The big chill

Back to Germany

Well, the 2009 home leave was coming up soon. The idea to buy some spare parts in Germany actually helped deciding to buy the BMW quickly. But then, after realizing that I was lacking several special tools to take the engine block apart, I decided to take block and the two cylinder heads to Germany for overhauling. I had to go to a conference in Thailand first and alone I would not have sufficient luggage allowance I therefore asked Mavic and the kids to bring the parts. Together with a friend of the kids who was also travelling they were 4 and therefore had a lot bigger luggage allowance. I used found this old Zarges Box and the block just fitted in height. A few fittings made from wood and styrofoam to prevent the engine block from moving inside the box. The whole box weighed 34 kg and the two separately packed cylinder heads another 8 kg. Amazingly enough Mavic managed to get it through all the luggage scans and got it checked-in at Singapore Airlines without problems. 

Engine block repair

While everybody was complaining about the economic crisis it was extremely difficult to get an appointment with a workshop to get the job done in 3 weeks. Mathias came to the rescue and negotiated a time slot at Scherb in Groebenzell.They did an excellent job in the short time, sourced several spare parts that they did not have on stock and BMW could not deliver anymore and also overhauled the Cylinder heads. Just before I left Germany I could pick up the overhauled engine block. In the meantime I had also purchased a suitcase full of spare parts at BMW Bayer

Back to the Philippines, Frankfurt Airport and Philippine Customs nightmares

Traveling again separate from the family I brought the engine block per rental car from Stuttgart to Frankfurt. On check-in I was told that the Zarges box would not be accepted because it was too heavy. I was prepared to pay the excess but German labor law states that the airport workers are not supposed to carry more than 32kg so my 34kg box was rejected. I was very annoyed, I had handled the box alone all the way from Munich. The check in crew of Thai airways was useless and I was desperately looking for options: abandon the box - no way; call my parents to pick it up and ship it - also not feasible because they can't handle the heavy box either; call a friend in Munich and ask him to pick it up - one option, if I bring it to left luggage; cancel the flight and sort out shipment - not really a good option. Luckily a by-stander came to the rescue and pointed to a counter in the distance that said "Unbegleitetes Fluggepaeck". I had 45 minutes until departure and just managed to send the box via air freight at a cost of EUR 600.

Because the box came per air freight it ended up in the Philippine customs office in Manila and we had to clear it from there. Mavic and I spent a day, I rather don't report on the details, which included getting a huge number of signatures, a walk to a lawyer who certified that the engine is 40 years old and has no commercial value, customs inspection of the box and a major attempt to extract a bribe.

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