Thursday, June 21, 2007

Failing Fuso Santek 2

Guerrero Negro, halfway the peninsula of Baja California in Mexico, is a most miserable town.
There is only one major street with asphalt and some dusty, unpaved side streets.
Always a fierce wind blows from the Northwest bringing moisture from the Pacific Ocean, often as fog and sand from the desert.
There are salt works nearby and this makes it all even more desolate.
A town nobody wants to stay in for pleasure or glory.

It was very well organised of life therefore to have the Fuso Santek break down in this awful town.
Without a problem a place was found where they could repair the Fuso Santek.
Autoservicio Futema: they do anything imaginable to a car .

Quickly owner Lorenzo understood what was the problem.
The Fuso Santek’s camper box needed to be lifted up, the old bolts removed and new ones put in.

Within half an hour mechanic José, his friends call him Pépé, was under the Fuso Santek lifting it up with a fat jack.

First challenge was that the old bolts were stuck in the holes.
Lifting up the camper box made the chassis go up as well.
With a hammer the old bolts had to be knocked out like the teeth of an old man.

It was then discovered that the bolts were only 8 millimetre (0,31 inch) in diameter.
It was also discovered that Santek Trailers had drilled 5 holes for bolts.
But 2 of them were not aligned.
Therefore only 3 bolts had been put in the square steel bracket to carry the weight of the camper box.
It had been only a matter of time before those bolts were to break.

In all it took Pépé more than two hours to do the job.

For which his boss Lorenzo charged 280 Pesos (19,34 Euros / 25,91 $) including the new bolts.

At noon the Fuso Santek was on its way South again crossing the Vizcaino desert.

But there was a nagging feeling about the Fuso Santek now.
It was not reliable anymore.
Any moment the three bolts could break again.
Making damage and havoc.
And having to spend time finding a mechanic and having to wait during repairing.
While the purpose these days is to be on location to make new conceptual photography for the upcoming exhibition and book publication.

While driving the idea was born to put wooden support between the camper box and the chassis.
As an extra to assist the bolts.
This has been done but in Ciudad Constitucion a carpenter will be asked to make a wooden support that cannot move out of place in any circumstance.

Was this faulty bolts story an interesting experience?
No, it was not.



Ken Norton - Image 66 Media said...

It is possible that the bolts had loosened a bit and the slop caused them to start bending and then breaking. I would recommend that you periodically check the tightness of these bolts until you are satisfied that they aren't going anywhere at all. Tight bolts (of sufficient grade) should not have been a problem at all.

Whatever you do, don't let this hinder your joy of the vehicle. Everything happened for a reason at exactly when it was supposed to happen. It's fixed now, and chances are you'll never have this problem again--ever.

As to the "miserable" town. People live there. What is thought of as "miserable" by us is "home" to them.

dhackney said...

8mm / .3" = 5/16" bolt
(actual values are: .31250", 7.9375 mm)

Shear strength of 5/16" bolt:
Grade 5: 5,750 lbs.
Grade 8: 6,980 lbs.

Robert Hill said...

Howdy Michel, When I inspected the construction of the Fuso Santek months ago. I ask Paul about putting air Matts in the spot that you placed the boards. Firefighters and rescue personell use these air matts to lift vehicles in accident situations.They could be adjusted according to driving and road conditions via an onboard compressor and gauge in the cab. I think truckers may also have a system for this situation, that could be adapted for the santek. I was also curious if the bolts were case hardend steel?, Robert

Anonymous said...

I think that you should call it an "adventure" vehicle instead of an expedition vehicle. Your travels in it are part of the experience!
Failure indicates that the connection is not adequate. Read for a good explanation of bolt grades. I'd make sure that you're using grade 8 bolts. One supplier is
I think that a larger diameter is necessary also, and if needed access holes could be cut in the outboard side of the square boxes to allow drill access to enlarge the bolt holes on the inboard side of the support boxes.
I think you should look for support from Santek to resolve this as they were responsible for many of these choices.
Welding the support to the frame rail is an option, but I wouldn't do this without a well qualified certified welder.
Your wood blocking will defeat the whole idea of your anti-torsion box suspension? Is that really what you want to do?
In the meantime scribe a mark from the frame rail across the square support box so that you can visually see if the bolts start bending and the parts begin shifting.
I enjoy following your travels, Best Wishes.

Don Howe
2002 LD MB
Long Island

Anonymous said...

sorry to read you are in such a predicament with your
vehicle. Based on your description, the bolts have
been overloaded. Typically, bolts used in a fashion
that has bending occurr in the thread area fail

A simple suggestion to get you back to the builder in
the USA.

Have a local mechanic, or yourself, replace the broken
bolts with new US made grade 8 bolts, then one at a
time replace the unbroken bolts on the other side with
grade 8 bolts. These are the strongest bolts available
readily. Do not re-drill the holes to a bigger size,
as that may lead to disagreement of who was at fault
for what.

Grade 8 bolts are marked on the head with 6 hash marks
or lines radiating outward from the center.

Save all the bits and pieces for analysis by the
manufacturer. Save the unbroken bolts also

If you have questions, I am happy to help. I will
check this e-mail again in 3 hours to see if you

Good luck;