Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Harlingen, Texas – April 20

So the plan was simple, zip back to Mexico, cancel our import permits and head north to Louisiana – except Petra’s bike didn’t want to cooperate.

About 5km’s from the border, the bike back-fired, lost power, and she coasted to a stop on the side of the road.  I went through the checklist of obvious solutions to no avail, and eventually went to a nearby farmhouse to borrow a phone and yellow pages to find a shop and lift truck.  Unfortunately, I learned there was no lift truck service anywhere close to us, but I did get some advice regarding the problem.

Robert Carter, from The Cycle Connection thought we had probably got some bad fuel while in Mexico, and suggested I drain the carburettor float to see if that would allow the engine to start long enough to get the bike into the shop.  I drained the float, but it didn’t work.  As I stood there scratching my head about what to do next a man drove up and offered to help.  He introduced himself as Margarito or “Meggie” for short, and proposed to go and get his pick-up truck and drive the bike to the shop for us.
IMG_1665Meggie and his truck with Petra.
10 minutes later we had the bike loaded and were off to the shop.IMG_1664
Rob and his brother Ray removed the gas tank and carburettor and cleaned it, but when they reinstalled it,  the bike wasn’t generating any power to the spark plug.  We talked about the electrical problems we experienced in El Salvador, but eventually reduced the possible problems to a bad igniter, or a bad crankshaft sensor switch.  Apparently there is no way to test an igniter, so dealerships keep a functional unit around to compare with suspect units – Robert didn’t have one, but I did – in my bike! He tried it in Petra’s bike and it started like a charm.  Given the rough treatment Petra’s bike has received on the trip he gave the contacts a good clean and replaced the original igniter – and it worked!IMG_1667With that, we were on the road to the border to get the permits cancelled.  It was 4:30pm by the time we got to Mexican Aduana, so we’ll stay in Harlingen again tonight and get an early start tomorrow.

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