Friday, September 7, 2007

Ironing it out.

Another day in La Paz.
Another mechanic.

Somebody with little Mexican experience would think that the workshop of the mechanic visited today was in fact a place where recently a major explosion had occurred.
Or a place where a gigantic magnet had drawn to it anything metal.
Car wrecks, car parts and anything else to help the impression a local war of destruction had just ended.

Seeing the workshop it could not immediately be concluded that cars were fixed there.
It could be that cars were taken apart and than put together again but in a way a confused and disoriented mind would do.

All this is a false and wrong impression.
In fact most Mexican mechanics are highly skilled and have a high reputation for being able to intelligently repair any kind of mechanical problem.

Like Chaim.
A very simpatico mechanic who quickly made clear that to make reinforcement in the U-framed chassis was a job he could not do this particular day.
Too busy with other jobs.

To Chaim it was explained that more important was to put rubber between the U-bolt and the chassis, as this was believed to be moving and causing the friction noises.
Chaim made a young mechanic available and together this job was performed.

Together underneath the Fuso Szulc working hard.
Not an easy job.
Meanwhile chatting.
Raul was an 18-year-old boy working as a mechanic for one year before to go to a school to become an engineer.
He spoke highly of his father who owned a lot of land in tourist areas like Bahia Concepcion in Baja California.
Contrary with the bonanza going on, the father was not selling his properties and keeping the land for his sons later.
“My father is a good man”, Raul said respectfully.

Once the rubber was in place, the Fuso Szulc was moved to another spot, as welding was needed.
One of the arms holding the protector plate of the gearbox was broken.
Moving the Fuso Szulc, exactly the same noise of metal fighting was heard.
The rubber between the U-bolt and the chassis was not the solution to the problem at all it turned out.

Chaim, the experienced mechanic, had the bright idea to drive the Fuso Szulc in circles while he was running next to it to locate exactly where this noise was coming from.
This is how he found out what is the issue.
It is not the springs of the Mitsubishi truck: the Kearny Mesa Truck Centre Fuso is as perfect as it always has been.
It is not the U-bolts holding the camper box to the chassis.
It is the two metal blocks welded to the bottom of the camper box resting on the tops of the chassis.
In fact the whole camper box is moving caused by the pivotal system in the back.
And this movement makes the metal blocks scrape and glide on the chassis.

Chaim got two metal square blocks and welded them to the side of the metal blocks underneath the camper box and sticking low against the side of the chassis.
To stop the gliding movement of the box sideways.

Next, a new test-drive was made and although the movement sideways was now completely blocked, the movement of the camper box forwards and backwards still caused the noise and the friction.

Chaim slightly loosened the nuts of the U-bolts and the noise and friction was gone.

This is the permanent solution according to Chaim.

But the feeling about it is not comfortable.
The solution personally preferred is to replace the two metal blocks between the camper box and the chassis by two large rubber blocks they use on the back of truck bumpers.
And attach this again with the U-bolts.
All movement and friction will then be absorbed in the two rubber blocks.
However, Chaim doesn’t believe this is an option.
He believes it will make it worse.

The agreement has been made to see now how it holds.
Tomorrow is the return to El Triple using the probably heavily damaged dirt roads asking a lot of the Fuso Szulc.
If there are hardly any noises anymore and the U-bolts and its nuts stay in place, Chaim was right and things will be left as they are.
If not, in three weeks a return to his workshop is agreed upon.


1 comment:

Ken Norton - Image 66 Media said...

Based on what you've just written, I believe that the "solution" as presented by them is correct. Switching to a rubber block is not recommended as that will not hold up to the stresses at this location.

The idea of having a "floating box" is great, but movement and various sounds is normal. This is no differnt than slide-outs on RVs that squeak and rattle down the road.

Also, the new road conditions are EXACTLY why you have this custom-built expedition vehicle. Enjoy.