Posts Tagged Guadalajara

Adios Guadalajara… Almost

Posted on April 6, 2010 by 8 Comments

The next day, another mechanic friend comes over to check over the bus.  He drives a killer “rat look” splittie and it’s completely full of tools.

The alternator is now the top priority on our list and it immediately gets pulled out. Brushes are good, so the internal regulator is the diagnosis. They hop into their car and run to get another one and return and put it all back together. Still no good. Regulator is still the diagnosis. They hop back in to the car and go get another one. After putting in the second one, it seems to be fixed. This takes most of the day, but we’re still missing on #1.

DSC_1486 DSC_1496

At idle, you can pull the #1 plug wire and nothing happens. It seems to work at higher rpm. We replace the wires and plugs… again… and still no change. You can pull the plug wire off the cap about 1/4” and it seems to start firing at idle. Plug it back in and nothing (this is why the other guy suggested increasing plug gap and tightening the valve.) It seems to be electrical and we decide to drive it a bit and fully charge up the battery with the rebuilt alternator and see if it’s related. I can’t help but think it might also be the carb, but since #1 and #2 share an intake and #2 is fine I’m not sure how to explain it (same for #3 and #4.) Juan knows a carb guy, but he’s not available for a few days. The mechanic jokes that after 180 km the problem will go away. Good enough for now. We tweak the carbs again and call it good enough to continue moving on.

DSC_1492 DSC_1498

Symptom: seems to be misfiring on #1 (less on #3) at low RPM. You can put an inductive tach on the #1 and #3 wire and it seems to be missing (bad readings, intermittent strobe). #1 and #3 plugs get black and carbonized. #2 and #4 are tan/gray and look fine. We’ve got a 009 dizzy (timed at 30 deg full advance and 7 deg at idle) and Dual Kadron carbs.

The problem seems to mainly be when the engine is cold and idling
Compression is 110 psi on all four cylinders.
All valves are at 0.006”
New coil, cap, rotor, wires, plugs
Different cap and rotor and 009 distributor have been tried with no change.
Both points and electronic ignition have been tried with no change.
New plugs and wires have been tried many times.


Tags: ,

Filed Under: Jalisco

Guadalajara Centro

Posted on April 5, 2010 by 2 Comments

We gave Juan a reprieve from entertaining us the next day and insisted he spend it with his family. We headed to the Centro to see the sights and brought the extra battery from the shop with us.

Guadalajara has some beautiful architecture and there is art, sculpture and entertainment everywhere. We checked out the museums (free on Sunday), the markets, and soaked it all in.  Bode adamantly wanted a dyed chick, but we just couldn’t figure out a way to raise it in the bus. he’ll get one some day.

Driving here is a challenge, but it all does make some sense and seems to work. There are gigantic 7-exit roundabouts with 2 lane roads crisscrossing between them, underground tunnels and giant unmarked topes in the middle of nowhere. You just have to get used to it.


Filed Under: Jalisco

Good Strangeness

Posted on April 4, 2010 by No Comments

Warning: extreme VW content!

We still don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve being well cared for. After being fairly self-sufficient for so long, it’s a big change. There is a definite communication gap, but mostly I think we aren’t supposed to be bothered with the details.

I was a little worried as Bode was showing the signs of an exhaustion meltdown at 8:30 and we hadn’t left for dinner. He and Juanito had been Wii boxing and we thought they might be wiped out for the  rest of the evening, but they continued on. I was told we were going to sushi and thought I might be dealing with a cranky 4 year old in a quiet restaurant. At 9, Juan says “lets go,” and Jason and I hop up and stand by the door with bags on our arms. In reality, ‘let’s go’ just means that the entire family just begins getting ready – grandparents, cousins and all go put on their layers. Here, 70 degrees warrants jackets and long pants. By 10 pm we arrive at a friend’s restaurant/cart and order up one of everything. They literally have everything here – deep fried cheese and shrimp on a stick, regular Mexican fare, sushi, hamburgers and even clam chowder. Luckily, with 4 other kids around, Bode gets his 3rd wind and scarfs up his sushi without incident.

The late night culture here makes sense. The late afternoon siesta keeps everyone from the heat of the day. Families go back out after the sun is down. We’re just having a hard time adjusting to it.

DSC_1326 DSC_1338

DSC_1344 DSC_1349
Juan lets us know that Volks Bros. TV has decided to film some footage of Westfalia’s at noon the next day and we were part of the plan. Where should we go? “Don’t worry” is the reply.

We’re home just before midnight, and more exhausted than we’ve been in a while. We fall asleep immediately.

Mr. Raffa, the security guard sleeps 20 feet from our car on a cot surrounded by makeshift cardboard walls and a newspaper roof. The bathroom is nice, but there is no shower. The shop is the cleanest I’ve ever seen, but we still seem covered in dirt by the end of the day. All we can do is bathe with baby wipes.

DSC_1356 DSC_1358

DSC_1360 DSC_1364

Juan shows up that morning with a mechanic to look at the sputtering problem. He offers a few simple solutions and suggest we upgrade to the premium gasoline, tighten the #1 valve, and increase the spark gap on #1 as well. We haven’t had time to clean out the van before the shoot, but we’re told not to worry. Someone will wash it while we go get tortas abogaddha. This is a Guadalajara specialty that is a hard-bread sandwich drowned in sauce. It’s a squishy delicious mess.

We return to our now-clean bus and  it won’t start. No worries – they give us a jump start and we’re off  to the video shoot in the park. We’re not trying to be media whores… we’re just along for the ride at this point.

