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Old 07-22-2023, 01:31 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Guatemala bound

Struck out for Guatemala with a chase truck.
From Augusta GA via Covington LA and Kingsville TX. Left at 4 am both days to beat the heat.

Houston traffic wrecked the schedule and it was so hot I had to drop out of OD, I think due to the undersized factory turbo. The TCM programming causes all kinds of gear hunting at 4/5, probably due to lack of boost/power at that shift point.

Made it to the border and got rejected at Los Indios and again at Freedom Bridge. At the second crossing I was informed a Transmigration service is required, so sitting at Manny's waiting on the paperwork. Hope to get it and get through later today.

Got the full-deal inspection at the second return, they seemed fascinated with the fuel tank cage for some reason.

Hopefully the third time is the charm, will update what Manny's Transmigration came up with. Have Mexican insurance and title/registration in my name so apparently it qualifies as 'tourista'.

Allison 2000 series rock, and firewall insulation and driver a/c are needs, not wants.

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Old 07-22-2023, 01:44 PM   #2
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Location: SW USA
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Safe travels! Hope the road ahead smooths out a bit for ya!

LOL at the fascination with the fuel tank cage. Should have placed a box of milk bones on top.
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Old 07-22-2023, 05:30 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Engine: 12V 5.9
So it does need some permission to enter.

Left the title to truck and bus with Manny's crew. Unable to make progress until Monday. The one guy enters the line at 2am to meet the Mexican officials at 4am. Truck and bus vins to be inspected at 9am, hopefully get an affirmative and can cross Tuesday.

There's some MMA hoopla this week in Harligen/Brownsville so Padre Island it is!

Unfortunately it is unbearably hot this time of year.
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Old 07-22-2023, 05:38 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Engine: 12V 5.9
Question Manny's

Seems to be the biggest truck/skoolie export doc place in Brownsville.
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Old 07-22-2023, 05:54 PM   #5
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Location: Central Tx.
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Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
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Originally Posted by La Camioneta View Post
Struck out for Guatemala with a chase truck.
From Augusta GA via Covington LA and Kingsville TX. Left at 4 am both days to beat the heat.

Houston traffic wrecked the schedule and it was so hot I had to drop out of OD, I think due to the undersized factory turbo. The TCM programming causes all kinds of gear hunting at 4/5, probably due to lack of boost/power at that shift point.

Made it to the border and got rejected at Los Indios and again at Freedom Bridge. At the second crossing I was informed a Transmigration service is required, so sitting at Manny's waiting on the paperwork. Hope to get it and get through later today.

Got the full-deal inspection at the second return, they seemed fascinated with the fuel tank cage for some reason.

Hopefully the third time is the charm, will update what Manny's Transmigration came up with. Have Mexican insurance and title/registration in my name so apparently it qualifies as 'tourista'.

Allison 2000 series rock, and firewall insulation and driver a/c are needs, not wants.
Back in the early/mis 80s i did the drive from NJ to Honduras, driving school busses with my dad that he sold there.

The drive thru Mexico, Guate, BEAUTIFUL, diverse, dangerous and fulllfilling!
Guate has some monstrous mountain hills that will force you to go downhill in first gear for a long way!

Each time i swore i would never do it again but after getting there and enjoying some beautiful beaches and rivers in nortern Honduras, i couldnt wait to do it again!

In all i did it 8 times and sure as hell wish i could do it again !

Enjoy, be safe and dont drink the water in Mexico !
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Old 07-24-2023, 12:02 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Still working on transmigration paperwork.
Mexico treats full-size skoolies as commercial vehicles. Expect 72 or more hours for title verification and an $800 paperwork/entry fee. Unsure if that's total or there are more fees at the border.

The Transmigration people make a manifest of everything in the bus and in my case toad. You're limited to two luggage bags for your clothing, etc. I strongly recommend putting everything in totes so there's minimal loose items to inventory. Since both titles are in my name I could drive one across, park it, walk back for the other and enter twice, or use the towbar.

When I get back and the interior done I'll investigate the 10 year RV permit.
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Old 07-24-2023, 12:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by La Camioneta View Post
Still working on transmigration paperwork.
Mexico treats full-size skoolies as commercial vehicles. Expect 72 or more hours for title verification and an $800 paperwork/entry fee. Unsure if that's total or there are more fees at the border.

The Transmigration people make a manifest of everything in the bus and in my case toad. You're limited to two luggage bags for your clothing, etc. I strongly recommend putting everything in totes so there's minimal loose items to inventory. Since both titles are in my name I could drive one across, park it, walk back for the other and enter twice, or use the towbar.

When I get back and the interior done I'll investigate the 10 year RV permit.
Are you crossing as a turista or transmigrante ?
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Old 07-24-2023, 02:32 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Engine: 12V 5.9
Cannot cross in a bus-sized bus as turista. Have to enter transmigrante.

