Saturday, February 27, 2021

Trips into Safford, fixing a leak, 4-wheeling to the nearby hills avoiding the maddening crowds

 Friday, FEB 26

The day was spent mostly riding to/from the campsite to the town of Safford, AZ which is located about 37 miles away.  It has most of your regular stores, to include a Walmart, so a better choice than Bowie, AZ which is slightly closer but without many amenities.

First trip was to take the broken Sony camera to a a shipping store where they printed out for me the paperwork to be included with the camera, the Fedex label provided by Sony and I paid for a box/packaging for them to ship it for me.  Cost to me?  $6.31.

I then went to the Walmart and picked up some groceries.  Had I been thinking, I would have done some more stops but instead I just gassed up Mariko and headed back to camp.

Lounging back at the camp, it occurred to me to check the 21mm socket I'd planned to use to remove the wheel lug nuts on Mariko should the need arise.  I was shopping for a jack handle (missing, not provided by previous owner) on Amazon and realized I lacked a lug wrench as well.

Turned out, the socket was too shallow and useless for removing the lug nuts.  It was solely good Providence that Mariko hasn't had a flat tire since I've owned her; I wouldn't have been able to remove the punctured tire to place the spare tire in its place!  Note: I do carry a tire plugging kit but still, not having the ability to put on the spare troubled me greatly.

So, it was time to do yet another run to Safford to purchase a lug wrench!  37 miles later, I was back in Safford at the O'Reilly's Auto Parts store and found what I needed, along with a couple of other items for Mariko: A fluid pump that uses caps to engage to gear oil bottles and a small air filter for the crankcase vent opening on the engine.

Back at camp, I installed the air filter to hopefully relieve the air pressure better than what the PCV valve is accomplishing.  The current theory being this might be contributing to engine oil usage beyond desired levels.

After all those miles, I didn't do any further driving this day.  The place is filling up with ATVs and UTVs, dirt bikes and associated RVs and toy haulers!  One the positive side, they're all mostly away from me at my new location; on the negative side, they're a noisy bunch!

Saturday, FEB 27

Made some progress early this morning, after filling up the engine coolant reservoir again, I started up the Sammy and decided to monitor the action of the thermal choke (see if there were movements as it turned off).  No movement detected but my eye caught a stream of coolant spurting from a small hole in one of the two rubber tubes connecting the thermal choke to the radiator coolant system!

Hard to see, but it's the three small roundish objects....drops of coolant coming out under pressure.

You can also see, in the above pic, how road dust had accumulated around the leak, sticking to the wet surfaces.

After some hassle, got the tube removed, check out the gash/hole.

I flipped the tube vertically, cut off the portion with the hole and it was long enough to reconnect.  The hardest part was manipulating the dang snap rings that secure the ends.  Spent an hour or more cleaning up the mess left behind, to include where the coolant had dropped onto the top of the front differential.  No wonder I'd not spotted any coolant pooling on the ground, it would then evaporate as I drove.

After firing up the engine once more and verifying the tube was holding pressure, I went for a test ride.

I went to the small hills nearby, close to where I'd parked before at the metal cross memorial, this time posing Mariko by the heavily eroded edges of the small flat dirt hills.

The whole recreation area was crawling with dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, other four-wheeling vehicles....most of them careening at high speed in the dunes, never mind the 10 mph speed limit near the camping areas!  

The four-wheelers, ATVs and dirt bikes I'd seen careening about from the above location ended up converging on my location so I left and headed back towards camp.

As I drove the main trail, with its 10 MPH limit signs, a column of dirt bikes went racing in the opposite direction, each pretty much blinded by the dust of the preceding rider and me on the trail facing them!  Its quite fortunate they saw me as I saw them emerge from dust clouds and no collisions ensued.

Back at the campsite, I grabbed my wallet and headed out of the recreation area.  Had another near miss with an incoming truck towing a trailer with an ATV, he wasn't minding the speed limit either.  

Finally outside where the ATVs and OHVs couldn't go, I drove over to the nearby conservation area where I'd seen a wind mill previously.  Found a spot where the only thing I could hear was the wind and just relaxed, reading my e-book.  

About 12:30 or so, made my way back to was all quiet, I guess all the motorized fans of dune riding were having lunch.  Or perhaps enough collisions had occurred to keep them busy.

Had lunch myself, checked the coolant reservoir and it was down to the low level but at least it wasn't empty as before!  I filled it up to the halfway mark and we'll see how things look after tomorrow's driving.  It's supposed to get pretty windy after noon tomorrow so a run into Safford for more coolant is probably in order.

Update: 7:41 PM
It's dark though the moon is casting some light.  Just had, like last night, a large group of ATVs drive nearby with their LED lights blazing away.  Not sure what the attraction is about driving off-road in the dark and the only thing you can see is the area lit up by your lights, add in the dust from the preceding vehicles and I'm sure it's a recipe for trouble eventually.  I'm just hoping some idiot doesn't end up in my camping area, lost and out of control due to speed.


RichardM said...

I think there is some adrenaline high from being out of control.

CCjon said...

Glad you found the coolant leak before it ruptured when out tooling around in the boonies.

redlegsrides said...

Pretty sure RichardM, some of them are just young and know, like we were...

redlegsrides said...

You and me both CCjon! Of course, I have been running around without a working lug wrench so sometimes it's just dumb luck.