Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

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fredrikarnell
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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#421 Beitrag von fredrikarnell » 2014-01-24 16:43:09

Hi Pairoa!

I've been following your work for quite some time and it is surely inspiring! I think I've read your story five times over and over since some years back, yeez :) Better than any book - we must be crazy ;)

It is especially inspiring since I plan on doing a similar thing myself albeit 4x4 and with an OM 352 A (having been seduced by 6x6's many times, but always come to the conclusion that the fuel consumption is a bit too much for me). The essentials and the inspiration remains the same :) There for sure is something special with an old Mercedes.

I'm quite impressed that you got your hands on an NG 73 with all transversal difflocks, this is surely uncommon, at least here in Europe.

Too bad to hear about your back!

Greetings from Sweden,

Fredrik

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#422 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-01-26 20:04:20

Hi Fredrik:

Thanks for your kind words. It is always good to know that your work inspires someone.

If you plan to do something similar with another old MB I can only wish you the best of lucks, but I must warn you that it can turn highly addictive, so be careful and keep your eyes open to the rest of the world. Your wife, kids, dogs, friends and your back will be very grateful.

And yes, we are crazy... but we are not alone.

Cheers.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#423 Beitrag von Oschi » 2014-01-28 21:12:05

Dear Pairospam,

it's been a while now that I read your story right from the beginning. I found it ultimately exciting, inspiring and touching. Since then, I am your dedicated reader, again and again fascinated by your enthusiasm.

I can guess what your back pain means to you now since I managed to catch a cold somehow and so I am bound to stay at home for the moment, too. It's quite mysterious to me how I got them damned bacteria, for my only social activity remaining is playing with dead materials (wood, steel, and so on).

But meanwhile, there is the world wide web, and there are always some topics for research. Some day, you will return to the Merkabah and you'll enjoy that even more. Good luck and please keep up writing, because that is really motivating me.

Don't loose your heart
Oschi

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#424 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-01-29 4:27:32

Many thanks, Oschi. It takes more than back pain and all the frustration of the world to take me down. Don’t worry, I wil keep up if the big Boss allows me so.

So will you, and it doesn’t matter where or how you’ve got the viruses or bacteriae you are in pain on now, they will use you and after a while they will spit you out and continue with their cycle of life. Don’t blame them, and enjoy all the anarchy of the internet.

I am back at work on the Merkabah and I have some things to tell to update this never-ending tale.

As I was recovering (and still I am) I chose not to make big efforts and work only on the weekends to accompany and assist/keep-an-eye on Edison while he worked on the mudguards and hopefully on some other pieces.

On the attic there was a lot of boxes with parts and pieces for the Merkabah, some from Spare, some from other donor trucks. The guys that cleaned the mess that was there before the inspection left them aside but I needed to know if they had broken or lost something. I also needed to know what was there because I actually did not remember well.

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I found many interesting things I had forgotten having collected. I was not aware that I had a spare for the thermostats cap that I worked so hard to reconstruct before. I found it after that, of course.

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I had enough knobs, door and window handles, lights, and stuff to fit out two cabins. The window glasses were intact and there was also a spare for its mechanism. There were many pieces from the dashboard and also many others of varied nature. I found where were the components of the suspension of the cabin and also the Rockinger hook. Best of all, I found the wiring bundle of Spare; I thought I had lost it.

I classified the stuff and put everything back, orderly, in some boxes. I took a lot of pictures as a record to consult in case I needed to know where to find anything.

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Profiting of the mood I collected the pieces of the pressurized air circuit still around and disassembled them to put also in boxes on the attic. That was the case of the 4-circuit valves from both Spare and the Merkabah that were always between the feet.

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The lining of the floor on the side of the pilot was ruined and I feared that it would be very difficult to find a new one, but you never know. The one on the passenger side was not that bad, but if I could replace both I would. I left them also in a big box.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#425 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-01-29 4:38:14

It took me a lot of time, moving slowly and carefully, feeling like a pretty old man, but at least I was able to move… and my back stood. Good.

While I was at it, Edi worked endlessly, struggling against micropores and microscratches, doing the best of the jobs on the mudguards. He made the rough part with the orbital sander, but the delicate part with his hands, so… no hurry.

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The day after, I made a test ride on the Africa Twin with Carmen, for the first time after one month or so; oh… nice feeling! But it was not completely good as my spine was not healthy enough. Driving the Montero proved to be even worse some days before, so I walked everyday back and forth. Fortunately San Felipe is not a big city and you can reach everywhere in less than 30 minutes.

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One week later, things were better and I adventured myself up on the cabin. The dashboard fought back fiercely but could not withstand my attack. After another complete photo session all the wiring was removed. You can see the dust glow on the lens of the camera; there were many kilos of it. Actually, it is the fourth camera since the beginning of the project; they all die because of dust.

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The heater was also removed. The fan was in pretty bad shape and the fear of lacking the proper spare raised up higher this time.

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A lot of work was devoted to clean the floor under the linings on the side of the passenger and, after cleaning, I removed the seat. Maybe it was my still-recovering state, but I found that it was heavy as hell a piece of steel.

