Cruising = Fixing your boat in exotic places!

March 2, 2013 – Outboard engines these days are equipped with a fail-safe mechanism for when you accidentally hit something while the prop is spinning.  A little rubber hub inside the prop rips, saving the prop and engine from self-destructing, but disabling the prop from ever turning at full speed again.  Suzukis are especially sensitive.  Sigh.  Mark fixed the problem by drilling 3 holes in the prop to affix it to its mount permanently.  But the screws sheered.  Double sigh!!  So in Zihuatanejo we went in search of a welder.

Getting our outboard prop fixed in Zihuatanejo

Our prop gets 3 big holes in it

Local folks pointed us in all kinds of directions with great recommendations for this guy or that, but in the end our cabbie chose our guy, since he’d never heard of any of the welders on our list.  He drove us way out of town, dropped us off in front of a shop and vanished.

There we were, prop in hand, standing in front of a row of mechanic shops, in the middle of nowhere.

Part of cruising Mexico is learning to describe mechanical problems in Spanish.  Not easy!  But some sign language, lots of turning the prop in our hands and pointing, a few trips up and down the row of shops — all accompanied by our halting Spanish and their halting English — finally got us to the right guy in the right shop.  But did he really understand what we were talking about??

The prop was placed in a vice and the drill came out. Suddenly a second guy showed up and a shower of Spanish ensued.  Mark was whisked away in a car to a Tornillería (a screw store) a few miles away.  “Cruising” means going with the flow and having infinite faith that all will work out.

Twenty minutes later, after the shy, young mechanic and I had exhausted the limits of my Spanish conversational skills while we perched on his bench, Mark returned with three enormous stainless steel hex-head set screws — hopefully impervious to sheering.  The holes were tapped, the screws installed, and the repair was completed for 200 pesos ($16 USD).  The work was superior.

One of the unique things about this cruising life is that rather than being mere sightseeing tourists, we usually go to town with a purpose and a mission.  Having faith and allowing fate to take us by the hand and lead us to our destiny (and destination) has been one of the great lessons we have learned.

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Other blog posts that give a glimpse of what it’s like to live on a sailboat:

More funny stories from our Mexico cruise + Tips for planning your own sailing cruise

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More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU above.

RV Tips – Cleaning Tips for Washing your RV

RV in a car wash

The simplest method to wash the grime off your RV: take it to a car wash with a big bay!

The easiest way to clean your rig is to pull it into a car wash that has an RV bay and go for it. But sometimes car washes with RV bays are hard to find, and moving around on a ladder to get to the high spots is tricky. If you boondock all the time, like we do, and don’t stay in RV parks and don’t ever go home to a house with a driveway and hose, you also don’t have access to handy water spigots.

RV boondocking wash Foam Away

No water needed

So Mark has found some creative ways to keep our rig clean while boondocking.

For a quick job on the truck — if it’s just dusty and not dirty with caked-on mud — he likes to use Turtle Wax Foam Away, a dry wash that doesn’t require water.

Spray it on and wipe it off, and your truck is nice and clean. Sadly, this product isn’t available any more, but another great alternative is Dri Wash ‘n Guard Waterless Car Wash.

RV boondocking RV wash Zip Wax

Add a spritz to 2-3 gallons of water

RV boondocking wash and wax meguiars quik detailer

Shine up the rig

For more stubborn dirt and stains, like the bugs that splatter on the front cap of the fifth wheel and the hood of the truck, or for a more thorough wash, Mark makes up a bucket of sudsy water using a couple of gallons of water and Turtle Wax Zip Wax Ultra Concentrate

He washes down one area at a time and then wipes it dry. No rinsing necessary.

Mr Clean Magic Eraser Scrub Pads

Mr Clean Magic Eraser Scrub Pads

The neat thing about boondocking is that you have tons of space around your rig, so he drives the truck around the fifth wheel, lining it up to reach the highest spots on the trailer.

A ladder works too, but the truck gives him a much wider lateral reach as he walks along the side of the truck bed. It’s a little acrobatic, but that’s makes the job more exciting!

One awesome product Mark discovered is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Pads. These things do an amazing job of getting rid of the scuff marks on the fiberglass front cap on our fifth wheel.

Boondocking RV wash use the truck

Better than a ladder…

RV boondocking uv protect all

Sunscreen for the plastic parts

For quick waxing he prefers Meguiar’s Quik Detailer (others like Mr. Clean’s Spray Wax work too). This is a polish detailer that gives the truck and trailer a nice shine and leaves the fifth wheel front cap and truck hood so smooth the bugs don’t stick (at least not for a while).

To get a little UV protection on rubber seals and plastic (like the translucent plexiglass hatch covers, a/c unit and fridge vent) he uses Protect All, a UV protectant. He has also used 303 Aerospace Protectant, which seems to work equally well. And of course the truck windshield gets a dose of Rainex every so often.  Rainex makes rain on the windshield bead up and slide off more easily so the wipers can be used a little less — although we’ve found it seems to be most effective at preventing rain from falling all together, that is, until the Rainex has worn off and the windshield needs another coat!

Boondocking RV wash Meguiars paste wax

For a more thorough wax job

Once a year Mark uses Meguiar’s Gold Class Paste Wax on the both the truck and trailer to give them a deeper finish and prevent oxidizing. If there is oxidation or stuck on bug pieces that just won’t come off, he uses Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax, a cleaner/polisher that has a mild abrasive in it.

Over the years Mark has tried lots of different cleaning and polishing products, and they all get the job done. Far more important than using a particular product is just getting out there and applying some elbow grease with whatever you have on hand. Doing a little bit more frequently is easier than doing a big job all at once…!

California Duster

California Duster

When the rig just needs a quick dusting (the truck especially), Mark turns to his trusty California Duster.

This thing is amazing because it picks up all the dust and can later be shaken out with a few quick twists of the wrist.

And that’s all there is to it. Easy peasy — especially for me, since on those rig washing days I always find I am suddenly very busy doing something else!!

And, ironically, after each of the photos of our buggy getting a bath on this page was taken — in a car wash in Montana and while boondocking in Colorado — it rained for 3 days in each place.  So go ahead — do the RV rain dance and help end the drought!!


New to this site?  Check out the RVing Lifestyle and Tech Tips in the MENUS at the top of the page for detailed info about installing solar power, installing a vent-free propane heater, living the full-time RV lifestyle, how to go boondocking, how to find free campsites, the costs of full-time RVing and more.  Please visit our Home page and Welcome page for RVers to learn more about us and discover all the other good stuff available to you on this blog.