Winch

The Australian army UL1700L version uses a Werner & Co winch. Name plate data interpretation: breaking force 21,404 kg and Tractive force 6403 kg. It normallyuses 14mm steel cable.

Control knobs.

  • Passenger side knob engages gearbox or allows free wheeling in order to drag cable out by hand.
  • Drivers side knob is a friction adjustment. Wind it in for friction to slow the drum when paying out cable by hand.

I imagine it would not be helpful to have the friction knob wound right in whilst operating the PTO drive.

I found that it was best to remove the winch to work work on it.

The winch is held on by 2 large pins (see photo below). The pins came out easily enough, but after about 30 years it was not so easy to remove the winch from the vehicle (needed a 6' digging bar to lever it off the pegs). Hope its not as hard to put it back.

Don't forget to check the winch gearbox oil.

Drive Chain

When I opened the drive chain case (on drivers side), about 1 litre of water came out. The inside surface and chain had some surface rust mixed in the grease (nothing of consequence however). A large 'O' ring is used to seal the side casing but obviously not intended to be a watertight seal on the rough casting. The chain operates a cable indexing slider to ensure cable winds evenly across drum. A gear puller is required to remove the large RH cog. After cleaning out, I painted the inside,  lithium sprayed the chain, applied sealant to the 'O' ring and installed a drain plug in the base of the case.

Coupling

The connection between the rear of the winch and the vehicle PTO shaft, is a form of flexible couling combined with a torque overload clutch feature. The photo below shows the 4 ball bearings used in the overload clutch. I pulled it down as far as I could, cleaned it up, greased, repainted and resealed the cover.

Bolts:

There are four M16 high tensile grade 10.9 main bolts holding the winch brackets in place. Unfortunately, as the front of the chassis box channel is open, all the dirt and crud in the world enters it, and when wet, the mud starts to corrode the bolts that are threaded into the chassis. The risk with removing bolts that have lain undisturbed for eons, is that you can strip them or shear them off. I was convinced I had galled one of the M16 grade 10.9 bolts holding the winch brackets in place. I had to use a 1" drive, force multiplier to wind them out, as even a 1m long bar would not budge them. As shown in the first photo below, they were corroded and no longer fit for service. This is the likely typical condition of these bolts for all of these vehicles of similar age, and I consider it a mandatory check if the winch is going to see any service. Obtaining a replacement set of bolts should have been easy, but what do you know, I can only buy full boxes or buy from Mercedes. Seems grade 10.9 is rare here.

Some of the bolts securing the winch mount brackets are in good nick and can cleaned up with a brass wire brush, others, the threads are damaged beyond safe re-use. Note; in winding them out there was the risk of galling of the thread. Once out, I clean up the threaded holes by spraying with penetrating oil, ran a tap to clean up the corroded thread, sprayed with penetrating oil again and when refitting bolts, using anti-seize. Not a good idea to use bolts again where the thread is deformed, as it may stuff up the threaded anchor when refitting. The two structural bolts in the first photo have slightly damaged threads, the shanks are corroded and therefore need replacing. Make sure you replace with the right grade of bolt. Most are either 10.9 or 8.8 grade.

Rope 

I looked at 14mm steel cable versions (numerous constructions and materials). They are not cheap and have some disadvantages, such as: can be kinked, strands can stick out (severe injury risk), cannot be repaired in the field without special tools, expensive to get cleaned and can stretch and snap back (injury/death risk).

I looked at synthetic, i.e. Ultra High Modulus Polyethylene (UHMWPE). Dyneema is one of many well known brand names for UHMWPE. It is available pre-terminated or you splice an eye (soft or hard) on it yourself. Note: The open teardrop eye is designed for steel cable, whereas the closed donut eye is used for synthetic ropes. The reason: the teardrop open ends can cut away at the rope and fray it.

Grades: SK99 has 20% strength advantage over SK78 and crucially retains the same elongation and creep characteristics as SK78 – out-gunning SK90 on all levels!  SK99 has an unmatched strength to weight ratio. SK90 and 99 is expensive and as I am always looking for best value for money, I went for the middle of the price and performance range: SK78. However, if you expect to do lots of winching, one might wish to consider SK99? 