I removed also the locking mechanism for the cabin. There was much more rust than expected on the floor, and I obviously did not like it very much.

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My back held still, more or less, so I went on taking out everything I could. The central plastic box/suitcase still had some papers and documents from the past owners of the truck.

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JStefan
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Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#426 Beitrag von JStefan » 2014-01-30 4:17:42

Holla, Senior que tal? I want to send you some motivation and good vibrations.... You need it... We are in Los Antigua at the Lago Buenos Aires, so there are still some km to do. Here all fine and we are on the way. Take care and we will see us.

Petra and Stefan
1 Reise, 2 Menschen, 3 Achsen, 4 Pfoten . . . . seit 2009 on the road .... www.viajantes.de

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#427 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-01-30 4:45:54

Stefan and Petra!

Can't wait to see you showing up some day by San Felipe! You have many kilometers ahead yet so I know that it won't be too soon.

Please enjoy your ride and let me know from where are you going to enter Chile to make some personal suggestions about what to see and what to forget, IMHO, of course.

Hope the weather accompanies your trip on this side of the cordillera.

Cheers.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#428 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-04 23:17:16

After removing the central case the bruised engine tunnel was left alone and showed its sad condition with no distractor. I took out the gear lever and confirmed that the steel base was not broken but just bent. It would be necessary to use the porta-power, according to Edi; I was just thinking on crying.

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And, finally, Edison finished to prepare and prime the mudguards. He did a great job and the pieces looked like new. Do you remember how they were when the truck was bought? Fortunately he made it, only a couple of days before his departure.

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I asked him to clean and prepare the rest of the pieces of the mudguards, the little ones that go on the interior front part on both sides, and we could not find the left side one. I consulted the photo bank and, in effect, it was missing from the very beginning. Hmm… something to take care of soon.

As there was still some time left in that hot Saturday afternoon, I removed the driver’s seat. It was heavier and harder to manage than the other one, but Pairoa won again and, without any pain, it was left lying on the floor along with all the pieces of its suspension mechanism, broken who knows how many centuries before.

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Before leaving, one picture of the cabin in its advanced stripping process. I was pretty happy, though it did not show that much.

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The next day I made a test drive on the Montero with better results for my back. I went out with Carmen to take our three dogs for a walk in the country after many weeks. I passed by the cattle to look for the mudguards from Spare in order to have material to fabricate the missing piece of mudguard of the Merkabah. But guess what I found… yes, the same piece, waiting for that right moment after almost three years. The Boss always hear you, even your little problems, do no forget.

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Monday morning I showed up in the afternoon at the shop and brang the piece of mudguard with me. I was happy for that detail, don’t know why that much, but happy.

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I put the overall on and got up the cabin again. I removed the rest of the lining of the floor and the engine tunnel and cleaned up for good. Not bad and not much more rust.

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Then the attention was put on the rear windows, not knowing how exactly would I take them out.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#429 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-04 23:26:30

I just pressed the edges carefully and the rubber profile unmounted very easily. The first of the window was out in less than six minutes. The second was out in less than two. Perfect.

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Once the windows were not a problem to remove the back cover panel I started to take the plastic snaps that held it in place. I did not know how many spares I had so I removed them very carefully; pretty irritating. Anyway, the majority of them survived and after a while the panel was out.

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I realized then that there was kind of a pilar in the center of the rear wall. I did not want to touch that pilar so I would have to think an alternative way to cut the pass-through to the Box. I wanted to do the less damage to the structure and to use as much as possible the curves and bendings of the design of the wall. I played a little with the idea and modified an old photograph of the Merkabah to picture it and to plan the cutting and welding strategy. It would be quiet interesting.

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With the back panel out it only remained the roof cover. The plastic snaps suffered apparently of the exposure to the direct heat of the roof and the lethality of the removing process was much higher this time. Anyway, the bad shaped cover was out and hopefully it would be of use as donor for repairing the damaged zones of the back wall cover and, maybe, for the stretching of the window frame.

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I removed the remaining wiring and the cabin lights and then the stripping of the cabin was finally complete. I took out the broken air claxon as well and tried to make it work, but there was not honk at all as the internal mechanism had passed away long time before.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#430 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-04 23:38:03

Edison went home to Ecuador and I stayed at the shop in the 42 degrees Celsius summer of San Felipe, with a naked cabin waiting for a lot of beauty retouches. Before his departure we agreed on that I will make the patches where the rust was present and he will do the flattening out and the plaster work at his return, hopefully in two more months.

Maybe I have shown the rust damage of the cabin before, but I show it again as to my eyes it looked pretty much more dramatic now than a few months ago. The waterproof bottom of the cabin lost the guarantee many years before and the rust was present at every place where there were two steel plates in close contact, and also on the spots where the mud and the water collected for some time.

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Even found some cavities, supposedly closed, that were filled with sand and dust that surely were mud once. Hmm…

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With the aid of the guys of the workshop I took out the heavy doors and put them up on the attic along with the covering panels. It was also a very special moment, and I decided that another stage of the project was over and the next one had just begun, just for the fun of it.

