Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Loreto, Baja California Sur
300 miles off road in southern Baja
Just made it back on this round trip, from Loreto via Comondu to Scorpion Bay on the Pacific side and back the Baja 1000 route, what an experience in two days! I like to share with you the worst driving conditions and vehicle issues I encountered and maybe someone could provide me with suggestions on the "to do" list on the end of the report.
The steepest and diciest road on the way to the Pacific is the stretch from the turn-off before San Javier to San Miguel Comondu, a terrible stony stretch across the steep mountain range, apparently now much worse since the last hurricane. I dont think that a normal 4X4 short wheel truck could make it. No problem with my stock Cat, which was serviced before the trip and would do 50mph on the straights. From Comondu on, driving conditions were good, until we reached Las Barrancas on the West Coast. There were generally sandy conditions from there on and new road construction is under way. The last stretch towards Scorpion Bay (a surfers paradise) we did full tilt on the Beach. Just before the beach, I hit a rock in the otherwise sandy track, which bent my right steering connection rod.
The way back we followed the recently held Baja 1000 race course via the idyllic oasis La Purisma, where we found a garage. By removing the right wheel, cat front jacked up, we straightened the bent con-rod using a 5ft steel bar and after paying 50 Pesos ($3.50) off we went again. We followed the race couse to an area, whith a stretch of the finest powdry sand one can imagine. With deep tracks left by the trophy trucks and their large tires, the powder was often over 2ft deep and because of the dust, visibility often down to zero. Coming out of it, of course all on 4wheel, the cat would only do 35mph max, as if there was not enough air. Stopped and examined the air filter, which was totally loaded with dust. Dust even entered the carburetor section. After the best clean possible at that time I thought that the cat was fit to run again. Not so, the top speed was still the same as before. So I limped home, only also to notice that my speedometer would loose momentarily all data and the tacho needle would swing from O to 110 forth and back. After several stop and (re-boot efforts) starts, the tacho started working again.
Arrived at home, it took me about an hour to flush all the dust off using the pressure washer. Every hollow structional steel member and any space which could hold dust was packed full. Took off the filter housing and cleaned it. Tried to start the unit and park, but only heard a buzz, but no starter engagement.......
The To Do list based on lessons learned are as follows:
1. The steering connection rods are too week for this terrain. Would like to replace them with sturdier ones. Any suggestions?
2. The air intake behind the seat is in a very poor place for dusty conditions. I noticed that even driving on loose beach sand sucks in a lot of dust. May be a pre-filter or a different air intake towards the front? Any suggestions?
3. Problem to get the cat running again to 50mph? Is there a second fuel jet that may be plugget? Fuel filter? Governor or other electronic problem?
4. I also noted that the tacho of the total milage on the cat did not turn over to 3000 miles, but started again at 2000 miles. Why????
5 Hope that the lack of starting after the wash has to do with some wetness of electrical stuff, hopefully this will "fix itself" after the vehicle dries out. Any ideas on where I should look?
Any comments and suggestions from you guy's up North (my cat is the most Southerly unit based on a survey on this forum) would be appreciated.