It's hard to even know where to begin this post. So much has gone wrong that it's hard to remember what happened when and what came next. When last we left off, we had packed up the car, left Santa Rosalia and even before the city limits were reached, we turned around with a broken car. We drove straight back to the marina and moved back on the boat for the night. We thought we would be leaving the next day.
The next morning, Patrick started playing with the car to diagnose the problem. It was definitely the alternator gone bad. He went to two auto body shops and asked them if they could fix our alternator. Both said "Yes" at first and then said "No" when they found out our car was a Volvo. Volvo cars are not common down here on the Baja. We knew before we started that we could run into problems having an unusual car, but we thought it wouldn't be that bad. We thought wrong.
The next step was getting on the internet to find out if the alternator was going to be specific to Volvo or a more common brand. Turns out it was a Bosch from Germany, but several other brands could be used instead. With that info we went walking into town to a ferreteria (hardware store) that had lots of alternators in stock. No Bosch's in stock or the other kinds that could be used. We asked if they knew of anyone who could rebuild the alternator and just as they were writing down the guy's name for us, the very man walked in the store. He agreed to meet us at the marina to see the car in one hour. We were excited, everything was going so well. The man showed up, we jump-started the car and drove it to his shop.
And there it sat. Day One. Day Two. Every day that went by, Patrick was calling the mechanic asking what was going on. Communication was a real problem. Patrick had some of the marina officials helping him by calling and asking questions. We just got a lot of run around. Day Three. Patrick is told that the regulator is shot on the alternator and it has to be ordered from the USA since no parts are available down here in Mexico. That afternoon, Patrick takes the broken regulator around to 1007 ferreterias and is directed to a different mechanic. This mechanic takes one look at the regulator and goes over to his pile of goods. He pulls out a regulator that is almost a perfect match, but has just one connection that is different. No Problem for him. He takes out a soldering gun and adds a couple wires to it and VOILA! it's a perfect match. We pay him about $50 USD for his 10 minutes of time and the part and take that to our first mechanic. If we could have just retrieved our car and given it to the second mechanic, we would have. But how? We didn't have anyway to move the car. So instead we delivered the jerry-rigged regulator to the first mechanic for him to install. We left it with him that afternoon.
The next day, nothing is done when Patrick calls in the morning. He goes there with a cruiser who speaks fluent Spanish. The car is just sitting with no-one working on it. They leave. Then at 3 pm they go back and get the car. The mechanic has installed the jerry-rigged regulator given to him. Patrick and the mechanic look through the engine that he has put back together. The mechanic pulls on the hoses. Patrick pays him the $50 USD that he charges and drives the car away and brings it back to the marina.
We all cheer and start loading up the car. After two hours of intense work, we all pile into the car to start our journey again. Patrick turns the key in the car and......Nothing. The car is dead.
The next installment - The Journey - and it goes downhill from there!
3 days ago