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By those days the Dakar Rally was ended, and I cannot miss the oportunity to mention that Ignacio Casale, my almost-nephew, won the quad category this year. Congratulations to him.

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My almost-cousins Ignacio and Francisco did not participate this year. Four Dakar races for the Casales seem to be enough.

My friend René Larraguibel was in the northern desert watching the rally as the first stage of his grande traversée of the Americas on his Atego 4x4, accompanied by two couples on their respective trucks, one from France and the other from Spain. One of them chose the wrong way to climb a dune, the other rushed to help him without paying too much attention and got stuck.

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Fortunately nobody was injured and the trucks were not seriously damaged; René and a lot of people helped them to get out, but it all shows that despite great preparation and gear if you do not have experience and take the right decisions you can always get into trouble.

All the three trucks are currently on their way North, in the Bolivian salar of Uyuni.

Preparing the scenario for the next move I went to the cattle at the countryside and brang one of the big mudguards of Spare and the old and dented cover of the batteries. I thought that they could be a source of steel plates to make the patches with. Though, I was not sure of that decision.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#431 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-04 23:48:22

The next Saturday I began drawing a model of the plate of the rotten left floor of the cabin and then I cut it off with no mercy. The standing position was okay with my back and there was not problem nor pain until then. Good.

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When the first plate and the rusty portions of the floor were removed the cruel reality of the damage showed up, and I was just at the beginning.

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I went up the cabin and continued the cutting and grinding of the floor plate, but that was not totally okay for my back this time, though I was able to work without big discomfort.

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The strip of metal removed was not too big and there would be no problem with the patching if my welding skills were not lost in the oblivion. Were they? Soon I would find out.

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The bolting plates for the seats were also pretty rusty though they did not look that bad at first sight, and I had to cut and clean well to find healthy terrain. Before patching there would be another grinding and priming phase.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#432 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-05 0:00:56

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The cleaning included the tricky removal of the once isolating and waterproofing shity material that covered the external face of the floor, and it slowed down any progress. It was obviously necessary, but terribly annoying. I left the most of it to Edi.

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The passenger side of the floor had a plate for bolting some kind of support that was practically destroyed by rust. The amputation left a big square hole that would be patched with a simple plate with no nuts; no more support.

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I had to cut off also a long strip of metal on the lateral border of the floor, longer than the one on the opposite side, because the rust was more extended. In the end the floor looked like a swiss cheese but the state of the metal left no choice.

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The plates for bolting the seats on were as rusted as on the passenger side so I had to do the same cutting and cleaning job. Hmm... patience.

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I decided not to use Spare’s mudguard or discarded pieces to patch the Merkabah so I went to my friend Verardo and took from his machine-shop some new plates of steel of different widths to work with.

Back at the workshop I marked the defects and cut the patches from the steel plates. Not bad but not so easy.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#433 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-05 0:07:22

I brushed and removed the rust as completely as I could and then primed the plates where the seats were bolted on hoping to retard the rust formation in case water came in between the steel plates again. Who knows.

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The more external steel plate was 1 mm thick so I cut one piece from a proper plate after measuring and re-measuring four times at least, trying to avoid to be short or too generous and do it right at the first attempt. Fortunately it was the case.

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The weekend came again and it was my brother-in-law’s birthday. Someone came the day before and left him with the worst of temptations, a bike. Test it, taste it and buy it if you like, he said to him. It was a pretty old but capable Yamaha XT 400 that had been seldom used and looked and rode okay.

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I accompanied Eduardo on the Africa Twin in a long test trip that Saturday morning. He is not actually a regular rider but we went through some of the many trails around San Felipe and both the pilot and the machine behave pretty well. The problem was the Africa Twin with her 200 kg and the lack of training due to my back illness. I ended up exhausted and needed to sleep for several hours in the afternoon after the effort. Definitely the old Japanese was not made for that type of riding. Something had to be done on that respect.

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Monday afternoon. I really wanted to start to make the patching of the cabin, especially because I wanted to weld again and to see if my touch in thin plate welding was lost or not. I had done a lot of such bodywork welding on the Blazer 6x6 project and the learning curve had reached a pretty nice level before shifting to the present project.

After a lot of delays I reached to tack the long and thin strip of steel of the floor and then weld it properly. Yes… sadly… my touch was gone. Could not find the exact voltage nor the right electrode output speed for that steel thickness and composition. Furthermore, it was quiet difficult to weld up right trying to elude the falling incandescent sparks. Many Ouch! screams were heard at the shop that day and I ended up with a dozen burn holes on the overall and the T shirt despite all the precautions.

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I had to grind a lot and re-weld a lot but in the end the job was done and it was judged good enough by my welding teacher that, coincidentally (?!), passed by before it was time to go home

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That was yesterday. The thread is up to date. For now.

Cheers.

Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#434 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-13 19:33:01

Well, despite all the precautions and care when power grinding, the next day I felt some slowly increasing aching on my right eye and went to see the ophthalmologist (a very nice and pretty blonde haired lady), and she found a tiny metal chip embebbed in the cornea. Again.

She took it off and grinded my cornea on her own and left me half blinded. Fortunately I did not even need an eyepatch, but I was grounded for a couple of days.

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When my eye healed I returned to the workshop and spent some time at priming the plates prior to welding, hoping it will help retarding the rust formation. Looking at the quality of the welding the words of Caco, the guy that introduced me to the art of welding, came again to my mind: “good enough”. That hurt.

I promised myself to redeem and prepared and welded the long and thicker plate that covered the floor from underneath. The time passed and the welding proceeded very slowly. The result was better, but not spectacular, and the spark burnholes multiplied.

After only few progresses I sprayed more wash-primer and left without even grinding.

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I said that something had to be done, and so I did. Next Saturday, I borrowed a little truck and Eduardo accompanied me to Melipilla, 150 km from home, to pick up my new toy: a 2011 Yamaha WR 450 F with very few kilometers, pretty much cared, enduro bike. Got her from a guy whose knee was injured on a soccer game and had it parked for a while and decided to sell her before seeing her to grow old and to rust. Bad luck for some.

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The next sunday was a quiet beautiful day and Carmen, some friends and I went to the hills to take some fresh air and to watch the country from above. The old Montero was happy to go offroad again too.

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When our friends left, I could not resist and took the new arrived for a ride. It was almost five years since my last serious enduro so I went pretty calmly, especially because of my poor physical condition after my back injury. Anyway, it was great to spend the last sunny hours riding and jumping around like the teenager I was once, and the bike performed brilliantly as expected.

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From now on the venerable Africa Twin would not be submitted to any potentially stressing ride on the trails near home and she would only enjoy from long and comfortable trips, hopefully.

My colleague went on vacations and left me with all the work, with only a couple of afternoons to spend on the Merkabah weekly. The next time I could step on the shop I finished to patch the floor of the cabin by welding the big square plate and the thin plates that covered the support plates for the seats. Not very interesting, uncomfortable task, but the welding skills began to noticeably improve.

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A little flattening and some plaster work may be needed, of course, but that would be Edi's job.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#435 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-13 21:20:08

Guys:

Excuse me for the off-topic question but who better than you to answer this: I am planning a short trip to Europe in September, last two weeks and the first of october, and I want to know first-hand if this is a good time to go; weather, prices, pros and cons, any information or hunch is well appreciated.

I want to rent a car in Rome and make a fine, gentle and (hopefully) worryless promenade through Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, as a tourist for the first time.

Thanks a lot.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#436 Beitrag von Wilmaaa » 2014-02-13 21:30:51

It's a good time to go, yes - unless you want to do excessive sunbathing ;)
But September and October often have some nice sunny days or even weeks, and it's not too warm nor too cold. Of course it depends - this winter has been rather "un-wintry" in our region, but has been very harsh in other places, so it's hard to predict the weather.

You know that you'll have to stop by many forum members if you come over :D
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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#437 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-13 21:40:08

Okay. So it is indeed a good time to go, even if I don't reach Oktoberfest.

Glad to meet as many of the members of the forum as they want me to pass by, but I have to do all the preparations before even thinking of shaking hands.

In the meantime, I will go on with the project.

Thanks a lot, Wilmaaa.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#438 Beitrag von HildeEVO » 2014-02-14 20:46:59

I realized then that there was kind of a pilar in the center of the rear wall. I did not want to touch that pilar so I would have to think an alternative way to cut the pass-through to the Box. I wanted to do the less damage to the structure and to use as much as possible the curves and bendings of the design of the wall. I played a little with the idea and modified an old photograph of the Merkabah to picture it and to plan the cutting and welding strategy. It would be quiet interesting.
Hi Pairoa,

you can cut the pilar and make the pass-through in the middle of the cabin... Like in my Hilde... KLICK You only have to build in a frame (box-profile metaltube) left and right byside the pass-through. So the roof ist stabilized. My breakthrough is 900 mm wide and 800 mm high! Maybe you can make a smaller one! For me it's ideal, because i have also 4 seats in the livingarea. The passengers can have a look outside through the windscreen.

I'm always surprised about your enthusiasm to work so hard on your Merkabah! Let me know when you fixed your plans to visit Germany in the autum. I live near Stuttgart and if you want to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum it will give a chance to meet us! You can have a look to Hilde and take some ideas!

Best regards Chris
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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#439 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-02-14 22:56:19

Hallo Chris:

I am totally aware that the pilar can be replaced, moved, blown away, anything you want as it is not structurally determinant, but I am thinking of doing a less traumatic arrangement for the pass-through. We will not carry people on the Box but it will be great to have a good front view when dining anyway.

In any case, it is just an idea and, as usual; the final arrangement will be chosen probably the day before I take the power tool to make the first cut.

I thank you very much for your invitation to meet and surely it would be a great moment. I wait for that.