Advantages of UHMWPE:

  • Will float on water
  • Can be easily cleaned. 
  • Depending on the grade, it can be stronger than steel for the same diameter. 
  • Excellent fatigue resistance (cyclic bending).
  • Excellent  UV and chemical resistance.   
  • Good abrasion resistance.
  • Depending on grade, no snap back risk.
  • But most of all, Can be slice jointed and re-terminated in the field by hand

Negatives for UHMWPE: 

  • Exhibits creep, i.e. elongation over time.  Creep can often have a negative effect on a rope’s performance and strength when ropes are subjected to high loads for extended periods. 
  • Can melt at relatively low temperatures (140○C), so don't let the drum get too hot.
  • Susceptible to cuts, it’s not uncommon to have to smooth the drum or fairlead, Might need an abrasion sleeve.

General:

From much reading on the internet, I have three suggestions: Cleaning the rope after each as soon as possible, checking the drum temperature when in use (pour a little water on it if it starts getting too hot) and making sure that the rope is not exposed to UV whilst stored on the drum. This implies a cover over the winch or in the case of the standard Werner winch, I have made a HDPE cover plate to fit into the opening on the top of the winch. In order to bend to the 250mm diameter, I had to heat it up. I used the oven to heat it up, but the stink permeated the house. Still has not left the oven. My wife is not impressed with me.

Headlights

On opening the origional headlights, one headlight was well sealed, and in good condition, the other had a damaged housing and decades of crud had got in there and stuffed everything due to corrosion and melted wires etc. I would have liked to replace the headlights with a nice LED set, but they will cost ~US$800 and more. I evaluated many of the modern 90mm LED lights (most IP67 so not water proof). The IP69 military versions are very expensive but can, according to the datasheet, withstand 3m deep immersion continually. Some of the 90mm modules have separate high low beam modules and some have both in the same housing. These style are commonly used here on buses and progressively being used in many of the newer model cars. A mounting plate is required to adapt for them. The ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) regulation stamp means (in theory) that a lamp can be used in European countries and most industrialised ones outside of the EU (USA excluded) and provided the lights are designed for the correct driving side of the road. These ECE provisions and standards are meant to allow for products type approved by one country, to be used across Europe including Australia. I note that according to Australian Headlight Design Rule '46/00-Headlamps', annex 2 makes provision for headlights for slow moving vehicles. The normal Unimog is not classified as a slow moving vehicle here (unless its used as a snow plow). 

General advice I have received is that, they need to be ECE approved and within the norms of the existing standards.

After all this, I consider its just too hard to comply with the very chaotic current regulations, as they are all over the place and no conformity across the country. Also, it seems the people making the standards for headlights here in Australia don't know what they are doing. LED lights emit a pure spectrum and its very difficult to equate colour and intensity to traditional incandescent light standards. The railways in NSW were among-st the first in the world to study (in conjunction with NSW University) and approve LED signal lights two decades ago. Whilst I spent many years helping set the railway standards for LED lights, I am going to re-use my existing poor mans technology incandescent headlights. Easier to comply that way, even if I cannot take advantage of the better lighting technology available due to ignorance.

I ended up refurbishing the alloy casings, replaced one of the Hella reflectors.

Paint Cab

Interior

  • Cab mostly stripping out to repaint. I've gone for Toyota French Vanilla White. 
  • I'm leaving the dash in place, so it will mean that behind the dash will remain drab green (but no one will see it).
  • Inside door panels coated with rust proofing and sound proofing.
  • Underside  heavy coated with Crommelin water proofing pond sealer.
  • Rubber roof hatch seal is a bugger to re-install. You will likely need to make up a special hook tool (see photo).

Exterior

I tried 4 sizes of spray gun. For touch-ups, a spray pen might be useful but I'll likely only buy that when I need to start touching up stone chips etc. Started painting the exterior over Easter break 2019. A difficult job outdoors in the wind. Sun and overnight condensation means that I have to keep replacing the masking tape in areas, as it tends to come away easily. One needs to lightly wet-sand down between coats due to grit etc blowing on to the wet paint. I ended up using a lot more paint this way also, as half of it blows away even when I wait between gusts to do a few seconds of spraying.  Use a small gun to get into the nooks and folds, as using a large gun can lead to more runs. Should have looked up air pressure before I started. I'm not very happy with the result. I assumed that my gravity feed gun run at the same pressure as the vacuum ones. I ended up applying the first coat at twice the pressure it should have been. This resulted in narrow bands of orange peel finish. Used 4L for first coats. Waited a month and lightly sanded down and applied final coat using only about 20psi (instead of the wrong 45psi). 

