The decision

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(>Pictures at the bottom!)

The journey across half of Canada was long; partly a bit monotonous and boring, other sections varied with wonderful impressions.
The long drive also allowed us to think about and question a lot of things. For us it was clear from the beginning that the adventure ” round-the-world trip ” with a somewhat older vehicle holds certain uncertainties in itself. But the hope was greater than the concern and so we started on 5 July 2018 in Halifax to our big trip.

Minor problems and other things we had planned for and are probably absolutely normal. Because of general mechanical problems we always found the necessary help or were able to fix it ourselves. Except for the engine, all components are available in North America and are therefore available very quickly in case of damage.

But what we didn’t know: The diesel engine was built into the car in the USA, but it was never brought to this market in this variant. So there are no spare parts, nor are the mechanics familiar with this drive unit.

A similar engine was installed in other Jeep models (e.g. Grand Cheorkee, Liberty), but these are not particularly represented and the workshops always had certain problems with our service work to organize the right filters. Although Chevrolet and GMC have an identical engine (Duramax Diesel), there is no guarantee that the parts will fit.
Perhaps this was also the reason why the mechanics always found certain exotic parts for us.

Now in Salmon Arm (BC) a problem at the injection system was localized and the repair was estimated with nearly CA$ 4’000. Whether this work would have been successful in the end, the workshop could not or would not guarantee us. We were also told that the engine was very old and that such an extensive repair could result in further damage, but also – due to the work itself – could result in further damage. In the meantime I read in a publication of the engine manufacturer “VM Motori” that these diesel engines are designed for a mileage of 240’000 kilometers (150‘000 miles) under normal conditions. Our jeep already has over 250‘000 kilometres (+ 156‘250 miles) and not just on asphalt roads.

It’s not only the engine that gives me sleepless nights, but also the gearbox that makes more and more strange mechanical noises. Some of the gears don’t hold up very well and we have to be very careful when shifting gears. The hooked second gear is probably a jeep problem!
The rattling universal joints at the front axle are probably still the smallest evil.

If we wanted to solve all problems in one go, we would come up with an approximate total cost of US$ 15’000. Clearly too much for our old jeep – this cure would not make it any younger anyway!

Anyway, the longer the trip went back to the east, the more we were convinced that the first decision to turn around in Salmon Arm was the right one and to get help from my family in the east of Canada.

For our long trip to the south we absolutely need a vehicle that has a few kilometres on its shoulder, the mechanics on site know the vehicle and the spare parts are available.

On the way we looked again and again at offers of possible vehicles. In order to be able to use our camping construction further, it must of course be the same model that has not been produced since April 2018 and already limits the selection very much. My cousin always gave us new tips on where and how we could get a replacement vehicle.

But what we didn’t know at all dealer visits was that we can hardly bring the necessary amount of money from Switzerland to Canada in such a short time. Our liquidity is not very high, our assets are somehow tied up and not immediately available. We asked relatives and friends if they could be our bank until next spring. But who has so much money under their blanket; they, too, have somehow tied up their liquidity. Although it didn’t work that way either, we would like to thank everyone for their efforts and moral support.

But also our intentions to travel to Central and South America, as well as the existing European car did not make the whole situation very easy. All the sellers where we visited any vehicles were very helpful, but our business was not everyday for them either.

In Ottawa we found our dream replacement vehicle, which we immediately liked, registered in 2018 and relatively few kilometers on the speedometer. The jeep was also already modified for the terrain and, to our surprise, in a visually very good condition. As a foreigner without residence and travel intentions in southern direction, the money flow has to take place when we buy the jeep and here we soon had to bury our idea of a quick vehicle change; we can’t simply conjure up these means from Switzerland at a distance.

Other types of travel and vehicles were also considered. But also these cost immediately a larger amount of money and are finally only an intermediate or even compromise solution.
It took us a few days to come to terms with this new situation. Like beaten dogs we sat together for hours and thought about how we could continue the journey.

A certain decision support came then still from the Canadian customs, which informed us that an import of our vehicle in Canada would be possible only with large expenditure. The vehicle was produced in North America, but for the European market and therefore has no registration neither in Canada nor in the USA. It may only be imported in North America by tourists for a limited period of one year, but must be re-exported afterwards. Actually crazy, we have to bring a car to Europe that has only scrap value!

We have already travelled 4,000 kilometres (2’500 miles) on the Transcanada Highway and there are still around 1,500 kilometres (940 miles) to Halifax, which our jeepli – we are slowly but surely becoming sentimental – will certainly manage.

When we asked the shipping company, which already brought our car to America, they soon mentioned a possible date where we could ship our vehicle. This will enable us to return our jeep from North America to Europe in a proper manner and thus comply with all regulations. That’ s it!

The initially planned ride on the same ship had to be buried soon due to Chantal’s histamine intolerance. On a cargo ship it is not possible to meet the individual wishes of fellow passengers. A pity, really; we would have liked to return slowly from the new world to the old one.

What exactly will happen in Europe and Switzerland, we will keep silent for the time being, but are already planning very intensively on our continuation.

And, why don’t we drive towards the sun; we turn our route around and drive towards the east. Our journey will continue – guaranteed!


A short tribute to our “Jeepli” from many unforgettable moments during the last 14 months in North America:



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