Chevy / GMC south of the border?

#1
Looking for any helpful advice on driving Mexico and Central America this winter - my wife and I are either going to - option 1 - sell our truck and fly into Mexico, rent lodging and probably not move around a lot, get to know a town or two very well

or option 2 - take our truck South for the winter and have the option to go wherever, whenever

Probably silly to ask since this is the overlanding forum 😃

Truck is '03 GMC 4wd with the Duramax and factory locker - so ULSD not needed - if we had any engine probs does anyone think the Dmax would be hard to find parts and competent service for?

We’d still probably find lodging most of the time but could bring a tent camping setup just in case. Not planning on much for mods, probably just toss in our ARB fridge, aux battery, inverter, couple backpacks, couple action packers of camping stuff.

Info I’ve found online so far says special insurance is of course required but unlikely to provide much if any compensation in case of theft - truck is 13 years old but only 110k on it and like new - too nice to leave in town or at trailheads without worrying about total loss? Would be happy with a cheap gasser beater too, but - already have this one, it's capable and got awesome range and a locking topper.

Any advice appreciated, thanks!
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
#2
...
Truck is '03 GMC 4wd with the Duramax and factory locker - so ULSD not needed - if we had any engine probs does anyone think the Dmax would be hard to find parts and competent service for?
...
Does your Duramax need service now? If not, why would you expect it would need service in Mexico? I have had Chevrolets all over the world for years - they don't stop working just because they are away from a dealer. (And neither does a Ford, etc.)

Make sure your service is up to date and carry appropriate consumables, filters, etc. for the duration of your trip.

This Chevrolet has been in over 55 countries and has just been overhauled for as many more. http://www.travelin-tortuga.com

Have a great trip!
 
#3
Going to Mexico is always better than you guessed. Shop the insurance. Prices are all over the map. But they're required to sell the minimum the law requires.
 
#4
Truck is running great and is up to date, I've just heard all about how Ford, Toyota, Mercedes don't have a problem worldwide but haven't heard much about Chevy / GMC and especially with a more modern turbodiesel, I like to know that the mechanic knows their stuff if any work ends up being needed.

Anyone have experience with a total loss / theft being covered by insurance down south?
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
#5
… I've just heard all about how Ford, Toyota, Mercedes don't have a problem worldwide but haven't heard much about Chevy / GMC and especially with a more modern turbodiesel, I like to know that the mechanic knows their stuff if any work ends up being needed.

...
Couple of comments.

-- Your first comment is only partially true - it varies from country to country and vehicle to vehicle. A US Toyota may or may not find parts overseas, depends on the the part, country etc. Same is true for all brands. And even if the make is sold in country, the local dealer may refuse to work on it as it is not a local model.

-- Engine internals are rarely a problem. Brakes, shocks, hoses, belts, etc. are the things that tend to fail. While you should always care consumables, most of the other items are fairly generic and overseas mechanics are generally well used to working on one of a kind vehicles.

All of that said, if you really want to find local service, go with a manual transmission, naturally aspirated Toyota diesel with 7.50x16 tube tires. Land Cruiser or HiLux, THAT is the most common vehicle in the world.

Me, I'd take my Chevrolet and have a great trip. (Sadly, mine is ULSD.)
 
#6
Thanks for the input - think I'll be listing the truck here and there for the next couple weeks and if it doesn't sell quickly we'll take it south. Bet it'll love some sulfur in the tank :)
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#7
We're currently in Belize, having driven through Mexico in our 2005 Silverado 6.0l gas. There are tons of GMT 800 trucks down here.

Not many diesels in Mexico, but plenty in Belize. I hear this vintage is pretty well represented in Guatemala as well.

We passed and visited many well equipped, modern Chevrolet dealerships in Mexico. Parts and mechanics seem to be widely available.

I'd say, make sure you're comfortable working o the truck yourself, if only to supervise anything that needs done. That's advice I'd offer to anyone though, really.

Like I said, there are tons of trucks that look like yours down here so I don't think you'll stick out. We'll, your truck won't anyway. :)
 
#8
Thanks for the info - did end up selling the truck in the US and flying down to Mexico. Wonderful country, wonderfuller people :) . I would actually give exactly the opposite advice that the official warnings seem to - just stay entirely away from the more developed tourist areas.

We spent almost 4 months traveling through Mexico by Bus, Colectivo, Taxi, and Uber. Rented apartments, Airbnbs, hostels, stayed with locals. Literally the only time I ever felt there was a potential security issue was at the end when we arrived in Playa del Carmen. Not only was it by far our least favorite location of the whole trip, it had the highest prices, the worst food, and the only blatantly obvious narcos and thugs.
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#9
Although we had a nice time in PDC, we largely found the same thing- the only sketchy stuff seemed to be around the tourist areas. You really have to get out into the country to see Mexico.

If they're selling you things in USD and speaking english, you're probably not anywhere near the good stuff..
 
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