I also found that if you leave masking tape in place for a few months or more, to bake in the sun, its almost impossible to remove. Some of it on the rubber around the windshield will not come off. Maybe over time it will degrade.

24-7-19 lowered the cab, fitted batteries under the bonnet, tested the grill and bonnet for clearance. There is only a few mm. Battery is up against the air cleaner the other side. I don't expect to replace the engine air filter very often. To mitigate against this, I have fitted a pre-filter to the snorkel to remove most of the dust. These however, only tend to work well when the vehicle is driving at speed.

Cab Heater Fan

Started to dismantle the cab air blower system ducting under the bonnet.

Tricky job. The fan casing (has three fasteners) would not come out until I unbolted the horizontal ducting running along under the windscreen (in the engine compartment). Horizontal duct has three fasteners and needs to be slid along towards the drivers side as far as it will go, before the fan assembly will come out. See 1st photo showing gap needed between horizontal ducting and fan in order to remove the fan assembly. Photo 2 shows removal of casing clips.

Good thing that I did open up the fan, as the fan blade was cracked in two places. It had started to flex out so much that it had worn a hole through the fan casing. The army mechanics just bogged up the hole and did not fix the broken fan problem. I tried to remove the fan blade from the shaft, but no luck. I replaced the whole assembly with the newer design (see photo 4 below). Better air flow.

The ducting would not come free, and after some hours of cussing, I eventually had to rip the duct out with brute force. I later discovered that someone had used a slightly longer screw on the window water jet handle on the outside and the screw was protruding down onto the horizontal ducting jamming it.

Note: I purchased (at auction) half a dozen good fans to get one. So I still have some for sale on ebay including a brand new one, all tested and allgoing very cheap.

Air-Conditioning - As Installed

I've gone for cooling only because the vehicles already have a hot water heater system. Installing the compressor where I did, was a very complicated job. Had to fabricate the brackets bit by bit. Then discovered that the belt touched the power take-off shaft below it, so I had to add a small idler pulley to push it away.  The advantage of it here (rather than just above the bash plate) is that it will not get totally immersed when river crossing. Unfortunately, my design to locate the evaporator at the front of the cabin (under the centre of the front dash console) was flawed because the gear shift hit it, so it is now located on the rear wall between the seats. 

  • wall mounted Red Dot Evaporator R6840024P
  • roof mounted Red Dot Condenser (needs to be small so as not to foul the roof hatch) R6160024P
  • Sanden Compressor (located in front of the turbo in place of the fan belt idler tensioner pulley)

I bought the bits all from different companies across the US for the best prices. The risk in doing this, is no warranty. One can install an all-in-one roof top unit (electric drive on the compressor), but as the roof is ribbed, cutting out a large hole for the air grill will increase the risk of  water leaks. I have decided its inefficient to change mechanical to electrical back to mechanical, so for me, its a mechanical compressor direct off the crank (via vee belt) rather than an all electric arrangement on the roof.

The most difficult part was making up a heavy duty adjustable mounting bracket to suit the compressor. Very tight fit. Lots of ad-hoc bespoke mods needed to get it right. Clearance from PTO shaft is not great, so I had to add an idler pulley to keep it away.  Its July 2019, electrics done and hoses are now run and holding vacuum.

It's end of 2019, system now charged and working great.

Note: Unidan has a complete air conditioning kit available and their evaporator unit fits very nicely under the centre of the front dash console. Its priced quite reasonably, as I soon found out that buying my own parts ended up costing me just as much or more, (due to import freight costs). If I had my time around I would probably just buy Dans kit, but you live and learn. My system does howeverallow me to keep the floor space clear in the middle of the cabin for the dog to sit.

Exhaust

Turbo Change:

 I replaced the turbo (just in case it had some wear and for some peace of mind) for a rebuilt unit. Last thing you want is turbo blades fragmenting. I found that MTA, Denco Diesel and Unidan prices are all about the same at about A$1k exchange.

