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The finishing touch, part 3

In English

Next, let’s look at the back of the truck :

Photo 1 : Rear view

Photo 2 : Sand plates, stowed between the beams

In 1
: Sand plates in durable and very strong synthetic material, a bit lighter than steel plates, 2.5 meters long. Stowed between the two beams of the rear cabin chassis. (photo 2)

Photo 3 : rear-view camera

In 2: A Waeco rear-view camera, linked to a display in the driver’s cabin. Very useful in town, or when maneuvering … that is, when it works ! One third of the time, it just won’t display an image, despite several attempts by several people to fix it. A mix of heat, sand, dust and humidity clearly isn’t to the liking of the camera. Too bad, because it can be useful ! (photo 3)

Photo 4 : Sideview of the underride guard

In 3: The underride guard is compulsory on all trucks in Belgium – like in the rest of Europe. But unlike in other countries, a foldable or removable bar is not accepted here – and no exceptions are allowed ! Given the height of the bar, it can become a real problem in sand dunes, when you need a large exit angle … So I did modify the original bar (see photo 4), to be able to fold it away when necessary. I initially thought I would just fold it up when needed – but in real life, it has been in the ‘up’ position for a few years now. And it’s actually stuck there : I cannot lower it anymore ;).

There’s just one problem with this : when the truck returns to Belgium, I will have trouble trying to pass the technical inspection (TUV). 🙁 But then, the truck will probably not return for another 10 years anyway :).

Photo 5 : Jack stand, pair (green)

Photo 6 : Jack stand adapters

In 4 and 6: Anti-roll system: both my wife and my daughter are prone to seasickness. In order to stabilize the truck when the roof is up in very windy weather (we went to Iceland … :)), I thought of a simple system that prevents the truck from pitching. All it takes are a couple of steel jack stands (capacity up to 10 tonnes) that can be stacked (see photo 5 : easy stowing), and adapters that fit between the under-ride guard and the jack heads. Once in place (this takes about 20 seconds), all that needs to be done is to lower the truck’s air suspension somewhat. The truck is then extremely stable – and comfortable even in very windy conditions. The adapters have been integrated into the spare wheel-carrying structure at the back of the truck (photo 6).

Photo 7 : tire pulleys

Finally, in 5: the spare tires. We carry two fully-functional spare tires, of 170kg each … These are fixed on a stainless steel frame, that directly slides into the chassis, and is fixed to the beams. This way, there’s no holes/tensions on the rear cabin wall. To raise and lower the spare tires, I use a crank handle and a bunch of pulleys. While this system is not the most practical around, it has the advantage of being very strong and relatively light-weight. If I had to do it over, I might go for a different design – but one hardly uses it – and I certainly don’t want to use it more often, given the price of tires …

What’s next? The left side of the truck !

En Français

Jetons un coup d’œil à l’arrière du camion :

Photo 1 : Vue arrière

Photo 2 : Plaques de désensablement

En 1
: Plaques de désensablement en matière synthétique durable et très solide, un peu plus légères que des plaques en acier. Elles font de 2,5 mètres de long, et sont arrimées entre les poutres du châssis à l’arrière. (photo 2)

Photo 3 : caméra de recul

En 2: Une caméra de recul Waeco, relié à un écran LCD dans la cabine du conducteur. Très utile en ville ou lors de manœuvres … enfin, quand le système est fonctionnel ! Un tiers du temps, il affiche tout simplement pas l’image, malgré plusieurs tentatives de plusieurs techniciens pour y remédier. Un combinaison de chaleur, sable, poussière et humidité n’est évidemment pas l’idéal pour une caméra, mais il semblerait que ce soit un problème récurrent avec ce matériel Waeco. Dommage, car ça peut être bien utile ! (photo 3)

Photo 4 : barre anti-encastrement, vue latérale

En 3: la barre anti-encastrement est obligatoire sur tous les camions en Belgique – comme dans le reste de l’Europe. Mais contrairement à d’autres pays, une barre relevable ou amovible n’est pas acceptée chez nous – et aucune exception n’est autorisée! Compte tenu de la hauteur de la barre, c’est un réel problème dans les dunes de sable, quand vous avez besoin d’un grand angle de sortie … J’ai donc modifie la barre d’origine (voir photo 4), pour être en mesure de la relever quand nécessaire. Mais dans la pratique, la barre est en position «haute» depuis quelques années maintenant. Au point d’être coincée: je ne peux plus la baisser.

