2 aug 1999
The engineer came today. I can build a truck
body without involving an engineer, but I do need a certificate
from one to get the truck registered so it seems reasonable to involve
him during the project.
He came, had a quick look and said "Yep,
looks ok, I need to go for a drive but the certificate shouldn't
be a problem". That's a relief, I had visions of him saying
"Tear the whole thing down". I must admit though I'm a
little apprehensive about the truck's performance with this massive
6 aug 1999
I start a three week holiday and hope to
get the motor home clad and registered during this time.
7 aug 1999
Our lifestyle change moved another step closer
today. For a while we've been tossing up what to use for a secondary
form of transport, a 4x4, one motor bike, two motorbikes, push bikes?
We pretty much settled on two motorbikes so then the question was,
They had to be fairly small to fit inside the
motor home, also Chris wanted something with a low seat height so
she can reach the ground, but they had to be capable off the bitumen.
I suggested a Harley, after all they have a low seat. That idea
didn't fly so my next suggestion was a Kawasaki Sherpa. The Sherpa
is a 250cc cross between a road bike and a trail bike, but closer
to the trail bike style.
I liked the Sherpa but Chris was unconvinced.
My next option was a Yamaha AG200, this is an "ag bike"
which means that it is designed mainly for work on the farm. It's
a bit larger than the Sherpa but we decided to go look at one anyway.
On entering the bike shop I spied the AG at the
back and made a beeline for it. I plonked my backside on the machine
and looked around for Chris. No sign of her. Oh well I thought and
continued to inspect the Yamaha.
"I've found it" Chris announces from
"A Honda 230, come and have a look"
Well I must admit it was a nice bike, a good size
to sling around the bush and a very neat looking machine.
So to cut to the quick, we bought two of the little
darlings on the spot plus riding gear such as helmets, jackets etc.
Chris pushed hard for a deal, which she got...they threw in about
a grand's worth of gear for free.
I returned to the workshop and finished preparing
the roof for cladding which I intended to do the following day.
Some time later, while sitting atop the frame four metres above
the floor, I nodded off. OK I can take a hint, I packed up and went
home. I watched a bit of tele then pulled out my "Touring Alas
of Australia", all those red lines, each one a highway to an
The map looking remarkably like my eyeball veins
(my eyes have been quite sore lately, bit of welding flash I think).
I slowly entered the land of nod with images of
the Cobourg Peninsula imprinted on my retina.
14 aug 1999
The new motor bikes arrived today but it
was too late in the evening to go for a ride. We placed the two
as close together as we can to see if they will fit in the spot
allocated for them in the motor home. Will they?...it's going to
I spent the evening figuring out how to don and
doff my new helmet without tearing my ears off. With a normal full-face
helmet this is not a problem, but we've bought a new type of lid.
These new ones are full-face but the chin part lifts up to convert
the helmet to an open-face style. This will be good in the hot weather
because we can get good ventilation, say when just cruising 'round
the back streets or in the bush, but when on the road proper we
have the protection of a full-face helmet.
15 aug 1999
I got to drive the truck today, a total distance
of about 20 metres (ten out of the shed, and ten back in). I thought
it was time for a photo shoot. In the shot below you see me comparing
the design with the real thing, just checking that I've built the
right motor home.
There have been some new bulkheads added. These
will give strength to the body and hopefully prevent any lateral
distortion of the frame.
As it happens these bulkheads line up exactly
with some of the internal walls and therein lies a lesson I've learnt.
You can't necessarily have walls and cupboards just anywhere, there
are often an integral part of the body and provide much of it's
strength so part of the design process involves juggling the location
of these items between where they should be and where you'd like
them to be.
Having said that, the fact that I'm building
the frame from steel and have made much of it overly strong does
give me more leeway to place things where I like.
The next photo shows the detail of one
of these bulkheads. Note that the sheet is stitch welded all around,
this creates a diaphragm that is very strong. The cross brace
is really just to stop the sheet drumming.
For a while now I've had the help of a friend
and fellow motor homer Bob Ecclestone (Bob is the president of the
local CMCA chapter). Here we see him finishing off the welds on
the outside of the frame (yes they are safely glasses, just don't
look like it).
You can do a project like this entirely by yourself,
but for some things (handling the large sheets on the roof for example)
it's a hell of a lot easier with a helping hand.
At one point I was going to have the internal
walls follow the body's main support rails (upper arrow in the photo
below). This seemed nice and neat, not to mention easy. The trouble
is this caused some parts of the cabinet work to be deeper than
required and others to be shallower. Using this technique would
cause both internal walls to be about 700mm from the external walls
which in turn meant that all cupboards, benches etc would be 700mm
The trouble is that the shower needs 750mm and
the motorbike storage (the garage?) needs at least 850mm, whereas
a kitchen bench any wider than 600mm is a waste of space. So I decided
that the placement of the internal fittings would have little or
no relationship to the main rails.
Once I decided this I was free to do what I liked
at the expense of creating myself more work.
The bottom arrow in the photo below shows the
the supports I've added for the right-hand wall. Note how it allows
for the kitchen cupboards to be about 700mm deep (in the foreground)
then steps out to the 850mm required for the garage.
Adding these supports was a lot more work
but the end result will be cupboards and benches that are an appropriate