Re: Mercedes 2626 AK 6x6
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.