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Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway! 
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Items 1, 2, 3 are slated to happen on an ASAP basis pending a few higher priority items!

Fred wrote:
1) Handbrake relocate to rear seat back mounting points. Make a plate to bolt on there, drill out the welds
that hold the handbrake frame in place, weld (or rivet?) it onto the plate in such a way that the tension
doesn't try to lever it off. Unscrew the cable from it first, pull that out the bottom, find a workable route
from where it is now to where it needs to go, make a new hole. Bolt it on and connect it back up, and test.

2) Modify rear suspension to use less space and be less stiff to the chassis. The existing "sub frame" has two
"torque rods" and mounts pretty far forward. The forward mounting needs to be ditched and it likely doesn't
need both torque rods. Not sure how I'll approach this. Lots of options. Probably the least work is to cut the
front off, weld on the same mount in a different place, and give it somewhere to attach that's not in the way.
It does still need to be strong if/when I hook up the hydraulic brakes to the hitch, this is what holds the axle.

3) Initial floor flattening attempt, not replaced with a composite floor, yet. Just slice the tall bits out
and replace with some flat sheet of some sort. Stiff enough to not push through it with 90kg on one
foot = good enough. Anything will do. Maybe rivet in some alloy. This will save a good bit of weight
as there's a fair bit of steel in the tunnel. Possibly level the surface with some expanding foam?


So some initial work without going out in the rain too much:

King single guest mattress is 2050x1070x200mm, just measured! And quite stiff bending wise, so the full length would be needed in some fashion.

Need to know:

Distance from firewall to rear arches
Distance from firewall to knee in bottom thereof

To judge practicality of trying to flatten the floor for a trip...

And if I can do it, then I need to load this into it:

Foam filling to level floor
Mattress!
Linen!
Pillows!
Sleeping bag(s)!
Butane cookers!
Fold-out chairs!
Cooking/eating supplies!
Chilly bin and ice packs!
Food and drinks!

And all of it at the very back! :-D

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Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:20 am
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Went and picked this up, tonight. Retards will be retards: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7200477185

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2:40pm 20/12/2016 Officer 1241, or so it seems. I'll ring them tomorrow and demand access to any notes on file.

Re mattress fitting:

Firewall to current edge is 1670 or so?
Firewall knee to current edge is 1550 or so?
Arch to firewall is the necessary 2050!
Arch to knee is about 1930 or so?

Which sucks because it means the front end will need a slice n dice, too, or the mattress will have to sit up on a funky angle.

However, the bad news: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 6016758784

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I might be able to cut enough out to get the king single up the middle, but it'll take a lot more work to get a queen in there due to the location of the trailing arm front pivot points! Bugger.

More news as it comes to hand! :-p

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Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:55 am
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Gave the council a call and nothing was recorded against the plate number, and the man couldn't help me track down officer 1241 for a chat. Oh well. It won't be back there for a week or two, I guess.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May not get a chance to do this, but it'd be nice to get hold of a piece of box section to extend the tow hitch forward and up a bit, to reduce weight on the ball, and level the body relative to the 740 sedan.

If I can find a piece of box with 53+ inside and flat and 70-80 outside, by maybe 100 to 150 high, 3-6mm walls, and 240-300 long, then I can have a better looking and better towing rig, with less ground clearance which I probably don't need anyway. Called both steel suppliers, and neither have any xmas hours on their sites or answer machines. So I'll try them again tomorrow during 8-5 and see if they're around. If so, I'll go and get a piece cut for me for this purpose.

Standard widths are 75 and 76, which are perfect. Wall thicknesses are 5 or 6mm in the 152x76 or 102x76, and 4, 5, or 6mm in the 125x75.

At the big end of that is nearly 20kg per meter, so I'd be up around the 2.5 to 3kg added mark with that, and at the low end of the spectrum 12kg per meter, so in the 1.5 to 2.

Speaking of diagonal cuts, I can mow a few kg more weight off the front of this thing by bevelling the front of the A-frame, and double bevelling the fronts of the chassis rails. I'll do that tomorrow and weigh the resulting offcuts.

Also in the weight-to-be-saved tomorrow category is a few bits of bracketry around the diff head area. Some on the body, some are the power transmission frame, and we have no engine, nor hydraulic brake connection. This will ease the diff swap when we do it, too. I can make a new pivot point for the upper torque arm and bolt or weld it to the body. The lower one and the original frame can go completely saving quite a few kilos.

