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Driving down the Baja

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by hambo819, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. hambo819

    hambo819

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    I've been lurking for ~6 months - have enjoyed all the info. and am now requesting advice on a trip I am taking down the Baja to Cabo San Lucas.
    1. What sort of preparation should be done before departure? (I am planning on replacing the PHH, repacking birfs, and replacing all fluids - anything else?)
    2. What recommendations do you have on what to bring? Are there any parts other than spare hoses, belts, tires, etc. I should be thinking of?
    3. What security options should I consider to ensure I am driving my 80 back into the states? (rather than taking an early flight)
    3. Where should I go? Has anyone taken this route before?

    I really appreciate any advice you guys can give...thanks.

    Ryan
     
  2. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    O Ryan,

    I am compiling the list....planning the trip myself.

    1. Sounds like you're doing pretty well replacing everytihing that needs fresh fluids, and the PHH.

    2. As for spares...Hoses, Belts, Fuel Filter, EFI Relay (1991-1992), new spare tire, PS pump rebuild kit, water pump, fuses, misc. nuts/bolts. Oil Filter, 8 Qts. Oil, 3 Qt. Gear Oil, 2 Pt. P.S Fluid, 2 Pt. Brake Fluid; 2-3 Qts. ATF. 4-5 cans octane boost.

    Also for me: 10 gal Gas (NATO Cans only) 10 Gal. H2O (Good Military Plastic Cans, Highlift, Full Recovery Gear, GPS, Sat. Phone, Shovel. FULL Medical kit. Fire extinguishers.

    3. Insurance (Mexican), Factory Alarm, Trip wire Alarm for loose items/Kayaks. LIMO TINTED Windows. Medivac/Medical Travel Insurance.

    4. We're going down the East Coast...San Felipe, Bahia de Los Angeles, and possibly to Mulege. I'd highly recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook and the Baja Almanac and map. Very detailed.

    I'm very anal-retentive, (my wife thinks I'm too indepth in my planning), but we'll have 6 people (If Skeddy gets a frigin' date for the trip... :flipoff2: ) and 3 landcruisers (2 1994s; 1 1992). Two of us are pretty good mechanics, and we have a paramedic and EMT in the crew, as well as two of us who teach 4wd and navigation for SAR units. So I feel pretty well covered for any contingency.

    Read the books, check the maps, take plenty of gas (Pemex stations run out...) learn a little Spanish and have fun. Don't drive at night, but if you do, use high power aux. lighting. Leave copies of your schedule and documents with a friend in the US. Don't bring the guns, and search the LC very well before the trip for any errant ammo in the rig.

    O' Yeah, You'll need a Tourist Card to go below approx. Ensenada. Get one for each member of your party when you cross the border.

    I'll post again with other ideas...

    -H-
     
  3. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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  4. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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  5. hambo819

    hambo819

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    Thanks for posting your extensive list and adding all those links, hltopper. This is really helpful and should give me a good start.

    Some of the items I haven't really thought of are the EFI Relay, and the PS pump rebuild kit. Oh, and thanks for mentioning the water pump...definitely a must.

    I'm actually planning on doing the trip solo (I'm meeting a friend down in Cabo). I will try to stay on the Pacific side as I plan on surfing most of the time. I am going to be ordering an air compressor also for the trip since I will most likely be spending a lot of time in the sand. Does anyone have any examples of installation points for the extreme air on an 80? I am wondering if there's enough room near the air filter assembly.

    Another question I have is regarding cooling/temp issues...I have read some of the extensive posts on this board, but have never heard anything about idling w/ ac on (in traffic/waiting in line). My needle (which usually sits around the halfway point) creeps up toward the red in this situation. From what I understand, the factory temp gauge is somewhat insensitive as for what temp. it moves at? and this could mean trouble. Once the a/c is turned off, it's cool, but this could be a warning sign...has anyone noticed this same issue and/or is it an issue???

    Again, thanks for your help.

    BTW I plan on leaving November 15 - so, if you're down there at that time, maybe we could meet up somewhere for fish tacos and cervezas.
     
  6. PHAEDRUS

    PHAEDRUS

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    I will jump on this one replace the viscous coupler on the fan blade if you are at all worried about temps on your rig.
    also stick to oem on belts
    Dave
     
  7. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    Your cruiser shouldn't have a problem with the EFI relay, that's only for the 1991-1992 FJ80s. As for cooling...there's somthing going on there. My guess is that your radiator is crudded up or your thermostat is toast. Get that checked out prior to your trip, as a cooling system in top condition is a must for the trip. If you need a radiator, Cruiserdan might be able to get an OEM to you for a decent price.

    Unless you get stuck and are coming back towards the new year, we'll miss each other...

    Other items which might be worth a look: Alternator brushes, starter contacts.

    -H-
     
  8. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    >> ... but this could be a warning sign... <<

    Yep, you must consider this a warning sign. It could be the VC on the fan as Dave mentioned and it could be a clogged radiator. We've seen both more often than we would like. Ditto on using OEM belts. It may be a good idea to swap out the belts now, in your garage, and carry the old ones as spares. That way they are easier to put on in the unlikely case of a failure on the new belts.

    Add a fuel filter to the list of spares since you'll be using Pemex. Take a Dremel with a cut-off wheel and notch both mounting brackets on the filter to help with the install. I notched my spare last night at the suggestion of Christo and others.

    -B-
     
  9. Junk

    Junk

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    Yo Hambo, I'll you what dude, there is an outfit out there that will rent you race cars to drive the race course. Seriously, no crap. A buddy of mine did that a few years ago (3 maybe) with his family (like 10-15 cars) and they had a frickin blast. Said there was nothing like flying along doing 100+ then all of a sudden just dropping down into a channel for a bit then flying back out of it.

