Truck Update 5/20/18

  • Received Sika 205 Activator
  • Re-cut fillets in forward panel for passthrough frame (we changed our passthrough design after Total Composites cut our panel)
  • Fit checked passthrough frames
  • Added required fillets to passthrough cutout corners
  • Bond prepped forward passthrough cutout
  • Prepped passthrough frames using Sika 205 activator
  • Bonded in passthrough frames using Korapop 225
  • Cut steel for back wall hardpoints
  • Painted rock shields
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Truck Update 5/13/18

  • Fit checked forward wall panel again
  • Bond prepped and bonded forward wall
  • Trimmed scrap side wall panel for fixturing side wall extrusion bond
  • Fit checked and trimmed forward side wall extrusion
  • Marked and trimmed height of forward side wall extrusion
  • Bond prepped and bonded forward side wall extrusions
  • Clearance trimmed aft end of lower extrusions
  • Bond prepped and bonded driver side wall
  • Bond prepped and bonded passenger side wall

Truck Update 5/6/18

  • Started habitat assembly sequence planning
  • Sent out quote requests for water jet cutting aluminum roof hatch adapter plates (dedicated blog post about this topic to come in the future)
  • Inspected and touched up subframe paint
  • Laid habitat floor panel upside down on floor
  • Prepped habitat floor steel hardpoints for bonding
  • Dry fit hardpoints in floor
  • Rounded edges of hardpoint straps to ease foam installation
  • Bonded and installed hardpoints and foam in habitat floor panel
  • Drilled and tapped one central hole in each hardpoint to clamp
  • Re-positioned truck and habitat floor in shop for habitat assembly
  • Pilot drilled and tap drilled mount holes in habitat floor
  • Clearance drilled fiberglass at hardpoint holes
  • Tapped hardpoints in habitat floor
  • Reviewed bond primer requirements
  • Ordered Sika SP-205 (from EMI Supply) to prime aluminum to bond with Korapop 225.
  • Cut high density urethane foam blocks for floor support during habitat assembly
  • Bonded terry cloth to top of foam blocks with 3M 77
  • Removed clamps and temporary bolts from bonded hardpoints
  • Chamfered and cleaned lower edge of habitat floor panel
    • All panel edges had a lot of gel coat build up that needed to be removed and the edges needed to be softened. Previous fit checks show that this was a required step to get the panels to fit well in the extrusions.
  • Flipped, leveled, and positioned habitat floor panel
  • Chamfered and cleaned upper edge of habitat floor panel
  • Chamfered and cleaned all edges (including passthrough cutout) of forward panel
  • Rearranged panels and extrusions in shop space
  • Chamfered and cleaned all edges (including all cutouts) of left and right side panels
  • Dry fit checked all lower extrusions
  • Measured all panels and extrusions (again)
  • Checked flatness of floor on support blocks
  • Masked floor panel with heavy paper
  • Bond prepped and bonded forward lower extrusion using Korapur 140
  • Bonded several adhesive test samples using Korapur 140
  • Finalized order of water jet cut aluminum roof hatch adapter plates
  • Additional measurements and fit checking
  • Measured back wall panel height in preparation for cutting steel hardpoints
  • Bond prepped and bonded both side lower extrusions using Korapur 140

Habitat Update 3/8/18

Another big day for the project: we received all of our windows and doors from Tern Overland today. We got everything but the roof hatch, and it should get here in a little over a week (and certainly before we need it!). We spent some time inventorying everything we received, and it all looks very good.

We are especially excited that everything is double glazed so our habitat should stay nice and cozy. All the windows have integrated blackout blinds and screens, too.

Tern Overland Shipment
Tern Overland Shipment

Habitat Update 3/2/18

It’s a big day for the new habitat: our custom habitat kit from Total Composites arrived today! More details coming soon as we get into inventorying everything, but here are a few photos from the day.

We had 2 hours to unload the container, but with the 2 of us and a friend it took less than an hour to unload. Most of the panels are quite light and can be carried by 2 people. The floor panel weighs a bit and required all of us (including the truck driver) to carry it.

The container had a tamper free lock from U.S. customs on it. The truck driver didn’t have a bolt cutter and seemed concerned when he showed up. It took just a second to cut the lock off with an abrasive disc on a grinder.

Sea Container Arrives
Sea Container Arrives
Panels After Removing Small Boxes
Panels After Removing Small Boxes
Panels After Inspection
Panels After Inspection
Floor Panel on Subframe
Floor Panel on Subframe

Truck Update 2/3/18

We have been working over the last few weeks to get the old habitat ready to be transferred to the new owner. A crane came this morning and lifted the habitat from our truck to the new owner’s truck. Everything went smoothly. We’ll be ready to start subframe work soon.

Ready to Lift
Ready to Lift
Start of Lift
Start of Lift
Mercedes 435 with Habitat Box Removed
Mercedes 435 with Habitat Box Removed

Habitat Update

In addition to our regular truck refurbishment work, we have been working hard behind the scenes planning our future living space floor plan. When we got our truck, it had a custom built living habitat module designed and built for the previous owner.

Our original plan was to completely change the floor plan and re-work the interior. After we got the truck, we realized that although the box didn’t have the layout we wanted, it was actually pretty nice inside. Instead of gutting a perfectly good habitat box, we recently sold the box that came with the truck, and over the past few weeks, we designed a new habitat box that meets all of our specific needs.

A few days ago, we ordered the new habitat from Total Composites. It is similar to other boxes that they have made in the past, but this one is specific to our dimensions and floor plan. The habitat box will need assembling and does not come with any interior.  Over the last two years, we have accumulated a lot of the items for the interior.

Fuchs Mercedes 435 Side View
Fuchs Mercedes 435 Side View

Our New Habitat Specs

  • Exterior Dimensions: 11’5″ long, 7’2.5″ wide, 6’11″ tall
  • Interior Dimensions: 6’10.5″ wide with 6’4″ standing head height
  • Walls are 50mm thick composite sandwich panel
  • The ceiling, floor, forward, and and aft wall are 84mm thick composite sandwich panel
  • Steel / composite hardpoints embedded in floor and back wall for mounting
  • Habitat is mounted to a Mercedes torsion free subframe
  • Door, windows, cargo access hatches and roof hatch from Tern Overland

The windows are European style, double glazed acrylic, top hinge, with integrated blinds and screens. Two large roof vents and solar panels are on the roof. In total there are 7 screened openings for excellent cross flow and natural light.

Fuchs Habitat Details
Fuchs Habitat Details

Floor Plan Details

Our new layout incorporates a pass through from the cab into a combined bathroom entry. There is a raised permanent bed in the back of the habitat with a large storage area underneath the bed accessible from the outside. The center of the habitat is a large open area dedicated to a kitchen on the left side and a project/work/eating area on the right side. The spare tire and cargo are mounted to a custom frame on the back of the habitat.

Fuchs Habitat Floorplan
Fuchs Habitat Floor Plan