Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#601 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-17 17:49:31

Well, hello to everybody again. It’s been a while since my last words here. I have been busy, and I have been pretty much entertained, not only with the Merkabah though. Please, don’t have great expectations.

A new year came, and I did not see it coming. I am 49 now, and the project still goes on, with no expiring date as usual. Maybe this year I will be able to make the truck move with its own power.

A couple of decisions has been made: the living cabin will be assembled by my father in Melipilla, where the old man lives, and he will also build the interior. He has to build an ad hoc shed to do the job and it will be used for his own business later on. The cabin will be repaired and prepared for painting by a third guy and I will paint it. Unfortunately I have not found a person to do the job at a human price yet.

When I stopped posting, some months ago, the Merkabah was on one of the many points of the project where things just go nowhere, go wrong or become extremely difficult on the go, and no big progress could be attained without struggling hard against some invisible enemy that wants at all cost discourage you. Since then I have made just a few little things, as you will see, but at least I have done something.

The washers of the hubs of the front axle had to be replaced because they were unusable, and even if there were some attempts to fabricate them I could find no person nor company to trust to do the job and make it last. They were then ordered in Germany to be shipped to Chile and they surely were on their way.

The roller bearings of the front axle were a special measure, impossible to find in Chile, and the dealer of SKF found a couple of them in stock in Belgium. I asked the guys to import the bearings and it was only a matter of time for them to arrive, or so I hoped.

I was tired, and I needed my vacations, the long and healthy ones. Now that I am old I have six weeks of holydays per year, and four had been left to take, and it seemed the right moment to go on another nice and long trip.

I dedicated some days to tune up and prepare the old Montero. I asked Franz, an old chilean/german guy to fix the air conditioning and asked for a replacement of the compressor. A new one was impossible to find so I bought a used one on the internet. It was okay according to Franz, so we worked hard to get it ready before the departure, actually, the day before the departure, but it failed due to a defective bearing so I had to disconnect it all and to forget about cold air during the trip.

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The same afternoon, the washers for the front axle and for the spring saddles of the bogie arrived from Germany, thanks again to the efforts and priceless help of our friend Klaus. At least I was leaving with good news for the return. I decided to change all the washers not to have to complain for the oil leaks any more.

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The Africa Twin took place between the frame and the tires of the Merkabah, waiting for my return, and the next day, November 10th, with the Montero loaded to the top, we departed heading south, to as far as we could go.

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We took more than 6.000 pictures (half of them failed, of course) and drove 8.500 km arriving to Ushuaia and back to San Felipe. Niiiice trip. You will be able to read more, if you are interested, somewhere in time in the Lagerfeur thread.

At our arrival, one month later, everyone was waiting for us to resume our respective jobs and so we dedicated a few days to keep up. As soon as I was able to work on the truck I asked for help and Tito aided me to remove the rear springpacks. The roller bearings for the front axle still were on their way from Belgium so I focused on the bogie. I then took out the spring saddles.

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I never expected to do it again the last time I closed the cap. Christ, what an idiot I was! I should have changed it all when I had the chance to do it so long ago. Anyway, ruining is just one of the many methods to learn.

I realized, sadly, that the new gasket of the left side central console was broken in pieces, like if it had dried up, hardened and spontaneously disintegrated. I would have to think on a replacement.

When I was manipulating the spring saddles to clean them from all the oil, I made the classic little mistake and hurt my back, just a little, but enough to stay in moderate pain for a few days. I was extremely cautious from then on.

In the meantime, my father had a very busy time flying and landing in quiet impressive places. Look how close to the ground the main brotor blade is. As I said before, he is a little nuts… but he is my personal hero… and the best pilot in the world. He was charged with the task of building the living cabin, but he was always extremely busy and that was making me to give it a second thought.

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The next step involved the removal of the inner roller bearings of the central console of the rear spring. The bearings were not in bad shape but, sadly, to replace the worn thrust washer I had to take them out and the fastest way to do it was to destroy them with the powergrinder and my own hands. I hated myself for doing that, but I had no choice. I only did that when I finally had in my hands the spare bearings, of course.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#602 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-17 19:10:20

When done, I removed the old and damaged thrust washers, and the left side one was very rusty as you may remember. It was not an easy task, and it was not fast at all, paying attention not to damage the central console or whatever its name is.

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After removing the pieces I had to clean it all again from oil and rust. It was long ago that I had worked on the truck as happy as I was then, pushed by the energies I found elsewhere during my holidays, but still the progresses were slower than I wanted.

Needless to say that the roller bearings were also special and pretty expensive, and that the sellers took their time to send them to San Felipe, via the more expensive courier, and, of course, that they sent the wrong outer bearings the first time. I sent them back (with the same courier) and proceeded, waiting for the right ones to arrive at some moment in the near future.

That weekend I convinced Eduardo to go to the beach and neither his wife nor Carmen were keen on accompanying us, so we took the bikes and made the classic macho-partner trip and enjoyed the roads by ourselves. It was a nice journey and we ate a pretty nice fish in the classic restaurant over the fishermen’s cove.

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Some days later I went to finish the job and fabricated the seal ring that went on the inner part of the thrust washers, from a stripe of rubber I bought ad hoc. Then I installed the thrust washers and the new inner roller bearings on the central console with the aid of a little heat and the medium sized sledge hammer. The new pieces shone bright in the afternoon glow and I felt very satisfied. Just accomplishing such little tasks made me feel pretty good.

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As it was pretty hot and dusty – remember we are in full summer- and each time the wind blew there were many kilos of dust coming through the doors of the shop, I had to cover all with plastic film to keep things clean, especially the bearings.

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Next things to do: to remove the races of the discarded tapered roller bearings from the saddles. I welded some pieces of steel to them and made a vain attempt to protect the oil retainers from being damaged by the sparks. No way. I had to order a new set of them and removed the burned retainers, with no use at all. Hmm…

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Gently hammering on the steel pieces made the races come out smoothly and I profited of the heating of the saddles to install the races of the new inner roller bearings, but as it was Christmas’ eve we all at the workshop stopped working early and made a little celebration, with the classical barbecue, and then went home.

