Trinidad and Trouble.

We are parked by the fence of the World Cultural Heritage Site of a Jesuit Mission at Trinidad in southern Paraguay (S27.130008 W55.702055). Actually only Mel and Mog are here. K-Nine and Kolob are (we think) still in Encarnacion.

We all left Asuncion yesterday morning after K-Nine returned from the Mercedes Benz garage with a reconditioned turbocharger, the wheel alignment corrected, the rear brakes fixed and a new door lock. Only a slight noise from the new turbocharger was a cause for concern (the garage explained that this was normal and would go away after 1000 km).

Last night was spent at a fine looking roadside restaurant and motel. The manager was happy for us park behind the restaurant on a large grassy area for $4 USA per van. (S26.919205 W56.856438). On closer inspection the inside of the restaurant looked like a derelict industrial building and the food tasted similar. If you are passing, sleep there, but don't eat there!

In the morning K-Nine's troubles began. Clive discovered that his radiator had been overflowing during the night! Without the engine running. (If you don't find that bizarre you might want to skip the next paragraph.)

K-Nine (like the other three vans) has a water heating system that uses a small diesel furnace to heat water that is circulated thru a copper coil within a calorifier (hot water tank). Unlike the other three vans, K-Nine's system is also connected to his engine's cooling system. This has the advantage of providing hot water whenever the engine is running and of pre-heating the engine for easier starting. However K-Nine's heating coil (within his calorifier) had developed a leak. As a result "domestic" water was being pumped into the engine cooling system under pressure and (potentially) engine cooling water (complete with anti-freeze!) was getting into the "domestic" water system. When this problem was diagnosed it was relatively easy to disconnect the calorifier, but as a result K-Nine now has no hot water.

K-Nine's second problem came to light as we stopped for coffee in Encarnacion. In addition to the noise from the new turbo there was now a rattling noise from a joint in the exhaust pipe. Whilst standing round discussing the problem a lady from a nearby hair salon told us that her sister's husband worked at the main Mercedes garage and she would call him. After a few minutes he arrived to lead K-Nine to the garage to get the exhaust fixed.

Mel and Mog drove on 25km to Trinidad with Rene, whilst Mike in Kolob searched Encarnacion for a 100 amp trip to repair his charging system.

K-Nine's third problem of the day only became apparent at the Mercedes garage, where Clive was informed that K-Nine's valves needed adjustment, the injectors needed cleaning and possibly the injector pump needed attention! The turbo, he was informed (by a majority verdict of mechanics) was fine.

The Jesuit Mission at Trinidad is very impressive. Built between 1706 and 1760 the mission housed over 4000 people. After the Jesuits were expelled from South America in 1768 the site fell into disuse. Sections of the church have been partrially restored.

Stephen Stewart.

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