Still it's different this time, I no longer really
care if I get the job or not. Sure it's a nice little earner that
would pay for a large part of the motor home, but hey, I was happy
before I got the call.
I delivered the quote today to a massive government
building, seven floors of stained concrete monolith in the bush
near Canberra. What a depressing place. While studying the building
plans I was struck by the rows of work stations and thought to myself
that this would not be a pleasant environment to work in. Viewing
the grey facade confirmed my feelings.
Still if they accept my quote at least they'll
get to look at plenty of Rob Gray original landscape photos :-),
maybe that'll help.
On leaving the building I looked back and was
struck by the similarity between the massive buttresses looming
above the eucalypts and the landscape in the Budawang Ranges. I
must try to return to my beloved Budawangs before long.
Meanwhile, back on the motor home front...
Progress has been slow, it seems that every day
I have to spend most of the morning attending to banking chores
or buying materials. I've been mostly working on the pop-top roof
above the bedroom. It works now but is getting heavy and will soon
be too heavy to lift.
Enter some hydraulics.
I have been resisting the temptation to mechanise
too many of the motor home's features in an effort to reduce complexity.
But I have to admit that the addition of hydraulics to the design
does simplify a lot of the design and the subsequent operation of
various features, eg the pop-top and deck.
I've also welded some of the floors into the storage
bins, decided how many water tanks I'll have and how to hang them,
decided to include some air conditioning and how to install it,
played with installing the inverter and bought four batteries which
will make up one of the two banks I plan to have.
So I haven't entirely slack, there's just not
much to show for it.
I finally got used to wearing a small backpack
so I could pick up a bit of shopping or some parts for the truck
but yesterday I had to collect about a dozen pieces of 10mm steel
plate I'd had cut to size. I loaded them into my pack one at a time
each wrapped in some towling then heaved the pack onto my shoulders.
Each piece of steel was pretty small but together they weighed about
20kgs. I rode back to the workshop half expecting one of the straps
on the pack to break and send the pack, and therefore my centre
of gravity, swinging. I made it without incident and my back should
be OK in a week or so.
Another thing I'd forgotten about bikes is the
cold. We haven't bought much in the way of cold/wet weather gear
yet so I'm reduced to scrounging various items of bushwalking clothing
in an attempt to stay warm when I ride home at night.
On a related subject, has anyone done those intelligence
tests were you are presented with a sequence of numbers and you
have to guess the relationship between the numbers? Well try this
Can you pick the sequence? I'd be astounded if
you did. The top row is the temperature in Townsville every time
I take notice of it on the news. The bottom row is the corresponding
temperature in Canberra on the same days.
We didn't watch any TV when we were in Townsville
recently but I'll bet they dispense with the daily weather reports
in favour of a bi-annual one. In the autumn they slap the janitor
in front of the camera and he says something like "For the
next six months it will be 28 degrees and clear", then in the
spring they haul him back again and he says "For the next six
months it will be 33 degrees, muggy as hell and will piss it down
Of course it's pretty hot and humid up north in
the summer but as a full-timer you can head south before then. If
you need any more reasons to go full-timing then that should do
Meanwhile back at the truck there's not much to
report. I've hung a 230 litre drinking water tank and am now making
the brackets to support tanks for the grey water and about 6-700
litres of general purpose water.
22 Nov 1999
Contrary to what you may
think by viewing this diary there's been a lot happening. In fact
that's why there hasn't been any entries for a while, I've been
working 10, 11 and 12 hour days and, frankly, have been too buggered
to write about it.
Anyway what's been done? I've built hangers for
two fresh water tanks and a grey water tank and hung a third fresh
Here we see the hangers as they appear today but
they where actually built as a single unit with braces connecting
the two halves. I feel the bracing is required because each side
has 300-400 litres of water and I reckon that's stretching the friendship
asking the hangers to support 400kgs (that's static load, not to
mention the dynamic stresses caused by driving on a rough road).