I would have to wait until the new oil retainers arrived before ending the job, anyway.

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The year 2015 was coming to an end so I made a little order among the chaos surrounding the Merkabah hoping it would last a little. The new external roller bearings waited for being installed, with no complaining.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#603 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-17 19:18:52

Watching all the bearings, the races and the washers discarded made me feel bad for a while. Maybe this mad love for steel pieces and parts played tricks on me, but at least the Merkabah would run as it was supposed to run… finally.

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And the 2016 arrived, pretty well celebrated with Eduardo's family, and I felt the urgence in my guts to go out for a ride. Carmen preferred to stay at home that long weekend, a little tired because of the recent trip and also because she missed a lot the family, nephews and close parents. My Steppenwolf nature, though, made me take the Africa Twin and ride across the myriad of beautiful interior valleys of central Chile heading for Pisco Elqui, a nice place where wineyards are grown high on the mountains, some 600 km away from San Felipe to the north. The best pisco, typical chilean alcoholic distillated beverage, comes from that valley.

Just a few pictures of the beautiful landscapes I went through. In this season of the year they are dry and hot, but magnificent nonetheless. The ride was great, though I had some problems with the battery and the sidestand switch of the old bike. She was acting a little weird since I started to think, seriously, on buying the new Africa Twin 2016. I was aware that she could become a little jealous, but I trusted her so much that I rode with her anyway. I would never sell her, and she knew it.

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The day after my departure I arrived to Vicuña, the place of René and Karen Larraguibel and their beloved Terral wohnmobil, and met them for lunch. Luca had become a capital part of the family.

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After eating and laughing a lot I got again the bike and reached my primary destiny, Pisco Elqui, a nice little town in between steep mountainsides, but it was unbearably hot and full of tourists and visitors. I bought a couple of bottles of very fine pisco for Karen and René and then took the less visited route following the little river Cochiguaz upstream and rode until I was not able to continue. I feared that the rustic bridge would not stand the combined weight of me and the bike.

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At the parking of René’s hotel, Terral the truck was waiting for the modifications that the couple had been planning during the first part of their trip finished a few weeks before. They wanted to change a lot of things, including stretching the windows, resize the dining room, etc. The truck showed many rust spots here and there but the frame was intact. Remember that it stood in 1 meter of sea water, stuck in a beach in northern Brazil. I thought it would be worse.

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I stayed the night at the hotel after a nice barbecue evening at the Larraguibel’s. It was a good evening and the wine and the lamb were fantastic.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#604 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-17 19:29:11

At the parking there was also a very fine 4x4 Mercedes NG, pretty well fitted, pretty robust, with a lot of practical solutions for many issues regarding the expeditionary way of life. The swiss couple, Lisbeth and Leo, were very warm and showed me many of the features of the truck. They were very enchanting and I stayed more than I wanted chating with them the next morning before departing back to San Felipe, via the highway this time.

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I rode by the sea heading back south against the strong winds at high speed and the consumption was consequently horrendous, but I was back at home before six in the afternoon, including a brief stop for lunch with a couple of cookies and a yoghurt. All the restaurants and the gas stations by the highway were full of people and I do not like aglomerations, as you would have already guessed.

Monday in the afternoon, the first monday of 2016, I got from the craftsman next door a piece of felt that he uses for fabricating the felt hats he is famous for, and, with a pair of scissors, I made up the brand new gasket for the central bearing console. Great. It fitted perfectly and, soaked in grease, it was almost like the original one, if not better… modestly speaking.

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The spare retainers had arrived early in the morning and just after finishing the gaskets I put them on the spring saddles. When the saddles were ready I asked Sebastian, Eduardo’s oldest son, to help me to install them on the console. Usually I would have done it myself with no help at all, but my backache was menacing with future near visits if I did not watch out for it.

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I put the external bearings and torqued them with the workshop-made big wrench. A few times I had thought of getting rid of it, ops. Swinging of the spring saddles was smooth and uninterrupted, great feeling. I did not trust the paper gaskets, even if they were the original ones, so I put the covers using silicone gasket instead. Right decision… I hoped. You can’t image how bad I wanted not to have any leaks again.

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Soon after, Tito helped me again to put the damn heavy springpacks back on the saddles, pretty difficult maneuver because of the brutal weight and the required movements to fit the springpacks on both axles and the central bolt in its place in the saddle. Anyway, we did it, with a little help from Eduardo.

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All in all, it took almost three weeks just to change the washers of the bogie. Pretty much, hmm…

a90
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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#605 Beitrag von a90 » 2016-01-17 21:52:42

Nice writeup, thanks !

ps. Liesbeth and Leo looks like typical Dutch people (also their names)

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#606 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-17 23:12:58

Yes, they were atypical in every sense, for being swiss people.

I wish them well.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#607 Beitrag von thjakits » 2016-01-19 19:12:34

Hey Pairo,

how are you today!

1st - AWESOME!! I wish I had your stamina and willpower to see this through!

2nd - I usually DON'T complain about forum members projects, at the end it is your (their) project and not mine, you do what you want to do.
That said, I'd like to ask, if you did research your front-axle lift, namely the spacer blocks you are using at this point....

a) Personally I NEVER saw any spacer blocks on a DRIVEN axle on a factory set-up (...though I did on non-drive axles, and those have to sustain torque/twist forces just the same when braking...)

b) Going to a smaller size - when lifting a regular pickup truck or SUV with a solid front axle - lift blocks are frowned upon, though they use them quite often with the rear axle - maybe there is concerns because the front is also the steering axle....

c) How about you try to find a shop that can professionally re-arch leaf springs?? If you split the needed lift height between a re-arch and longer shackles you should get there fine without needing lift-blocks.....


DON'T give up now!! You are 85% there, only 95% to go!! 3:) :p


Cheers,

thjakits

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#608 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-19 22:46:25

Hello, thjakits:

Well... precisely yesterday I was taking a look at the front axle setting and I found, for the thousandth time, that I am not totally convinced of the block/spacer issue, though I know it should work fine.