It as a nightmare to get it off and a nightmare to fit it up again. Took 1/2 a day to get the old one off and the same time to put the new one back. No way of getting a torque wrench in there, so hopefully nuts are done up right. The coating I used on the cast iron parts is an industrial grade heavy zinc paint (very cheap and works fine). I have tested it for about 5 years on my Land Rovers exhaust manifold and it has held up fine. Much cheaper than ceramic coating, but for me its simply about a tidy look (I don't like surface rust, even though its not structural). 

Rather than drill the turbo to fit the exhaust gas temperature probe, I drilled and tapped the exhaust casting after the turbo. There is a flat spot on the casting perfect for this.

Before starting a new turbo make sure that there is oil in it. Check with suppliers recommendations.

I did the following: 

  • Changed engine oil and filters,
  • Put catch bowl under turbo drain,
  • Before fitting oil inlet pressure pipe, fill top with new oil (should drip out the bottom),
  • Fit oil inlet pressure line (with new gasket and copper washers),
  • Start engine at idle (do not rev) turn off after about 5 seconds,
  • Check oil is coming out of turbo drain,
  • Fit drain fitting with new gasket and drain hose,
  • Start engine at idle (do not rev). Leave to run and inspect for any leaks,
  • then Hope for the best.

Exhaust Pipe.

Exhaust is 3.5" stainless. I could not easily get all parts in 316, so used 304 for the straight bits. 

I tack welded the first meter to clear the engine bay. It is bad enough trying to fit 3.5", but it would be almost impossible to fit 4" (and 4" is overkill anyway) following the same route as the original exhaust. You need to follow the original route otherwise it will be exposed to damage by ducking under the chassis members etc (and a fire risk when out on the grass plains). I know from my time in the Territory, that a lot of grass fires are caused by grass getting caught up under a vehicle on the hot exhaust. It is not possible to copy the old section, so best to just use the original only as a rough guide so as to order the right elbows etc. Its a very tight squeeze with only about 5mm gap left between structural members. Unfortunately its likely that the arm from the front torque tube to the left wheel hub is going to hit the pipe at maximum spring compression ;-( I may have to remove it again and put a depression into the the pipe if it hits the arm. I won't know until I drive it again.

Gasket A302490008001 (from MB). The elbows are 316 sanitary fittings (used in nuclear reactors laboratories etc), and a thicker material than used for exhaust pipes.  Everything was marked and cut to angle by eye using a 14" drop saw. The flange had to be made to my drawing and I fitted an adaptor (3" to 3.5") to it. I tried to get the local exhaust company to do the full welds, but they did not have the expertise to do it. Purging is essential otherwise oxide forms on the inside behind the welds. If purging is not done during welding, this oxide is a source of later corrosion, weakness and breaks up the gas flow. This was my first time working with thin wall stainless. Not easy to ensure perfect flush butt tacks. Every weld needed the section to be bolted back up to mark for welding and for cuts/angles, and taken off again.  A big job, as it took more than one day just to do this simple task. 

I have given up trying to find a reasonable priced muffler anywhere in the world (I should go into the muffler business). One option was to get one custom made, but this too would be very expensive, with no guarantees of a decent dbA reduction. I've had to bite the bullet and save up for a proper Cowl muffler in the end (a disk muffler would have been the best, but price was insane). Arrived from the US in October 2018. A stainless muffler was expensive, so I ended up going for thick mild steel (it was still A$1000 just for a muffler !!) and painted it with high temperature ceramic white paint. Should last my lifetime (hopefully). Added my own mounting bracket as the standard bracket is about A$250. Unfortunately the lowest item hanging down is the exhaust pipe under the muffler and its what is likely to get wiped out first. Probably not the best of designs but I'll see how it goes and modify it later if needed. Added a drain at the lowest point in case water gets in at river crossings ? 

Full welding of the stainless was done by Beauchamp Metals here in Sydney. Great job and reasonable price. Can't recommend them enough.

