Every so often I venture outside of my normal thought process and wonder, “How the Hell did I get here?” Not literally – I know the answer to that one – but in the bigger scheme of life, you have to appreciate all the random or unplanned events that shape your future. Often, your entire life. Somewhere in here was one of those moments… and it’s pretty awesome.
Since the engine was out, apart and diagnosed before lunch, all we had to do now was take a 4 hour lunch break. We went to the park, sipped some more mate, then returned to the shop and cleaned up.
We’ll deliver everything to Beto’s favorite machine shop in the morning.