It seems like every time we pass through Mesquite, we have some kind of mechanical failure. It’s really awful luck.
The 2006 WVO Roadtrip was the genesis of the terrible Mesquite breakdown.
10:05pm GN Monday. 1707 Trip Meter Reading.
We added three cubies to the tank. We drove for the longest stretch without adding fuel and literally ran the tank dry. Glenn was concerned because much of the fats and particles collect at the bottom of the tank. Plus the VO acts as a solvent and deteriorates some of the lining of the converted diesel secondary tank.
There was some sort of vibration coming from the rear axle, and unfortunately the driver’s side CV boot had cracked. He was somewhat concerned, but claimed that he’d piloted vehicles for thousands of miles without replacing the axle.
Turns out our jacked up height in the back end had put undue stress on the 25-year-old rubber boot. Our fix to one system had introduced a new problem to another.
12:29am GN Tuesday. 1815 Trip Meter Reading.
Small / Primary filter replacement (Silver Shell Container). Eight gallons of diesel purchased.
4:00am GN Tuesday.
While Glenn drove through west Utah and Arizona, I slept through the gradually increasing vibration coming from the rear. Slightly disoriented, I hollered to Glenn that we weren’t going to make it through Arizona mountains with this shaking. He reassured me that we had already passed through them, but we maybe had five more miles left on the axle as is. Not only was the vibration out of control, but there was the sound of screeching metal and worn bearings. We approached the town of Mesquite, directly on the Nevada border and promptly found the first exit. I jogged to the back of the car to see smoke billowing from the boot. As a stroke of luck, there was an all-night Walmart literally one block to our right. Glenn suggested that if we could squirt a sizable amount of motor oil on the bearings, we could limp the wagon to the supercenter and purchase some bearing grease: if they even had any. I scavenged around for a plastic bottle from the ditch, from which we punctured the cap to make a squirt-bottle for oil. But the bottle didn’t shoot very far. Then Glenn produced a clear hose and we siphoned some 10W40 into the boot which got us the remainder of the way. The Walmart didn’t have any of the special axle grease Glenn used for the other CV joint. Fortunately, we did stumble upon some generic marine trailer lubricant that would probably hold the best. We figured that trying to close up the boot with duct tape would be futile: our best strategy would be to pump the joint full of marine grease, let it spin loose until empty, and replace the goop every ten miles or so. We just might be able to make it to Las Vegas, only eighty miles away, by sunrise. Otherwise there exist no Mercedes dealerships or mechanics that would have the resources or parts to handle our vehicle.
After a couple laps around the lot, Glenn stated, “Fuck it. Let’s go.” After ten miles down I-15, the vibration returned to a relatively loud level and we repacked the boots at a desert underpass. We repeated this procedure five times until we made it to Vegas and parked at Circus Circus, due to my experience with that casino and proximity to the north of town.
We made it to Vegas, and that story is continued on the Las Vegas article.
This 2013 WVO Roadtrip was another typical breakdown in Mesquite.
This time we were driving through the desert and the veggie tank was getting full.
We pulled over on a semi wayside, and filled up the grease. While waiting for the oil to flow down the funnel, we noticed a fluid dripping from the Overdrive unit. Turned out the rear seal was totally obliterated, and the fluid level was severely low.
We quickly got back in the van asap to limp it to Mesquite NV. We figured what little fluid we had left would drain out if we didn’t get it to civilization quickly. We left the wayside and headed down the road.
Eventually we got to Mesquite which was a few dozen miles from our breakdown. We used the GPS to find a Carquest on the east side of town and they luckily had a replacement tailshaft seal in St George. While we waited for the part to arrive, we parked the van in the back lot and walked around the town to kill some time.
After a few hours of dinking around, we headed back to the auto parts store who had our part in hand. Thank god. IF they couldn’t get the part on this day, we would be stuck in Mesquite for 2 days.
The parts store was really nice, and they let us swap out the tailshaft housing seal in their parking lot. While we were working on our veggie van, another old man was wrenching on his RV next to us. We often jibber jabbered while the other was working. He was a cool guy, but his engine problems were severe. I hope he got it running.
After we got the veggie van all sealed up, we headed north. The section of Arizona on the I-15 is exceptional, and one of the best parts of the entire American highway system.