6 Aug 2007
Yes I know, it's been a few days, mostly because I haven't got much
done since Chris came home, and that's mostly because we've been
catching up and researching heaters, ovens etc. I've been a little
slack as well.
I have however removed the body from the truck
and returned to working on the toolboxes.
I did a lot of work on the toolboxes a week or
two ago but had trouble deciding what type of hinges and latches
to use. I want the hinges to allow the toolbox doors to be removed,
and the latch to hold the door in two places but only require a
I can't find anything suitable so, as usual, I
resort to building my own.
The hinges are nothing but
a hook-shaped piece of 25mm flat bar and some 6mm round bar bent
into a loop. When the door is closed the hook holds the loop firm,
but when you open the door the loop can be removed
Animation that hopefully shows how
Detail of the hook-and-loop hinge.
That's that, now what about
the latch? As mentioned I want it to hold the door in two places
but only require one padlock. I also want it to be simple and cheap,
so I come up with the following.
Diagram of the latch. It slides sideways
to latch/unlatch the door and rotates to allow the slotted tab to
pass over a tab with a hole through which a padlock is inserted.
With a few short pieces of flat bar and a length
of round bar it doesn't get much cheaper or simpler. Here are some
Detail of the end with the slotted
Here we see the latch pushed home
and half-rotated over the padlock tab. Once the latch is rotated
over the tab it cannot be slid sideways to release the door. A padlock
will hold it in place.
The almost-complete left hand tool
Tue 7 Aug
Over the last few months I've had a lot of people offer to come
up to the workshop and help with building Wothahellizat 2. So far
not one person has actually turned up, but that's alright, I'll
struggle on :-)
It's really a case of help is not needed at all
on the one had, but would be good to have all the time on the other.
There's no particular weekend that I need help, but there's 20 or
30 times a day when it would be useful to have someone hold the
other end of a length of steel or a bolt, or fetch a tool I've forgotten
until I've climbed to the top of the roof.
You can easily build something like this yourself
but there are times when a third hand would be very helpful. Luckily
I think I've found one. After turning over one of the toolboxes
to weld the bottom I went in search of my gloves, only to find after
several minutes of fruitless searching that one of them was already
holding the box for me.
My helping hand in action
Now if I can just train it to wield a spanner
I'll be right.
Tue 7 Aug
The winch cable is supposed to run along the chassis, under a roller,
and through to the front of the cab. This roller feeds the cable
below the cab level, and on the standard ACCOs the cable gently
changes level from the rear sheave block (located on top of the
chassis) to the roller over the length of the chassis.
This means that it gets lower and lower as it
approaches the cab. This is no good to me though because I have
various shockie mounts and fuel tank hangers in the way, so the
cable has to stay a couple of inches above the chassis rail until
it gets near the cab. Then it has to be forced down to the standard
To do this I have bought another roller and welded
it to the front body mount.
Detail of the new roller.
This photo shows the original roller
(left) and the new one. The red line indicates the new path of the
winch cable, the blue line is where it would run on the standard
I also finished the welding of the toolboxes and
primed them ready for spraying.
Wed 8 Aug
It's time to buy some appliances. Although we're still several weeks
from actually installing anything I have to know exactly what I'm
dealing with because the shape and size of an appliance affects
the placement of steel in the frame. So we drive down to Brisbane.
Initially we planned to buy a Smev oven, but on
looking at those displayed we decide that the Spinflo (now owned
by Thetford) is better made. Unfortunately they aren't in stock
so we have to order one.
Then there's the toilet.
My amazing toilet/shower/entrance/kitchen bench/laundry
space/brewery requires the toilet to slide out from it's storage
location, and because of this we can't use the loo from Wothahellizat
1. The old loo had a holding tank and a wheelie
bin to cart the poo away. This not only took up a lot of space
but would be all but impossible to plumb with a sliding loo.
So we're going for a Thetford
C2 cassette dunny. This we do manage to find in stock.
After sorting out these two items we continue
down to the Gold Coast to stay with Mark & Gail.
Fri 10 Aug
I cleaned up some
of the truck's air lines today. On Wothahellizat 1 I added features
over a long period, and each time I needed another source of air I
would tap into the existing air lines wherever I could. Over time
this grew into a rat's nest of T and L fittings.
So I bought a 6-way terminal/junction/distribution
block (whatever you call them) to tidy things up.