Couldn't open the MB Museum page. The Merkabah was born in Stuttgart, as you may know, and probably there is a cousin of her parked there on exhibition.

Did I mention that I really like your truck?

Cheers.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#440 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-03-25 23:27:29

Hello everybody:

I was not dead, just a little busy. These had been hard times, with lots of work, regular work, and some odd events.

Well, the thing with the Merkabah went on pretty slowly and I continued to patch the cabin’s rust-damaged plates as I could catch the time to work on it. I had to make little tricks to patch some pieces with little defects but in the end it came all good on the right side of the cabin. I sprayed wash-primer all over and left it all for Edi’s return, if he returned some day.

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The following step was to repair the driver’s side of the floor of the cabin, but it was a little difficult to proceed as the time was pretty scarce. The patching technique was the same but I was a little faster as the learning curve was steeper; unfortunately the power grinder did not stand the efforts and, followed by a cloud of nasty sparks, it died in my hands.

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I was reluctant to accept its death; it was the fourth to perish on duty. I took it home and disassembled it as completely as I could. The diagnosis was easy: the carbons were finished, and they died prematurely because of the heavily abrassive environment the grinder worked in. It took me two days to find the proper spares and reassembled the machine full serviced and lubricated. It came back to life and worked perfectly after.

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I could not work on the project on Saturdays as usual because there was a lot of delayed work, unexpected visits, emergencies, etcetera, but I decided to keep Sundays exclusively for resting and leisure, if not I would die myself of tiredness. The mornings were (and still are) left for riding the dirt bike, each time on a different trail, and for practicing my long forgotten enduro skills. Ah, I started to really love the WR 450.

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While I worked and rode the poor Merkabah stood, as always, waiting for carresses that from time to time I reached to give her. I remember that I needed at least three afternoons to make the patching of the superior plate of the floor of the cabin on the left side. There was always something that impeded me from going on.

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Anyway, at some point I finished to weld the big plate and said that’s it!

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#441 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-03-25 23:39:57

But then I realized that there was still a little rust near the upper part, and I ended up with a big hole and making new cuts and planning a new double patching. And, of course, I found many other spots that needed to be repaired as well. It seemed a never ending story.

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Some day I took the Africa Twin and rode to Santiago to meet the Casales. It was an official meeting as we were on an advanced status prior to ordering the sandwich GRP panels from a very known company in Germany to make three living cabins, one for each one of us. Some months ago we decided to join efforts to get panels with the best quality available as we were not convinced about the quality of the panels that we could get locally.

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We discussed about many issues on the subject and we profited to examine their 1017 based self-made motorhome and their experience after 17 years with it. There was a lot of thinking, what to keep, what to change, when thinking on building a new living cabin, especially about the size and the type of the windows. We discussed about heating, insulation, space distribution and all the usual aspects to discuss on. A couple of hours later I rode back to San Felipe, to work for a living.

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That week was not an exception, and I only had enough time for patching a couple of spots, pretty frustrating.

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One day, thursday I think, at lunch time, my brother called to tell me that my father had had an accident and that he went down on the mountains. When you are the son of an helicopter pilot you always wait to hear that kind of news, but after all these years I am convinced that the old man is going to pass away anywhere but in a helicopter crash. Of course he was okay and no passenger got injured in the accident. My old man is an old fox, and he knows how to handle things. He took the picture of the unfortunate helicopter himself and sent it using Whatsapp. Do you believe it?

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The next day he coordinated the rescue of the remains and, the day after that, he finished the job he was in as a copilot on another helicopter. Fourty years of flying make strange effects on people. Anyway, good for him.

I am pretty sure that my father’s guardian angel must be as exhausted as mine; that weekend I fell pretty badly on a steep hillside and broke some little pieces of the bike and hurt a little my pride. I realized then that the daredevil teenager was gone long ago and decided to take things a little easier with the bike. No pictures… no pain.

The summer season was officialy over one week before and so Carmen and I profited that everybody was back at work and we drove to the beach to make a nice Sunday promenade by the seaside, and to have a really pleasant lunch in our favorite restaurant in Viña del Mar. The best part of it was that there was almost nobody on the beach, which usually is full of thousand semi-naked, restless people shouting and throwing sand everywhere you look at; unbearable. Now the sunset was spectacular and quiet.

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But there were still more things to come, of course. While I was trying to do some progress on the Merkabah, the Africa Twin began to make some strange noises and the clutch became pretty stiff. Inadvertently I did not change the oil as recommended by the manual based on time, and so maybe something went wrong. When changing the oil some metallic micro particles showed up, aluminium particles. The bike needed to be grounded and probably major repair, and I mean major.

I got the manuals from the internet and parked the bike aside the truck. Eduardo helped me to take the engine out, which took me well three afternoons.

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The problem with old machines is that there are always some parts that need to be replaced even if they are not completely worn, but just because you have disassembled and you are already there. That was the case of the output shaft where the front sprocket sits, one of the weakest points of the design of the venerable Honda. So we decided to make a complete overhaul and make it worth the effort of disassembling the entire engine to gain access to the shaft.