Twelve or so other buses show up and we all chat as much as we’re able. We drove around with the tops popped in some sort of choreographed manner and much video was shot – we just followed whatever everyone else was doing. It was fun and we met some more cool folks.

Bode, Juanito and I spent most of our time at the play structures and carnival rides while Jason did the VW thing. By the way, playgrounds with missing flooring are SO much more fun than the safe ones we had back in the US.

DSC_1315 DSC_1305

Jason had spent the previous day working on every possible fix anyone had suggested – like installing all new vacuum hoses. I can’t believe I even know these things. Unfortunately, we still think we need a new brake booster. At least we’re among folks that may know where to get one. We had carried an extra all around the US (thanks Kris!) because of some other issue, but ultimately decided we didn’t need it. We ditched it back in Texas to save space, doh!

Anyway, someone at the park knew a brake guy and made a call. Within half an hour he was at the park and would rebuild the booster for about 1/4 the price of buying a rebuilt one in the US. And, he would do everything – we just had to hang out at the park. Just pull the van over into the shade, and he’d be done in about an hour.
DSC_1370 DSC_1374

After getting it out, the diaphragm was ripped and it smelled like gas. I took this as a bad sign from Jason’s reaction. The brake guy pulled out a big bag of black rubber diaphragms and dumped them on the grass and sorted through them until he found the correct one.

He worked with a hammer and a dangling cigarette for about 2 hours. At one point I was holding his baby while his wife sat in the drivers seat and pushed the brakes for him. Luckily we were at a park, and amazingly Bode doesn’t think any of this was weird.

We tested the brakes and they worked great, so the brake guy and his family left. After the last VW left the park meadow, Jason thought it would be a good time for a tune up or to adjust something… whatever. Well, this meant 3 attempts at push-starting the car. I tried to get Bode to take a picture of this, but he was too busy.

We can now stop on a peso and the engine doesn’t die, but now our alternator isn’t working right. It’s always something.

DSC_1379 DSC_1384

We finally got going and arrived back at Yesus’ Garage minutes before we were picked up for the big Volks Bros. Club meeting. We weren’t entirely sure what this meant, but turns out the club members meet at a large grocery store parking lot and chat. I think it may have been an anniversary get together as well. Bode and I spent most of the evening at a fast food place with a huge playscape. The meet was supposed to go until 12 or 1, but since we have our own wheels this time we left at 10 pm… after a jump start.

Again, exhaustion reigns and we sleep through the barking dogs and hot rods roaming the streets late into the night.

Tags: ,

Filed Under: Jalisco

Our Guadalajara Brothers

Posted on April 1, 2010 by 4 Comments

Bode was feeling better, so we continued a bit up the road to Guadalajara.  Jason had connected with Juan online (and he helped us locate the parts we needed when we were in PV) and we’d met last weekend at the show in Guayabitos. Our cell phone broke weeks ago, so we took out his card and spent an hour trying to find him. When we finally got to the address (they don’t seem to always go in numerical order here) the guys at the shop called him and said he’d be here in 10 minutes. They opened up a garage, and directed Red Beard inside.

Juan took us to his parents house and fed us while Bode played with his kids. Juan’s son, Juan, is 6 and Bode’s new favorite person. Poor Juan is a quiet child and has been subjected to Bode’s non-stop chatter in a language he does not understand.

Later, we went back to the club house, where their club Volks Brothers produce a web radio show and live web chat. Club members show up, hang out have a few cervezas and tequila (with coke or mineral water) and talk Volkswagens. They interviewed Jason (and translated it) and the listeners asked him questions. Juanito and Bode played with toy cars in Red Beard until late in the evening. Juanito went home and eventually Bode fell asleep in the van while the party continued around him.

DSC_1212 DSC_1257

DSC_1239 DSC_1228

More tequila arrived. Sombreros arrived. More cerveza arrived. More VW’s arrived. Good times!

Many thanks to Juan, Arturo, Hugo, Yesus and others for making this a really fun introduction to Guadalajara!

DSC_1265 DSC_1267

DSC_1278 DSC_1274

We weren’t really sure where we were going to sleep that night. The garage locked from the outside, we didn’t know where the campsite was… and we were getting deep into the tequila. There were cars everywhere and no way to get out anyway. We decided to shrug it off and just go with the flow. That seems to be what’s needed in Mexico (anywhere, really) – but especially when there is a communication gap and you are considered invited guests.

At 1 am we were told that we’d be staying across the street. Cars were moved just a bit out of the way, another garage door was opened and Jason was to back out and park in the garage immediately across the street. Everyone was shouting directions. There were restored bugs inches from us on both sides and all directions were yelled in Spanish, so we didn’t catch a word of it. Jason backed carefully across the street to Yesus’ garage, a bigger open-aired garage where he and his crew meticulously restore old VWs.  We heard the party ended at 2 am, but we fell asleep as soon as we stopped the car.

The next morning, the garage was open and men were working around us before we even woke up. These guys are professionals and it was interesting to watch them work with silent efficiency. They even have an Ormiga here. If you like your VW’s rare, this is a good one.

DSC_1287 DSC_1187

DSC_1185 IMG_0490

Juan picked us up and took us to breakfast…fish tacos. They were awesome.

We went back to the garage and were told this was our home for as long as we needed and to let them know whatever problems we were having – they know people.

Yesus’ Garage was perfect. Jason had a nice clean place to work among vochos and amigos and all the help he needed. We replaced the vacuum lines to the brake servo and it was no help with the stall issues – someone could look at it later. While we were at it, the exhaust was loose, so that came out and got new seals. The engine misfire on #1 was on the list, but it could wait until later too. It was time to eat some more.

Tags: ,

Filed Under: Jalisco