The rearranged and much neater air
There, that looks better, is potentially more
reliable, and I have a spare outlet for expansion.
While at it I've also moved the exhaust brake
control from the back wall of the cab to a spot more accessible
near the gear levers.
Another appliance arrived
today, a heater. Partly because it seems that everywhere we go it's
cold, and partly because we will probably travel slower in the future
and therefore not be able to escape the winter, we've decided to
splurge on a diesel heater, specifically the Dometic (aka Eiberspächer)
Airtronic D2 twin outlet model.
These little numbers are smaller than a loaf of
bread and from what I've seen so far a very nice piece of engineering.
More about these appliances when I come to installing
Sat 11 Aug
Today I though I'd revisit the storage compartments located just
behind the cab on the passenger's side.
There are two compartments, the front one will
hold the compressor and generator, and the rear one miscellaneous
stuff like a fuel filter, fuel pump, jerry can etc.
I'm using some parts from the old truck and making
some from scratch, it's working OK but looks a bit like a dog's
breakfast so I'm going to make a single door for both compartments
that will hide everything and make the area look uniform and in
synch with the new body.
Very interesting, but almost nothing to do with
today's diary entry.
In true "make everything
do two jobs" fashion I've decided that the compartment door
should double as a workbench. That should be simple, I just prop
it in the horizontal position and hey presto, as long as it's made
from a suitable material I have a workbench.
Trouble is, that would give me a bench 1200mm
high, way too high to work comfortably.
So why not just lower the hinge point so the bench
sits at the standard bench height of around 900mm?
This would work but it would cut the opening to
the storage compartment almost in half and make it impossible to
get the compressor and generator in/out.
There are a few ways to
solve this problem, but I've decided to go with double hinging.
By using two hinges joined together instead of
one I can pivot at one point when using the compartment door as
a door, and another when using it as a bench.
An animation showing the double hinge
- The distance between the two hinge pivot points
is half of the required lowering amount.
- Gate hinges are usually sold as left- and right-hand.
I used one of each to make the double hinge.
One of the double hinges.
By far the most normal use is as a door, and in
this case the bolt in the middle of the hinge extension remains
in place thus stopping the bottom pivot point from moving.
To use the door as a bench I remove the bolt,
lift the front of the door to a horizontal position while lowering
the back. Then I place some adjustable legs under the front corners.
That's basically it, although I may have to provide
for reinserting the bolt at a different (ie lower) location to steady
the bench, otherwise any lateral movement, say when heavily filing,
would move it on the hinges.
Mon 13 Aug
I've started working on the grey water tank. I'm using our old one
and as many of the fittings as possible. One such fitting is a neat
gadget that allows you to tap into a tank from the outside when
you don't have access to the inside.
I bought this several years ago when we did some
modifications to Wothahellizat 1, because we didn't want to have
a custom tank made we bought an off the shelf fresh water tank,
but the catch was that, being a fresh water tank, it didn't have
a large drain outlet. I initially tried to use the standard 1/2"
outlet but it clogged very quickly.
So I had to add a large outlet in a molded tank
with no access hatch, and I found this device.
The parts of the tank tapping device,
you can see a stainless steel tube inside the threaded part.
It can be inserted from the outside and tightened
to produce a water tight outlet with a thread, onto which you can
attach any standard plumbing fitting.
Mouse over the text to show the three
stages of inserting the tank tap.
Insert barb into tank. The barbed
part of the fitting and some of the threaded part has large slots
cut through it so the barb can compress, thus allowing it to pass
through the hole then expand inside the tank.
Insert stainless steel sleeve.
The sleeve holds the barb out to it's full size and therefore stops
it from compressing and being pulled from the tank.
Tighten collar. The collar has
a rubber seal that is compressed against the tank forming part of
the seal, the thread should have sealing compound or thread tape
There's another really neat feature of these fittings,
you probably haven't twigged to a potential problem yet, but how
do you tighten the collar without turning the threaded barb?
There are six small grooves cut into the inside
of the threaded part, they are only a fraction of a millimetre deep
that's but enough to trap the head of a bolt so you can grip the
bolt's shank while turning the collar.
A bolt inserted into the threaded
part so I can tighten the collar.
the fitting inserted I work on the mounts for the tank while Chris
primes the storage compartments so they're ready for spraying.
