15 Jan 1999
My plan was to start the body over Christmas
but the mounts didn't arrive in time and you know what it's like
in Australia at this time of year, everything closes down.
Meanwhile I've been building the overhead console.
This will house the CB radios, stereo, rear vision camera etc and
mounting brackets have to be made for all these. It's very fiddly
work and weeks have gone by with very little to show for it
The rear vision TV is too large to fit with it's
plastic housing so that has to go and I have to design and build
a metal housing. Trouble is the circuit board is designed to slide
into a non-conductive case, not bolt onto a steel plate. This proves
too much of a mental exercise for the moment so I'll move on to
I feel there is a benefit to working on several
parts of the project in parallel as often the best way to solve
a problem is to forget about it and work on another job for a while.
23 Jan 1999
While picking up some steel I jammed my little
finger between two pieces, right in that tender area at the top
of the nail. It hurt so much I had to sit down before I collapsed.
At first there was no external sign of damage and I couldn't believe
how badly it hurt. Before long however the top of the nail started
turning black and the finger began aching.
Funnily enough having a painfull finger actually
caused me to get more work done. Why?, because if I stayed active
I didn't notice the throbbing. Only when I was idle did the pain
By the time I left for home the second finger
had gone out in sympathy with it's injured peer. When I arrived
my whole bloody arm was aching and the second finger actually hurt
more than the one that was hit. Go figure!
30 Jan 1999
The bull bar is taking most of my time at
present. Actually I hesitate to call it a bull bar, it's so high
off the ground maybe "camel bar" is a more appropriate
term. Also it's made from fairly light weight steel, more a nudge
bar really. Not that I'd like to be nudged by it at any speed higher
than tectonic plate movement.
While preparing the bar for painting I realise
that this is a small milestone in the project. One of the last vestiges
of it's previous life as a fire truck was about to go under the
orbital sander. The sign writing that pronounced to the world that
this was "Marulan 4" would be no more in a minute or two
so I took a photo.
The bull bar is built on top of the existing bumper. I constructed the main part from three inch exhaust pipe and the two smaller side parts from one and half inch pipe. You can buy the angles from any exhaust shop but make sure you get mandrel-bent angles. When pipe is bent in some benders it is distorted on the inside of the bend and looks horrible, a mandrel bender can make the bend and maintain the pipes shape. perhaps a drawing will illustrate this better.
You can buy 90 and 45 degree angles and, of course,
straight lengths. Some combination of these should suit your purpose.
Some people will tell you that this pipe is not
strong enough but I feel that a bull bar is that in name only. If
you actually do hit a bull and the bar is too strong it can cause
more damage than if you had no bar at all. Especially if the bar
is bolted directly to your chassis. It's not unknown for the bull
bar to escape from an accident unscathed buy transferring all the
impact's energy to the chassis. Result, a bent chassis. In my view
a bull bar is really a device to keep smaller animals from writing
off your radiator and somewhere to place you driving lights, bug
Speaking of bug screens, there is a channel welded
at the rear of this bar which will allow me to slide in a bug/stone
screen but remove it easily for cleaning.
Another feature of this bar is the sideways pointing
lights. I drive a fair bit on narrow fire trails and some time ago
I got sick of trying to peer into the gloom around sharp corners
while I had a thousand watts of driving and spot lights beaming
into space. On this bar I have two broad-beam fog lights (with white
lenses, not yellow) mounted, pointing outwards, at 45 degrees to
the direction of travel. Hopefully this will solve the afore-mentioned
Here are some pics of the bull bar, firstly some
detail of the finished bull bar, just before painting.
And then after painting.
It's a light grey hammer-tone although it may
not appear so on the screen.
I find that it's possible to produce a very professional
looking piece of gear with a little care and some hammer-tone paint.
The finished product drying after
TIP OF THE WEEK. Go out and buy one of
those new-fangled auto dimming welding masks. These masks dim and
clear instantly with your welding and either free a hand to hold
the job or save you trying to shake the lens down with violent head
movements. They're not cheap, starting at about $200, but well worth
it. The salesman said that once I'd used one I would never return
to the old-style mask. He was right, I've been using it all day
and it's a bloody marvel.