Crooked Rosinante needs her first car repairs

About mid of May 2022, it was finally time for one of the things, I had the most respect for: Rosinante needed some repairs.

Her steering had been crooked for some weeks, and I thought, that it was a good idea to look for a car repair in Athens and not in the small villages and towns of Greece. I’m still a lot German and that made me email a couple of car services in advance to make an appointment. Two out of ten answered. One gave me the contact to another guy who may be able to help. But the last one seemed to be competent and friendly. And what is more, he had some time to check Rosinante on the day that worked best for me. So up to that point, everything worked perfectly fine.

After having arrived at the car repair and the first diagnosis, I had built up some trust in Miltos and his two other mechanics (sorry, I forgot about your names, guys). They were very friendly and I had the feeling that they don’t want to charge me for unnecessary things or damage Rosinante. These have been my main concerns. Probably they are for most people traveling by car, I suppose.

To fix the crooked steering, an ordinary steering alignment had to be done. But in advance of that, the potentially worn-down silent blocks of the steering rack should have been exchanged. While we were talking about the necessary steps, I told Miltos about the pretty low level of the engine’s cooling liquid, that I’d recognized some weeks ago and was monitoring since then. After some checks, we found the pump of the cooling liquid to be leaking. And while we kept talking about this issue, we figured out, that the timing belt has to be swapped within the next half a year or about 15.000 km. I thought about it. In the end, I felt that the guys at Cannibals Garage are trustworthy and nice guys and because I didn’t know where I will be in the next 15.000 km or half a year, they ordered the required stuff as well.

I was very happy, that Miltos let me stay/ live in Rosinante at his garage when one spare part got delayed. I liked to watch the different customers come and go and being in the backyard of a not very big street, it was mostly quiet at night. All the time, I had not been very worried about anything regarding the repairs and I’m feeling very good about that.

Miltos has an offroad car as well and I noticed it as soon, as I entered their space. It’s my favorite small-sized offroad car: a Suzuki Jimny. I love this small, light, and very capable Jimnys. If I will one time have gotten rid of a lot of my stuff and comfort demands, a Jimny would be an option. But there is my dream about traveling with a mule as well. Let’s seeā€¦

This lightweight Jimny made me think about how heavy Rosinante is, again. She got a special rear suspension that lets her carry 3.5 tons and fully loaded she should be around 3.3 tons at the moment, but that’s still heavy. What is more, because Rosinante is a double cab pickup, the cabin on her back does hang over her truck bed. That means there is more force on her frame. It’s not as much as with the bigger and heavier cabins and the “Das Fernweh Mobil”-cabin is very well-designed and has most of its weight in the front, but it will always be not optimal. The opinions about how bad this is, are ranging from “very bad” to “not bad at all”. Thinking about this stuff, I still have the photos of bent, crooked, and snapped pickup frames in my mind. Seeing Rosinante snap into two is not a pleasant thought.

I thought about the options I had to improve the situation. At that time and even now I’m feeling not ready for the mule, so I put those thoughts aside. In the end, I managed to put the spare wheel (about 60 kg) from the cabin’s roof and the additional water canisters (about 40 kg) from the cabin’s back and side into the pickup cabin. To make it fit, I had to dismantle my enduro bicycle even more, but I’m still thinking that this won’t bother me much: I just don’t use it anymore. With these rearrangements, about 100 kg went off the cabin and found a place that greatly improved the weight distribution. That makes me feel much more confident.

I’m very thankful for Miltos and his friends for being so nice and competent. Of course, I had to pay a decent amount of money for the spare parts and their work, but to me, it felt alright and well earned by them. By the way: for the money I paid, I may have got the timing belt swapped in Germany, but not more.

If you are around Athens and need some car repairs, contact them.