After all installed, and vehicle lowered to the ground, I realised I made a mistake. The section of exhaust after the turbo outlet casting) where it comes down from the engine compartment, has insufficient clearance from the front torque tube wheel strut connection. The torque tube is likely to come up and hit the exhaust when I go over a bump and the suspicion bottoms out. The end result might be ripping the turbo off the exhaust manifold and ensuing engine destruction (as bits of metal get sucked into it). Its now May 2020, and I now have to pull it all out and modify the angle of the pipework. Not a small task with the cab not raised. Welder blew up, no high frequency injection. Once fixed, will start on this job. The yellow line below shows the path the tube should have taken.

Exhaust Stack

Quite a bit of work in building fully stainless steel exhaust stack and sourcing value for money parts from around the world. 

Dec 2018. Decided that I needed to exhaust smoke up and away, so I changed the arrangement from a low level outlet pointing downwards, to a smoke stack. I went for 4" polished stainless steel (4" is an odd size and difficult to find). The heat shield to suit 4" pipe is almost impossible to find (as exhaust stack pipe normally starts at 5"). I made my own by slicing up a wood heater flue heat shield from Bunnings. Tacked the exhaust stack into place, in order to make up the supporting frame at rear of cab. A frame from the chassis (NOT from the tray and NOT from the cab) is required to support the weight.

In order to allow flex between chassis and engine, a bellows fitting was required at the inlet to the muffler and on the outlet of the muffler. Time will tell if there is enough flex in the system.

Fuel Pump Settings

Minor horsepower increase is possible by adjustment to the Bosch mechanical fuel pump. Its something that an only be done (in my view) with the cab in the raised position. 

Linden Martin has provided useful details in Unimog Owners NSW Facebook site, on how to Un-Billycart an Ex ADF Mog Parts 1 and 2.  Its similar to the Bosch mechanical fuel pump adjustments that I have made to my Landrover Discovery TDI (basically how to overfuel). I plan to make the OM352a adjustment next time I raise the cab, and plan to provide a summary here.

TBA

Air Horns

I removed the 82 class locomotive air horns from my Landrover (was not quite legal !!), and fitted them to the Unimog underneath out of sight (no point buying a fancy chrome set from the US just because they look nice). But I dropped one, deformed the bell and hairline cracks in the bell. So I thought, why not solder them up using the TIG. Set the TIG to pulse and lowest setting of 1 Amp to try lead soldering. Blew a large hole in it!!. Back to the simple traditional electric soldering iron to repair it. Hours of work. They still look battered but they work ok. Goes to show you that its trial and error when you are learning-as-you-go (I should have tried on a piece of paper thin brass sheet beforehand, but I'm impatient). These horns have the advantage of being robust and able to handle higher air pressure than most. They also tend to be loud. I have them set up with a large bore solenoid (and isolation switch). If I quickly toot the normal electric horn only the electric horn makes a noise. If I hold down the button, everything comes on. This is because the electric horn responds very quickly, whereas the mass of the solenoid shuttle takes a little longer to move and for the air to compress at the air horn diaphragm. Hence by time I have removed my finger from the button for a quick toot, not enough air reaches the air horns to make a noise. If you are worried about it, install a delay timer to ensure that there is a delay between the electric horn and air horns.

Air Pre-Cleaners

I originally ordered two Enginaire style aluminium air cleaners, but got ripped off by a fake company. They never arrived. I ended up purchasing two TopSpin plastic style. They are not as strong as metal (quite flimsy in fact) but have the big advantage of being lighter. All worked out for the better in the end (God works in mysterious ways ). It's unlikely that the cab air inlet snorkel pre-cleaner will be able to do much due to the much slower air speed, but its one way of carrying around a spare, just in case the engine inlet pre-cleaner gets knocked off on a low branch. This item comes into its own in dusty locations such as bull dust roads, and the maker claims something like 90% dust removal before it hits the paper filter. This means that the paper filter should last much longer. The Topspin will need collar adaptor rings to make them fit. I used 5" PVC sewer pipe cut offs. As the clamps alone may not be sufficient to hold the pre-cleaners in place, I also drilled and fitted screws through each collar.

Tool Boxes

I designed the (front of rear wheel) heavy duty tool boxes mid July 2019. They were beautifully made (4mm aluminium), by Beauchamp Metals. The first two sit in front of the rear wheels and are painted green. The remaining future boxes are expected to sit behind the wheels and will be for a generator and a water tank, but I will have to wait until I sort out the living module before these can be designed and made up.