As you said, blocks can be seen on non-driven front axles, and they sustain the same twitching and axial stresses than the rear axles, if not more. I took the practical idea from the wrecked NG mid-sunken in the sand of the Aconcagua riverbed. It used factory blocks, but blocks in the end, and the U brackets and the supports were thinner than those from the Merkabah, as you may see.

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Moreover, my truck would run with far less weight than the MGVW, so it seemed a good idea, and concerns were referred to the strenght of the block itself, the strenght of the U brackets, and to the indemnity of the spring leaves. The overall "height" or distance between the superior leaf and the axle has been preserved; this is not a lifting. Maybe this is all the difference.

Yet, yours is a pretty acute and clever comment, and I will, again, make some expert to have a look and I will listen carefully to what he has to say... and gently ignore him, he, he.

On the other hand, I write here precisely to know if someone has something to comment about what I am doing with my truck. I am an amateur and I learn as I do/screw things up. I really like when someone criticize my work with a propositive and helping heart.

Thanks for caring.


Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#609 Beitrag von thjakits » 2016-01-20 1:44:32

Hi Peiro .....again,

considering the lift blocks - have a close look at the one pic you posted of the truck in the river bed and pics from your rig BEFORE you removed a load of leafs! - :

ANY torque movement of the axle was/is translated into the first leaf from the axle out - short leaf, spreading it to the next leaf, that one spreading it again, and so on - basically like a inverted pyramid. The twisting movement and moment gets spread along the spring leafs and pretty much "disappears" towards the ends of the longer spring leafs.

What you actively did is remove the bottom of the inverted pyramid (or the tip to be clear...), you can visualize that any twisting movement now "pinches" the first leaf, which is now a very long one at a point very close to the axle (where the lift block touches the leaf), with the distance of the axle center made "worse" by the lift block it stresses the spring leaf quite a bit more than it was before with the pyramid pack, which by its stiffness already eliminated a lot of twisting.

Probably the pinching on the leafs is of no concern, but now the springs WILL wind up a LOT more than before, which - no doubt - will introduce a lot more bending, when that happens....

- Are there any track arms on the axle or are the springs the only track-guide it gets??
[IF you have track arms, I guess the blocks are of no negative consequence, as the track arms will positively locate the axle and the spring does only springing - if you don't have track arms .....well, I guess you'll find out!!]

You are certainly capable of making tough shackles, IF you can find someone who can re-arch your springs...
Maybe you can even find a complete air-front suspension, that for sure would be track-arm/bar located, as air-bags CERTAINLY don't do anything but spring stuff! :totlach:

Are there any TRUCK junk yards in Chile??

Cheers,

thjakits

PS: Best Regards to your dad - from one rotorhead to another! :D

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#610 Beitrag von thjakits » 2016-01-20 2:01:14

...and me again! :cool:

I have NO idea about the axle dimensions on your rig, so if the following seems to far removed from reality......

Is there any chance you could adapt the mounting plates like the rear axle ones to the front??
Basically copying the real axle location arms - one on top of the differential or the outer ones below the axle where the spring packs are - and then build yourself really long track arms (...you need to figure out the HOW the axles would move unloaded through a circle, guided by the springs only and then locate the track arm accordingly - I think a single center-arm on top of the diff, IF you have the space for that - just like the ones on the rear axles, would do the trick....

'nough said,

thjakits :cool:

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#611 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-01-20 6:50:44

Hello again thjakits:

What you say about how the torsional forces that affect the spring leaf in direct contact with the spacer block is easy to understand and THAT is my greatest concern too.

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Arching the leaves can be a good solution, diminishing the need for a higher block or supressing it completely depending on how the leaves would perform. The expert should know better.

There are no tracking arms, the springpacks have to be strong enough to do both springing and standing the multiple other vectorial and torsional forces. I thought about putting an air spring system with five point tracking arms, but that was before finding the Merkabah. It looked simpler since then.

Also, there will actually be a helping air spring, so the leafspring will not wind up a lot more than before.

Maybe this story is too long, but if you go back in time there have been many wrecked trucks that actually contributed with parts and pieces to the Merkabah because I have found them around and insisted on making the owners sell them to me.

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The only truck that I took pieces from and actually was on a regular junk yard was this.

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And I have shown quiet a few of the many truck junk yards that I have visited since the beginning of the feast, some very fine (and expensive!), some others better to forget about.

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Thanks again for your comments. There is always something to give a second and a third thought.

Pairoa

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#612 Beitrag von fredrikarnell » 2016-01-22 18:44:34

Hi Pairoa and thjakts,

Just to give some more input - there are certainly trucks with front spacer blocks directly from Mercedes. E.g. the firetrucks MB 1222 AF comes with front spacers and the lower leaf spans the entire length of the spring pack. However these are parabel springs, so each leaf is much much thicker than each leaf in a trapezoid spring pack, so a direct comparison is difficult.

I have also seen people having done the same as you Pairoa, where they have removed the shorter spring elements of the trapezoid spring pack for increased comfort, and having broken the springs as a consequence. I believe there is one example here on the forum with the MB 1935 AK from Austria by Oliver (maybe some-one has a link to that story?). Not to say that this will happpen in your case, there are too many variables at play to estimate this without a complete FEM simulation of the system.

Take care.
Dateianhänge
Front spring spacer block.
Front spring spacer block.

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Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#613 Beitrag von JStefan » 2016-02-03 23:27:08

After a Long Time without reading this thread, knowing the place in reality, knowing the guy who do all that....
Pairoa if I wear a Hat I put it down for you. I'm sure your father will also do a great job in his garden.

Keep on going and a hug to Carmen
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

#614 Beitrag von JRHeld » 2016-02-04 13:41:29

Dear Pairospam,
I dont know if it matters for the over all topic "lift blocks"

However you missed in your sketch the moment introduced by the Break.

