15th March 2007

After about four-plus hours of messing with the alternator last night, I finally got us charging.   I initially thought we had a bad connection in the field wire and, due to the design of the alternator, it took a LONG time just to remove a couple of nuts that were holding the ring connector to the post - Janet was a big help in figuring out how to get and hold one of the nuts while unscrewing the other (sounds easy, but the position of that damn second nut was something out of the Kama Sutra -- I just realized how dirty this all sounds!). 

I replaced the ring connector as it looked like it was about to go (and thinking it was the source of our charging problems) and then put it all back together (took a little longer because I broke a plastic insulating piece and so had to glue that back together first).  When I started her up, there was still very little charge going into the batteries.  After running through all the diagnostics on the regulator and the alternator I finally found the problem.  The belt was slipping.

I've had MANY problems with the alternator belts, but usually when they are not working it is obvious.  Either a) the belt is broken or b) the belt is not turning.  This is the first time I've had the belt turning the alternator some, but mostly slipping such that it looks fine but there is not much charge.  As soon as I put a new belt on (one of the ones that Jeff brought down that I had ordered months ago for D&I to bring down), everything is working fine.  I can't believe I didn't check the belt sooner, but it was just not a problem I was used to seeing.  The upside of all that time spent is that I know the regulator and alternator are working perfectly and that ring connector I replaced was going to go soon anyway and better to replace it now rather than later (where a broken connection could do damage to the alternator if it was running, I think).

Anyway, we'll be posting this (and the earlier two entries) and some photos and then head out to Carrizal by this afternoon.

I want to write about this cool lunch spot / bar we went to a coupla days ago after diving with Paul.  We were all hungry and first tried to go to Mariscos Mi Nino (my boy's seafood, I guess), which was the best food I had ever eaten (went there with Paul, Howard, and Jerry - H&J on Sea Bear).  Alas, it was closed so we went to another of Paul's haunts, El Mirador.  We told the taxi driver that's where we wanted to go next, but he didn't know where it was until Paul explained it was next to the strip club!  Paul jokingly chastised the driver for knowing about the strip club and not the restaurant - it was pretty funny and the taxi driver loved the banter.

We arrived and everyone in the place knew Paul.  We started off with a round of Corona's and some ceviche.  Then Janet and I had swordfish (grilled in garlic, delicious!!!) and Paul had some shrimp.  This was served with Spanish white wine and guacamole.  Then tequila shots started showing up (along with constant refills of beer and wine), Janet ended up with some margarita's and I had a few whiskeys.  All in all I think Janet and I each ordered a single beer and we ended up drinking all night!  At some point, Paul generously picked up the tab (one of the many reasons we call him Santa now - more on that in another post!)

Several of the guys and gals sat with us for a drink or so and I think I learned and understood more Spanish that night the more I had to drink.  It was a blast!!  We left Paul around 9pm (he stayed trying to find some ladies - he's single and on the prowl) and came back to Tupo and crashed.  There were no other gringos in this place and everyone was so friendly that we just really enjoyed ourselves and had one of the best times so far in Mexico.  I guess we need to spend more time in Mexican bars. . .

Posts that follow this will be via SSB (no internet for a bit we think). . .

73 brand spanking new photos from the 29th of Feb to today can be found here!

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