Battery Trays

A friend here in Sydney with a couple of Unimogs, gave me the idea of putting both batteries under the bonnet in front of the air filter.

The advantage is that it means I can get rid of the existing heavy battery box and fit my long range fuel tanks. The disadvantage however of this mount arrangement, is that the top tray and battery have to be prior removed before the air filter can be changed or the cab tilted. But as the generator and other connections need to be removed to tilt the cab anyway, a few more items does not make too much difference. I figure that the air filter should not need changing too often especially as I have a pre-filter installed on the top of the snorkel.

The upper tray is shown in the photo. The holes at the left are for mounting heavy duty fuse holders with high speed ceramic fuses, for the ancillaries. The output from these primary fuses will feed the traditional fuse blocks. The lower tray was relatively easy, as I purchased an off the shelf product and modified it. The top tray was a nightmare, as the air cleaner was behind it and the grill in front. Much trial and error. It only just fits the battery size I currently have. Any bigger battery and I've a big problem, as I will have to modify the tray again.

Maintenance Manuals

There are three main sources that I use:

1) From the ADF under freedom of information act. I applied to obtain various maintenance information which they agreed, and rather than just provide it to me (and I disseminate it), they arranged for AFM to make available information on their web site.  Good idea to download copies of manuals etc, in case their site closes one day. I have an additional manual not available for the air system, and can provide some information selectively.

2) Workshop Manual and Parts List. I use the free VM-Ware Player (virtual Windows XP Workstation) to run the applications. I purchased the following applications from 'emanualonline':

- Mercedes_2014_WSM (workshop manual) and

- Mercedes_2014_EPC (electronic parts catalogue).

Note that without training, these two databases can be quite difficult to use. You will need to plug in your VIN i.e. WDB435  ...................... . After that you can select the category you are interested in. Unfortunately not all parts for the ADF Unimog versions are listed, but the far majority of standardparts are there.

3) Internet Forums:

  • Mercedes Benz Forum

Canvas Covers

Found a good local upholsterer, who has the correct drab olive military colour canvas. He made my mast light cover and air conditioner cover  at the right price. I plan to get other covers made there including repairs to the main vinyl tarp.  I recommend A L S Upholstery at 436 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee NSW 2232, Australia  as value for money. Once the winch cover is made, I'll ask him to keep the design on hand in case others want to order covers for their winch. A cover is essential as it helps keeps crap from getting into the cable and if Dyneema, keeps the sun off it.

If the main canvas cover over the rear tray has tears and small holes in it, you may want to repair it. It's a poly something-or-other weave, with vinyl coating both sides. Its normally thermally welded, using heated implements. The cheapest way is to chemically glue repair patches to the inside (where they cannot be seen). You will need to take the tarp off the truck. You will need to clean around the area to be repaired (and the patch), apply primer solvent to both surfaces and then quickly apply the glue solvent to both surfaces. You need a hand roller and heavy objects to place over the patch to apply pressure until it has set a day later. Do this on a warm day.

You will want to use proper heavy duty patch material (hard to find). This I found is available from above ground pool repair suppliers or where they make truck side tarp curtains (the ones which often have printed advertising material on them). I got (free) off-cuts. This solvent method is not as strong as the thermal weld, but it is good enough for me for patch work.

