Baja XL 2023?

Tanksoldier

New member
Ok, we are back from the rally. Things went well for us. Had to change out an alternator, had one slow leak flat, AND had serious sag problems with our spare tire carrier. Fortunately, there are Autozones throughout Baja, and a friend‘s father was a retired welder. Autozone had the alternator in stock, and we got the rack welded securely in Cabo. We lived with the slow leak until we got back across the border. It was only two days at that point.

The only major deficiency we had was our inability to drive fast-ish on rough terrain. The suspension rattled us around like BBs in a paint can. We aired down to 20lbs, which helped some. Admittedly Rubicon Express isn’t top tier, but would a more expensive suspension option had made much difference? All the vehicles that went faster were newer and had longer wheelbase.. Cherokees, Gladiators, Toy Tacos, Ford Raptors, 2 Ram Power Wagons, etc…. and in many cases took significant damage even so. There were broken tie rods and track bars, transmission crossmembers, drive shafts, shock mounts, etc all over the place. We started with 83 vehicles, by the halfway point we’d lost about 30. Slightly less than half finished I think, including -none- of the motorcycles.

All told, including driving from Colorado to the start and back from the finish, I put about 5000 miles on the Jeep and we started with 213xxx on it already.

So there are some things I’ll change for next time, but I need advice on suspension. what say you?

pics for the “pics or it didn’t happen“ crowd:

We checked out, but they said we couldn’t leave…

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Last night of the rally. A team with a professional chef on it made tacos for everyone with the extra food they had.

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The frame getting reinforced by the welder in Cabo.

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Just broke camp, getting ready to hit the checkpoints for the day. About 3/4 done with the rally at this point.

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Another team up to the axles in extremely deep silt. Think talcum powder, 3 feet deep.

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Our usual camp. We didn’t bother with a tent.

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Many checkpoints were on beaches. You can see the tire carrier leaning.

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Smittybill SRC stinger Bumper with Smittybilt 9500 winch. Never needed it but glad to have it.

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***********
Anyone signing up?


Im thinking about running in the adventure category in my 97 TJ.

Any advice, tips, insight?

Gear list?
 
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Tanksoldier

New member
I think you missed the 2022 xl:)

Oops, you’re right. Fixed.

I did the 2019 XL and will be there in 2023. Anything specific you want to know?

Mostly advice in general. I know it isn’t the Budapest-Bamako, which I also want to do someday, but it isn’t driving across town to Grammy’s either…

What’s the availability of spare parts, fuel, tires (especially oversized tires)? How much can I rely on finding locally, how much to bring with?

Are there any forums or pages specific to the race?

Ive been watching YT vids of previous races, but they mostly focus on the race category rather than the touring category.
 
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monark192

Observer
I did the race category in 2019 and will be in the adventure next year, not because it wasn't fun - it was a total blast - but made for some longer days trying to chase as many points as possible and having done it once, decided to take it a little easier this time around.

As for fuel/spares/tires - there is plenty of advice on traveling in Baja and the XL isn't really any different. I carried 10 gallons spare fuel and never needed it. I will carry 5 gallons next time because it is Baja and just because there is a gas station on the map, doesn't mean it has any fuel. The rally notes each day usually point out any fuel challenges for the route ahead.

Tires - I ran General Grabber all terrains - including spare - and had 2 punctures on the same day. Plugged one myself and then stopped at the next tire repair place to get them both properly fixed.

Spares - never needed anything but there are Autozones in Baja. I didn't carry any spares as such - just little things like extra fuses etc.

No forums that I know of but check out the Baja XL News and Support Facebook group if you haven't yet.

The spirit of the event means you can follow the route, or not. Off road a lot or mostly on road. Decide to stay an extra night somewhere to go fishing and catch up later etc etc. There is an offical camp at the end of each day and hanging out there was a lot of the fun.

Let me know if you have more questions.
 

Tanksoldier

New member
Thanks for your reply.

I’m on the FB group.

I kinda want to run it just for fun, but also to gain experience for other rallies.

Id like to do the Budapest to Bamako, some of the other rally-raid style events.

