Car Trouble

I left Laguna Salada, driving east on a track over the mud flats, towards Highway 5.

Baja - Laguna Salada - Road - Mud Flat

I've taken to sometimes wearing earplugs, rather than letting myself getting annoyed by the constant clatter, squeaks, and whumps as the van bounces along. As I approached the paved Highway 5, I popped them out of my ears, and was dismayed to notice a new loud metallic clanging sound! I stopped and peered under the van, and immediately identified the trouble. I must have hit one of those bumps in the road a bit too hard. The left-front top leaf spring had snapped!

I needed to investigate the damage. In front of me was a bridge where the highway crosses a little channel of briny water and soft mud. I carefully pulled the van in down under there so I could get myself out of the intense sun. This might be a while. Clang clang clang, went the suspension.

I discovered the only reason why the van hadn't collapsed was that Sportsmobile had placed a second leaf under the top (now broken) one, with a partial military wrap that was still holding it in place.

Baja - Laguna Salada - Under Highway 5 - Broken Leaf Spring - SportsmobileBaja - Laguna Salada - Broken Leaf Spring - SportsmobileBaja - Laguna Salada - Broken Leaf Spring - Sportsmobile

Using my bottle jack to pry things apart a bit, I managed a little field repair using ratchet straps to tightly hold the broken leaf spring ends in place. However, it slowly sunk in for me that I needed to admit my adventure vacation was most likely over.

I did have that second intact leaf down there, which was still holding up the van. I figured my repair was stable for gentle driving. Still, there was no way I would trust it solo driving rough roads far from civilization.

Baja - Laguna Salada - Broken Leaf Spring - Field Repair - Bottle Jack and Screw Clamp - SportsmobileBaja - Laguna Salada - Broken Leaf Spring - Field Repair - Ratchet Straps - Sportsmobile

When I got back into cell service range, I called Sportsmobile West and learned that my broken leaf was a custom part that they no longer stock. I would most likely need to get a replacement custom fabricated.