I was on my way back to Baja. I just come into Ensenada. It was early in the morning when I pulled over to look at the big swell running and the waves were breaking over the jetty that protects the shipyard from the ocean. I have never seen before, waves big enough to be washing into the shipyard. Anyway, I happen to call my wife Roberta to tell her about the waves when she said that we had a problem back home. She said we had a leaking hot water heater.
I was all packed and on my way for a 2 month surf trip and I needed to turn around and head back home to help my wife. Just before I took off on this trip there was a slight sound coming from the clutch area. I figured it wasn't sounding to serious and I would address the sound when I got back from this trip. As I was heading back towards the border the noise kept getting a little more suspect. Then it would go silent for most of the way back. When I got to the border at Tijuana the noise started up again then would disappear but each time it showed up again was when I used the clutch and eventually it began getting louder and louder. Anyone who has ever been in the line at the border knows it is inch by inch to the border stall. Each time you move with a manual transmission as everyone who has one knows, you have to push the clutch in to move the car. So by the time you get to the border if you don't have a cramp in your clutch leg you are lucky because you will use that leg close to 500 or 1,000 times depending on how far you are from the U.S. side.
Well I was 2 1/2 hours of pushing my clutch pedal and by the time I got to the border the noise coming from the clutch was sounding pretty bad. I finally made it to the U.S. and made it to my house which is 25 miles from the border. I pulled into my driveway and shut off the engine. The next day I'm under Big Red and getting ready to take off the clutch inspection cover. When I took off the cover the bearings from the throughout bearing came falling out onto the ground!
If I hadn't called my wife and waited for a few hours more I would never have made it back across the border. I would more than likely have been stranded a few hundred miles in Baja with no way to fix Big Red. As it is it took a few days to get the part and another couple of days to complete fixing the problem. More than one thing needed to be fixed. It wound up that I needed to fabricate a few parts. So it was a good thing to make that call to my wife in Ensenada.