Essentially you are extending the lever arm between contact point between tire and road and the connection to the spring package. The bending moment produced in this way has to be supported by your leaf spring package.
The bending momen introduced by this into the leaf springs growes linearly with the distance...

Best Regards
Jakob
Ich bin krank,
ich hab die Schrauberitis...

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#615 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-23 23:42:33

I go on, again. Thanks for the words Jakob, Stefan and Fredrik.

Please: patience.

My colleague went out for holidays, three weeks that I hoped he would fully enjoy, as I always try to do. He is older than me, but my contract is older and so I have more holidays, he, he. Anyway, the regular work became a little harder and the time left for working on the truck diminished.

I decided to continue and finish with everything that was left in the rear part of the truck so I grabbed the covers of the hubs and one by one cleaned them and put them in its place. I used not the hand-cut gasket I made some time before because I preferred to use the silicone gasket. Again, hope it was a good choice.

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When I was in the middle of that, the seats for the Montero arrived, directly from Punta Arenas. Well, to make a short story, I bought “new” seats for the Montero from a scrapped one when I was in the middle of the trip to the deep south. The original seats were at the limits of their forces and something had to be done. A friend of mine who lives there took the job of going to customs and send them by bus, and here they were. The old front seats would be reconditioned and installed in the Merkabah. The model is pretty comfortable and it is worth a try to see if they are good enough for the road on the big ship. If not… ISRI then.

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Once all the covers were in place I digged in the dirt under the ladder and found the buckets of 80/90 transmission oil I bought… who remembers when. Then, patiently, I filled the hubs and the spring saddles with lots of liters of oil. The little 1978 manual for Mercedes trucks given to me by a member of the forum was, again, very helpful with the many references to torque settings and oil capacities of the Merkabah.

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As I was commited with the oil issue, I went out to buy new plugs for the axles. Easy and irrelevant, if it was a normal day at normal business time, but it was late Saturday so I spent a lot of time searching for them.

I adapted things to the best for filling up the differential housings, but it was very uncomfortable in between the struts and the supports, and slow, particularly the middle axle. My back protested a little but stood, and there was a little miscalculation with the amount of oil needed so there was not enough for the gearbox. I smiled, satisfied though, and went home.

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But, underestimating the nature of the genre of the bike is a bad idea. The Africa Twin was really jealous. I descended to open the gate of the house and I smelled a very acute odor of burning plastic. I had a fire, with plenty of smoke coming from under the seat.

In a few words, the socket plug I replaced two and a half years ago, shortcircuited, melted and caught fire, just the day before I had booked an appointment to test a Yamaha Super Teneré 1200. Hmm… Two days before I had replaced the battery, dead for sure, and the following day Eduardo and I would have checked the whole electrical system to find where the problem was.

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I parked the bike and let her stay quiet and inmobile on her centerstand for a couple of days before addressing the problem. Of course, I decided not to insist in buying another motorcycle. She, the old Honda, will die with me… or I will die on her, but bigamy was not allowed.

Sticking to the plan of finishing all the tasks left unconcluded in the rear part of the truck, I rescued from the oblivion the hemi-cardan shaft that goes from the third to the second axle. I had to clean it very well from oil and dirt, even if it was wrapped in plastic film.

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Following, I took the brake chambers, also covered by dust and packaging oil, and carefully cleaned them with cloths and solvents, taking care not to damage the plastic and rubber parts.

That day I just got to finish three of them and wrapped all with the famous plastic film to keep them clean. Boring, not quiet echological, but necessary.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#616 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-23 23:55:30

Eduardo wanted me not to repair the bike again, so he came home and I assisted him to do the hardest part. I did not protest. He welded and covered the wires pretty strongly and I cleaned the mess that the fire and the smoke did to the other plugs and connectors. Looked pretty good in the end.

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Well, I continued with the cleaning of the pieces left here and there and realized that I was trying to do it all, again, at the same time. So, I left the longer front shaft and grabbed the shorter shaft, that links the engine with the gearbox, and cleaned it up for good. It was already primed so it was just a matter of applying paint on it. The brake chambers needed neither to be primed, thank God.

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As soon as I could, I hung the pieces from the roof on the attic, that was like an actual oven, and sprayed them with large amounts of grey polyurethane paint. I also painted the air pipes that were hanging there for months, but I had to sand and clean them from new formed rust and dirt first.

Damn heat… I finished soaked in sweat and almost suffocating. There was not a single drip, though. Good.

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As I would not be able to put the air chambers until the paint was hard, I continued with the idea of making up the diesel tank supports. I chose the best looking ones I got from the scrapped trucks the project had known until then, and worked a couple of hours with the putty knife, the grinder, the powerdrill and lots of sand paper to leave it in acceptable shape for painting.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#617 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 3:15:50

At a given moment I stopped and borrowed from Jaime next door his fine battery charger, again, and put the deep cycle batteries in charge, all of them, exactly six months after the last charge, just by the book. Yes, I was a little tired after all that sanding, and I had just finished one of the two supports.

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Before going home I studied the issue of the front brake drums, that needed to be drilled with the same pattern of the discarded drums, or so I thought. After marking I would have to take them to Verardo’s shop; I wanted not to drill any more holes this time.

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A couple of days later the new bucket of oil for the gearbox arrived. It was another brand but still the top of the line, according to Eduardo so it was okay. I began with the positioning of the auxiliary stands for the supports, and after a while I realized that they needed to be primed before welding. As I was a little sensitive those days I used an industrial canned primer instead of preparing the usual catalized primer. I wanted to go on, for Christ’s sake!

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When both supports were complete, welded and ready for priming and painting, they went up in the attic to wait for their turn.

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Following, I took the oil drain plug out of the gearbox and, a nasty surprise: the oil was not liquid but a mix of crude and mud that hardly came out by itself. I had to help myself with a piece of wire to take it all out, almost naused. Trully disgusting.

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I filled the gearbox up with the profumed fresh oil, hoping I had removed all the dirt, and put the filling plug in. I was done with the oil issue except for the front hubs. Good too.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#618 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 5:22:59

The paint of the brake chambers was already dry and hard, so I took them from the attic and bolted them to their supports on the frame. They looked pretty well, and all fitted perfectly.