Il y aura donc un petit souci pour passer le contrôle technique (TUV) en rentrant en Belgique … Mais le camion ne rentrera probablement pas avant 10 ans de toutes façons :).

Photo 5 : Une paire de chandelles, vertes

Photo 6 : Adaptateurs chandelles

En 4 et 6: système anti-roulis: ma femme et ma fille sont sujettes au mal de mer. Afin de stabiliser le camion lorsque le toit est levé, par temps très venteux (nous sommes allés à l’Islande … :)), j’ai pensé à un système simple qui empêche le camion de tanguer. Deux chandelles (capacité de 10 tonnes) pouvant être empilées (voir photo 5: rangement facile), surmontées d’un adaptateur qui épousent la forme de la barre anti-encastrement stabilisent le camion. Une fois en place (ce qui prend environ 20 secondes), il suffit d’abaisser un peu la suspension pneumatique du camion. Le camion est alors extrêmement stable – et confortable même dans des conditions très venteuses. Les adaptateurs ont été intégrés dans la structure de support des roues de secours à l’arrière du camion (photo 6).

Photo 7 : système de levage

Finalement, en 5: les roues de secours. Nous avons deux roues de secours entièrement fonctionnels, de 170 kg chacune … Elle sont fixées sur un cadre en acier inoxydable, qui se glisse directement dans le faux châssis, et est fixé aux poutres. De cette façon, il n’y a pas de trous / tensions sur le mur arrière de la cabine. Pour monter et descendre les pneus de rechange, j’utilise une manivelle et des poulies. Bien que ce système n’est pas le plus pratique, il a l’avantage d’être très solide et relativement léger. Si je devais refaire un système, je choisirais une conception différente – mais comme je l’utilise à peine, inutile d’y consacrer des ressources …

La suite ? Le coté gauche de PicsMobile !

3 comments to The finishing touch, part 3

  • Simon

    Very nice overland project and a lot of interesting details/reading! Got one question for you, how does it work staying away for several years considering annual registration inspection, taxes and insurance? Thanks!

  • Hello Simon,

    There’s actually a few questions in your sentence :

    – annual registration inspection : obviously, I’m not going to the vehicle inspection. That is not a problem – as long as the vehicle is not driven on European roads. As soon as the truck hits European soil, it has to first go to the nearest inspection center, whatever EU country it is in. That’s what I’ve been told anyway.
    – taxes : road taxes administration have given me a hard time : initially, my truck was homologated (licensed ?) as a commercial truck, of course. As soon as I had changed it into a ‘camper-van on steroids’, I wanted it to be re-qualified as a camper-van, as the taxes for these are 90% lower here in Belgium. But that takes at least 6 months in this country … The admin invoiced me for the full commercial taxes in the meantime – but I refused to pay, arguing that their inefficiency should not cost me money. That became quite a battle – but in the end, they seemed to have given up. And since then, I haven’t received any tax invoices for my truck ! 😉 (= in the last 4 years or so)
    – insurance : when I was using the truck in Europe (= when I was customizing it), I had taken an insurance for it. I don’t know where you’re from, but in Belgium, it’s the vehicle that has to be insured, not the driver. I did get a very good deal, as I specified it was a camper-van (NOT a truck, oh no !), used as a third vehicle with only two drivers in the household –> reduced rates.

    Since the truck is now only used in countries where so-called worldwide policies are not recognized (read the small prints about Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia & co), I’ve given up on the insurance 4 years ago. In these countries, you have to find out how to get properly insured : every country is different. At some, you can buy insurance at the border post (Mozambique, …), at others, you need to buy it from an insurance broker (to be found … 600 km after the border post, in town, so you just drive uninsured !?!). There’s even a system where taxes on petrol include third party insurance, for all the vehicles !

    Hope this answers your question !



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