Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

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Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:30 am

Hi everyone

Just wanted to pass on the details of a fantastic mechanic in Dushanbe. I have used him personally and have met another who has also had a good experience.

His name is Dilovar and is the owner/manager/chief mechanic at the workshop. He speaks excellent English having lived in the US for a while.

Service was fairly swift (getting parts always slows things down) but he's definitely willing to expedite things for foreigners.

Dilovar has had quite a lot of experience with Mongol Rallyers coming though, has a wealth of knowledge on Soviet era classic cars (amongst modern ones to obviously) and is an all round good chap. He's also got good contacts in the city for those jobs he can't do - I required some bodywork to be repaired and some custom welding on my engine sump which could only be done by a welder in the airport (difficult to get into!)

He's contactable via whatsapp on +992 88 111 1617. Just mention you got the details from me and he'll be more than happy to help! These are the rough GPS co-ordinates for the workshop location on Nisor Muhammad Street.

All the best and hopefully you won't need his services!

Toby Bartlett
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Re: Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby steven » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:52 am

Hi Toby,

just wanted to add this to the driving Tajikistan article and noticed: there are no GPS coordinates! Do you still have them?
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Re: Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby robert » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:14 pm

We found another Dilovar in Dushanbe. He was very helpful with organizing parts for our car from Moscow, as they weren't available in Tajikistan. He ordered them within 2 days and sent them to Chorugh. He also speaks English. His phone number is +992-903882004, and their shop can be found here:
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Re: Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby JonathanGE » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:06 am

This review is for the first Dilovar on Nishor Mukhamed street.


We had white/blue smoke out of exhaust (94 diesel hilux) when engine braking downhill over anzob pass from tashkent to dushanbe. Given that we were next headed to subzero pamirs (Feb 2018) we decided to have it checked out by Dilovar to make sure nothing serious was wrong.

He diagnosed possible leaking head gasket and recommended replacement + machining head + valve job. Quoted 330 USD all in, so we decided to do it just to be safe. Big mistake.

After work was done, Dilovar gave me a bill for $450! After I complained, he brought it down to $400. But still, much higher than original quote. Also, he charged $70 for an oil change when shop next door does it for $35 using exactly the same oil.

The original head gasket turned out to be fine - he had misdiagnosed issue. And unfortunately not only did his expensive repair not fix the blue smoke problem, he created a NEW much WORSE problem - very hard to start car in the morning, with tons of grey/white + black smoke.

He spent another two weeks trying to figure out the problem, during which time he demonstrated an unsettling lack of knowledge about engines. For instance, he told me he had done a compression test on cylinders, and it came back good at 90psi. He did not know that diesel engines are supposed to have PSI of 300-500! Also it turns out he used a gasoline gauge and the pressure was so high it broke the gauge. He also told me he had checked the valve clearances and they were good because both intake and exhaust were at .2mm... he did not know that exhaust clearance must be .2mm looser than intake (this can seriously damage your engine in long term)! I had to get them to open the head cover and check the clearances in front of me... turns out that indeed one of the exhaust valves was too tight. He also tried modifying the injection pump timing, but advanced it by 4mm (recommended max advance is 1-2mm). It had to take it back to him two more times for him to get it to 1mm. He also thought 10w40 oil was best for summer and 15w40 for winter (it's the opposite). He overfilled one of our batteries and it started leaking acid when we hit the mountains. He used basic metal weld to repair our cracked exhaust manifold, which of course cracked again immediately (no refund). We then got a copper+metal weld re-done somewhere else for 1/4 the $ that is still holding 2 months later. The list goes on...

After all this time, he could not fix the new problem he created. We were running out of time on our visa so headed into pamirs, where we had to spend 20-30 minutes every morning trying to get the car started. We finally made it to Bishkek, where we paid $100 to re-check EVERYTHING and fix the mistakes that Dilovar made. The culprits: he had incorrectly set the camshaft timing, and he put in a Hyundai injector instead of one of my original Toyota ones - it did not fit properly and fuel was leaking down into the cylinder, and also was not spraying properly.

EVEN WORSE: After leaving dushanbe we also started experiencing overheating issues. We first thought it was just altitude, but problem persisted even when we got down to lower altitudes. Overheating happened more and more often ... we changed radiator, flushed and changed antifreeze, changed thermostat and cap. No good. Finally in Russia coolant started pouring out of overflow reservoir when in idle with a cold motor. Mechanics disagnosed head gasket problem... we opened it up and discovered Dilovar had INSTALLED THE WRONG HEADGASKET!!!! It was missing two coolant channels so 1st cylinder basically wasnt getting any coolant at all. Incredibly negligent... we are lucky we didnt lose the engine. Going to cost us another $500 to fix.

Save your money, time and sanity and go see someone else.
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Re: Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby Lovetheworld » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:21 pm

Wow what a bad story. And we have the same engine.

At the we drove the Himalaya, we could have white only smoke when engine braking over 4000 meters high. An Austrian mechanic told me that is pure unburned diesel. Can be changed but not necessary. Blue smoke is a bit different of course.

And what a shame as it can ruin your complete trip and car.

Keep checking fluids and maybe another compression test to make sure that cilinder 1 is in good health. These engines can develop cracked heads when cooling issues occur. But you would notice that.
And perhaps a coolant flush if dirty.
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Re: Mechanic in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Postby JonathanGE » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:45 pm

Thanks @Lovetheworld. Thankfully the head is not cracked and the exterior of cylinder+pistons+block seem ok on visual inspection. We will do compression test but hopefully all will be fine once we replace gasket. They are also machining head to be safe. Its pretty amazing actually that we were able to drive over 10,000 KM with the wrong gasket in there! I guess thats why Tough Gear called this engine indestructible.

After the Dilovar misadventure I spent a bunch of time scouring the internet forums for info on this blue smoke on engine braking issue, and drove back up to Khujand to consult with a diesel mechanic who was recommended by a friend. Overwhelming consensus is either vaccuum leak or turbo issue (we have a 2Lt). We are changing the turbo/exhaust/intake gaskets and hope this will resolve the issue. Might be too that the turbo is just getting old and will have to be replaced in the near future. The good news is that like you the problem only happens at high altitudes so its not the end of the world.

And yes, the most important is that dilovar's mistakes were not irreparable and we didn't have to cancel our trip. Only some time and money lost.... all part of the adventure. And I've developed a pretty good understanding of diesel engines through all this that should come in handy later :)

I just want to make other overlanders aware so they don't have to go through the same experience--- or worse!
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