My first experience with the ingenuity of Mexicans was during our year of volunteer work in Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco. We were driving a Chevy Nova and it was usually pretty reliable for us. However, Mexican gas disagreed with it and I soon has some trouble with the carburator. A friend of mine who worked in the hospital laboratory took me to a nearby repair shop and helped me get a mechanic to help me out. He followed us back to the hospital and pulled the carburator out of my car. He then headed back to his shop.
Having heard that it was best to keep a close eye on anyone working on your car, I followed him. Over the next half hour, I watched him completely disassemble the carburator, clean it with solvent, hand make new gaskets and put it back in my car. The car then ran like new. So, within a half hour, I had a rebuilt carburator back in my car.
I was pretty impressed. I was even more impressed when he said, "Sorry it took so long, but I have never worked on a Chevrolet before.".
A professor from one of the Universities in Texas had a similar experience. He taught Mexican archeology and often toured remote areas in a jeep.We met him when we were camped on the beach on one of our trips to Tulum.
He told us that one time he was traveling up in the mountains in a remote area north of Mexico City. The road was pretty rough and he hit a rock. The rock totally destroyed his oil pan. Without the oil pan, the jeep was useless and he could go nowhere.After waiting about 4 hours a farmer came by with a mule and was able to pull the jeep into a town a few miles away.
Now every little town in mexico has a small mechanic shop that is a combination repair, tire retread and blacksmith shop. He went over there and explained his problem. After asking if the shop owner could order him a new oilpan and install it, the mechanic replied, "Sure, no problem. It should be here within a couple of months.
".He questioned the mechanic if there was any other solution. The Mexican replied, "Come back in three days.
".So, the professor found a lady that would put him up for a few nights. He then got a chair in the yard and watched what the mechanic did. He watched with interest as the owner went to each house in the village and collected any scrap metal or tin cans that they had.The mechanic then went back to his shop and started working the metal.
Over the next few days, he melted the metal down and poured it out forming a sheet of metal. He then pounded it and cut it into the proper shape, made a gasket and fitted it onto the bottom of the jeep. The professor then told me that he drove the jeep on many trips after that and the handmade oil pan never leaked a drop!.As you can imagine, I have the highest regard for these underrated Mexican mechanics.
While caution is always in order dealing with anyone working on your car, you should be able to find someone with excellent skills to work on any vehicle that has problems while driving in Mexico..Ron McCluskey has prepared more valuable information for you.
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By: Ron McCluskey