When Wessel Bosman drove across Africa in 2016 in a Ford F250, little did he realise he would end up stranded in a remote location and in extreme temperatures following a gasket head problem. Luckily, Wessel had Pratley Putty and Pratley Steel Quickset on hand, and were ideal for making repairs under such arduous conditions.

Wessel is no stranger to such situations, having competed in the famous Dakar Rally four times to date. “I am not that good a rider; just crazy,” he says modestly. As a Lesotho motorcycle racer of South African origin, he entered Dakar 2015 after impressing the organisers by riding from Cape Town to Egypt to compete in the Pharoah’s rally, where he placed tenth after 17 000 km of hard riding.

After retiring from the Dakar 2015 rally due to injuries, the Ford F250 was shipped to the Dakar Organisation headquarters in Paris, France, and then moved from there to Italy by Wessel. Wessel then thought it a great adventure to drive it down through north, west, and mid Africa, including the Congo, Angola, South Africa and finally Lesotho for a tally of 21 countries.

“When embarking on an adventure or a rally, most people plan for any eventuality. However, a head gasket is not normally part of your planning,” says Wessel. He adds that he always has Pratley Steel Quickset and Pratley Putty on hand, even on his bike. “These products can repair almost everything and allow you to reach your destination where you can replace an oil pipe, radiator, or a hole in the sump.”

Wessel became stranded at the border post between Morocco and Mauritania, when he discovered that the head gasket had developed a serious hole where the compression pushed the gasses into the water-cooling port. He used Pratley Steel Quickset to fill the steel ring in the gasket (the rings around the pistons), followed by Pratley Putty to block the damaged water port in the head cylinders and the port in the block.

The gasket was put back, and some Pratley Putty rolled into a cylindrical form was placed in the slot of the water port between the head and the block. “I then told my road assistant that we now had 25 minutes to fasten that head as good as we could to spread the Pratley Putty to counter any unforeseen omissions in my roadside repair job.”

16 000 km later, Wessel concluded his journey at the AfriSki resort, having only encountered a single flat tyre during that extraordinary distance. This completed the adventure that had commenced 24 000 km and 84 days earlier when he left Italy for Southern Africa. Wessel, the founder of the AfriSki resort laughingly said, “Yes, I had to rebuild the engine of the Ford F250, but now that Ford pushes the snow from the roads for the people to get to Afriski, all the towns and mines in Lesotho!”

Pratley Putty is a versatile epoxy putty that can be moulded and shaped to fill gaps, cracks, and holes. It cures to a hard, durable finish and adheres well to a variety of surfaces, including metal, explains Mark Bell, National Sales and Marketing Manager at Pratley Adhesives. On the other hand, Pratley Steel is a high-strength adhesive designed specifically to bond metal surfaces. It creates a strong and durable bond that can withstand high temperatures and extreme conditions.

For the type of gasket head repair that Wessel and his team had to complete on the fly, preparation is  important. Simply clean the damaged area thoroughly to remove any debris, oil, or grease. Also ensure that the surface is dry before proceeding with the repair. Use Pratley Putty to fill in any cracks, holes, or gaps in the gasket head. Mould the putty to match the shape of the surrounding area and ensure that it is firmly pressed into place.

Curing time, which is temperature dependent, is important to allow it to harden for a specified amount of time. “After the repair is complete and the adhesives have fully cured, it is a good idea to test the gasket head to ensure that it is functioning properly and that the repair holds up under pressure,” notes Mark.

Wessel says he is familiar with the famous reputation of Pratley’s products. Having travelled to over 80 countries to date, either via vehicle or motorbike, he has always carried Pratley Putty and Pratley Steel with him on his trips in case of any emergency.

When Wessel returned the Ford 250 for manufacturer specification maintenance and repair, the technicians were so impressed by the effectiveness of Pratley Putty and Pratley Steel Quickset under such unique circumstances that they encouraged him to contact the company itself about his story.

“Our products are world-class and are renowned in in terms of performance and quality. Pratley Putty in particular is the only South African manufactured product to have gone to the Moon, so we were proud to learn about Wessel and his use of our products at the Dakar Rally,” says Mark. As to his future plans, Wessel concludes: “You never know. Life is a journey that continues.”

By Admin