The finished compressor/generator
And the jerry can, fuel pump compartment.
I reconnect the recently moved exhaust brake control, spray
the generator and fuel pump storage compartments, and then hang
them, hopefully for the last time.
After hanging the generator compartment I have
to relocate the air receiver's drain valve because it is made inaccessible
by the compartment. The valve was always hard to get at, so this
is a good excuse to fix the problem. I've run a length of air line
and placed it out near the side of the compartment where it can
be easily reached.
Wed 15 Aug
I've done all the fuel plumbing today, this mostly entails reinstalling
the various filters, pumps etc. I also tidy up all the fuel lines
by running them through conduit, and simplify some of the connections.
Below is a shot of part of the fuel pump storage
Mouse over the red dots for descriptions.
All this is from Wothahellizat 1, I've just rearranged
things a little.
When done I prime the fuel filter then run the
pressurizing pump for a while to ensure there is fuel in the lines.
Then with a touch of the key the motor fires, it looks like I got
Fri 17 Aug
In the true use-every-available-space tradition I'm building a tall
narrow storage compartment that will fit in the 200mm (8")
space between the spare wheels and the right hand fuel tank.
And what to store in a tall narrow storage compartment?
Some tall narrow gas bottles and a fire extinguisher.
The frame of the storage compartment.
And here it is in situ.
I've always like to carry an oxy/acetylene set,
it's very useful for all sorts of jobs. With an oxy you can bend
steel, crack rusted nuts, free jammed bearings, and cut just about
anything. Very useful.
The fire extinguisher is a rechargeable water
type, I use it mostly when working in an area surrounded by flammable
materials, like dead leaves. Unlike most extinguishers I can refill
it and pressurize it with compressed air, so if I use it in the
middle of nowhere I'm not left without a useable extinguisher.
Rechargeable water extinguishers are often used
by four wheel drivers because it's common to get spinifex fires
when this extremely volatile grass gets caught between the hot exhaust
and another part of the vehicle.
On some tracks this can happen regularly, so it's
no use having a one-shot powder extinguisher.
Of course because they use water as the agent
they are no good for electrical or fuel fires, so we also have several
powder types as well.
Sun 19 Aug
Apart from painting, the gas bottle/fire extinguisher compartment
The near-complete storage compartment.
I have made a small change though since this photo
was taken. My original intention was to store the bottles vertically,
however there is not enough space, so I decided to lay them down.
I wasn't sure about the advisability of this but
we've been storing these bottles horizontally for seven years in
Wothahellizat 1 without problems, so I figured to do it again.
However I received an email from a reader (I do
appreciate the feedback I get from people so keep it coming) advising
me that laying them down was not a good idea. So I did some research.
BOC (the gas suppliers) confirm that laying the
acetylene down was not the right thing to do because the acetone
can leak from the valve. Their official line is that the oxy should
be stood up as well, but said that didn't really matter and was
up to me.
So I've found another spot for the acetylene bottle
and in it's place have created a shelf at the top of this compartment.
Mon 20 Aug
Maybe you noticed the good-looking fold in the steel side of the
compartment. I find that simple folds in sheet metal can easily
be done by clamping the sheet between two lengths of sturdy steel
bar and either bending it by hand for a small angle, or bashing
it with a hammer for larger angles.
However with small lengths it can get very fiddly
trying to juggle the various pieces of steel and G-clamps, so I
decided to knock up a gadget for these small folds.
By joining two short lengths of 25x25 RHS with
a length of bent flat bar I have much of the juggling under control
as the two pieces of RHS are always aligned. The flat bar acts as
a spring allowing the device (a foldamatic?) to seperate to insert
the sheet and also lightly clamp to the sheet without moving while
I apply the G-clamps.
Drawing of the foldamatic. Note that
the two pieces of RHS should actually be held together by the spring,
not separated as shown here.
The foldamatic in action.
Detail of the foldamatic.
It's no pan brake, but I find that with this simple
device I can do quite reasonable steel metal folds.
I spend the rest of the day doing a job I've been
putting off for some time, the overhead welding on the body. So
far most of the welding on the body had been done from the top as
the underneath has been too difficult to reach, but it all has to
be done and I can put it off no longer.
I jack the body up as high as possible and get
underneath with the MIG to complete the joins.
Aahh this is the life, being showered with red-hot
welding slag for hours.