A bump down under

The other day I was thinking it might be time for an oil change so I took a peek under the engine and saw…this! According to the drawings and photos on the internet of the engine the underside of the oil tray should be flat. Flat is not really the word that could describe this tray. How did this happen? Is the elephant ok? Could something on the inside have taken damage? I guess the tray will have to come off for an inspection. One of the things to be worried for is the oil suction pipe that could have got a hit.  On the other hand the oil gauge indicates full oil pressure. I don’t hear any strange noises either.

I also had a look from the top and all the vibration mounts for the cooler needs to be changed. The biggest question here is if I need to order these from Mercedes or if some kind of universal vibration mounts with the right dimensions exist.

Cage for roof rack

As you have seen earlier I have Thule roof racks (four of them and the fifth is an odd german one I came upon) mounted on the roof. While  they work well for short trips it would be more convenient for longer trips to have a “cage” on the roof that would make windsurfing kit and other things be more securely strapped down. The concept I have sketched is built on bolting L-shaped brackets on to the ends of the roof rack bars and then have pipes running through the holes located up and down on the brackets. 

On the sketch there are pipes just on one side. It will of course be on both sides and the upper and lower pipes will be joined together by u-shaped pipe sections in the front and back.

Here is a closer look at the bracket with pipes running through them. M6 bolts will be mounted through the small holes in the bracket. They serve as barriers for angular movement of the brackets.  The brackets have holes in their horizontal lowest surface so bolts can go vertically through them and the square bars (which will need to be drilled.)

And here is one of eight freshly made brackets! (there are benefits to beeing an engineer working at a manufacturing company) The next step is painting them black. Stay tuned!

Countertop and cooking

The original countertop was a sink and two burner all in stainless steel. It was in perfect working order but I did not like the look of it and I also did not want to have propane in the vehicle so I opted for buying a countertop for a normal kitchen, making a hole in it and mount a smev sink with a foldable glass lid on it. Many thanks to my buddy Peter N who helped me with this.

What about cooking then? I had a portable propane kitchen since earlier that I was very happy with. They use a propane tube the size of a spray paint bottle. If one of those leaks the amount is not enough to kill a human like a bigger propane bottle could. They also give the opportunity to cook outside. I bought another one in case two pans are needed. Here is how it looks besides the sink:


The next thing to do here is to make a hole in the aluminium sheet above the countertop. Over the countertop is a cupboard where I store the stoves, plates, dishwashing gear e t c. On the roof over it I have made a hole and put a roof vent. Now I will connect that vent via a hose to a computer fan which will vent out the moist and frying smell. I willl also put some plexi glass under the cupboard that will prevent the “cooking air” from escaping the fan. Here the kitchen area can be seen from the side.


And here is the kitchen roof vent:

Roof vent
Roof vent

Mounting adjustable table leg – part 2 – final result!

Attaching the base bracket to the left sofa was a simple matter and I am  pleased with the final result! The clip below shows the table  being pushed out of the way when going from dining mode to standing up:

Lazy-/looking at film-mode:


Another picture of lazy mode:


Sleeping mode. I will be sleeping on the other sofa where the table leg does not disturb getting into and out of sleeping position:


And finally dining mode:


Mounting adjustable table leg – part 1

Time to assemble the adjustable table leg and this is something I am very excited about. Being able to move and spin the table around in the horizontal plane will be a really good thing in a small space. When going from sitting in the sofa eating to stand up straight the table can simply be pushed away to give room for the body to straighten. The whole thin can also be dismounted when it is time for sleeping mode. Here is the progress so far:


The part that makes the table swivel is attached to the underside of the table with six tree screws.


Here is the mount tself. The vertical profile will be slided onto a bracket (not shown in the picture) that I will fasten into the sofa using four M8 bolts.

Electrical panel 2 – solved!

The ethernet cable was not so stiff after all. Just moving the solar control unit upwards and drilling a hole for the cable solved the problem.  This is how it looks now:


The panel is also possible to swing open for easy access to the wires.


Electrical panel – trial and error..

So the latest project has been making an electrical panel located over the fridge. I made it out of plywood from a hatch that became redundant. I am not too happy with the layout though. Why? While I did get all components to fit in visually it looks…too cramped. I am thinking of the on/off key switch and the volt meter that were squeezed in verically. I also should have tried connecting the ethernet cable for the volt meter to the solar controller. If I had done that  I would have discovered that it must have a couple of centimeters to run straight down before the cable can start to be “tucked in” to the panel. Now the cable interferes with the opening of the fridge door. I will try to move the controller as far up as it can come to make the cable fit. If that does not work….then I guess the only way is to move the whole fridge down a bit and possibly make a new panel.


New sunroof

The old sunroof was from the seventies or eighties and looked like this. It let a depressing yellow/brownish light through and to get more ventilation one had to unscrew the brown knobs, push the hatch up with one hand and then tighten the knobs again with the other hand. No real protection from rain in raised position either. It also had its fair share of cracks and mold stains. So it had to go!


A collegue at work had bought two new sunroofs model mini heki for his caravan.


I bought them both. So far I have only installed one. Here is how it turned out:

A fantastic improvment compared to the old one. The installation was pretty straight forward. The only problem was that the hole in the roof was slightly larger than the sunroof in the sideways direction. I fixed that by adding a one cm thick distance in wood. Otherwise I just added plenty of butyl rubber as sealant between the upper part of the sunroof and the roof of the bus.

Bummer! Then the surf stuff came up on the roof blocked both light and the possibility of opening the hatch..

Well I guess there are solutions to that problem too. Raising one side of the surfboards up a bit so they get tilted might be one solution. More of that in later posts.


Foldable table varnished!

I have been working a couple of weeks with varnishing the foldable tabe I bought last summer. I  put on four layers of varnish (well not on the underside of the table – only two there.) Here I am mounting one of the hinges and showing of my great technique with the drill.. 😉

And here is an overwiev of the table (minus two hinges or so..)

Now I am waiting eagerly for the lagun adjustable swiveling mount for the table. I ordered it yesterday and they have sent it so I should have it before the weekend. Neither the table nor the mount were cheap but the end result is going to be stunning and give a really comfortable living space!