London to Sydney 2005 travel blog

No shortage of advice

We spent 4 hours at the border. Not because there were any problems (apart from payment of speeding fines by some of our colleagues) but because that is how long it takes. During this time it was extremely hot and the car was sitting in the sun.

On setting off, at last, the engine in the Aston was extremely unhappy and we had very little power. The previous day we had had trouble at the first of the high passes with power loss and decided that the car was running much too rich (although the second pass at 8,500 ft had been much better after changing the air filters). Now though, the car was clearly not going to get to Tabriz as it was. Paul the mechanic and I then spent 4 hours attempting to make adjustments to a mysterious problem related either to carburation or electrics and we checked and double checked both - with the help of a friendly local garage man. Despite our efforts, it was impossible to balance the carburettors, yet they were not flooding. Finally we noticed bubbles of petrol vapour in the pipes to the rear two carburettors - thanks to the transluscent plastic pipe that has been used. The nature of the problem had now become clear - due to the heat the petrol had been boiling in the fuel pump. (actually I now think that it was in the fuel filter). We decided to attempt the drive since it was already 6.30 pm and we would be arriving in the dark. After a rough start, the engine began to pick up and by 50 miles down the road was doing fine - except that our attempts to balance and tune the carbs had left us with an idling speed with no engine braking below 70 mph.

Travelling on the rally in Iran is interesting. Because of concerns over security and reading road signs in towns, we have been provided with a guide and for the fun of it the police have turned up in some Mercedes police cars. They suggested that we all 15 cars drive in convoy. Apart from this being impossible on roads shared with kamikaze Iranian drivers, the police and our guide do not know how to read a map. When we finally arrived at the hotel in Tabriz at 9.30 pm we found a lot of very frustrated fellow travellers. Some serious discussion was taking place.

The hotel was of a very high standard, but we did not have a chance to get into town and so we conceded for the first time and sent a car postcard instead of a local one.

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