We’ve had a few highs and lows with the truck over the last week or so, all in preparation for the Lorrywaydown.
Last week we had a couple of new Michelin XZL tyres fitted to the front wheels, and new genuine Michelin inner tubes fitted to all the remaining wheels. This meant that we could finally get rid if the old Goodyear G188 that we had on the spare, and remove the Michelin that I wasn’t 100% happy about ( it had very light cracking/perishing marks on the sidewall), maybe a bit over cautious, but we have to set off being happy with these wheels. The work was carried out by http://www.commercialtyres.com I can throughly recommend these guys, the price was reasonable (well as reasonable as can be had for brand new XZL’s), and the speed and professionalism of the work was top notch. There was very little damage to the wheels paintwork (it’s only black Hammerite), and they only took about 90 mins to strip out and redo 5no very heavy split rim wheel sets. Top guys. They are also getting me a couple of spare Michelin tubes to take to Africa. After seeing the differance between the Michelin tubes and the cheaper Internet bought tubes that I had fitted before (especially around the valve area), I won’t fit anything else now, unless we have no choice in Africa of course. The combined weight of these wheels and tyres still amaze me, but hopefully they will prove reliable in the field, and the tyres should be pretty puncture resistant, they are after all used on most of the Dakar Rally race trucks.
With the help of my big brother, we have fitted a couple of fairly large 24v fans in the cab so that the hot air can be circulated around our hot bodies in the very hot cab. I’m not sure how effective they will be, but it can’t hurt.
My Nephew met us, and is fabricating a rear tow/recovery point that will be bolted directly to one of the rear chassis rails. This will give us something to return the rear winch cable back to. Returning the end of the cable through a pulley/snatch block to the truck will effectively double the winch’s pulling power and reduce stress on the winch (if carried out correctly). All we need now is a winch extension strap which will double up as a tow strap, a heavy duty snatch block and a few heavy duty shackles. We know we are gonna get stuck at times in mud, sand, or indeed will need to assist others in getting unstruck (hopefully the later). Obviously it’ll be easier for us to recover a Landcruiser, than the other way round!
The rest of the weekend was spent giving the Colonel a quick once over ready for the imminent MOT on Monday morning, and sorting out the many boxes that we had literally just dumped in the back, lockers and roof box. We still have a lot to sort out but we are slowly getting there.
We also tried the double mosquito net up over the bed, after lots of messing about and trying it various ways, we finally came up with a plan, but it does require lots more loops to be sewn into the net to hang it from. Jacs has sorted this on 2 nets (with the kind help of Bina and her sewing machine). We are taking a spare net, as the chances of getting exactly the same net while in Africa is extremely remote, and I’m sure the net will get damaged somewhere along the line. As far as Malaria is concerned, preventing the biting critters getting to you is by far the best form of defence, and sleeping under a net is a must. The nets that we have are also impregnated with a repellant, which hopefully will help.
Whilst on the subject of Malaria, we have finished all our jabs now, and have decided to take approx 12 months supply of anti-malarial drugs. All of this was supplied and carried out by http://www.bmcmedical.co.uk The travel clinic staff are extremely helpful and are happy to discuss any travel plans, we have been using them for many years.
Next stop was the MOT station, this is the 4th MOT that the truck had gone through, and so far it’s sailed through with flying colours. You know what’s coming next!!!
Colonel K failed with flying colours! Apart from a few very minors items, such as a headlight too high, it failed on the Air brake system. The rear offside wheel was operating at approx 20% of what it should be, this also meant that it failed as the brake performance over the real axle was not matched over the two rear wheels.
We decided to leave the Daf at the garage (in Aylesham, nr Dover), and let them examine the damage. The next day, a phone call revealed that the problem was caused by the hub seal failing and spewing oil all over the brake shoes. This means that the shoes will need re-lining, and obviously a new seal will be needed. I’m currently waiting to hear from the garage to find out if it’s going to be an issue getting this seal (some military spec spares are problematic to obtain). Talking to the garage yesterday it was decided that both rear wheels will be done just to be on the safe side. It could have been a lot worse, and it’s better to get this sorted before we set off for Africa. Hopefully we will get Colonel K back next week so we can continue with our prepping……………..