EDIT: And if I get a chance, I'll pull the right rear inner guard plastic off and try to undo the damage done by the incompetent, and maybe even find some blue/green paint to touch it up, afterward. Or matt black primer which would be less obvious than the white mess right now.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, what did I get done today? Quite a bit!

Inspected the back end to see if I damaged it on a bump not slowing enough, nope. No sign of the noise I heard, so it was probably the steel inside moving around a bit, then.

  • Investigated mattress fitment and devised a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel.
  • Pulled the cable out of the handbrake handle.
  • Drilled the welds out of the handbrake bracket and removed it.
  • Trimmed it down to suit welding to a flat plate.
  • Ground, scrubbed and acid soaked a piece of 3mm plate for mounting the handbrake bracket to.
  • Rerouted the cable through an available hole out of the way (not final)
  • Test fitted the handle/bracket in position where I think I'll put it.
  • Removed a heat shield and planned the removal of other bracketry.
  • Found all of the spot welds for the reinforcements on the edge of the tunnel.
  • Found the brake line going over many of them, and noted it should be removed.
  • Planned some further weight savings from the front end of this thing by cutting away meat.
  • Marked the tunnel for cutting tomorrow such that the mattress will fit.

So the mattress will sit on a bit of an angle from under-back-seat height down to foot well height. Not ideal, but good enough for a first trip to be done!

Tweet tweet:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 6016758784
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 4667317248
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0350813184
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 6373413888
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 8309009408
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9859592192
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 2570912768
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 5873021953
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1475103745
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1227653120
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3724998657
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 2600948736

Pic pic:

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Busy afternoon! Will try to make tomorrow even more busy. Maybe I can spend my first night in it tomorrow evening in the driveway! :-D

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Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:02 am
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I just took some approximate measurements: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 4603736064

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The net result being that the spacer should be 170 to make it level with the current ride height.

Or 120mm to match the jockey wheel at minimum height.

Or 130mm to match a 20mm lower rear of 740 and 40mm higher rear of caravan.

So 250mm of 125x75mm in 5mm wall, or so, it is!

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Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:19 am
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A few updates before I get on with today's progress:

1) Steel place closed, no web update, no phone message, had to drive there to find a piece of A4 sellotaped to the wall! So 1980s! :-/ Anyway...
2) Found the source of the noise on the speed bump! The rear half of the A-frame is grazed on the left hand side! Not badly, just scraped the rust off :-D

And today: Not as productive as I had hoped, though not bad, either! Got regos for 4 cars. Got [url="https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/813876599170813952"]a few cans of degreaser[/url]. Got stuck into the caravan!

Tweet tweet:

Trimmed down the mounting plate for the handbrake bracket: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1329604609
Welded the bracket to the plate: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7324764160 and https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7383778305
Zinc primed the whole shooting match in matte black: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0417933312
Mounted it up to the car and pulled the lever, works perfectly: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7156589568 and https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3291338752
Scraped off various bits of tar/sound deadening material to access spot welds: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 5750752256
Removed the 2.8kg RHS frame rail that trans and drive mount to: https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3832902657

Pics:

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Not bad! I also drilled out most of the welds for the left hand rail, but a few were stubborn, so they can get finished tomorrow.

Also on the menu tomorrow are:

0) Finish removing LHS frame rail.
1) Cut the tunnel out!!!
2) Find some sheet and weld or glue or rivet it back in to cover the hole, spankme or storage
3) NEW Wire in a trailer plug to the 740 sedan rear lights, possibly with a cunning plug/unplug/socket setup using old light parts and without cutting
4) Clean out all the tar and junk and weigh it
5) Put away all of the tools in the garage
6) Get the filler foam out of the roof cavity and position to support mattress
7) Pull the dent out of the guard
8) Waterblast the outside and perhaps rainx the windows?
9) Latch onto the 740 and remove some steel from the back, and replace with chairs, cookers, chilly bin, sleeping bags, pillows, mattress, etc as above! :-D

28th today, 29th tomorrow, if I nail most or all of that tomorrow, or by midday on the 30th, I'm good to go.

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Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:57 am
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Removed the other frame rail.

Cut the tunnel out and weighed it.

Waterblasted both the tow car and caravan clean!

Trailer wire obtained, need to find plug and make up adaptor.

