Always the fact has been published that the Fuso Santek is a custom-made expedition vehicle.
Explaining why there have been issues like overflowing water tanks, short circuit in wiring, failing heating in truck cabin, lacking correct city water connection, missing sewer hose and other things.
All those issues have been corrected.
However, a new issue has come up today which is rather serious.
For a while it had been noticed that the Santek camper box on the Mitsubishi chassis was not really horizontal.
It was clearly off to the driver’s side.
This was mentioned to the chief engineer of Santek Trailers last Saturday.
He explained this was normal and that most trailers were not exactly horizontal.
The 6 heavy batteries are located on the side where the camper box was lower.
Therefore the conclusion was made that the explanation for being lower on one side was that one side of the Fuso Santek was simply heavier.
Today everything was well with the Fuso Santek.
A lunch stop was made in Catavina at noon and everything was fine with the Fuso Santek.
At 13.30 hours a stop was made for a nap and still everything was OK.
At 16.15 hours the town of Guerrero Negro was reached and before going to a trailer park, the local gasoline station was visited for fuel.
It was then noticed that the camper box was completely off.
Hanging sharply to one side.
An inspection was made.
The camper box is attached to the chassis on three points.
Two in the front and the pivotal one in the back.
The two attachments in the front are engineered by Santek Trailers.
To the chassis of the truck two square steel tubes are vertically bolted.
On top of these square steel tubes the camper box is welded.
The two square steel tubes are bolted to the chassis with four bolts each.
Each bolt secured by two nuts.
Tomorrow the exact diameter of the bolts will be measured but they look like 1 cm (0,39 inch) bolts.
It must be imagined that the weight of the camper box rests on those vertical square tubes and consequently on the 4 bolts.
Driving makes the weight invariable: the up and down movement goes also into the 4 bolts of each square steel tube.
For a while the process must have been going on that the bolts couldn’t hold the weight and were being bended to eventually break.
This explains why before the camper box looked like sagging.
If a close inspection were made at the time, the weakness of the bolts would have become clear.
It would have been seen that the bolts were bending being unable to hold the weight.
And this problem would have been avoided by replacing the small bolts by much larger ones.
Now the situation is that one side of the camper box is completely off.
Being totally unsupported.
Unclear is yet what damage this has caused.
It can be seen that the water pump is pushed on the battery bank of the truck.
And oil lines are pushed away by the square steel tube.
The holes where the bolts were are bend open wider.
In some holes parts of bolts are stuck.
Broken off and twisted.
For the moment the camper box is lifted up by a jack to be able to spend the night in the Fuso Santek.
Tomorrow a mechanic must be found in Guerrero Negro who can fix this problem.
This will take time and needs patience.
What is fortunate is that this happens in Mexico.
If this problem would have happened somewhere in the USA it would have been a very costly repair.
Because the Fuso Santek is lame: it can’t drive anymore.
It would have been unable to return to Santek Trailers for repairs.
A local truck repair centre in the USA would have needed to do the job at 85 $ (63 Euros) per hour.
It is clear now that on both sides larger bolts must be installed.
If it happened on one side, it can happen on the other side as well.
To install larger bolts, the holes must be drilled bigger.
How that can be done while the camper box is on the chassis is a question to be answered by Santek Trailers.
Is there now frustration maybe?
A range of emotions is waiting to be expressed but for the moment they are waiting for a more expert technical diagnosis.
Tomorrow on this blog there will be a report of the exact size of the bolts and expert fervent and loyal blog readers will be requested to give their opinion in how far we can speak here of an engineering error.