Monday, August 5, 2013

A Quickie Update From Costa Rica

I guess we should never be surprised when we have vehicle problems, considering we drive on lots of pretty rough roads. Over the past couple of weeks Scott has had his nose under the hood and under the truck much more than normal. He recently replaced the fuel filter, air filter, and oil filter as part of his regular maintenance on the truck. After a slightly botched job on our suspension by a shop near San Jose, Costa Rica, he is resigned to doing everything himself.

Our truck had been starting rough a couple of weeks ago, and quite honestly, we weren't surprised that our 10-year-old starter batteries might be nearing the end of their life. Instead of preemptively buying new batteries, we waited until they completely kicked the bucket. Stupid, but luckily we were parked on the beach near a town called Esterillos Oeste (you may remember this town from our previous post where we met "perfect puppy Patty").

Esterillos, the best pleasure - unless your truck won't start

We had a friend in town, named Brett, who we had met a couple of months ago.  He was a life-saver.  He helped us procure 2 new batteries while being our personal Spanish-English translator. Batteries are not cheap in Costa Rica.  The new Interstate batteries, which would have been around $100 each in the states, were $200 each. OUCH!

Brett helped deliver our batteries with his 1968 Land Rover

We were excited to get the batteries, install them, and see if the truck started up.  Our anticipation was met with flashing dashboard lights and a clicking sound we later learned was from our glow-plug relay (kinda irrelevant though). Scott stayed cool and calm during the blazing heat of the day while working to try and figure out what the problem was.  We erected a temporary shade shelter and spent the next 2 days researching what the problem might be.

Nose to the grindstone

He did 3 things all around the same time, so we don't know exactly which one fixed the problem, but it starts up better than ever. He cleaned all the corrosion from the battery cables, added a new ground cable, and discharged the residual system voltage to force a hard reboot of the engine computer. We expect there to be more problems related to corrosion as we continue to park on the beach with salty air and onshore winds.

Not the worst place to be stuck for a week


John said...

While these antics are super entertaining to read, will it eventually become a problem? i.e., when will unanticipated problems and unplanned costs result in a shortened retirement? Is that something you guys stress about?

Heather and Scott said...

Hey John! We have budgeted for lots of vehicle costs. We try to stick to a real-life budget of half of what we can really spend. This enables us to ride through the unanticipated problems without worry. It also helps our "nest-egg" grow when there aren't unplanned costs. You're just hoping for some interesting drama in the lives of H & S, aren't you!? :) The extra $200 for batteries can easily be remedied by just reducing our alcohol consumption for a couple of weeks... very unlikely though.