Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The hardest thing about conducting research in Kenya...

...is keeping our vehicle well maintained and running.  It is exceptionally difficult when you can't depend on your vehicle to get you to your study sites and home again.

It has been a long time since we've had a complete breakdown.  There are actually many kinds of breakdowns.  I consider a complete breakdown a breakdown in which you did not anticipate it, did not have any spare parts to fix it yourself, and could not get up and running again within two hours.   One time three years ago, we actually lost our entire rear propeller (the part that provides power to the rear wheels).  The whole propeller just dropped from the vehicle as we were driving.  That was a minor breakdown...because we just stopped the vehicle, picked it up and put our vehicle in diff lock and drove home with just the front wheels powered.

I just spent the whole day at the garage in Narok beginning some much needed repairs  I'm well prepared...with an entire trunk load of spare parts, lubricants, grease, etc.


I do still get nervous once we start taking major parts out of the vehicle...like the front seats, the main gear box and the transfer case.  


I'm still not convinced we'll be able to get the main gearbox back together tomorrow.  Thankfully, I found the overhaul service manual online to help us when we get lost.  


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