February 2013 – Part 1 Completed

With minor adjustments the 1300L rear fitted perfectly.

With minor adjustments the 1300L rear fitted perfectly.

365 or stay with 395's? - In the end we stayed with the 395's. We will have to deal with the extra 15cm's in height later

365 or stay with 395’s? – In the end we stayed with the 395’s. We will have to deal with the extra 15cm’s in height later

PTO lubrication removed, Making space for future spare Alternator.

PTO lubrication removed, Making space for future spare Alternator.

Oil checks and metal scares but all seemed fine with only part repairs required

Oil checks and metal scares but all seemed fine with only part repairs required

Can Unimogs fly?

Can Unimogs fly?

Can Unimogs fly? All wheels removed, breaks and pads replaced and all seals checked and replaced where needed

Can Unimogs fly? All wheels removed, breaks and pads replaced and all seals checked and replaced where needed

Clearly the callipers had seen better days. Nearly all were locked and yet she was still driving!

Clearly the callipers had seen better days. Nearly all were locked and yet she was still driving!

Replace the battery box with Alu box and move to driver side to make space for the fuel tank

Replace the battery box with Alu box and move to driver side to make space for the fuel tank

White as we got her. Before the spray or Inter cooler and HD Radiator

White as we got her. Before the spray or Inter cooler and HD Radiator

After getting all the paperwork done we drove the Unimog up to Atkinson Vos. The drive up to High Bentham was exciting. It was my first long distance trip in a Unimog.

About 100miles into the trip the Unimog started losing power. I was gutted. How can such a beautiful beast not work! Luckily I had a spare fuel filter and tools – She had been parked for so long that the fuel had gone bad. A quick stop, some dirty hands and we were on our way again. From them on no more problems.

What I have learnt is that owning a Unimog is an expression of personal choices and then following through to live and enjoy those roads taken. So decided on a number of things to do and not to do is all optional.

The main drive to go to AV was that I needed somebody to ensure this Unimog was ready for Africa. So much of the repairs related to replacing the brakes, replacing many of the seals and rubbers, oils etc.

Making it Africa Ready:

  • Starter spinning not engaging – fit recon starter
  • 5-6 Gear light not working – repair
  • Rev counter back light not working
  • 4X4 & diff light not working
  • Bolt missing from snorkel
  • Fuel leak from around the filters
  • Filter head repalced with Standard head
  • No Marker lights on rear and no fog lights
  • All Pads and Discs replaced
  • All Calipers replaced
  • All Hub Oils & Seals checked and replaced where needed.
  • All Brake pipes & Breather pipes checked and replaced where needed
  • Fit all new belts
  • Fix Loose Injector Pipe Seals
  • Full service

Adding power:

  • Fit HD Radiator & Intercooler – Leave the option for upgrading injectors to later.
  • Replacing alternator with 110Amp output

Cosmetics were also looked at

  • Fit new mirros and adjust brackets
  • Fit new Mudguards
  • Repair Night Heater
  • Replace front door cards
  • Sound proofing Kit & Rear Mat
  • Fit 4x Seat belts
  • Fit 2x Headlight guards
  • Fit 6x Mich XZL 365/85R20 rims
  • Fit U1300L Rear body – This also gave us rear mudguards
  • Full repaint Including Body in Brilliant Silver
  • Fuel tank project: 2X ALI Tanks giving approx 600LTR capacity
  • 2X Manual Change over taps and switch to isolate each tank
  • Ali battery box & Tray for mounting
  • Move silencer to front

Other Actions to reduce weight and strategic options:

  • Remove Shaft, lubrication tank, Lever, PTO AIR SWITCH AND BLANK OFF – Decided to go for electric winch.
  • Remove “additional” gearbox – Not sure why it was there but weighing in at 150kgs it was removed.

Southampton Boat show

Some level of excitement today… For my birthday we went to have a wonder around the boat show. It is amazing how much overlap their is between things being waterproof and things needing to be dust proof. And given that boats are way more popular than 4×4 expedition trucks the volume of examples to be seem is much more.

