After an excellent picnic in Villa Cerro Castillo we had to climb some serious mountains. Barbara takes the wheel, and we fly our way up to the top. Like only women can do! But I believe this is besides the story.
Half way the climb I do smell some cooling liquid, and the temperature gauge had made a jump up and down for a split second. What the hex is going on again?
A quick stop tells us that the water is getting pressured up higher than the pop up valve on the small tank can have, thus we lose water….But WHY?
We make it to the top and we roller cost down hill to the next city. Only 80 kilometers of nothing to drive through before we will arrive. Down hill is very silent. This must be the Tesla feeling….
The good thing about a Land Rover is that what it lacks in quality it makes up in charm and there is a bunch of people willing to help you out. People with the same kind of sickness and Land Rover disease. You better feel sorry for them!
Once we arrive in Coihaique we find a good camping and explore the city. The first Land Rover is stopped (proofed to be a good trick to find a good garage) and indeed we can follow the friendly owner to the nearby Land Rover specialist….He has a broken Defender in the back yard, but that does not make him a specialist. We receive another address and our hunt goes on. We arrive in another garage after a steep climb. When we open the hood, the first reaction from the mechanic Sergio Gaete is: packing between cylinder and cylinder head is gone.
I could not believe and another opinion is found the next day: another garage with an old experienced Land Rover mechanic says it’s the radiator which is clogged.
It could be a clogged radiator since we have topped up the system with new anti freeze when the hose to the webasto was burst. Maybe the Argentine anti freeze had reacted with the one in the system? I did buy as per specifications in the book. Nevertheless if we pull the radiator we can check the thermostat which is my first suspected.
The thermostat works just fine, the radiator get cleaned with the very helpfull team from Sergio and a lot of dirt comes out. Sergio and Marcelo turn out to be very knowledgeable and together we finish putting everything together after a 24 hour stop.
In the afternoon we chase the car up the hills to national parque Rio Simpson to have a swim in the icecold water: It all goes per plan.
Bottom line: The defender is still the best 4by4byfar!
A few days later we break the right aft shock absorber right above the neck where it’s attached to the chassis. Driving without a absorber gives you a ‘boat feeling’.
A quick visit to the welder brings us back on the road. The condition of the road, the constant driving fully charged with the camping equipment and dust from passing traffic is much more demanding than in Europe. Even after watching all the camel trophy episodes and following the ‘Paris Dakar’ from when I knew about cars, this last 9000 kilometers in South America still surpass all imagination!
We also lost the nut which keeps the left rear suspension lower link in place which makes sure the aft axles does not live a own life. After fitting a new nut in El Bolson, we could take away the cargo strap which have guided us safely the last day in the road!
Who needs a Toyota if you have a Defender?
Below Toyota from Miguel who helped us searching for the nut on the suspension lower link and drove us up and down to the little village cholila to find the right replacement: thousand thanks to him