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Then I took the cardan tube and aligned it with the splined slip yoke of the rear shaft. It was pretty uncomfortable and difficult to turn a few degrees at a time all the ten nuts, and my back ached a little. Damn bones!

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Following, to finish with the shafts, I bolted the front cardan shaft to connect the engine with the gearbox. I realized that one of the bolts of the rear flange was lacking, and another one was not original, so only two of them were the proper ones, and all the torque of the engine depended on them. Hmm… I went out to see if there were replacements all around but couldn’t find them. Only in Santiago, they said, or get them as spares. The Mercedes dealer and some other specialists did not sell them as spares neither. I sighed and started the engine with those three bolts that were left.

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I have to say that it was the most difficult start of the mighty V8 so far, probably due to the long time elapsed since the last run, and probably because the gear box, now connected to the engine, was a little hard to move after almost five years of inmobility. Some of the chocolate/oil remained there also, making things more difficult for the engine.

Anyway, it is a Mercedes, an old one, so no matter what it started and I left it run for half an hour. The gearbox did not make a sound, and the gears spinned gracefully inside.

As I wanted to put the diesel tank on I looked for the straps and took them to the cleaning treatment. The bolts were of no use at all, and I looked for replacements in the old-bolts/nuts/washers-box. I found a couple of bolts that belonged once to the PTO, cut and then welded them to the straps. That was easy, but one of the dowel pins was lacking and the other was practically part of the strap, so I had to destroy it and finally remove the remains off the strap. Not so complicated things but time consuming ones.

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Next act, clean for good all the elements to prime and hang them from the roof in the attic. It was very hot up there, as usual in the middle of the summer, so good for the paint but not for the painter.

I washprimed the parts that were clean to the steel, then primed it all, including the long and hard-to-handle front shaft, with which I had to make some wiring arrangement to expose correctly all its aspects for priming and painting one time for all.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#619 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 5:42:25

Standing, apparently inert and already primed, the 40 liter air tanks observed quietly how their turn was getting closer and closer.

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Some days passed, if I remember well, and when I went again to the shop I made some room, every time more scarse, and put the big 500 liter diesel tank on the trestles. Big piece of… steel. The untimely lock was still in place after all this time.

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The tank needed also beauty treatment before painting so, before starting with it, I prepared more grey paint and went up to finish with the painting of the parts recently primed that hung at the attic. I sprayed many hands of paint, thinking that all the surfaces would be covered by kilometric-deep layers of paint. Nope, of course. I discovered later that there were many unpainted spots.

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To avoid sending tons of pulverized rust an old paint to the atmosphere I decided to use the putty knife to remove the most garbage from the surface of the tank I could remove before using the power tools. It was a good exercise, for both the muscle and the patience.

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When the grey paint was dry I took the painted parts out and hung the air tanks to paint them also. They were pretty dirty though, and I had to wash them thoroughly with water and soap, taking care of not to spread water over the wooden floor of the attic. A piece of plastic sheet from the last gritblasting chamber helped out with the labor, but it was a mess and it took me a whole afternoon. I ran out of time and was not able to paint that same day. I left it all prepared for the next session, including the parts that needed another hand of grey paint, and went home.

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But, before I could take the paint gun again, the famous bearings arrived from Belgium. Ah, the next image is the nearest to glory! Finally I had all the pieces for assembling the front wheel hubs.

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Eduardo called me out and showed me an old Mercedes truck that he had assembled and repaired many, many years ago. The ancient 4x4 still worked, harvesting avocados from the hills, and just by chance parked in front of the workshop.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#620 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 5:57:15

I did all the preparations and, following one by one the instructions of the assembling manual, I put all the pieces together. They shone, inmaculate, and I felt pretty, pretty well.

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Once finished, both sides, I prepared more paint and sprayed the air tanks and the long cardan shaft that still needed more paint here and there.

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At one of the places I work, they were replacing some equipment, and I noted a pile of cables lying aside the old CT scan. Thick, well insulated, high quality copper cables. Hmm… interesting. I did my job and went home, with an idea.

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I had been working pretty hard those days, regular work and at the workshop. The usual image when I came home was the sunset; time and days flew. But I was happy, though. There were finally progresses, visible progresses on the project.

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We had visitors those days. Rachel and Patrice, truck travellers from France showed up, preceeded by the many raccomendations of Petra and Stefan Siegler. They were pretty friendly and kind and we had a very pleasant time with them. Bouboule, their magnificent MAN 4x4, was pretty nice and well constructed. Unfortunately they have had not luck with the local servicing of the truck but Eduardo fixed all the wrong things regarding mechanics. They stayed more than they had planned, but this is almost a rule by now.

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I devoted myself, when possible, to finish the assembling of the front hubs, and I was pretty gratefull for having all the pieces for that. I installed the new retainers of the wheel hub, the brake shoe holders, the brake shoes and finally put the bell hub in place.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#621 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 6:05:06

When I put on the outer bearing I thought: That’s it! But after putting the outer planetary gear carrier I realized that I needed a better and safer method to tighten the grooved nut than simply hitting it with a chisel. Damn… I wanted not to disassemble these things… ever. I needed the special grooved wrench to torque the nuts, and I asked if somebody had one, everywhere, and the answer was no.

A little disappointed I wrapped, again, the incomplete hubs in plastic film to prevent them to collect dust and left, leaving the problem for the next working session.

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Bouboule made quiet a few visits to the workshop, and the last one was for fixing the air conditioning of the living cabin. It was pretty hot and Patrice and Rachel had made install the system in Brazil some months ago, and one good day it was dead. Our friend Franz, the expert on the matter, fixed the problem after digging a lot to find the right spot where there was a leak, and the French guys were very happy for that.

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I was busy myself, finally applying some powertools on the big diesel tank, throwing less than expected clouds of dust to the air thanks to the previous putty knife job, and the result was quiet nice.

