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Accident and repair in Turkey

3 months after we started our big trip, we had a serious rollover accident. We spent 3 months in a Turkish garage.

How did it happen and what did we have to repair?

Unfortunately, in Cappadocia, Turkey we turned into a road that we would have been better off not taking. At the beginning of the road we didn't realize how challenging it was going to be. But quickly the road became very narrow and we found ourselves in a canyon. After assessing our situation and walking through the canyon, we decided that turning around was no longer an option and that we could make it down to the valley. We struggled forward until we came to the last curve of the track, which was incredibly steep, sloping and narrow. It was the last turn that changed our fate.

The right front wheel lost grip and started to slide. Olga then crashed down the slope. After a complete rollover we came to a stop in a bush in the slope. We were in shock and totally clueless how to solve this problem. The fear was great that our long-planned trip around the world would now be over after only 3 months.

But we got help and step by step we could solve the first problem of recovery. After 5 hours we recovered our car with the help of two other Defenders and a tractor. But Olga did not look good at all! Windows were smashed, the roof rack with all the boxes were ripped off, the right fender was massively dented and the rest of the car body had taken quite a beating as well. The worry grew that our home was totally lost and would land in the scrap yard.

However, a fact made us hope again: The engine could be started as if nothing had happened after the broken V-belt was reattached and some sheet metal was bent. We were able to load all the parts that were torn off the car during the rollover onto a pickup truck and drive Olga independently to our friend Hakan’s workshop, which was about 30 minutes away.

After the first examinations, it turned out that the engine was indeed intact. Most of our interior had also survived. However, the car body was so badly damaged that every single part of the car body (except the rear door & the hood) had to be replaced. So Olga got a complete new outfit! When everything was settled with our insurance company (for now), we started to disassemble the Landy piece by piece. The organization of the spare parts was a nerve-wracking disaster. But when the spare parts finally arrived, we were able to put the puzzle back together and repaint the car. This was the main task of the repair, but the many small jobs took almost more time.

We had to repair the lifting roof, the snorkel and the roof rack, rewire the electrical system, remove & reinstall the whole interior, remove the bumper, sand plates and canisters and mount new headlights. In addition, not all car body parts fit together perfectly and certain spare parts deliveries were faulty.

Due to several delays in delivery as well as complications with the Turkish insurance expert, we needed 3 months for the estimated 3 weeks of work.

During this time we also made some improvements to our campervan:

  • Boost pin & ring: this gives our engine more power.

  • New towing points

  • Track widening / spacer: after the accident we wanted to generate more stability when offroading, so we mounted spacers of 3cm each. After some practical experience and weighing the pros & cons, we finally decided to remove the spacers again.

  • Reinforced front wheel carriers

  • Recovering the headliner: Felt instead of suede: We disposed of the damaged headliner and applied the felt directly to the Armaflex insulation. This gave us more room to sleep.

  • Additional storage in the driver's compartment

  • Mosquito net over the bed

We look back on this time positively, despite the immense challenges, language barriers (our mechanic only spoke Turkish), tests of patience and emotional roller coasters. The conditions we had were simply great. Besides a very competent mechanic-duo and relatively good spare parts accessibility, we were allowed to live in the workshop for the whole 3 months. Thus, we saved a lot of costs for accommodation. Fortunately, the claim was covered by our insurance. Most importantly, no one was injured and we were able to continue our trip as planned. In addition we gained a lot of technical knowledge about the Defender, many insights about ourselves and new friendships.

If you ever travel with a Defender in Turkey, we can heartily recommend Hakan's workshop: Takoser Otomotiv, Ortahisar in Cappadocia.

Instagram: hakanyavuz_takoser (please greet him from us)

What would you have done in our situation? Would you have also stayed in Turkey to fix the car or would you have gone back home?


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