As we started the drive to Puerto Escondido we heard popping from the back end and started having the occasional sputters and skips. Here we go again. We persisted and sweated all the way there – fortunately only an hour drive – and found a place with A/C!  Camping was not happening this night. Trust us on this one – if the room with a fan is $20 USD and the room with A/C is $25 USD, you should splurge and spend the extra five bucks.

After re-equilibrating our body temperatures, we headed out to go check out the scene. This place reminds us of a Hawaiian town  like Lahaina. Definitely laid back and has the same surfer vibe as Sayulita. But, here the surfing here is deadly serious. Because of an Antarctic swell this week, the waves are absolute monsters. Just when you think you’re watching an enormous break – it doesn’t break – it keeps growing. You’ve got to bring your ‘guns’ to this place. Bring two – broken boards are pretty common. Most folks surf without a leash to try to keep their boards from breaking. You get one try, then you’re on your own in the thunderous surf fighting your way to shore. Then you have to go find your board. You still see guys walking up the beach to two board halves in their hands. Unreal.

The heat is still oppressive, and it even keeps the surfers away except for early mornings and evenings. After the first day with monster waves, things are calming down a bit more and only up to 10-footers today. Still too big for us and still crazy hot and humid.

It was 95F today and we chatted with a friend in Austin, TX and learned it was also 95F there. Maybe it’s not so hot after all.

I checked out the bus and went through the whole tune-up routine with no luck. After a little more checking, of course I found that my muffler was loose. Doesn’t explain the missing, but explains the popping. One thing at a time, I guess.

I spent almost two hours trying to find exhaust seals in Puerto Escondido. The first place had nothing, but a guy there told me to follow him and he’d help. The next place had nothing and the next place was a muffler shop where I was left to deal with the mechanics. They insisted they needed to weld the muffler to the heat exchangers.

Over and over I said “no quierro solder!” but they persisted. They argued that with all the topes, the exhaust gaskets would just continue to disintegrate as the muffler bounces around. They are probably correct and that’s why I’m replacing them only a few months since doing it in Guadalajara. But, I’m not keen on having my engine trapped inside a welded exhaust system. I still think I could end up rebuilding the thing on the side of the road some day.

Eventually I found the rings (annillos de escapo) and the metal gaskets, but continued searching for plugs and wires (again) hoping to solve the miss problem.  It seems ridiculous but every shop acted like it was a bizarre request for such an old car… as vochos and combis continually whizzed by outside each shop. I kept asking for a VW parts place, but no one seemed to know of one. Eventually I found some plugs, but no wires. I gave up and went back to park and waited for things to cool off.

I put in some old wires I’ve been carrying around and the new plugs. Like magic, the popping went away.  The old ones looked fine to me.

9 thoughts on “A/C

  • May 23, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Haa… we have the same picture of the Helados Kombi!!!
    by the way, Felix and I got back to San Clemente last night. our bus run great the hold time until we were in Sonora and Arizona. It was too hot in there and our bus doesn’t like it. we need to push the bus cross the border but we got it home safe and it’s still running great. 🙂

  • May 24, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    me gusta senor softee!

  • May 24, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    ps: i think it snowed in sf this morning. SO COLD here.

  • May 24, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    Just got home from Yosemite and it was snowing there. Weird!

  • May 25, 2010 at 5:31 AM


    I just ran into a severely worn 009 distributor that was giving symptoms like you describe. Check for side play in the shaft. It makes for points that bounce, miss, pop, and generally act weird… just a thought!


  • May 25, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Hey, guess what? With the humidity, it’s 95 F here in Quebec, too!

  • May 25, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    I’ve been carrying an extra 009 (yours maybe?) and gave it a whirl but there was no change. I’ve got electronic ignition and the extra 009 has points. anyway, after about 6 hours of solid driving on the ‘fixed’ engine, the symptoms have returned. New plugs again?!?!?

  • May 25, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Make sure that your heat exchanger and muffler nuts have not come loose. They like to back off under extreme heat. If they are still tight it is possible that one of the exhaust gaskets could be burnt out and allowing air to leak both ways.

  • May 25, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Hey guys – We are in Huatulcos. We are heading to Puerto Escondido in the morning. Will you still be there? Where are you staying? We’ll be looking for a similarly-priced caurtito ($25 w/ AC). Let’s hook up for a visit and some ostiones! Email or comment on my blog page

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