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Naturally, every work on the Merkabah was suspended until new call.

But, as always happens, the big Boss had the appropriate surprise for me, with His exact timing, and the GS 650 F came back to me, after three years, without previous notice. Coincidences do not exist, you know. What exactly happened I keep to myself as it is a rather sad story involving the loss of a friendship but, in the end, I got the bike and it would be very useful while the Africa Twin was in the ICU, waiting for the complete split and the parts got delivered from Japan.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#442 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-04-16 4:15:26

Well, even if I see that this somewhat strange story, patched with odd twists and turns, does not raise much interest I still go on, hoping that someone likes to read and comment about its present and future.

I was really tired of doing other things instead of dedicating my time to the project but the Honda’s engine was already out and so Eduardo and I took it all apart to inspect and replace whatever was needed. The disassembling was worth as the engine showed little signs that it was time for some repairings. The box was perfectly good, though, and the only issue with it was the shaft. Once we changed all the timing chains, retainers, gaskets, guides, piston rings, both oil and water pumps, the main shaft and the sprocket and a couple of things more the engine would be as new.

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I ordered and paid for all the spares, packed all the engine’s pieces and left them over the bench waiting for their turn when the parts arrived in one month. Hmmm…

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The next time I grabbed the power grinder and cut the rusted edge of the cabin on the driver’s side. Even if I had done it many times there was still this uncomfortable feeling of doing something that maybe could not be ment after.

I removed three bad shaped stripes and cut some ad hoc pieces of metal. I welded them very politely with the aid of the always usefull presses and then grinded to make life easier to Edi, hoping he would return one day.

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The curved corner was a little bit more difficult but the result was good enough.

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What started as a little scarrying job ended up pretty well, but it consumed a lot of time.

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When I could go back to the shop again I addressed to the frontal portion of the mudguard where the step had been ugly welded before.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#443 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-04-16 5:41:13

I spent some time flattening out and then curving again the tricky portion and then welded another piece of metal sheet to finally cut, grind and complete the hole for the fixing bolt. It was neither as easy nor fast as it is told but in the end it was nothing more than that. Good.

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As I had been not able to take my vacations yet I felt pretty anxious for travelling, so I profited the 30th year schoolmates graduation meeting and took the GS 650 for a long ride by the coast to a town named Iloca, almost 500 km south from San Felipe. The bike had worn out tires but the spares did not arrive on time. As I did not want to go by car so I stood up for the tricky handling on rough terrain and made to it.

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Iloca, already shown on this thread, was one of the places where the 2010 tsunami stroke with biggest force and many perished. At present you cannot see any sign of the disaster and it is a celebrated place for summer vacations and also for a couple of dozens young-senior’s meeting; three days for laughing, eating, dancing, smoking, drinking, drinking, drinking and revival. Nice.

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Okay. I know. Nothing to do with the Merkabah, no. But it was a very good time. Hope you have something like these long term classmates meetings there.

As soon as I came back I explored the cabin looking for any spot of rust that needed attention; I wanted to finish and resume the work on the front axle. Of course there was half a dozen of places that needed repairing and I did it with the same technique and the same love.

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Once I patched the last one I decided that I was done with the cabin, at least for a while.

The right side steering knuckle became then the focus of interest, and the huge inferior kingpin the next part to remove.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#444 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-04-16 5:58:11

No way. Thirtyfour years of immobility and rust prevented any effort to take it out with any extractor, no matter how many cubic meters of thread loosener. I took a steel beam and welded it to the kingpin to be able to apply some torque to unstick it. No way. I hammered heavily while pulling the lever with a pretty tense string. No way. I heated it up and then cooled it down and hammered again. No way. Used many hands and longer levers. No way.

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With aching and shaking hands I took a cup of tea nicely offered by Carmen -to make me stop hammering, for sure- and sighed. Then sprayed a little more thread loosener and dropped the whole thing.

I tried then in many ways to take out the superior bush. I hoped this way I would have a chance to remove the knuckle. No way. God, I was tired.

I grabbed a chisel and after a few strikes, hard strikes, the bush began to surrender, piecemeal. I had to stop because there was an emergency and so I left, still frustrated.

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The next day, Friday, I had to change the tires as the weekend approached and wanted to go out with Carmen. It took me a while to remove the rear wheel because the axle was also pretty much stuck. Eduardo helped me and took both wheels to the man who changed the tires. The new Karoo3 looked great, but the brake pads were at their last so I ordered new ones and had to leave the bike on the stand and went to work.

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I also had to replace the rear sprocket, which showed not a single healthy tooth count. The chain and the front sprocket were new, and I really don´t know why the guy did not change both the sprockets at once.

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Saturday morning I was still frustrated and sad and did not want even to look at the kingpin, fiercely stuck despite my feelings on its regards. Hmmm… I did a little work on the cabin and then I decided to start cleaning the steering pump, covered by a mélange of dust, grease, dirt and hydraulic fluid. Sooner or later I would have to clean it for priming and painting.

