Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mexicuted, Part IV, unhappy Land Rover

The Land Rover has decided to have an issue.  Ozzy was on the way to work one morning with Keith and the Land Rover (LR) started overheating.  Keith remembered that there was a sign for a radiator mechanic near where the LR was having trouble so they pull in to what is a persons house.  I get a call from Ozzy wanting me to pick him and Keith up from this house and take them to the shop so they can continue their work day.  Good thing I have my new car!   Ozzy communicated  with the mechanic enough to learn that he could not fix the car.  That the radiator needed to be flushed but he could not fix it because the LR radiator has special brackets that only the dealership knows how to get off. Ozzy was right in the middle of his huge project and pretty much said, "you deal with it, I don't have time."  Awesome.  So I step in.  This about sent me over the edge.  After dropping Ozzy and Keith,  I go back to this "kids" house to find a huge mess under the hood.  It seemed that there was nothing intact.  And  he is working out of a pouch.  Like as in all of his tools are in a small pouch.  He is putting the LR back together and I ask him if I can leave it there overnight until I figure out what to do with it.  He is super friendly and helpful, as most of the locals are, and says sure, no problem. I even remember him searching for someone in the neighborhood that spoke english, so he could confirm the problem.  I pay him for his trouble, move the car so it is not in the way and leave. He did put it back together pretty well I must say.  He mentioned  a Radiator Specialist in Mescales, 45 minutes away. So I drive there, right then, in my new car and ask them specifically if they can fix Land Rovers and their  "specialness"?  The guy says yes.  Sweet! I have to mention that all of this is going down in my broken spanish because none of the individuals I am dealing with speak english.  Why should they, we are in Mexico.  So I tell this nice, mexican man that I will get the car to him if not today then tomorrow.  Fine.

 The next morning I call on my friend Virginia, who speaks fluent Spanish, to call a towing company and make the arrangements to get the LR to the Specialist in Mescales.  WOW!  That was easy.  The towing company came from Puerto Vallarta, met me at the Pemex when they said they would and followed me to the car, loaded up the car, then followed me to the Specialist in Mescales.  I paid them and they were off.  Sweet, easy breezy and thank you Virginia.

 The guys at the Specialist said it would take about four hours and I could come get the car.  I hadn't heard from them after five hours so I call and ask whats up?  I had my friend Katie on hand to talk to them because I knew that I would not understand a lick of what they were going to tell me especially over the phone.  Katie, of course, speaks fluent Spanish. I am looking at her as she is talking to them and her face is telling a story that I do not want to hear.  I just knew it was bad news.  The Specialist in Mescales told her that it was not the radiator that needed to be fixed and that he didn't know what it was but the car needed to be gone and out of his shop by tomorrow at the most, but he wanted me to come there and talk to him so he could explain the problem to me, in person, in spanish.  I just kind of laughed and cried at this point, said okay and went to buy a bottle of wine. At that time Katie's husband Frank gave me the name and number of a guy that they used in Becerias to fix their car.  He owns a rental car company and has a mechanic shop for upkeep with his cars.  Okay, hopefully this guy will help.  I go home and drink my bottle of wine.  I haven't eaten for two days and am up all night wondering what to do with the LR.  What if Frank's guy cannot fix it?  The Specialist in Mescales wants it off of his lot.  The car cannot be driven more than five feet so it has to be towed to wherever it goes.  Since I do not know what is wrong with it, I do not know where to take it.  Do I have it towed to Guadalahara to the LR dealership?  Do I drive it ten feet off this guys lot and hope someone steals it?  Do I make sure it  accidentally ends up in the river?   And legally, does the car have to end up back in the USA?  Mexico is not too keen on people bringing their cars down here and leaving them.  They want whatever foreign car that is brought in to leave as well.  Shit!!!  I cannot do this, I cannot afford to tow my LR all over Mexico, I do not speak the language, I am a female, I know I will be taken advantage of.  What is a woman that only speaks english with a southern accent to do?  I am feeling a bit like Scarlet O' Hara right now.  So, at four in the morning, my best thinking time, I decide that if the guy that Frank recommended cannot help then I will have the LR towed to Ozzy's shop and let it sit there until I figure out what to do.

Next morning, wake up, want to throw up! F@$%ing LR!  I have to get it today but the Specialist in Mescales wants to explain to me, in person, in his muy rapido spanish what is wrong and why he cannot fix it.  Yeah, just imagine how that went.    Not too well, so he sent his guys out into the hood to look for a translator but no one spoke english, but on of them had a friend that did so he called her up and she translated everything for me, us, over the phone.  As I am writing this I am laughing and thinking that so many people down here could have taken so much advantage of me because of my ignorance of the language but they continually try to help and communicate and are always honest.  I love these people.  They are good people.

So I tell the Specialist that the car will be gone that day, I pay him and leave to drive to Frank's guy, Lalo, at Gecko Car Rentals in Bucerias.  I walk in the door and he says, "are you Ashley?"  The heavens have opened up.  Frank called Lalo and told him my predicament and said I would be coming in.   I explain the situation to Lalo, he calls the Specialist in Mescales, who explains the situation to him.  Lalo is American or Australian and speaks wonderful, perfect, fluent spanish.  I am sitting there dying.  Lalo explains to me that it is all okay, we will figure it out, not to worry.   He will take care of me.  Love him!!

 Is it now 4:30 am and I have finally fallen asleep and am dreaming or is this Lalo person for real?  A quick pinch and I realize, YES, Lalo is for real!  He tells me that he will have my car towed from Mescales to his shop.  He will look at the car, diagnose the problem and call me.  No way!  I get a call at 4 pm that same day.  He has found the problem, fixed the problem, changed the oil and washed the car.  What?  What?

Nothing in Mexico has been that easy.  It was such a weird feeling to walk out of there and have someone tell you that they would take care of it.   What?  He did.  Lalo did it all.

The problem ended up  being a plug or something that wouldn't allow water to get to the radiator.  And the price?  So inexpensive I just had to laugh.  I did get a small lecture about how dirty the oil was and that we should change it every 3,000 miles as opposed to every 30,000 miles and that the LR was not the best car to have down here because sometimes it can be impossible to fix.

 So far we have been able to fix it.  The one time that it is impossible, it may just end up in the river or on the side of the road for "partes".  We will deal with the legalities manana.

Our Mexicutions are over for now.  Ozzy has completed two of the jobs, I have plates and title for my cute little Mexican car, the LR is alive and kickin.  All this in thanks to our friends that we have made down here and the honesty of the locals.  I will say it again and again,   I love these people.  They are good people!


  1. Did you ask Lalo what exactly was wrong with the Land Rover? Was it the radiator? Though it seems unlikely, since you've already consulted 2 repairmen about it. Sometimes cars just conk out with no prior visible signs or warnings, which means we have to be aware on where to bring our cars once the inevitable happens.
    Jimmy Reeder @

    1. I have the repair information around here somewhere. Essentially there was a valve that was not allowing coolant into the radiator I believe. A very quick and inexpensive repair and we were good to go. Though we have had our issues and occasional anxiety with the Discovery, it has been a workhorse for us and fortunately we have not had to get it to the Land Rover Dealer three hours away. Local guys have been able to take care of things so far.

  2. We have been watching your blog for a while! Love it and very informative. My husband is a concrete guy too...we have a business in Montana. Just put a down payment on a house in Sayulita. Can't wait to live there part time, would love to meet your family. Thanks for your honest blog!

    1. Congratulations! Concrete guy? Cerveza, tequila and shop talk. Sounds good. Let us know when you are in town next visit. You can contact me through my website.