Bright and early this morning (6.00am) we were ready to depart Lviv. Turned the ignition key – flat battery! I still don’t know how that occurred, as I have a twin battery set-up that uses the auxiliary battery for the fridge and other accessories. The starter battery should stay fully charged. Even if the alternator wasn’t charging properly, the solar panel should keep it topped up. Anyway, I ran jumper cables from the back-up battery and got the Defender started. The battery now seems to be charged and I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days.
On departure from Lviv, the fan-belt was making awful squealing noises and it was clear that I’d need to stop and tighten the belt. Whilst we were driving and looking for a suitable parking area in which to do the work, we spotted a drive-on ramp in a truck stop on the opposite carriageway. We turned around and went back. With the Defender up on the ramp, the maintenance was so much easier than it would have been if I had to lay on my back on the ground.
With the Defender on the ramp, I was able to easily adjust the fan belt to stop the squealing. Tomorrow is scheduled to be a vehicle maintenance day but this ramp presented a golden opportunity to get the underbody work done in more comfort. So, out came the tools and the grease gun and we set to work.
The rear prop shaft was fully greased but the grease nipples on the front shaft are too short to allow the grease gun to snap into place. I clearly need longer nipples! I’m hoping that we can find a Land Rover dealer in Kiev so that longer grease nipples can be fitted before we leave.
I was also able to check the fluid levels in the gear-box, transfer-box and both diffs. I am so glad that I didn’t do this in the Kiev hotel car-park, as was originally planned. When the gear box fill-level plug was removed, fluid spilled all over the place until I could re-insert the cap. That would have caused problems on a hotel car-park.
Finding the work ramp was a pleasant surprise. The state of the bathrooms at the same truck stop was not so pleasant. Each of the two bathrooms (male and female) were simply holes in concrete with piles of human waste on the ground below. The photo below shows the much cleaner female bathroom. The male bathroom was so much worse. The photo can’t convey the smell!
As we progressed towards Kiev, we saw several more of the vehicle ramps located at truck stops. We’re hoping to find more of them along the route, as they are very handy.
We had a smooth drive from Lviv to Kiev with a total time of about nine hours on the road, including 90 minutes working on the vehicle on the ramp.
Total mileage for the trip so far is 2,234 (miles).