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The french met the Merkabah and they liked very much the job I was doing, even if their looks told, as usual, “this guy is crazy”.

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Chating with Patrice, which I liked pretty much because he is is very fine guy and I love to practice my French, an old problematic subject came afloat again: the antitorsion system for the Box. If I wanted to build the five-point pivot system I had designed, I should have to finish the assembling of the truck or at least the frame, take it out to perform torsion tests to ascertain the longitudinal torsional axial height to build the system upon, and that could take a lot of time. Moreover, the Box needed to be assembled on a base panel that had to be made with a steel frame in accordance with the design of the antitorsion system. So, no truck, no base panel, no Box.

Patrice insisted, like many others, that a simple over-chassis would do the job quiet simply, fixing the Box on top to the rear part of the frame of the truck and leaving the front part to elastic joints. I gave it another thought, took one of the air tanks to be sure of the height required and, later at home, I changed for good the design of the system. Simpler, easier to build, and no need to wait for finishing anything else. The drawings are not finished, but they are pretty close to the idea.

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The travellers departed and we made promises of meeting again somewhere in the world. Who knows. I really liked the guys.

I consulted every Mercedes body builder manual available on the net and some others that I had got along many years of research, looked for information on the steel properties and particularities and finally came up with a clear idea of what I needed. I decided to ask Verardo, my friend that owns the machineshop, to know his opinion about that idea, though.

In the meantime, I talked to the one in charge of replacing the X rays equipment at work and, to make the story short, all the many meters of medical standard electric cables ended up in the cabin of the Merkabah. There were many kinds of them, and surely they will be well used in a near future. Well… near… just to say.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#622 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-24 6:18:51

While I had all these considerations turning and turning round and round on my mind, I finished the cleaning of the diesel tank. It was quiet a long process, dealing with the protests of the people working at the office, with the heat, and with Eduardo’s scolding for the dust that affected the assembling of parts and engines at the shop.

I closed the holes of the tank by simply covering them with masking tape and covered the surroundings of the tank with the old and recycled plastic sleeves, not to protect things from being painted accidentally, but to cover the dust already settled from being thrown in the air when spraying the paint. The dry and hot midsummer wind carried tons of dust every day and it was useless to fight against it.

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That Saturday morning, working alone, gates closed, I washprimed and then primed the tank with lots of hands of primer. If it wasn’t for the heat it would have been a perfect working day.

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Monday… again. I went to Verardo’s machine shop and had a long chat with him regarding the subframe of the Box. He would help me with the bending of the big U beams and with whatever I could need. Pimentel, his finest turner, had finished the grooved socket wrench I ordered the previous week, and I took it to the shop, anxious to finish the assembling of the hubs.

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Pimentel did a very good job and the tool fitted pretty well with the grooved nut, but life is hard, though, and when I tried to apply the torque wrench I realized that they had welded a 18 mm nut instead of a 32 mm nut and… who the hell has a 18 mm ¾ socket wrench? I had to go out again and buy the proper socket to apply the necessary torque, hoping it didn’t break.

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Well, it did not break, even under monstruous 550 Newton-meters. I was happy, and I went on and installed the bell hub on both sides. It all looked perfect, but I could not find the little sliding block that was supposed to be at the top of the shaft of the right steering knuckle. I started the search for it and opened practically every box all around the truck. Manuela, Carmen’s favourite niece, was pretty amused looking at me searching like a fool something she did not know what it was. When I explained her that I would not be able to close the hub without that tiny piece of steel she told me that I was really funny, and laughed at my desperation. What was I going to do? I laughed with her.

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It was late when I ended the search for the sliding block, and I put the cover of the bell hub to protect it from the dust. It looked pretty well, closed and almost finished, but Christ… I really wanted to finish the front axle issue for good.

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You thought that I had forgotten the issue of the lift blocks? No Sirrrr…! A few days after discussing the matter, the expert in spring packs and suspensions made a visit to the Merkabah. He examined the work I had done with the suspension and was quiet impressed with the overall looking of it. He considered that the lift blocks, the angles, the levers and all of it were okay, but when he got closer to the blocks he frowned and asked what were they made of. I told him that from pieces of spring leaves, feeling that I had done something terrible. He sensed my feelings and smiled, but he strongly recommended to build new blocks with the proper steel, because no matter how good was I as a welder (hmm…) the blocks would eventually crack under the pressure and the vibrations. “If you do not want to replace these right now… take the proper ones with you… just in case”. And that was it.

So, I was right… but I was wrong. I guess I made the right decision: took some measurements and ordered the pieces for new lift blocks to be cut by Verardo in the proper steel. I changed the front and aft angles of the block to increase the supporting area and to reduce the lever to be applied to the spring pack and profited to shorten the height in 10 mm. I would replace the blocks right away.

Verardo’s cutter was ill, and only when he returned did the job. I went to pick up the pieces that the top box of the Africa Twin fairly stood and brang them to the shop. They were made of heavy 18 mm steel, and I spent a couple of hours or more at bevelling the edges in preparation for the welding. Half a tone of steel grit lay on the floor and half a kilo covered my right arm after that.

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Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#623 Beitrag von JStefan » 2016-02-24 19:38:17

Pairoa, its a pleasure looking at the project. The end apears on the horizont.. I was quite sure that you liked your guests.... Nice guys indeed.
Take care and don't loose patience
Stefan
Zuletzt geändert von JStefan am 2016-02-25 18:01:01, insgesamt 1-mal geändert.
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

#624 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-25 3:54:49

Dear Señor!

I will not loose my patience, don't be affraid. Thanks for sending your friends.

Well, putting the pieces together for welding was another little battle, fighting against wrong angles and not so straight cuts, and consumed a lot of time also. When I thought I was ready I realized that the leather apron was completely inappropriate for the welding job and went out to buy a proper coat. Actually, Carmen pointed out that the old and burnt out apron was a mess and that she would kick me in the buttocks if I ever used it again… but that was off the record.