Door Handles

The ex ADF vehicles do not have key locking door handles. Its illegal here not to lock your vehicle if you move more than a certain distance awayfrom it.  I purchased modern Febi model 17254 door handles after assessing them on-line.  I then had both handles keyed alike.  Handles fitted fine (just) but mods were needed as described below. New handle is in foreground. Its squarer in shape, but otherwise everything lines up ok. New lockable door handles are not something to tackle without a lot of patience, as you will likely need to remove the locking mechanism and handle about 10 times (trial and error and lots of cussing perhaps). The trick is to undo the lowest screw on the window glass guide channel so that you can flex the channel towards the outer skin of the door enough to twist the mechanism around it (a terrible job). My mechanisms needed to be modified, so as to remove part of the push tongue and to change the cam lobes. Whilst you can grind away the push tongue using an air operated die grinder tool from the outside with the door handle off, its not possible to alter the cams this way.  First picture in gallery is the completed handle on door. Looks great. Second picture shows the push tongue where the lower portion needs to be ground off. I discovered that the new handle plunger (key barrel) does not push inwards quite enough to reliably unlock the mechanism. No amount of screw adjustment on the rear of the new handle will fix this. I also had to adjust the shape of the cams in the mechanism so that the lock releases with less plunge of the handle plunger (very fiddly and you need a small die grinder burr bit).  Note: you may find that there is enough plunger depth to unlock your mechanism and you might not need to adjust the cams. I did have to adjust the cams. You may have to also take the door handle on and off a dozen times to get the depth adjustment screw on the rear of the door handle barrel just right. Too long and the barrel will not rotate (hits the side of the push tongue), too short and it will not push in far enough to release the mechanism fully. You will need to grind off about the lower 1/3 of the push tongue. The reason being: The new handle button when pushed in (without the key), needs to find clear space behind it and not come into contact with the push tongue, for this reason you need to grind off part of the tongue. When the key is in, it is rotated first (the only thing the key does, is allow the barrel to be rotated) and then when the button is pushed in, this time it comes into contact with the upper portion of the tongue that is left in place. As I said, it was all trial and error to get the new handles to work with the old door mechanism. There may be a new model handle that works the traditional way, but I could not find one?

However, there is a safety risk in fitting these lockable handles, in that it is not possible to open the door from the outside without a key. If the door slams shut from the wind and the keys are in the ignition, one has a problem (hence probably a good idea to fit a small key safe hidden somewhere on the outside of thevehicle). Also, if you are in a vehicle accident, the emergency services will nor be able to open the door from the outside. This is a risk you will have to decide on.

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Crane

I needed a small crane to lift the spare wheel up and down from the back of the tray. I looked at a lot of cheap Chinese model cranes on ebay etc. All were very good value heavy duty but very heavy. The only light-weight version I could find was the Spitz, but very expensive compared to the other versions. Picture below shows my testing it on the spare wheel. Its installed on the back tray temporarily, and I plan to relocate it on a frame at the rear once the living module is installed. Whilst it is expensive, I do recommend this brand as it so lightweight one person can carry it folded up. If you wanted to get carried away, you could buy the side mount compact sockets and fit one above each wheel position, so that you can use this crane to lift the wheel up into place. (bit too much like hard work for me).

Of perhaps some interest, unless your ex ADF vehicle has had the plywood on the tray replaced recently, its likely to be rotted in the corners and around the edges. Mine looked ok until I attacked it with a screw driver. The worst rot is under the aluminium sheet at the rear where you cannot get to it except from the underside.

As I have 5 of the steel rim wheels left over, and all in excellent condition, I'm going to use one as the spare (at least for a while).  However, the steel wheel has a 10mm thick rim and the vehicle is now set up with studs that suit a thicker rim material (20mm).  I have now to find someone to:

  • drill out the old conical  nuts and use them as spacers or
  • get a large spacer disk made or
  • get 10 conical spacers machined up for each stud.

The negative issue with using an odd wheel as spare, is that its likely not legal for the front.

Front Mudguards

I discovered the hard way, that the larger tyres rub on both the mud flaps and the rear trailing edge of the steel mudguards, at full lock. If I had know about this before I had the guards re-rolled and painted, I would have done the following:

  • Had the guards re-rolled such that the rear 1/3 is at a larger diameter such that the trailing edge is now a further 1 to 1.5" rearward.
  • Modify the top step bracket where it attached to the body and drill new mounting holes at least 1" forward. See photo. 

I took the lazy retrospective approach, with a  solution that is not ideal.  To minimise the head of the bolts sticking out on the inside of the mudflap, I had to make some bolts with a flat head by welding a washer to M8 rod in order to pull the rubber mudguard further back away from the tyre. I also modified the top step bracket where it attached to the cab body by drilling new mounting holes 3/4" forward. I now have 1" clearance at full lock. It means that the mud flaps are now tied to the lower step and the arrangement is more rigid than I would have liked, but as the lower step is a rubber hanger step, maybe there is enough flex?