Piece of sheet steel obtained, need to cut to suit and tack in place. Possibly need to trim the tunnel remains a bit more, too.

Tow car ATF changed out for fresh stuff.

Still a fair bit to do, but I should finish up with most of it tomorrow and be able to leave in the morning on the 31st. We'll see.

Tweet tweet, pic pic, etc:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 2235668480
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0426574848
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9800134656
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7081972736
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 8395949056
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0227966976
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3545854976
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9040324608
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7540311040


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Tomorrow:

Clean the mutton fat from the sheet metal. (blast and degrease and blast again)
Fit up the sheet metal by trimming things and making cardboard patterns.
Remove paint from edges for welding to
Tack it in place so it deflects water/supports mattress.
Clean all grinding dust out, sweep, vacuum, compressed air, hose, whatever.
Dust on some cheap flat black to make it presentable again - trip to bunnings for this.
Remove half of the steel from the back to raise and ease towing.
Install two spare wheels, one in the car, one in the caravan.
And sufficient tools to change a wheel without excess drama.
Move the mattress into the caravan.
Put the 244 back in the driveway.
Put the Suzuki in front of the garage blocking the door.
Keep the 740 inside latched up and ready to roll out.
Fill caravan and 740 with gear, food, etc etc etc.
Including extension lead and power strip
Refill the 740 and zero trip counter.
See about the shifter bushings.

_________________
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Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:22 am
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Today:
Fred wrote:
Tomorrow:

Clean the mutton fat from the sheet metal. (blast and degrease and blast again)
Fit up the sheet metal by trimming things and making cardboard patterns.
Remove paint from edges for welding to
Tack it in place so it deflects water/supports mattress.
Clean all grinding dust out, sweep, vacuum, compressed air, hose, whatever.
Dust on some cheap flat black to make it presentable again - trip to bunnings for this.
Remove half of the steel from the back to raise and ease towing.
Install two spare wheels, one in the car, one in the caravan. Only found one! Hmmm, should be enough. Chances of two failures low.
And sufficient tools to change a wheel without excess drama.
DEFERRED TO TOMORROW: Move the mattress into the caravan.
Put the 244 back in the driveway.
DEFERRED TO TOMORROW: Put the Suzuki in front of the garage blocking the door.
NAH, SIDE BY SIDE: Keep the 740 inside latched up and ready to roll out.
PARTLY, MORE TOMORROW: Fill caravan and 740 with gear, food, etc etc etc.
Including extension lead and power strip
DEFERRED TO TOMORROW: Refill the 740 and zero trip counter.
ANOTHER DAY: See about the shifter bushings.


Tweets:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9271919616
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 2700518400
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9871644676
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3875953664
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 5383382016
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9861760001
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0124398595
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 2722485248
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 6519652352
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 3321565184
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 8605915136
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7116848129
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7518040064
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1995806720
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9527593984
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1239454720
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7382029312
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7703559168
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9951156224
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 1105219584

20 of them! Gasp! And the pics:

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Phew! Looking forward to a cool cruise down the coast tomorrow! :-D Should be nice, except constantly being overtaken. But that's the price you pay to tow a trailer!

Can't find the side window shades! Hmmmmm. Used them a year ago, almost exactly. And remember squishing them down to a handful each and poking them somewhere safe... and now? Never to be seen again!

Back to packing, cleaning, eating, showering, wifeing, and eventually sleeping.

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Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:47 am
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This post written from the bowels of the caravan, about to fall asleep. Zzzzzzz.

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Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:37 pm
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Tweets from last night:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 0326087680
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 8256242689
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 4634867712
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 5491939328

And this morning:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9027651584
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9724084224

And just now, today, 1st Jan 2017, the year of FreeEMS' success:

https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 4618618881
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 7076644865
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 9816893440
https://twitter.com/FredCookeNZ/status/ ... 6650269696

And all of the pics, count if you want to know which ones go with which:

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Notes on the experience thus far (incomplete):