Im hoping to use this as a relatively safe test run: see what breaks, what I wish I had and what I brought but didn’t need. That sort of thing.
 
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sackettmw

Member
I did the race category in 2019 and will be in the adventure next year, not because it wasn't fun - it was a total blast - but made for some longer days trying to chase as many points as possible and having done it once, decided to take it a little easier this time around.

As for fuel/spares/tires - there is plenty of advice on traveling in Baja and the XL isn't really any different. I carried 10 gallons spare fuel and never needed it. I will carry 5 gallons next time because it is Baja and just because there is a gas station on the map, doesn't mean it has any fuel. The rally notes each day usually point out any fuel challenges for the route ahead.

Tires - I ran General Grabber all terrains - including spare - and had 2 punctures on the same day. Plugged one myself and then stopped at the next tire repair place to get them both properly fixed.

Spares - never needed anything but there are Autozones in Baja. I didn't carry any spares as such - just little things like extra fuses etc.

No forums that I know of but check out the Baja XL News and Support Facebook group if you haven't yet.

The spirit of the event means you can follow the route, or not. Off road a lot or mostly on road. Decide to stay an extra night somewhere to go fishing and catch up later etc etc. There is an offical camp at the end of each day and hanging out there was a lot of the fun.

Let me know if you have more questions.
This event has been on my radar. I have never been to Baja and it seems like a good way for me to see it without having to go alone or preplan a route.

If I could fit it in next year though, it would have to be worked into a vacation with my wife so that would mean taking our van versus one of my trail rigs so that is where my questions arise. We would participate in the non-competition class but I wouldn't necessarily want to have to bypass sections. I see you participated with a fairly stock rig and I also saw some videos with Earthcruisers so is it safe to assume my 21' long 1ton Quigley van would fit / be capable of passing through all of the sections? 33s, front and rear lockers. I'm experienced off road but not looking to destroy my van. It would be about an 8000 mile trip for us.
 

monark192

Observer
This event has been on my radar. I have never been to Baja and it seems like a good way for me to see it without having to go alone or preplan a route.

If I could fit it in next year though, it would have to be worked into a vacation with my wife so that would mean taking our van versus one of my trail rigs so that is where my questions arise. We would participate in the non-competition class but I wouldn't necessarily want to have to bypass sections. I see you participated with a fairly stock rig and I also saw some videos with Earthcruisers so is it safe to assume my 21' long 1ton Quigley van would fit / be capable of passing through all of the sections? 33s, front and rear lockers. I'm experienced off road but not looking to destroy my van. It would be about an 8000 mile trip for us.

You would be fine. While there is an end point every day, there isn't necessarily a required route to get there. The road book gives options to avoid anything difficult for the adventure category. In 2019 there were at least 3 Crown Vics, 2 Volvo wagons and we met one couple doing it a rental Rav4! I did it in a stock 4x4 Xterra . It was a fun event.
 

Oscar Mike Gulf Yankee

Well-known member
Can someone give some more history of this bash?

I see it's a chunk of change but the schedule was paying in 2021. Where is current info.?

Ah man, bail money isn't included with your fee!
 
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Slow Baja

New member
Thanks for your reply.

I’m on the FB group.

I kinda want to run it just for fun, but also to gain experience for other rallies.

Id like to do the Budapest to Bamako, some of the other rally-raid style events.

Im hoping to use this as a relatively safe test run: see what breaks, what I wish I had and what I brought but didn’t need. That sort of thing.
 

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Slow Baja

New member
We did the Touring Class in a stock 1971 FJ40 --2019 & 2021 Our approach was to go slow and say hello. We pulled out our Baja Atlas over eggs and machaca and figured out what dirt road we would drive that day. We camped and stayed in motels. While most of the group camps, nobody judges.

The BajaXL is a no support rally, that said, you will be traveling with many other participants so you'll find support among them if needed.
I have a few podcasts on it at Slow Baja and will be recording a new one with the founder next week.
 
Yep, just to about the 1 month countdown. Just about finished with vehicle prep. Gotta get the horns out of storage...
 

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Tanksoldier

New member
Got the stinger bumper and which mounted today. Next is an after market cruise control, then off road lighting.

Before / After:
 

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