I think there is a 10-year RV permit available but the interior is not converted yet so there's that. I'm expecting a similar experience on return.
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Old 07-24-2023, 04:22 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Engine: 12V 5.9
Permits obtained. Joining transmigration line to get stamps at 4am tomorrow.
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Old 07-25-2023, 07:21 AM   #10
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Permits obtained. Joining transmigration line to get stamps at 4am tomorrow.
Buena suerte! Fingers crossed and following along.
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Old 07-26-2023, 03:52 AM   #11
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Engine: 12V 5.9
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Originally Posted by La Camioneta View Post
Permits obtained. Joining transmigration line to get stamps at 4am tomorrow.
Oooof.
Plan for an entire day's wait.
Arrived at 4:30 to join the line. First vehicle moved after 10am. After title stamps, other docs are inspected on the bridge. And the vehicles. Then you're inspected by a soldier and customs agent. Pro-tip: more than one spare tire costs big $ to enter Mexico.
All day in the heat later, the border is crossed and after an hour roasting in gusty winds, we stopped for the night and had an excellent T-bone dinner before bed.
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Old 07-26-2023, 03:52 PM   #12
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I, and I'm sure many others are hoping you have the time to post about this trip. With some pictures of course.
Safe travels!
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Old 07-26-2023, 06:36 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Not so much to post pic-wise just holding it to the floor in 4th and trying not to crash.

My chase truck buddy didn't stay close and got pulled in Tampico for causing a wreck (no wreck happened) cop was really rough on him then let him go. I got ripped off for $100 there a couple years ago so we implemented the 'give a paper copy and don't let them hold anything real' protocol. Avoid Tampico.
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Old 07-28-2023, 07:34 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Sooooooo. Things have rocked along pretty quickly. Personal busses are not allowed in Mexico, so my papers have been checked twice. Once by a town policeman, and once at a military checkpoint. Nice young soldier scored some colas and smokes.

Roads in the south part of the country seem better, and as conditions allowed I harelipped as many truckers as I could at 75mph. Wind gusts and crap roads in the north kept me to the low 60's.

Through Tabasco the mountains are impressive. As I'd never stressed the bus because I'm a flatlander, a gauge check led to pulling over and letting it cool down.

I believe the fan clutch never had engaged, as I honestly thought some other induction noise was it and have never heard it cycle. Hope to find one in Tamipaulus tomorrow and install it. Two nights at Villa Valeros should do the trick. The to Hidalgo and out of Mexico.
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Old 07-29-2023, 06:53 AM   #15
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Location: New Orleans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
I, and I'm sure many others are hoping you have the time to post about this trip. With some pictures of course.
Safe travels!

Yes. Following along! Love those paint jobs down there!

Dave
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Old 07-29-2023, 08:58 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Playa before fan removal

Fan came off pretty easily. The inaccessible bolt on the shroud was ok to pivot and get the fan out. Light rain but I'll take that over baking sun. Now off to town to find a fan clutch.
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Old 07-29-2023, 10:15 AM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
You only need tools when you need them

Was borderline on bringing the jumbo wrenches but they were necessary.
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Old 07-29-2023, 06:32 PM   #18
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yep done that clutch job before.. I carry my spanners and large fan wrenches with me as well as a spare viscous clutch for the red bus.. my DEV bus has a viscous clutch and usually when they go out they just dont engage at all past minimum.. worst case you drill a hole and run a screw in it.. fan spins all the time.. my red bus has an electric clutch.. 0 fan if it doesnt engage.. so I keep a viscous and the wrenches in the bus.. worst case I change it out.. you cant really drill the magnetic ones.. the hub falls apart.. or more times than not its the actual spanner springs that have broken so theres nothing to screw into..



I driver A/C every bus i get my hands on even my classics.. im sure south america heat is even moreso than texas heat.. and ive been in texas with 100K BTU of A/C in a 7 window stock insulated (doghouse well sealed) bus and wished for more but didnt sweat..
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Old 07-29-2023, 06:52 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
Gotta figure out a few things like insulating the firewall to keep the heat out but yes driving through Texas and N Mexico with no a/c will not suit the Mrs. At all.

Also wondering when I get finished and a final gross weight if I can get custom leafs made and swap in something with more RV-like spring rates.

Gotta get an upgraded turbo too. The factory mini-weenie just can't push enough boost at the low end. IDC if its out of boost at 3k, that'd be just fine.

Best mpg was a downhill section at 10.5, average running around 73 was 8.5. Hopefully a turbo will help with that but it kinda is what it is.

The Autozone in Tamipulus ordered a fan clutch for me. Be in Monday afternoon. Hopefully its the Powerstroke clutch it looked like it was as the Dodge of the same year was not correct. Did bring drill bits so I can drill and screw it if I have to.

Fan mounts high on accessory drive, being the bus is a Ford, hopefully they used the PSD fan clutch.
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Old 07-30-2023, 07:53 AM   #20
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 225
Engine: 12V 5.9
The IN TOW procession

The most interesting one was this, though there were many runner-ups. Pretty rough-looking bus with GA plates pulling an ancient ex-fire department deuce and a half. We crossed the same day and got caught in some of the same traffic jams. The drivers aren't scared to drive whatever they're in as fast as it will go either.
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