Feeling better now. I have been doing some little things, going pian piano to allow my little pretty body to heal, and it has been okay so far.
During the days in bed you have plenty of time to think on what you have done right and what you have done wrong, which can be as exhausting as a heavy exercise. I had company all the time, with very helpful counceling on some technical aspects I had not considered before.
Anyway, I ordered some ideas, planned the next steps, and revisited some aspects of the project that needed a new approach. Many paper leaves and half a ton of graphite sticks were used, as always.
After receiving some advices and giving them a little thought I found out that all the people see clearly what sometimes remains hidden to me. Again, I was trying to push the project a little further, risking of taking inappropriate decisions. In few words, I had to finish the truck, completely, and only then, with the Merkabah finally jumping on (or sinking in) the dunes, I will decide wheter it is better to have a four-five-thousand pivoting system or an auxiliary subframe to support the Box. Until then, no Box.
Do you remember that I was waiting for someone to work on the cabin? The applicants were too expensive, too inexperienced or frankly poor qualified. Well, when I was lying there, almost dying of boredness and suffering with the last hot days of the summer, Carmen appeared with extraordinary news: Eddison, from Ecuador, contacted her because he wanted to come back to work at the shop. He was the guy who aided with the repair of the mudguards and did a good job, and he is a very fine person, very trustable and correct. The good God still loves Pairoa. He always sends the right people at the right moment, and helps to clear the vision and keep the faith.
My father, on the other side, was (is) working full-time and had no time for assembling the Box. So… no more pointless discussions.
Things to do next: brakes, pneumatic systems and electrics, in that order. Eddi would take care of the cabin meanwhile and I would only paint it when ready.
I checked dimensions and the way things would have to work to plan for the installation. One of the most irritating things, amongst many others, of course, was to decide where to put things according to the new layout. Pumps went now between the rails of the frame as well as the 20 liters air reservoir, and both the CTIS manifold and the pressure regulator manifold for the pneumatic suspension were not pocket sized precisely.
When I stood up, finaly, there were lots of things that I had to do first so the truck was left for the last. It was useful, though, and helped to keep my back in its recovering path.
I went to the shop, finally, and set a higher bench to work on to minimize the need to bend the back. The trestles and the discarded emergency stretcher were at hand right for that purpose.
Moving very carefully, searched among the many piles of boxes and collected the pieces I needed to put the brakes back in place and back to work. If you remember, the brake system of the truck had been heavily modified and there were loose tecalan pipes all around and it was hardly recognizable how the brakes worked, in other words… it was a mess.
I have looked among the hundreds of pictures taken when the truck was complete and made lots of sketches trying to figure it out. No damn way.
Found many parts that belonged to Spare, the old truck that continued to supply pieces that will live a second life through the Merkabah, but I could not find many of the original pieces of my truck. I missed the parking brakes relay valve and the dual brake valve. Where were they? There was a foreign relay valve adapted to make the parking brakes work, but I wanted not to use it again. I aimed at restoring the original brake setup of the truck, and servicing the original valves seemed relatively easy.
Found also lots of little supports and connectors, cannibalized from some Mercedes carcasses you already have heard about. They just needed the beauty treatment so I grabbed the rear service brake relay valve and opened it for servicing. It was not that bad, not too much dirt or oil, at least not as I expected.
Looked around and, as there were lots of pieces and parts, I decided to better start orderly from the very beginning, with the overhauling of the brake and the clutch pumps. From then I will go on with the air/hydraulic servo brake valve, the relay valves and so on.
The pumps looked miserable, all of them, even to my eyes, and when I removed the rubber cap of the brake pump of the Merkabah there was a big crack and the edge of the cylinder was broken. No extended life for that pump. Hmm… Fortunately there was Spare’s pump and, even if it looked worse than Merkabah’s, eventualy could replace it.