I had no sooner built them when I remembered the
chassis flex. After all that time allowing for the movement of the
two chassis rails I go and build a rigid structure that spans both
rails. If I tried driving the truck with this in place something
So, once I recovered from this most recent stupidity
attack I removed the entire structure and cut it in half. I still
need bracing between the halves however, it just has to allow some
movement. I welded four plates to the old brace stubs and drilled
them for some bonded rubber mounts as shown below with the mount
placed in position.
This will allow me to connect the two halves of
the structure and provide the necessary support but still allow
the halves to move independently of each other.
I've moved the winch sheave block to the rear
of the chassis and added a roller just behind the winch to direct
the cable underneath the body.
I've almost completed the under floor (The rig
has two floors, the under floor sits below the main floor at a distance
of between 200 and 450mm according to what clearance is required
for things like the winch. This creates some large storage areas).
I've mounted the inverter and air conditioner,
modified the battery cradle and started installing a hydraulic system.
Below we see the inverter and air conditioner in the under-floor
section next to the shower base.
The inverter weights 50kg and the air
conditioner about 40; they've been in and out more often than I
want to think about. I'm knackered just writing about it.
24 Nov 1999
You can't get there from here. There was
a joke a while back, something like a city bloke asking a local
yokel how to get to Bullamakanca. The yokel responded that you can't
get there from here, you have to go somewhere else first. Well that's
how I feel.
A couple of week ago I was working on the bedroom's
pop-top roof. I got most of it working but realised that it was
getting too heavy to lift manually so decided to install some hydraulics
to do the work for me.
The end of my journey to build a pop-top was within
sight but I realised that I'd have to visit a lot of other places
before returning to the job at hand. To wit...
To finish the pop-top I would
have to install the hydraulics because adding more to the pop-top
would make it impossible to lift.
To install and test the hydraulics
I need 24 volts.
To obtain 24 volts I need my
batteries in place.
If I'm to draw 250A from the
batteries while testing I need a battery charger.
The only 24v battery charger
I have is my inverter so I have to install that.
To install the inverter I have
to build the under-floor storage.
The inverter and air conditioner
share the same storage compartment so I cannot finalise the
invertor's mounting until I have the AC and mount them both.
I cannot install the AC without
knowing exactly how the ducting will work.
I cannot really know
how the ducting will work without doing some of the panelling
in the lounge area.
And that's just the major items.
So to finish the pop-top at the upper front of
the motor home I have to work on the lounge and the lower rear.
Of coarse I could jerry-rig things to get the
hydraulics working well enough to test, but this is work that has
to be redone and I already do enough things twice due to stuff ups.
Today I mounted the hydraulic power pack and the
first clevis for the pop-top ram.
16 Dec 1999
I feel like Frankenstein, the doctor that
is, not the monster. For months I've been slaving the inert body
of my motor home, an ugly looking beast conjured from the depths
of my mind with a little help from the Wondonga truck wreckers.
Today I breathed some life into it. I installed
four batteries then connected them with wire as thick as your thumb
(actually as thick as MY thumb, I've no idea how large yours are).
I then had one negative and one positive wire, I bolted the negative
to the inverter, held my breath and touched the positive.
There was a bright flash as some internal capacitance
was satisfied then the reassuring hum of life. The LCD lit and displayed
"Set Inverter", my monster's eyes had opened.
I sat awhile to see if the inverter (sorry, "Power
Conversion Center") would pass the smoke test, it did so I
Now let's see if is actually inverts. I found
a short extension lead, cut it in two and bared the wires to make
what we used to laughingly call "death leads", one for
input to the inverter (shore power) and one for output. I connected
them and plugged a light into the output.
It lit, so far so good.
I plugged the input into a power point,
the "AC1 in good" LED started flashing indicating that
the inverter was synchronising its waveform with the mains. After
a few seconds there was a click as the inverter handed over to the
shore power. The "Inverting" LED went out and the batteries
started charging. This is one clever piece of gear (A Trace SW3024,