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I returned from the welding store with my shining new welding coat, smelling like an old and diseased goat and looking like a if I was a contender of Master Chef. I set all the things up for welding and made some sparks when, suddenly, there was no more wire. Christ, after five years the reel had come to the end!

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Had to wait for the store to open again after lunch to buy a new reel, and then to wait for Eduardo to borrow the truck to take it to the shop. It was too much for the poor Africa Twin this time.

When I finally could use the welder it was already late and I had the time just enough to make some stitches and left the serious welding for the day after. On the way home, to take a most needed shower before going to work, I passed by the turner and picked the sliding blocks. There were many items to complete, and that was really good.

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Working alone again, that Saturday was especially hot, and welding was a torture. I made some attempts to weld with the 70/18 electrodes but I could not find the right Amperes nor the proper technique so I gave up after a few tries and experimented with the MIG at full power. The penetration was pretty decent though the fuses jumped from time to time, so I continued welding and sweating as well.

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I was finishing the second lift block when I had a huntch. I took one block, the one that could be handled without burning your hands, and put it where it was supposed to be set. I did not like the look of it. Extending too far to the rear might have caused some damage to the springs instead of protecting them from bending too much.

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Fortunately the steel pieces can be worked, machined, cut, welded, grinded… and they never complain. A little effort for the powergrinder and the correction was made. Both angles of the blocks, front and rear, would be even. Fortunately I had enough steel pieces to replace the cut ones, but the job took longer than expected… as expected.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#625 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-25 4:07:47

Sunday, day for resting and relaxing, but not this time, though. I had to paint the diesel tank, before it got too dirty. I went to the shop, cleaned up, powerblown all the surfaces, ventilated and then painted the tank, all of it except the basal face, where it stood.

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I cleaned the paint gun (did I mention… oh yes…sorry) and focused on the hubs, again. I tempered and put the new turned sliding block in, after some little adjustments, and then I maneuvered to put the thrustwashers and the Zegers locks back in. It was not easy, as presumed, and at a certain point I thought that there was something wrong with some of the elements of the shafts that may have required disassembling. But patience and faith prevailed and finally I was able to put it all in place.

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As I realized that it was a little late I made some order and invited Carmen and her visiting best friend to a nice late lunch out. It was Saint Valentine’s day, but I trully don’t give a damn about the famous “the day of this and the day of that”.

Monday. Wow. Giving the final retouches to the lift blocks consumed all the time that I had left that day, and I worked slowly with both the powergrinder and the lime to give them an appropriate flat surface to maximize the contact with the spring leaf and the base. It was hard, guys, pretty hard. And the heat bit the same.

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My father, that same day, had to move 300 tubes for an aqueduct high on the mountains. He worked non-stop 10,2 hours. That is energy, at 71, folks!

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Well, the next working afternoon I finally was done with the lift blocks, thanks to the Great Boss, and I got the covers of the hubs for applying the beauty treatment they needed before installation. I only could install one of them that day and suddenly it was time to go home.

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Alejandro, the best boy, supersized argentinien, came at some moment and passed me the hydraulic pump that I had asked to repair some months ago, and was left in the oblivion since then. The alluminium welder charged very cheap for it and the work seemed to be very well done this time. I left it somewhere and did not allow it to distract me; there was a lot of things to do already.

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The next day I made a brief scape from work and installed the cover of the hub of the left side. At least I could do something.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#626 Beitrag von bandulu » 2016-02-28 22:07:43

So amazing your projekt...allways..im so looking for new pictures of you.....so good ...respect.....best regards
the only good system is a soundsystem
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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#627 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-28 23:14:05

I wanted to know if the wheel hubs oil seal was appropriate before installing the brake drums. I have had a bad feeling when closing both hubs and suspected that the new sealing o’rings were ineffective. I wanted to fill them with oil but I left it for the next session, and obviously I forgot.

Next thing to do then: clean the wheel hubs for painting. Why didn’t you do it before, when they were disassembled? Eduardo asked. Actually… I forgot. On the left hub I could use power tools to remove the majority of the rust and the old paint and only a little sanding was necessary under the lonely wheel mounting bolt. But on the right side I had to clean it all by hand because all the bolts were in; pretty tedious and finger-destroying.

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Once the hubs were clean I masked them properly and also covered the rest of the axle and the frame to prevent undesired stains. The dust that covered it all would have trapped all the paint, actually, but better safe than sorry.

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I bolted the fuel tank supports to the frame, trying not to ruin the paint on the frame. They needed the stabilizers so I looked for them in the pile of junk on the left side of the working place, where there were still many pieces left for discovering. The ones that looked better came, paradoxically, from the most ruined yellow truck, half buried in the Aconcagua riverbed.

After the beauty session, which included a few strikes to flatten them out, the steel bars looked pretty well and, more important, they fitted perfectly with the supports. With them I completed the quote for priming and/or painting so I took them, along with the blocks, to the attic and hung them all from the roof.

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And it was saturday. Alone again, I cleaned and set the new brake drums for painting. At some moment I realized that they needed not to be perforated for new holes, like the rear drums, and I did not know the reason why the previous ones had all those supernumerary holes. Better that way… less trouble for the poor Pairoa.

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Started with the washprimer and then primed the pieces that needed the full treatment. It was already planned to give a new hand of grey paint to the whole frame once all the systems were installed and ready, to cover all the imperfections and the damage to the paint that the installation itself could cause, but I decided to paint again the steering arms, damaged by the heat when extracting the king pins. They would be very hard to reach when the brake drum covers were in place. I thought the same about the universal joints as well so, when it came the time for spraying grey, I gave many hands to the brake drums, the diesel tank, the pieces that hung from the roof in the attic, and to the front axle.

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I was tired, my back resented the loading of the drums and all the physical effort and it was late, so I left the painting of the wheel hubs for another day. I was happy enough.

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#628 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-02-28 23:23:07

Sunday morning I felt okay but it was time for lawn mowing. Two weeks late, actually. I worked the whole morning with the lawn edger, and late in the afternoon my back ached more than a little. Monday morning I was late at work, waiting for the pain killers to do their job.