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Very carefully I started to apply gasoline with a brush over the metal surfaces and angles. Eduardo approached to prevent me to do so as I could damage rubber and other sensible parts, no matter how carefull I was. He suggested me to use the hydro pump, but the idea of having another flood on the floor of the working place made me think it twice.

Then I remembered that Carmen and himself had bought some months ago a couple of steam cleaning machines, like those from the TV “call now!” commercials. I borrowed his and with a lot of patience began to melt and blow the dirt from the truck. The result was neither brilliant nor fast but it was way better than soaking everything with the hydro. Good.

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While maneuvering to apply the steam I struck my head hard against the recently repaired mudguard, twice. It still hurts.

The brake pads did not arrive from Santiago so the GS 650 stood still on the trunk, and Carmen and I made a little Sunday trip to the sea carrying our three dogs aboard the Montero. It was a great day.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#445 Beitrag von NG 1632 S » 2014-04-20 23:15:17

Hi Pairoa,

i did find your thread 2 weeks ago during surfing through the www. Till today I had must read your report more than 3 times with your your detailed
description.
Absolutely great Thread and great job what you crazy guys (Eduardo, Alejandro, Edi and all the others which I have forgot) are doing there!

I am joyful to see further that the Mercedes NG enthusiasm seems to be in more countiries than only in Germany.

It would be great to read (and view) more about your project. Of course you will do the updates only when the time (and your wife/family) it allows.

with warm regards from Germany
tudo de bom
S@scha
Dateianhänge
Mercedes-Benz NG80_1632 S.jpg

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#446 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-04-23 5:08:39

Hallo Sascha:

Many thanks. You have to be really nuts if you have read three times these pages but glad you like the story, be welcome.

The NG model was widely used in my country, especially in the south where you can still count thirty trucks if you travel the whole day long.

Unfortunately the only crazy guy that has a crush for the model is the one who subscribes; people in general use, abuse and discard any machine that happens to pass through their hands.

Yours seems to be a very nice and rare model, pretty rare at least here in Chile, 4x2, quiet powerfull truck. What do you use it for? Are you planning a wohnmobile conversion?

Kind regards.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#447 Beitrag von a90 » 2014-04-23 21:10:13

Nice to read all the progression on your truck Pairoa !

Although I have done yet so little on my truck, I recognize the enthusiasm spent working on these old steel monsters.

My wife calls it therapy and you know what ? I think she is right :happy:

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#448 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-06-09 1:04:32

Well, let’s try to update this thing.

First of all, as someone commented by PM that the tone of the last posts was a little depressing I can say that the project still goes on, with maybe a little more problems and less time to spend on it, but still going on.

Ah… yes, the kingpin, or so named sort of metal stuck piece of sh…. The pulling and the rotating method, controlled heating and then quick cooling down did not work. It did not move a millimeter.

I decided to make a more powerfull extractor as it seemed the only way to apply the huge amount of force the kingpin needed to get out, so I picked a piece of tube that used to be part of the lighting of the parking place from where I work, some pieces of the remainings of the frame from Spare, and the green Spanish hydraulic jack. I then cut, hammered and welded for a couple of hours until something like a rudimentary extractor came up.

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To have better traction I grinded a little groove on the inferior kingpin surface. I then welded a steel bar, one that came from the modified U brackets of the rear springpack. I must admit that it was very difficult for me to use the arc welder and especially to do it upward. After many burnings on the head and on the overall, I assembled the brand new extraction device and applied, little by little, traction with the jack while I warmed up the inferior arm of the axle.

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Well, after a while the welding of the steel bar broke with a big bonk! and I had to disassemble the extractor and grind it all out. I cleaned the barr and left it to Maestro Chaleco. He surely would weld it better.

A little disappointed but not beaten I turned to the next number of the things-to-do list and looked for the supports for the front sway bar, almost sunk under a pile of dust. The idea was to weld them to the inferior bracket plates of the axle but, to make them fit, I needed to grind them in an angle to pair with the one from the brackets.

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A lot of sparks later the supports were ready, or almost. To be sure I had to take out the U brackets from both sides which took me a lot of time and a lot of effort because they were pretty stuck. To make it worse, the front of the truck was standing on the front axle and it was not safe to loosen both brackets at the same time, so I had to take one bracket out turning hundreds of times the bloody heavy nuts, make the adjustments, put it back and bolt it again, and then do the same job again on the other side. Time consuming and boring thing, as it uses to be. But, as it can always be worse, I put the supports on the wrong side and had to do it all again and, after one hour, made some welding pricks to make it all fit properly and to avoid any more mistake, at least any manageable mistake.

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Anyway, when the grinding finished I thought that Maestro Chaleco would be by far better suited to weld the pieces so I left them at hand for him to work. Of course, it was the right decision and I assisted him with the welding the next afternoon, heating up the pieces to the right temperature according to him to make the perfect job. I put a late picture of the modified brackets; the penetration of the welding was really good. Hoped it would last forever. We would see.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#449 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-06-09 1:14:40

I do not remember well if it was the same day or one of the next days but I asked Chaleco to help me with the welding of the steel bar to the kingpin. It was also difficult for him but he was used to weld in pretty strange and forced positions so he was not very uncomfortable doing so.