We had a full day looking at:

  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Mastervolt power
  • Batteries
  • Solar panels
  • Mattress designs (Boat mattresses are design to cater for airflow so that mould does not form under them)
  • hard wearing clothing
  • gas connections – found a great universal regulator!
  • water tanks / fresh & grey

and so the day ended with many good ideas and much more reading material. It is amazing how much paper you collect walking through a show. A great visit and well worth a visit. We could have gone back for a second day!

 

Wheels

So the decision has been made.

We sold our 5 80% 395 tyres and bought back 6 365 XZL Michelin tyres. 5 on rim and 1 spare.

In the end the extra 10-15cm height in the box was more important than the extra clearance on the road.

Now only to wait another 2 months before we see her again.

Ps still thinking about the overdrive and injectors…

Names and slogans

Yes our Unimog is an extension of us. So she will have a name and a slogan or two.

Our current popular name is: Ladybird.

And the current slogan are:

UNIMOG: Because when God made the earth He made it to be experienced without roads…

Our Unimog:
Diesel keeps us going forward
Water keeps us alive
Gas keeps us fed
But Faith is our destination.

Kitchen sinks and water tanks.

We spent the day poring over catalogues. Looking at measures and designs. And in the end you want to touch stuff. Paper just is not real enough. So we are on a mission to find a couple of show rooms.

Water: our initial designs incorporated a 10 cm wall being our water tank. This is turning out to be problematic. Our only solution is to flip the entire design. Ilse is not going to be happy…

Box learnings changes in our designs and reality checks.

Five days reflecting and we have made the following updates to our designs.

We discovered that we were working to the wrong measurements. You can go 60% of the gap between the tyres over the back. Thus we have an extra 10cm’s. We now have 3200mm in length.

We also agreed that the initial design which incorporated a 45 degree angle on the top front was a luxury we spend elsewhere. Thus we now have a square box 3200L *2300W * 2200H(excluding roof tent hatch or solar panels)

Diesel is out. Diesel does not have a good name when it come to ovens and hobs. The idea of just having one fuel source was tempting but the price was to high. Besides they cost an arm and a leg! So we are looking at gas again. And we are looking for storage for the gas bottle. As we will now only be carrying one tyre we could mount a spare bottle on the back so that is covered.

Air conditioning is out. The fuel (diesel or electricity) is to high. We will have aircon in the cabin for when we ride but as we have two boys and the doors will always be open and the roof up, an aircon does not make sense.

A heater is in. What does work is if it is cold and raining to have a small diesel heater.

And so the learning curve continuos. We must always remind ourselves that we are on a journey not just building a vehicle.

Four days at Atkinson’s Vos

Let me begin by saying the pre-requesit for working at Atkinson is patience. That is because i asked more questions than humanly possible and they answered with the patience that can only come from time.

The service / inspection took a couple of hours. Like an expecting father the wait for the final report was very stressful. But in the end nothing big was wrong. Lots of small things. Many seals and breaks needed replacing due to the long stand but all in all good news. She will stay in the hospital to fix.

The intercooler and newer radiator will be fitted but we decided updating the jets or adding the overdrive was not yet required. So she will get a new bonnet and front cover. A more modern look.

Simon and Michael ( our mechanic)also came up with brilliant designs to Move the battery box to the driver side and move the exhaust forward. They will then build and add two new 3mm aluminium fuel tanks. One with 240 L and the other with 360L. The 600L total should give us a range of 2000-2400km.

I was finally convinced to stay with the larger tyres and only carry one spare. The extra clearance and road grip is to good to give away. Simon did me a good deal to swop my one 395 that was a different tread for the same and gave me a good discount on a 395 to use as spare.

We decided hydraulic winch it will be and to our surprise discovered that it already had a tank and motor (secret forced additions not recorded….) however we will add this later.

Simon and Frank then made some more plans and with some german standardisation and luck we discovered that the military U1300 flatbed with the 3 point mounting would fit with some minor metal work. Simon will now extend out chassis to allow for a 3200mm bed to be added. This is a real win for us and will save us from building one from scratch.

Lastly painting and rust. Brilliant Silver is our colour! The cab will be sprayed inside and out and the chassis and wheels will be black.

The cab will also get new door panels and sound proofing will be added to the inside and bonnet.