Things are finally start to move in the right direction and with a bit of luck, the mechanical side stage 1 of Gigi will be soon over.

To date:

  • Replaced Turbo
  • Fixed both radiators
  • Replaced Cylinder Head number 6
  • Checked and clean all Injectors
  • New Air compressor
  • New compressor shaft
  • New air hoses
  • Two new brake shoes
  • One new brake drum
  • Three new airbags
  • all new belts
  • all new filters
  • new engine oil

That’s not to bad for a 30 years old vehicle with 1,400,000 Km

We struggled a bit to find OEM MAN parts until it became obvious that a lots of parts are interchangeable with OEM Mercedes. After that was discovered, it got a lot easier and quicker to get the right part..

The next stage off the project was to find a way to install a multi stage retarder  to replace the obsolete butterfly exhaust retarder, that frankly I don’t even know why I bother to fix it last years, well aware of the fact that they don’t really work. I had originally intended to get the Allison auto transmission with retarder from Brisbane (so to combine the cost of a retarder and getting away from the clutch problem we still have), and had the vehicle booked in for the conversion, but apparently there was a communication problem and they couldn’t any longer fulfil their promise as I now need it a much bigger transmission, making their quoted price double overnight.. (Funny how quick the price does change and always the way up after you mention the word “Motorhome”)  Lesson Learned!!!

So the painstaking process of finding alternative means for a retarder began and very quickly got out of proportion to the point that I was ask $50,000.00 for a Voith retarder  :o  Funnily enough that was also the new price quoted to me for the Allison transmission.. Have these people got together at night to plan a plot??

Guess what happen next?  Yes, you guess it right.. As most Australian have become used to, I started to look at overseas company and again, as usual, their prices including delivery were much, much lower than Australia.. (the Lucky Country my #$%) Finally another very sad part of this story is that the overseas company I dealt with were also a hell of a lot more helpful.. I felt like they actually cared for me.. None the less it goes without saying that from now on my wallet will mainly be use for purchases in the US, as AUS dollars has apparently less than a quarter of the value here for the same item..

To cut the story short, I’m currently waiting for my new Allison transmission to get delivered and once installed, stage two will begin. Because I’ll be using an auto transmission I also replaced the conventional accelerator cable with a new VDO Egas II kit (Drive By Wire) and added a Cruise Control (I’m sure that I’ll enjoy both immensely)  :D

I’m a firm believer that things in life always happen for a reason.. I could have got really frustrated by what has happen in the past few weeks, but instead I ended up to save a truckload of money, meet new and enjoyable people and have a much better understanding of an automatic transmission..  :D  Like my father use to say to me “every coin has two side”.

Unfortunately due to the rain in the past two months and a lot of oil and grease, I didn’t take many pictures as I would have like too.. Hopefully stage two will be different..