Thursday, 8 August 2013

Day 34 DALHOUSIE TO DISASTER Tassie to Darwin

Today daylight couldnt come soon enough for me. I laid in bed awake all night over thinking our mechanical issues and trying to work out all possible solutions if there were to be worst case scenarios. 
I came to the conclusion that the absolute worst case was that the trailer lets us down and or the Patrol lets us down and we have to pay several thousand dollars to have one or both of them shipped back home......oh and I was now kicking myself for not taking the advice that we should just nurse the Patrol home along the highway LOL

It was now daylight so I was able to have a proper look at what was causing our tyre to rub and with the light of day it was obvious that I had bent one of the suspension arms, which I have to admit was no easy feat as they are solid little suckers but not solid enough for the abuse I had been giving it.
When you build something like this yourself the first thing you do is make sure its built well enough to be safe. Thats the number one priority. Secondly you try to make it strong enough to handle any punishment your going to give it but not to over do the strength to the point where the weight of the component is so high it could be under a Mack truck. And finally you test your components extensively before you do a big trip across the country and back! We did all those things but obviously I didnt use a strong enough material to handle the punishment I had given the trailer the day or so before, and to make it worse the trailer was loaded to its maximum weight, which didnt help as well. Our testing at home wasnt representative of what we had been doing that last couple of days. Oh well no excuses, it is bent, so I need to fix it or nurse it home. It turns out that the difference between 3mm and 5mm steel on the suspension arm is all it takes........ :( 

One of the other campers last night suggested that the rangers might have a workshop nearby which made sense as it was very remote out here, they live just across from the camp ground and they did have a big garage in the distance so i went for a walk to the ranges station early in the morning to ask and of course they dont start work until later. I considered knocking on the house door but at the end of the day I figured there was probably not a lot I could do anyway unless they had a very extensive workshop with an oxy kit, perhaps a press and then some steel and a welder to bush fix the issue so I made the decision to push on but take it easy knowing only too well if it got worse we would be in all sorts of trouble.

The dingos were still out looking for food!

So off we go, taking it very easy and initially pulling over every so often checking to make sure it wasnt getting worse! I knew once it was bent it would keep bending far easier now.
We even used the side tracks that dodged the rough roads where we could to minimise the impact!

It wasnt too long and we were now beyond the point of any return. To go back to Mt Dare (which is the only place I know for certain that could help us) was out of the question because the roads back to there were just too rough to try and nurse us back so we now had to try and make it too Oodnadatta where I would hopefully find a workshop and do something about the bent arm.

Michelle went and had a look at some ruins while I took the opportunity to tighten the other side wheel bearings given that the other side was a bit loose last night when I pulled it apart. I didn't want to risk having more problems lol

The roads in this area were relentlessly rough. Well, under normal circumstances they would be what I would call fun, but seeing as we are now trying to get to the next town a couple hundred kays away this is painful. 

Just as we get to what we would consider to be about the most remote and worst possible place we could have broken down on this trip, the tyre blows on the side that was bent.

The suspension arm is bent so bad it is starting to crack. We now have more negative camber than a race car and no way of repairing this on the side of the road. To put it bluntly, we are in all sorts of trouble.

And as our luck would go just as we are contemplating what it might cost to have the camper recovered from all the way out here we notice that we have also managed to bust the radiator in the Patrol. The roads are that rough the bottom tank has separated from the radiator now we truly are in more trouble than a pregnant nun.

It is about now, I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. We are in the middle of the outback, miles from anywhere and very much looking like our holiday is over and having to go through the very expensive excersize of having our camper AND patrol shipped back home, let alone the personal disappointment of having something I designed fail at the worst possible time.

TO BE CONTINUED..................


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