So there are quite a few updates to provide here, but we’ll start at the beginning. No, not with the big bang, fire, or any old guys with beards. Recent beginning. Like Black Bear Rally, 2012.
We entered, we arrived, we had welding tools and a place to stay and heat and dust to deal with. How dusty was it? Recce looked like this, so they went with 2 minute windows between cars and that pretty much fixed it.
We managed all that and the car was running well when we started. Then it was running hot, like boiling the coolant hot. We figured out that was a loose rad cap (actually a misnomer as the cap is on the overflow reservoir, but you get the picture) and because the cap is a plastic cap that goes into a plastic bottle it finally decided to not stay tight. Meaning no pressure, meaning boiling. But we had a spare! Also, the car was wiggly on the high speed bits, which was kind of a drag.
So we swapped the fluid reservoir at service, couldn’t figure out the wiggly, and went back out..For some reason this didn’t provide tons of confidence in service, but the boys got her going. (You’ll notice it’s on Page 1, the “So you decided to buy a Lada” section).
It was still running hotter than normal but not boiling so we gave ‘er and kept the heat on to keep the motor cool. Did we mention it was 34 degrees in the shade to start with BEFORE we put the heat on? Anyhow, things went well – sweaty and dusty, but well – until the last stage, when the car started to lose power. Like it was running out of gas. We tried to nurse it out but 3 km from the end it just stopped; it would kind of run, but not well, and we called it a day and got towed out.
Ours wasn’t the worst, though, as two people got even closer than us and still DNF’d! However, this was the first time something mechanical had stopped us, so it was a bit of a surprise. When we got back to service it started right up and we drove it on the trailer, but we suspected a fuel pump and later investigation would prove that to be the culprit, so we swapped it out.
Oh, and why was it running hot after changing the rad fluid container? We wired the fan backwards. D’oh! So that was that – our always-faithful Lada finally had something break that we couldn’t fix with a rock at the side of the road. Still, she did pretty well so we headed back for a swim and called it a weekend.