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Old 02-21-2021, 10:29 AM   #31
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Not to flog a dead horse but it's worth jacking up the rear of the van and sticking a bar in wheel. Move the pry bar up and down to see if you get any movement. It will be obvious if the bearings are shot. I've had two semi floats go tits up. They're just not rated for how heavy these things are.
This is a serious issue because when they fail completely the only thing holding the wheel on will be the brake caliper.

Excellent advice!
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:29 AM   #32
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Guess I would agree with Toms Beast on the side of the mechanic. You got back on the road with very little out of pocket....You had a breakdown and fix...Mexican mechanics are great at making do, and the labor is so little compared to US. That said, the follow up experience calibration may be when the US shop goes thru the "get back on the road" repair. Understand the concern, but you did have what you might call a baja adventure.


Plugged cat converters are common in baja, our first Mexican breakdown involved a plugged cat and some fishermen a couple hours off pavement, and no power to get over hills....Their solution was to remove, ram a broom thru the cat and rebolt..La Bamba rumble to the border...(We gave them some tools and they were overjoyed)..So the mechanic may have some cat history as part of his decision making...


This is also pretty off topic but since Bruce Meyers (dune buggy inventor and one of the originators of baja 1000) just passed away, here is another telling of baja experience https://www.autoweek.com/news/a21294...ja-thats-okay/


Point is, baja is different....that can be the magic
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:39 PM   #33
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DOHC VTEC, yep. A lot of fun when you got up over 5500rpm.
SOHC VTEC on mine. Still a lot of fun, but not the beast the DOHC is. It's actually a D15B (1.5L) engine out of a junkyard in Japan -- the original D16Z6 got its cylinder walls scuffed up in an overheating incident (long story). Which actually brings up something relevant to this conversation -- I have never been called out on the incorrect engine block number during a smog check. I have all the US emissions equipment on it and no one's ever bothered to check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moorefc
Plugged cat converters are common in baja
Is that due to poor fuel quality?

If you're anything like me you'll immediately know if the catalytic converter is intact or not just by the exhaust smell -- un-catalyzed it's a heavier, more pungent smell, sometimes with hints of sweetness from unburned fuel. But I grew up when there were still a lot of non-catalyst vehicles around, so that scent is imprinted in my brain. (And the lead from the fuel is imprinted on my brain cells, probably.)

I don't think driving without a cat should hurt anything. You'll probably get a CEL in that case, and fuel economy may actually decrease a little. Contrary to what people sometimes think, modern engines are built with the backpressure of a cat in mind, and if it's not there the fuel maps aren't quite right.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:05 PM   #34
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Is that due to poor fuel quality?

If you're anything like me you'll immediately know if the catalytic converter is intact or not just by the exhaust smell -- un-catalyzed it's a heavier, more pungent smell, sometimes with hints of sweetness from unburned fuel. But I grew up when there were still a lot of non-catalyst vehicles around, so that scent is imprinted in my brain. (And the lead from the fuel is imprinted on my brain cells, probably.).

In baja it is all the bouncing around from dirt roads, etc, combined with old cats....The material starts to fall apart. The fishermen that helped us after we explained no power, had us start the van, put his hand over the exhaust, said kill it, and climbed under the van and started wrenching....this was probably 25 years ago...

Baja is the only place where you will likely see boxes of door hinges just behind the auto parts counter....had to ask what was in all those little boxes
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:46 PM   #35
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What's sad, is that questionable as some Baja mechanic's skill might be, their skill level is probably far above the skill, and knowledge level, of most US auto parts store employees.

As someone said, just consider it part of the Baja experience.


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Old 03-01-2021, 08:28 AM   #36
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Wanted to reiterate...always stay with the vehicle and assist. You’ll learn a few things, more than likely make a new friend, and will be available to intervene if you think something is going astray.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:55 PM   #37
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My Baja mindset is always get it fixed well enough to finish the trip and make it home. Then undo all the work you had done and get it done right. Blew two shocks in separate places on the same trip. Both got replaced with basically blank shocks that happened to fit. Paid about $100 for install on each. Made it back home and replaced all 4 shocks with new bilsteins.

Could have run the other shocks longer, but I didn't know what they were. I also didn't want to wear out my tires anymore from poor alignment. Had the exhaust fall off on another trip. Brought the whole thing back with me, salvaged the cat, chucked the rest and the muffler shop put it back together for $150.
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