After lunch I felt better, though, and pretty slowly and carefully I set the scenario for painting the front hubs and the the rear hub covers. It was quiet a job, masking and covering it all, considering my backache, but it was worth it. I really did not like the look of the unpainted bolts on the rear wheel hubs.

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The original paint bucket was hidden in a box very deeply in a pile of boxes under some toolboxes, and fortunately the paint was intact after all these years. Good.

I sprayed, once again, many hands of the sort-of-pinkish-sand-coloured-polyurethane-paint around, and in the end the hubs looked fantastic, comparing with their previous status. I was so entertained and commited not to hurt my back again that I did not realize that it was one of the hottest days of the summer. Carmen and the people at the shop were almost roasted. I was happy, so happy that I almost forgot to clean the paint gun.

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The hubs looked pretty good, and I did not want to ruin the new paint taking out the big central filling plug, but filling them through the draining hole was almost impossible. So I got a 60 cc syringe and very carefully and slowly I poured the new oil through the gears at the bottom of the hole, one charge at a time.

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I went home hoping that the seal would stand, but when I arrived the next day to the shop the first I saw was the oil spot under the right side hub. Christ… I knew it! When I wrote that I didn’t want to disassemble the hubs again, right at that moment, I knew that I would have to do it... again.

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Short story. Drain the oil, take out the cover - hard because of the silicone gasket -, remove the huge circlip, the other stuff, the sun gear, blah, blah and take the heavy wheel hub back to the bench.

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Have you seen this bastard before?

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I was right… the o’ring and the grease were not enough. I sanded the surfaces pretty carefully and applied the magic solution: Würth’s oximic silicone gasket. A lot of it. As there were rust and wear signs due to the ageing of the truck I was left with no more options.

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After a few minutes I put it all back in place and closed the cover of the hub. I should wait 24 hours before refilling the hub with oil and see if it worked. The inmaculate paint was no more.

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#629 Beitrag von guste100 » 2016-02-29 23:35:38

Hi Pairoa,

Thank you very much for sharing your progress on the Merkabah with this forum. I don't remember how I found it in the Web, but it was the only reason for me to register here (to sign up for updates).

I'm usually interested in normal camping and in modern car electronics (yes, exactly the things which most people here seem to be afraid of). So there should be no reason for me to read your story.

Anyhow it fascinated me that much, that I read the roughly 550 posts (at the time I found this topic) in less then a month. When I started to read the really early posts from 2010 end of 2015, I was already curious, how far the story would be, when my reading arrives in the end of your posts. First, I had expected to find already travel reports with the finished Merkabah in the later posts. In roughly the middle of the articles, I expected to read you canceled everything in the end.

Having seen now, that you are still working on it and having not even started with the cabin (except the panel delivery), but still reporting about each progress in such an enthusiastic way is really flashing me.

It has been a complete pleasure for me to read through this. The progress with the Merkabah as well as the outtakes from Chile paired with your way of telling the story makes it that interesting to follow.

Please continue to post here.

BR
Guste

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Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6

#630 Beitrag von pairospam » 2016-03-01 5:18:45

Guste:

Glad you like all these words and the pictures. Quiet a job to read and watch them all! Hope you will eventually read some travel reports... and hope the enthousiasm will never decline.

And you are right: I am pretty happy and proud of the (only) five cables that come out from the engine of the Merkabah.

Well, disassembling and reassembling the right side wheel hub took the whole afternoon and when I finished I had no more time left for playing around. The plan for that day was to remove and replace the lift blocks, but the truck wanted to make me do the right things before going on. Thinking of that I assumed that the left hub would have leaked the same, sooner or later, so I left a piece of paper on the ground under it. The day after we would see if I was right.

And the next morning… aha… the oil spot was there.

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I did the same operation, in less time, with less oil stains everywhere, and more calmly. It took me only a couple of hours, but my back was complaining again. Hmm…

After lunch I lifted the frame and put it on the high trestles. Unscrewed the U bolts then and very, very carefully and slowly put the front axle down, again. It was a torture to see how, no matter the attention payed, the paint got many scratches when disassembling. Anyway, I took one of the lift blocks and both base plates out to work with them at the bench, but it was late and I had to leave. My back was not happy with all the time I spent under the frame working with the jack and the trestles, and it did its best to let me know it.

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As supposed, the guiding block needed some little grinding to adapt to the wider walls of the new lift block, and I was at it when the powergrinder coughed a couple of times. Oh, oh,.. the graphite brushes, again. I was making up the basal groove when there were a few sparks and the grinder died. Damn.

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I took the round lime and made the central bolt of the spring pack fit into the tight perforation of the blocks… and that was it. No more for that day. I put everything in order and went home.

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It was Saturday and I had to go to pick Carmen at the beach. She went to a concert the night before and I did not like the singer pretty much (romantic kind of guy) so she went with her best friend.

Eduardo and his wife Ivonne accompanied me on the GS 650 and we had a pretty nice lunch at our favorite restaurant in Viña del Mar and then a ride along the coast. The unprepared buttocks of the weekend riders suffered a little, though, and my back still protested so we had to make a few scales before joining home. Papudo beach, usually deserted, was full of people profiting of the last weekend of the holidays.

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Monday, one after the other. I went to the shop hoping that the hubs would not leak again, and fortunately they did not, at least after two days.

I borrowed Eduardo’s powergrinder and finished the adjusting maneuvers to make the new blocks and the base plates fit. I did not want to repair my grinder because I had not much time then, and assembling the front axle was capital that day. What for? Just for the fun of it.

Once the job was done, and the pieces locked pretty well between each other, I began with the assembling. You must know that taking out the front axle, alone and with only one jack, is a pretty difficult task. Well… putting it back is really a mess.

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I spent a couple of hours until the new blocks were at their place and the U bolts were torqued. Fortunately every piece fitted perfectly. It was not comfortable to be under the frame again, moving and adjusting the jacks, the trestles, the U bolts, the blocks, etc., but my back stood. There was nobody else left in the shop when I finished, but I was happy.

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