    There was a dude a few years back Nick Le ran his mostly stock 91 in the 2,000 mile race - click here, then click Nick Le for mo info mofo http://www.gclcny.com/photos.html :flipoff2:
     
  10. Safado

    Safado

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    -B-

    Searched for a string regarding modifications to the fuel pump and didn't find one...what are you talking about? Or just point to the discussion. :D
    Thanks
     
  11. crawlin60

    crawlin60

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    I just did this trip solo (well, wife and 4 kids) from UT to BDLA and back, and it was fantastic!. I took my 60 this time and other than a long range fuel tank, I'd say a cruiser is extreme overkill for that kind of trip. I saw other cruisers while there, US and local and overall unless you're planning to actively avoid populated areas the extra gear will get in the way. I do agree on the lights, I have a set of the big lightforce units and they lit up the cattle loose on the road nicely. Yes, I did see fresh skid marks leading to a half burned out cow right outside BDLA, no doubt someone got careless. Found gas everywhere, especially in BDLA at Casa Diaz (they have oh, a gazillion and a half americans renting space from locals to either build their own place or park an rv long term) and also net access and a decent supermarket. Gas is a little more expensive than elsewhere, $3 instead of $2 per gallon. Great pavement, save for a pockmarked last 15 miles half way past the turn into BDLA. Once there, you can do day trips away to your heart's content stocking the coolers right before with some tasty fresh vittles. BTW, my kids loved being all alone for miles of beachfront walks, and chasing the crabs (watch for the little stingrays though). You'll love it, I think
     
  12. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Ryan,

    Get that cooling system tended to ASAP. At a minimum, I'd do the following to address this issue:

    Soak your radiator/tranny cooler/AC condensor in Simple Green and power spray it clean to get the accumulated dust out of the fins.
    Change the PHH and any others that look suspect.
    Drain and flush the block and radiator.
    Change the thermostat AND the gasket (separate part).
    Address the fan VC unit.

    Since you'll be heavily laden, traveling solo and frequently on the beach, the cooling system will need to be as fully capable as it was new.

    As for security, I'll offer a method I've used in all the backcountry places I've left my rigs over the years that I got from a street savvy cop. I keep a 3X5 postcard in my glovebox with the following message on it:

    Guys,

    We have your spare ammo with us, and will meet you here at the truck.

    I put it on the dash whenever I leave it unattended in a remote location (trailhead, etc). Besides the obvious implications, it gives the impression that 1) there are several highly capable guys who are traveling in this vehicle, and 2) at any time another truckload of similarly capable guys will be here. For Mexico, I'd leave out the ammo reference and have it written in Spanish.

    I've also heard that you should use locking screws on your license plates, and obviously put a good cable lock through your spare wheel/tire. An alarm in a remote area will be of low/no value vs a hidden ignition cutout switch.

    Lastly, have fun and relax. The Mexican people are friendly and helpful once you get 50 miles south of the US border. Like any country, the people are best in the rural areas, and large cities are where trouble lies.

    IdahoDoug
     
  13. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    >> 3X5 postcard <<

    Good suggestion Doug.

    -B-
     
  14. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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    How about,

    "The Plutonium tipped over in the back but I got most of it gathered back up........"
     
  15. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    Make that: "The weapons grade, powdered form Plutonium tipped over in the back, but I got most of it gathered up, except for the small amount that will stay airborne for the next 48 hours."


    That'd keep me away for the next 24,000 years.

    -H-
     
  16. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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  17. hambo819

    hambo819

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    Como se dice "plutonium" en espanol? I think I'm going to install an ignition kill switch and maybe hang a rosary from my rear view...most Mexicans are Catholics, right?

    Junk -
    I would love to race the track, however, I am planning on being down there for over a month...how much do you think that would cost me in tecates??

    Big Daddy -
    How do you like those lightforces? I saw Christo has them on his site now. From the research (prelim) I have done, it sounds like gas is readily available the whole way down...but I'll still bring extra, just in case. What time of year did you go?

    I am going to address the cooling issue this weekend, as well as begin to prep for the trip. I am really looking forward to fresh seafood, good surf and cold tecate.
     
  18. crawlin60

    crawlin60

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    Plutonium=Plutonio
    The Blitz 240 are the stuff, for sure. Get the relay and switch kit from them also, and at least the wide angle filters (the beam otherwise is just a pencil shape) but what a difference. If you have the time and dough, a second battery would be nice, with a Hellroaring isolator. That way you can't lose both batts, and/or overcharge them. Gasoline is not that hard to find. I saw the locals buying gas by the 5 or 10 gallons for their cars and trucks, go figure. I bought my lights direct from Lightforce in Idaho (the HQs for the US market), they shipped next day. I went the first week of May this year, and there were no probs with theft. Until a stop at the Best Inn in Yuma that is, where my truck was burglarized right under my nose. The thief took mostly loose stuff, like my OEM toolbag (with the locking lugnut key in it BTW), a beach towel, a backpack... all while I slept a few feet away. Oh and he did take a screwdriver to my Tuffy, but satisfied himself mangling my dash (and destroying the CD player) when he couldn't open it. I guess even a cheap noisemaker alarm would've done the job, maybe even one of those blinking leds. Live & learn, I suppose.
     
  19. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    [quote author=BigDaddy link=board=2;threadid=6258;start=msg50572#msg50572 date=1066105739]
    I'd say a cruiser is extreme overkill for that kind of trip. I saw other cruisers while there, US and local and overall unless you're planning to actively avoid populated areas the extra gear will get in the way. [/quote]

    I actively avoid populated areas on a daily basis... ;)

    -H-