It feels like yesterday, when I went to Brisbane to pick up Gigi after the conversion, and we are actually already in February.. It seem as old as you get as quicker the time goes  by 😥

January was however a very good month. Several item were purchased and lots of job have been finished.  First thing on the list was the purchase of the metal to complete the motorcycle ramp. In the picture above you can see the front wheel trolley almost finished.  All it needs is the catch mechanism, the front pulley and the cable shackle… Once the ramp is completely finished, I will probably do another pictorial of the entire system. On the right is the wheel catcher in the open position.

The whole ramp is made of metal and special considerations were made to choose the “right” thickness without compromising the strength…

The important thing to remember is always the weakest link.  Every product ever made, always have one, so as long as you can see it, using it as a gauge does help a lot. Having 6mm steel plate on the trolley and only 1.5mm on the hinge it didn’t make much sense.

Where 4mm for the plate and 2.5mm for the hinge does seem appropriate and it also look more right. There are also part under severe stress while other much less..  As mention before, the goal is to keep the weight down to the bare minimum as possible while achieving the desired strength.  For instance, several large holes will be drilled in the trolley to cut the weight down, while maintaining the same strength…

Considering that Gigi also had some fibreglass problem (actually the paint job on the fibreglass), I removed the parts in question and let my good friend (that actually does enjoy these small jobs) have a go at fixing them..

One was the rear right end of the bumper. It has several crack in it and the fibreglass was also broken in two places..

The job did involved using a Dremel to remove first all the cracks and chips, then fixing the fibreglass where it was cracked and finally filling all the new grooves with bog…

It does look easy but watching it happening it made me realise why I’m not good at panel beating.. It does required one virtue of which I have none of it.. Patience! 😀

Here you can see the panel ready to take the first application of bog..

Then the sanding begin, then more bog followed by more sanding, followed by more…. well you get the picture..

If everything goes to plan you should have a nice finish ready to be primed again before the first coat of paint. Then (and I couldn’t believe it) another very light sanding took place  before the final two coat of paint were applied…

I would say it took 3 hours of sanding all up… You really need a lots of patience for this job…

But it was worth it. It does look like new and not a single defect on it… I was also asked if I want it to make look old as the rest of the bumper as apparently is easily achievable, but frankly I didn’t see the point as in a couple of reverse manoeuvre, it should go back to look like before the repair…  😎

The other bit getting fixed is the exhaust cover that sit near the roof. Again after twenty years, the fibreglass was all cracked (possibly also due to being expose to severe heat all the times), and it was really thin especially at the top.

So we went from 2mm fibreglass to 5mm thick especially around the exhaust neck, where it gets most of the heat.. After that is back to bog and sand, sand and bog, bog and sand…

While Paul was busy with that, I had a massive job to tackle myself as the new Generator had arrived and it need it a new home.

I had previously contemplated using the space where the A/C compressor used to be, but there were some serious electrical challenges involved with that. None the less after looking at the plans again, I decided to go ahead and install it where I had originally planned.

The new generator is a Yamaha EF3000iSE and while it got delivered brand new but not working (story of my life), I had to decide if enjoy fixing a brand new generator of send it back a wait for a replacement. The faulty was simple… as you open the fuel cock, the fuel just keep pouring out from the overflow tube from the carburettor. Now here the thing… It may happen one day, that the same problem do arise and I may be in a the middle of nowhere. So I though it would help to embrace this as a training experience (while in the comfort of not needing it desperately ) and not a warranty claim… Not much point in being a mechanic if a simple one cylinder engine can ruin your day. So I got to completely disassemble a brand new generator and actually quite enjoy for once to work on clean parts with no oil or grease on it…  😀

To cut the story very short, all it took, once the carburettor was out and apart, was to use the airgun and remove a tiny little bit of metal clogging the main jet and not allowing the float to close the chamber.. Can’t really blame anybody for something like that as even if they tested before selling them, the little piece of metal would/could have moved in transport..

I’m actually glad I did take the time to fix it myself as I got to see the good quality and the reason why this Yamaha generator is so unbelievably quiet.. Like most people I had to toss between the Yamaha or the Honda. In the end I had to pick the Yamaha and as you see the installation, you will understand why the Honda just couldn’t fit. As you can see the chosen location is a bit crammed at the moment: the old A/C frame has to be removed as it does the second alternator (that I’ll keep for spare). Then we have the main harness of cables coming down from the fusebox in the engine bay.

First thing was moving temporarily all the cables, so that the old frame could be cut out. It was made of 6mm thick steel and welded directly to the subframe. It took an hour but by cutting it in small pieces it all came out.. It may don’t look like much but there in the grass you have nearly 20kg of metal. This also did allow me to go another 5cm lower with the installation, a much need it space as the fuse box is just above and I really didn’t want to move that..

I also had to relocated and redesign the fresh air intake for the alternator that will remain attached to the engine.

Then it was just a matter of removing the wheels from the generator and make a template of the bottom part to fit the new frame welded to the subframe.

I also had to use the main frame for support so as you can see from the picture a bolt was used to attach the new frame because as you remember you are not supposed to weld to the main frame…

Once the new frame was in place a coat of black rust proof paint was used to cover the lot.

The original wheels shaft welded to the generator did came handy as with two U bolts I was able to fix the generator to his new frame. After a simple test it became obvious that it would have fit without any further modifications, were I originally had some doubts on the two big large handles touching either the air intake or the cables under the control panel. But with few cm to spares it did fit beautifully and it has already been put at work when I resprayed the roof, that’s coming up in the next chapter. All I need to do now, is just to use a pipe to extend the exhaust to under the coach floor, using the existing Unloader Valve hole in the floor, just to avoid burned gases to find their way into the coach interior…

Regarding the sound noise level, I honestly believe that it will be ok in day time but not in a camping area. Yes, is not any louder than a two people conversation, but it would still bother me if I had to listen to that (long continuous background noise), instead of the birds or the water in the creek… I guess what I’m saying is that they are very quite units, but it is still a sound of a engine and it is not a natural sound in a park; the good thing is that about 10 metres away you can’t hear it any more…

Here is the unit installed and protect by the free cover they give you. You can also see why I would have struggle to use the Honda that actually has the main panel on the short side, which in my case would have been very impractical. I was also very lucky, as without even thinking about it, the access panel for the oil and air filter change, are also easy accessible without having to remove the unit from the frame…

I’m very pleased with the end result of this project, as everything on both, coach engine and generator panel plus access panel are still very easy to access…