Heidi Hetzer World Tour - Update #35 - The Long & Winding Road

This Amazing Journey is Nearing the Last Segment

As you can see in the map below, the pair (Heidi and Hudo) have traveled from Germany, through Asia, the South Pacific Islands, across Australia, to New Zealand, The United Sates, Canada, Central and South America. After over two full years of covering Hetzer's World Tour, she and Hudo packed things up for a ship-bound journey from South America to Africa, the last continent she will travel through. According to her updates, she arrived in South Africa in late September, 2016. If all goes as planned, after completing her travel through southern Africa, Hudo will again be loaded onto a ship and the pair will journey by ocean to Spain to complete the final leg into Hamburg.
Quite a bit has happened during her travels including several major breakdowns, trouble with airlines, visa's and access to replacement parts. Hetzer met hundreds of people along the way, formed new relationships and ended a few too. If you've been following along, you will recall how Heidi started the journey with a headstrong, pedal-to-the-metal, full steam ahead approach. But the trip has taken its toll on both Heidi and Hudo.

SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME...
As in the past, there have been significant breaks in the story and now is no exception. Alerts have slowly receded from nearly one per day to one every few months. We attempted to provide an update for the past few months, but there were no new details or photos available since her arrival in Cape Town. There was an audio report, but we've yet learned how to translate German into English, so we waited...and waited...and waited.
Heidi has updated things just recently and as noted, the trip has taken its toll. Here in her own words is a recap of recent days.

Heidi does not always write us, but who directly asks, also receives an answer. Alexander wrote her and got this:

"Thank you, Alexander, that DU least understand that I return with Hudo and only from west to Berlin. Yes, I am very well. Whom is it already enough to have the Tafelberg live every day. If the sun does not shine in the morning, then at noon. But since spring is still, you still need a jacket. But I'm not happy. 

I have a bed but no home. I have many friends and acquaintances, but not my family and best, long-time friends. I have no work that has filled me all my life, only here and there handlanger work. The meaning of my journey around the world is a bit cloudy, because it should take precedence every day, like a rally, now I am already a long time ago. I can not leave because I am not inwardly free. 

Now the time has come. The engine is already in Johannesburg, but does not come through the customs, because it is used. You just want to be new, just like in Japan. It takes a while and it is a pity, because at the moment are so beautiful events where I could participate with Hudo. And the weather in Namibia and Botswana is still not too hot. But I am used to grief. 

If I drive then for 3 months north, the other engine with new pistons from USA is repaired expertly and that, listen and amazed, in AFRIKA, where the Chileans have said, no one helps you. Haha. I then take both engines in the container to Spain and leave one with a nice Opel colleague in Vigo. "

INSTAGRAM OFFERS INSIGHT
Again, very little text to ascertain exactly what is going on, but as the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words". As you may recall, the engine in the Hudson had two major breakdowns in recent months. Each required pulling the engine and doing a full rebuild. The most recent included a total reconditioning; rebored cylinders, cut crank, and replacement of various parts which each contributed to the engine's short lifespan.
Upon arrival, all was going very smoothly. As she began traveling around South Africa, she and Hudo were "adopted" by a local Antique Automobile Club who entered Hudo in one of their car shows included a "rally" of sorts.  

Unfortunately "all's well does not always end well", was the theme of her next leg of travel. 
Based on the above content, you may have already guessed...yes the engine had a full and total failure, apparently due to a failed oil pump. (In case you don't recall, the Hudson 8's crankshaft is splash oiled, while the valves, camshaft and other top-side components are fed by the oil pump). But the damage went far beyond the top half of the engine.
Several more photos appear to indicate the engine was not salvageable and required a replacement was shipped in from abroad with additional repairs and replacement pistons. 

In addition, it also appears a second fully reconditioned engine has been ordered and will be installed halfway into her journey north.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
It's hard to tell if Heidi suffered from re-injuring her knee or if she had to undergo surgery, but it seems a rather extravagant array of bandages and photos of a large scar around her knee for an injury. 
The irony is she couldn't have driven anywhere in that condition, so the mechanical breakdown did not appear to change things much. With both Heidi and Hudo repaired, a series of photos indicates she is back on the road traveling eagerly to reach her final destination.

As you can see in the photos below, Heidi was again exuberant the engine looks like new and the shop employees even held an impromptu celebration at the completion of the repair. 
With all known mechanical issues addressed, Heidi and Hudo were back on the road. Based on the sequence of photos, she was escorted to the main highway by her newfound car club friends.
Unfortunately, it did not take long before other mechanical issues arose affecting brakes, a wooden wheel starting to degrade, a broken oil line, a new, very egregious sound (click here for the video) and a broken side glass.
If you watched the video (you did, didn't you?) the final diagnosis was the new oil pump was bad, but as it had not failed, concerns of metal shavings in the oil and a newly damaged, new engine were overcome. Now for all of our readers who don't understand what the mechanic was doing with his long screwdriver, he was using it as a stethoscope.
By placing the end of the screwdriver on a specific part of the engine, then curling his thumb over the top of the handle and pressing his knuckle against his ear, he can detect where the sound is the loudest, typically where the problem lay.
Speaking of spoked wheels, it is true;necessity is the mother of invention. After a quick fix using hose clamps, an ingenious idea came into focus. Rather than attempting to repair the failing wooden spokes, the shop cut out and welded a round disk to the back side of the wheel, turning the spokes into "decorative trim".  

It seems a shame they did not do all four wheels at the same time. With all of these new repairs complete, back to travel. Reviewing earlier posts, we believe the goal was to arrive in Berlin in time for Christmas, but considering all of the delays and knowing Heidi will not be repeating her globe trotting efforts, it's too early to tell if that plan remains in place.
To read all previous posts, please use the archive link in the RH column. Until next time, Garagistry out!

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