Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pemex to Arco Norte

We are not really sure where last night's Pemex was. Somewhere just west of Minatitlan on Mex 150D. We got up at 8:00, filled up the gas and headed out, thinking we would find a restaurant for breakfast. Such was not the case and we went most of the long day just sharing a fruit salad we bought at a roadside stand. The road was really bad! This is the stretch that destroyed the dolly fender on the way down in January. However, I think the road in the direction we took today is in slightly better shape. The left lane had been resurfaced for part of the distance and I drove on it until each time I noticed a vehicle coming up behind me when I moved over to let him pass. The canned goods are tumbled around in the cupboard and the bedroom closet is a little messed but not too bad considering the jarring we took. Norma says to tell you that the whole state of Veracruz is just one pothole after another!

Once past Cordoba we got into the steep climb and switchbacks. This is my least favorite stretch of road in Mexico. The V-10 was really working and somewhere along the way the "Check Engine" light came on and was still on when we parked tonight. I cannot feel anything wrong in the way it drives and it starts and stops fine. If it is still on in the morning I will treat it to a tank of premium gas and see what happens. Oh yes, tolls today were $95 and two fillups of gas was about $160, thanks to the cheap gas in Mexico. My normal budget control rule is to never gas up more than once a day but today we needed to put some miles on.

We are arranging to meet up with our Mexican friends Chris and Juan somewhere north of here and if the light is still on then I will have one of them come to a ford dealer with me to translate and I will try to get the problem resolved in Mexico where it will cost pesos instead of dollars.

My other problem is that my pair of four year old six volt golf cart batteries that power the RV is packing it in. They used to be able to carry the inverter and the added on bar fridge for at least a couple of hours if we stopped for lunch or whatever. Now after only a few minutes the voltage is down below 12 volts and the inverter alarms and cuts out. We will work with these batteries until we get to a Sam's Club in the USA and can replace them there. I doubt if these ones will be worth saving for the workshop at home. I think they are shot.

Anyway, enough mental wandering! We are on the Arco Norte (Mexico City bypass) in a Pemex (actually the only Pemex on the 140 KM highway). We are at about 8000 feet. I remembered that when the generator faltered trying to carry two fridges, two computers, various phone and battery chargers and the microwave all at the same time. It is set up for sea level and will not handle the big loads way up here at 8000 feet! One thing at a time and it is fine. On the Arco Norte, Life is Good!

Map picture


  1. Don't worry about that check engine light; it's normal V-10 behaviour when rapidly ascending or descending with big altitude changes. It'll clear itself. (

  2. Oh yes Rae. I remember you having the same problem in the Rocky Mountains. Hopefully it will be gone tomorrow morning!

  3. Servidor. We are waiting for you, our TT is ready to roll.

  4. I agree with Rae, the cause is most likely an O2 sensor. It seemed like everytime I had a check engine light it was always an O2 sensor that was the cause. That was also a Ford v-10.

  5. Had the V-10 and had the "check engine" light come on just about every spring without fail. Finally figured it was an O2 sensor. Just a guess really, but just now I think my suspicions have been confirmed.
    I swear the manufacturers like to have these things light up in the hope that you'll support one of their local dealers!
    If you have some electrical tape, I find a piece about one inch long is plenty to "cure" the problem. It'll keep you from having to look at it all the time, which can be annoying.
    BTW, I read somewhere that it takes three different "start cycles" to clear a check engine light. So if it doesn't go away immediately, don't freak out.

  6. Tell Norma that I think Veracruz is one huge hole with a few pieces of blacktop here and there!!

  7. "Norma says to tell you that the whole state of Veracruz is just one pothole after another!"

    Ouch! There are some good roads in Veracruz - just not many ;-0

  8. If your gas cap is not put on with the requisite three clicks of tightness, the check engine light will also come on.