I Need Longer Nipples

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.

Defender on a work ramp at a truck stop
Defender on a work ramp at a truck stop

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!

The cleaner of the two bathrooms at the truck stop
The cleaner of the two bathrooms at the truck stop

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).





  1. One option Craig is to carefully file two flats on the side of the grease gun nozzle so it goes between the UJ arms. Dont take too much off though 🙂

  2. Thanks John. There are two LR service centres in Kiev. We’ve e-mailed one to see if they have the longer nipples. I don’t have a file in my tool bag, but I’ll look into that option. I have a spare nozzle for the grease gun, so I could file one of them down as an experiment.

    1. Great tip from John. After a couple of hours of searching for a file to buy, a kind man in a key cutting store allowed us to borrow one of his files to take back to the hotel. Once the grease gun nozzle had been filed down it was able to snap-connect to the grease nipple. Front props haft now fully greased up. Thanks John!

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