Epic Adventure Starts Here

French Rim Job (No, not THAT kind…)

  • French Rim Job (No, not THAT kind…)

    Posted by paranewbi on September 5, 2022 at 5:32 am

    Having viewed BajaGringo’s post in the ‘CBX crossing the border’ thread, concerning auto problems and fixes in South America; I thought a new thread on ‘experiences’ south of the border (yep, even beyond Baja) might be interesting. And not necessarily about auto/mechanical experiences…

    Here’s a start:

    A friend trailed behind us the length of the Baja peninsula for a two week camp out on the East Cape. He drove his Peugeot for the adventure.

    After a night of drinking in San Jose Del Cabo, he drove the dirt road back out to camp (12 miles) on a flat tire. The rim was so bent that the bead around the rim bent out-up-and around, the lug nuts, meaning you couldn’t get a wrench around them to remove the rim.

    I gave him a hacksaw and left him in the morning sunrise, lying in the dirt road outside the arroyo camp for the next three hours, getting his rim off and putting the spare on.

    A stopover in La Paz on the way back became a necessity as driving the peninsula back north without a spare would be insane.

    We took the rim to a Lantera and he shook his head while saying ‘Frenchy car’. Our look of concern caused him to pause and then he told us to come back in 3 hours.

    Back in this time, most major Mexican towns had ‘Rancheros’ (Whore house) a few miles outside of town that had bars and strip-dance venues, so we headed to the one outside of La Paz. Being that it was late afternoon and still daylight, the girls were not standing outside of the now-converted horse stalls, enclosed with walls and one door that was big enough for just one single bed that doubled as ‘rooms’ (although I wouldn’t know for sure :)) and only the bar was open.

    We returned to the Lantera at the appointed hour and the man we turned the rim over to came out with a fully mounted tire on a rim.

    He had taken a cutting torch and cut out the interior lug nut area of our destroyed rim and then took another rim that matched the tire size, cut that interior out, then welded our rim interior into it. It was brilliant!

    And although I wouldn’t drive that on an American highway at high speeds (at least not for long), it got us back to the US. It was really a testament to the saying (and not in a derogatory way); “If anyone can… a Mexi-can”.

    • This discussion was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  BajaGringo.
    • This discussion was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  BajaGringo. Reason: Moved to new group
    screeski replied 1 year, 2 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • BajaGringo

    September 5, 2022 at 10:58 am

    It’s a good idea to have a separate section for these kinds of posts so your post was moved to this new group @paranewbi

    • paranewbi

      September 5, 2022 at 11:12 am

      When I saw the abbreviated ‘response’ in my email notification, ‘French Rim Job (no not that kind!), I thought wow…this guy is OUT THERE! Than I saw you re-titling of my post and I thought, YEP! But I actually like it!

      • BajaGringo

        September 5, 2022 at 11:17 am


  • cabodream

    September 5, 2022 at 11:56 am

    I must admit, the title of this post made me a tad bit nervous to even open it!


    But really glad I did. Mexican mechanics are miracle workers.

  • DB-Baja

    September 5, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Ha ha ha ha – great thread title! I admit, I bit.

    About 16-18 years ago we were driving back from BdLA and right before we reached the Transpeninsular, our SUV began to overheat from a leaking water pump. We limped down to Punta Prieta, to see if we could find a mechanic there.

    We found one but I had serious doubts that there was a parts store nearby and even less faith there was a replacement water pump to be found in the small town. I tried to ask the mechanic whether he planned to send someone down to Guerrero Negro or perhaps get a pumpt sent south from San Quintin on bus? He wasn’t very talkative and motioned for us to go over to a nearby loncheria and wait.

    I watched as he removed the water pump and then headed down the street with the water pump in hand. I figured he was headed to a local junkyard to remove a matching water pump from another vehicle. A little over an hour later he came back to his shop with a water pump in hand and another hour later, he closed the hood.

    The total bill came to 1000 pesos (about 85 dollars at that time) and confirmed my belief that he had just pulled a matching water pump off a junked vehicle. We drove back home a bit nervous, wondering how good this used pump of unknown condition from a junked vehicle really was but were relieved to make it home with no other mechanical issues.

    A few days later I dropped off our SUV with my mechanic to replace the water pump with a new one but about an hour later I get a call, asking me if there was a misunderstanding? After inspecting the pump it appeared to be tight and with a brand new shaft bearing?

    That’s when I learned that most mechanics in Mexico still “repair” vehicles instead of just swapping out parts, as most mechanics are doing now up here in the states.

  • blitzer

    September 5, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Nominated for the BEST thread title so far.

    • screeski

      September 5, 2022 at 6:47 pm


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