Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rio Gallegos - Dealing with a blown engine, the specifics on what happened internally with the motor.

Monday morning I woke up bright and early. I was fortunate to find the only mechanic in the city only 10 blocks from the house I was at. So I had to push the motorcycle in neutral down 10 blocks against oncoming traffic to get it there.

Little to my knowledge after waiting 2 hours at the place a guy came over to tell me that the mechanic wouldn’t be in until 4pm. So I left the bike and roamed around the city for the next couple of hours.

Finally Marcelo the mechanic showed up and we took apart the engine to see what the issue was.

This was no easy take, the engine had to be un-mounted from the frame and dropped, which took almost 2 hours and lots of screws and such being taken out.

Alright so the make this short, the mechanical issue was: that one of the valves inside the cylinder had broken due to what the mechanic thought was a faulty drive chain, this sent two large broken pieces of the valve made of metal inside the engine, which got lodged in the chamber. a shard of metal perforated one of the piston chambers and damaged it quite nicely bending the piston among other things along with completely obliterating the drive chain itself.

this is what exploded basically and was sent flying inside the engine, as you can imagine it caused quite a bit of damage

the damage was so bad in the explosion it actually bent the valve tremedously, this should be straight!


So a serious mechanical issue it was.

Items to be replaced (some are in spanish as I don't know the translation): 2 admission valves, 2 escape valves, new distribution drive chain, 4 gasket sealers, 4 retenes guia valvulas,  1 Juego de aros, 1 Junta tapa cilindro, 1 Junta base cilindro, 2 pastilla para regular valvulas 2.6mm, 2 pasilla para regular valvulas 2.50mm, Guia de valvula de escape, and it cost me a pretty penny.

But it seems that it is fixable. So some good news at least. I was planning of selling the bike for scraps and hitchhiking my way to Ushuaia and then to Buenos Aires. I will not give up!

$600 of parts and I estimate another 3 to 4 on the labor, so a $1000 loss on this! That money was the rest of my expenses up to Brazil and have little to nothing left to continue on. Looks like I'll be selling a kidney soon...

So after much research and calling I was able to order  the $600 of parts from Buenos Aires that would take 2 days to get to me. So that means so far it’s been 6 days since my initial being stranded and not another 2 more to wait for parts and more after that to fix it.

So for the next few days I enrolled in a gym, it seems eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all those weeks and sitting down on a motorcycle so long without physically activity has allowed me to gain an extra 10 lbs. This trip has been a big sacrifice to achieve and now I have sacrificed my overall physical health. Well if this trip was easy everyone would do it right?

Note to self, living right next to a bakery is a horrible idea. Every day I smell the amazing deserts and bread this place cooks up, so much for going on a diet and losing some weight. But the pastries are quite delicious I must say. I also took this opportunity to bring the family I’m staying with a daily portion of bread and pastries as my sign of gratitude, along with helping with dishes and such.

So finally I received the parts after 3 days, only to find out they forgot to send me an admission valve, and without that, the engine can’t be fixed!

So I called again and again and yelled at them. Apparently all their admission valves they receive were fissured and were useless, and they didn’t even bother to tell me.

So now they are searching for another one around Argentina to ship me ASAP.

So that means I’ve now been in Rio Gallegos almost a week and now I have to wait until Monday (its currently Saturday) to look for this valve. So that means I’m in for another long period of waiting! Well at least I’m alive right? That comforting thought will hopefully get me through this ordeal and another 5 days or so of waiting.

So until I get the parts I need, I’ll be in Rio Gallegos, going to the gym, roaming the streets randomly, eating pastries and continue to live with the nicest Argentinean family. I am going a bit crazy with just waiting around doing nothing, but like I said, I could be dead.


  1. My friend, you have had some bad luck and amazing fortune lol.. You have a lot of people over here asking bout your crazy trip.. I'm always giving them the dates lol. It's terrible that you have to spend most of hour money on the bike, but am glad that you can continue your trip:) amazing fortune for having come across people like that! It makes sense that someone like you would come across them thou lol. Be safe out there bro and we hope you finish your trip safe in one piece alive breathing etc! Lol take care bro!

  2. Sounds like another hit smoke run to me my friend.


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