June 25, 2024

Getting some local assistance in Kasulu

In Africa everything is mostly possible in some or other way and today in Kasulu we experienced first-hand the helpfulness of Tanzanians again… Just as we loaded all our luggage this morning and gearing up for the next part of our journey to Kibondo 140km northwards we tried Francois’ bike and it gave us the same problem as yesterday, engine turning but no luck in running. Francois opened the carburettor to see if he can clean it as we still suspected that this was the problem. He cleaned the inside as well as the jets and just as we got is started the first time, we realised there was another problem now… fuel leaking out of the overflow. After some logical thinking and some good advice over a few sms’e with our friend Eon back in South Africa Francois must have opened the carburettor seven times, each time adjusting the float level.

Kasulu Motel
Never mind what we did we just couldn’t get the right level and at about 12h00 Francois got the bike to start and then drive around by opening and closing the fuel tap. By then we have decided to stay another day to fix this and there was some more dark clouds looming above again threatening to rain some more. Then it was time to get in the help of some local bike mechanics in town as we knew something was not right as we have tried everything. We set off with the two bikes and ended up at an awesome roadside shack shop where the guys dropped everything they were busy with to help us with the Motomia.

Here is a view of the garage…

The bike shop
It was an amazing sighting to see these guys operating, always two working on the bike and about five guys checking what they do and chatting away.

Working on the bike
They did a series of things (all of which we already checked too, so we were not far off) to see if they can get it going, each time after which they went for a test drive with Francois on the back. Here is a photo of the two mechanics working away.

Our two mechanics
They kept on saying “motomia” pointing at different things on the bike as they spoke in Swahili. It really made a huge difference to have the Motomias as all the parts are standard and local and so simple to work on. I’m not sure what we would have done in the same situation with big 650 bikes… I really enjoyed watching all this, but since this is a bit technical I hand you over to Francois now for a more detailed description of what they did…

Francois: I have never opened the carb before, but everyone kept telling me it is pretty simple inside. I first had to swivel the carb to the side to detach the float chamber, after which I took out the jets one by one and cleaned them with my MSR stove’s built in jet cleaning pin. Carb back together, this seemed to work and I gave my signature premature genius smirk… Seconds later the engine drowned and fuel came pouring out the carb’s overflow. I reckoned the float must have bent, so I set about dismantling the carb about seven times, each time completely securing it and starting the engine before realising it still pours out. I learnt from our friendly local mechanic to completely remove the carb and check whether it fills correctly off the bike before assembly. This saved a lot of time! Anyways, I managed to ride the bike to town (3 km) by opening the tap to allow just enough fuel into the system to keep the engine running, then closing it again before the float is full.

After cleaning the carb and jets and resetting the float level, Mr. Mechanic and I went for a test ride, him on the back. It worked well for a couple of hundred metres then died again. After checking the air filter (and blowing it clean with the exhaust pipe) he hopped on his bike and returned about 2 minutes later with a carb kit. He replaced the float and we went for another (final, hair raising) test ride with me pillion this time (without a crash helmet), dodging busses in town and racing past pedestrians and cyclists (hooting all the way). At least he warned in Swahili before he turned around and changed direction. I just kept telling myself: “at least he’s done this before”. They sent us off with loads of smiles and charged us a full R70 (about US$10) for two hours’ labour and the replacement float. I thought we’ve experienced all we could on this Western route, but it keeps surprising me. I love this place!

And thanks (again) Eon for all the help, via sms!! (As jy en jou toolbox saam is op ‘n bike trip worry mens darem min)We’ll be heading for Kibondo in the morning (and into Rwanda the next day if all goes to plan). Hopefully we’ll then be able to update the blog directly again.

6 thoughts on “Getting some local assistance in Kasulu

  1. Yes yes! Ek dink ook dit was ‘n great idee van julle om met die Motomias te gaan – soveel makliker om reg te maak. Ek’s bly julle het sulke great, goedkoop, vriendelike hulp gekry (Eon ingesluit)!! 🙂 Veilig ry en geniet die laaste twee dae in Tanzania!!

  2. Wyse besluit gewees om eers die bike skete uit te sorteer. Baie dankbaar vir die hulp en vriendelike mense! Onthou wat ek vir jul gevra het om te doen soos jul vorder op jul tog deur Afrika. Hierdie ouens verdien dit beslis! Veilige reis verder. Ek hoop nou kom net voorspoed en vreugdes!

  3. Hi Julle
    Mooi so, ek het gedink dis dalk die bike wat versuip maar konni help nie. Moes gambei ongelukkig hier.
    Geniet Rwanda

  4. Ek glo Villiers se wyase woorde “moenie panic nie” word nou jul motto! Ek is beindruk met die hammering wat daai MotoMia’s kan vat – nie om te praat van julle lywe nie. Lekker ry vandag. V1x

  5. Jis julle, Dis darm ongelooflike hoe dinge in plek val!! Francois, ek dink jy gaan na die trip vir my ‘n paar dinge moet leer van vergassers..!! Ek is bly julle is weer op dreef!! Mooibly julle!!

  6. Vol punte vir vandag se blog – my favorite foto is die derde ene met Franswa en die mechanics!!! N’kosi sikelele Afrika! xxxxx

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