We are mobile! … and tired

This is going to be a fast post because I am already a bit late and behind on the day. Last night we wrapped working on the van super late. It’s been a monster few days as we work toward the end if our lease on 10.31. As you know, we only have the workspace for one month, due to costs, so we have to complete the bulk of our projects by Halloween.

Over the past few days, we have been reigning in the annoying projects. We needed to install new struts for the rear hatch door to keep that open, the air tanks were being difficult and we needed to source new fittings for them, painting random things with undercoating spray (because it just looks cool) and the fun carpentry project of building a bed platform / tool chest for the back cargo area of the van. The van has a metal folding bed from the guys at volkswares.co.uk which pulls out futon style, to become a bed, and when combined with the rear cargo area, it’s a full size bed. The problem is that this design was originally created for 1970s area vw buses and not 1980s Vanagons. So the seat sits higher than the rear cargo area when flat in bed mode. No problem the manufacturer says, “just build a convenient bed platform that lays even with the bed frame when folded open”. On really, just that huh? Well of course trying to make a platform that is level with the bed frame when folded flat, is a legit carpentry task. And of course there was no template to use from the manufacturer. There goes 6+ hours. But in the end we are psyched with our platform. It has a hinged top so we can put tools under it, and we are putting a nice durable carpet on it. Here is it in progress.

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The other surprise in the mail was our slider order from the team at Das Mule. You guys are going to learn more about them and their awesome sliders later. For now here is a teaser pic.

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The front differential arrived back from Daryl at AA Transaxle, with a new differential installed inside and operational. We diagnosed that the vacuum system was installed incorrectly, causing the front differential to engage its locking mode, and since the system was improperly wired, the warning light didn’t go off. So it locked and seized itself up. Ugh. There goes $750 for parts! But Daryl was the man, and really jumped through hoops to help. Didn’t charge us for his time, just the part, and turned around the repair quickly. It was both exciting to see the big box show up yesterday but also daunting because we knew the work that lay ahead.

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Getting it out was a knuckle buster, but getting it back in was going to be a back breaker. We decided to fill it with oil outside of the van, this would make it harder to lift into place but easier than filling it in place, with the finger slim clearances once its in its resting place. We also extensively tested our new locker actuator (the device that engages the locking mechanism), but for safety’s sake, until we can comb through the entire system, we didn’t connect the vacuum lines which power the actuator. This should ensure we stay “unlocked” until we feel confident the system is operating correctly. Getting this 100 pound chunk of steel in place, while on your side, under the car, with about 23 inches of space, was like playing jinga during an earthquake, with the windows open and hurricane winds. It was frustrating.

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It’s the sort of thing that once you do it once, you know all the tricks of the trade, but no one ever posts those tricks on the Internet 😦 so after a few hours of huffing and peeling skin off our hands, we got it into place and bolted it down. But it’s the little things that suck time, getting each of the axle bolts lined up, adding more grease to the CVs, figuring out why you have left over washers, finding the torque settings for the random bolts that aren’t listed in the Bentley, and freakishly blowing your lips to keep debris out of your mouth. Yup, it’s suddenly late, and it’s time to go home… In “Britney”!!

Yeah this wasn’t a “fast post”…

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