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After welding we left the steel cool down naturally while we both did different things, his more interesting than mine, of course.

We then made a few attempts to take the kingping out but we always watched as something went wrong, like the traction bar bending under the tension and the cracking of the welding in two occasions. We reinforced the traction arms of the bar and re-welded what broke, but the kingpin did not move a fraction of a millimeter. Hmm… I was starting to have dreams with the kingpin.

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Meanwhile, the german globetrotters, Stefan and Petra Sigl, were slowly approaching from the deep south of Chile. They made a stop at my father’s on their way to San Felipe and they shared some nice moments with him and his family on the brief evening and night they spent at Melipilla. Fortunately Hermann, the 6x6 MAN KAT, fit under the pine tree of the entrance.

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At the shop, I persevered with the multi-piece extractor, but unluckily. It was not working and I started to feel a little depressed. Surely I was doing something wrong.

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Then, one day, Stefan and Petra arrived and parked in front of our house, as we and our neighbors are already used to. Hermann was quiet impressive, as were Stefan’s building skills. He worked five years on the truck after purchasing it for a ridiculous amount with only 7.000 km. on the odometer from the military. Particularly interesting was his work with PET, that was part of many of the aspects of the truck. He had thought carefully about every feature and build all for perfect order and practicality.

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Petra and Carmen shared a common crush for animals, especially for homeless dogs and they went together very well even though the obvious barrier of the language.

Stefan gave me a priceless hand and helped me with the kingpin issue. He had already been at that point so he asked me if I could get some liquid nitrogen to pour in the kingpin but I could not find a source for the little amount we needed. We then planned a different strategy and heated up the axle, more than I dared to do it before, simultaneously cooling down the pin by pouring through it ice-water at a continuous flow, while applying traction with the jack. We had to lift up a little more the axle on its jackstands and adjust some other stuff before going on. It was hell of a job.

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We also made a lot of attempts and had to modify the extractor and to re-weld broken and bent pieces before the damn kingpin started to move after a sounded crack! that echoed all over the workshop. It was a pretty good feeling when the kingpin finally went out all the way, just at the limit of the extension of the jack.

We finally removed the steering knuckle and the axle shaft followed. We wrapped the shaft in plastic film and left it on the wall for subsequent disassembling and servicing.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#450 Beitrag von pairospam » 2014-06-09 1:30:57

Soon after removing the pieces of the right side of the axle Stefan cut the recently extracted kingpin flat; that way I would not have to grind the other kingpin but only to do a much solid circular welding.

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While he played with the powergrinder I removed the superior bushing, something I left unfinished some days before. Good. I then reinforced the weldings of the extraction device.

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We moved to the copilot side of the truck and deployed the same effort and smartness (?!) and repeated each step, except for the use of the ice-water as there was no way of letting it go through the pin. We heated the axle up and made an attempt of extraction but the kingpin broke just at the limits of the welding under the tremendous tension force.

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Profiting that the welding broke Stefan insisted in taking the steering knuckle out, something I could not do by myself though I tried many times before. But two heads and four hands can do much more and after a few minutes and some drops of sweat the heavy piece was kneeling on the floor, together with its contralateral partner and both front axle shafts. Excellent!

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But it was late, so we made a little order and left, leaving the axle cooling down slowly and waiting for the next attempt.

The next day we repeated the trials but this time we applied a couple extra tonnes of force with a mechanical jack profiting the extra space gained by removing the knucle. Maybe it was of no meaning but anything was worth the try. And Stefan started to heat the axle up while I kept low the temperature of the kingping with a controlled amount of water. A few minutes later the jack was under a few centimeters of water inside the jerrycan put to avoid flooding the floor under under the truck.

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If it had been for me I would have desisted because I was afraid of heating too much the axle, but Stefan continued heating and applying force with the jack, until suddenly there was a big cracking sound. That was it; the kingpin finally was loose. His look tells everything, as saying: I knew it would eventually give up. Not a problem at all!

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A few more efforts and the kingpin was out. I made a final picture of the piece and all the welding and reinforcing that had to be done to arrive to that point and a terrible picture of the team that made it. Many thanks, Stefan.

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As I was a little worried about the excess heating and the forces applied to the axle I consulted to a couple of guys with a lot of experience and they told me that letting the axle cool down slowly it should not be a problem.

I put everything back in order and went home very, very happy. Now I had to think about the best method for putting the new kingpins in, among a hundred of other considerations.

During the weekend Stefan and I wandered around and finally came to a neighbor that owned a property right at the turn of the corner that still was not built and that was perfectly suited for Stefan’s truck. That way he and Petra could be safe and in no way disturb the residents with the bulk of the truck, moreover, it will be a perfect place for another expedition truck that was about to arrive and that needed to do some electric work on.

The property was big enough for a dozen trucks like Hermann, and Mandu the dog was free for running all over the place. Good.

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