1) I loaded all my gear into the car, especially heavy stuff into front passenger foot-well, and it towed pretty nicely overall. But it'd be better if it was naturally balanced with less weight in it, for accel and braking equally.
2) The tow car needs new front rotors and pads (did anyway, and seems fine, until you're on a massive steep downhill grade and third isn't holding it back well enough, and you have to hold the brake pedal moderately firmly for a while, then the shaking grows in an unpleasant and almost concerning way.
3) Impromptu rear curtain via towel jammed in seal worked well enough, but has a tendency to fall, and if it were raining would wick water inside, ie, needs proper rear curtain.
4) Foot room in the front needs to be sufficient and surrounded by smooth edges, currently insufficient where the glovebox is and sharp edges here and there. would be nice to have a stereo in there, too, which can work, but some lining is needed to keep the contact smooth/soft. A sheet of light panel material with some carpet or foam or something over it or similar would work.
5) Ventilation! All of the holes underneath are OK given dry driving weather, but would be horrible if towing in the rain for any reason (fairly likely here), however some engineered grill/mesh covered under-side vents would be a winner for sure, and...
6) Wiring up the electric windows to work with only a 12v power feed to some central place would be GREAT! See above photos for why, lol. But also overnight with an inch or two at the top of each window would be great. And if it had monsoon shields, too, that'd be perfect (but it doesn't).
7) Sway bar for driving, fresher shocks for driving (had the rear end impact the road in one section when it got a vertical sway on), and...
8) Some way to jack up and/or pull down the suspension for leveling on uneven ground. I slept poorly last night mostly because of the angle. I'm using a scissor jack tonight to prop up the low side a bit, and...
9) I forgot my duvets/sleeping bag and slept under a large towel last night. Not ideal, but secondary to the slope for sure. So today I bought a new duvet inner and sheet to isolate me from it. Should sleep well enough tonight :-)
10) Gear management! And by that I mean eating and moving things around inside without opening the doors and getting out. I don't have a system worked out for this, however I have a fairly typical amount of gear in there right now and a few observations: 1) Somewhere non-bed to put shoes/jandals when entering/exiting. 2) Somewhere non-bed to put bags and phones and similar stuff for comfortable access from the bed. 3) Being able to reach things in the rear without them being under other things, or too far, etc.

Re points from 10, some thoughts:

1) King single might be a winner longer term even though a queen would fit because: It gives the space down the sides for bags, phones, shoes, etc.
2) Having a proper kitchen in the back might have a negative effect on accessibility if not well thought out. IE, things should be stored in a way that they're easy to reach from outside, or inside!
3) A flat place to put a plate, bowl, bottle, glass etc reachable from the bed, or back, would be great. The only real option for this is a flat platform above the future luggage rack area just behind mattress and in front of future bench space.
4) Chilly bin should be set into the bench (maybe under a removable cover piece) such that it can be accessed from above/in front. Dual chilly bins, or a bigger one than my current one, would be a good idea. A small sink would still fit with flowing tanked water.

Lightening ideas:

1) Composite sandwich floor and firewall (alloy foam or FRP foam)
2) Remove SIPS beams from doors
3) Replace side windows and windscreens with tinted plastic windows
4) Push balance weight fully rearward into the inside of the bumper so it has max effect from min weight
5) Replace balance weight with LPG bottle, cooker, sink, water, pump, batteries, etc.

And I'm out, for now!

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Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:47 am
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Shenanigans today:

1) Approached round about at moderate pace, man in jeep approached from right at high pace, I struggled to stop/give way, locked the left front briefly, and then proceeded past the back of him and looked left to see a raised arm with extended middle finger adrift.

2) Steep descents that caused brake issues on the way down caused sustained WOT redline behaviours on the way back. 6k WOT and 5k+ WOT sustained for several minutes dyno tuning style were occasionally necessary and the old girl stood up to the task admirably indeed.

3) some gorge route the computer took me through had a downhill, bridge, uphill sequence. I hit it as fast as I dared, and maintained WOT in 2nd with dropping speed on the up side. As my speed receded below 40kph the transmission shifted into first and for a brief moment we accelerated. After that brief moment, the right rear broke free with the applied torque and current weight transfer, and first redlined spinning the right rear. Once at the redline it hit second, which immediately spun uncontrollably to bouncing off the limiter at 6k RPM. I was losing speed. I lifted and reapplied again. As all of this occurred I was approaching a slow vehicle bay. A merc and a ute didn't wait for me to reach it, and flew past at 2 or 3 or 4x my speed :-D I estimate the right rear to have been doing up around 200kph or so, with approx 160kph differential to the ground :-D

4) Pottering through some little two-lane town with a 50 limit, pulled up at the lights right lane, front of queue, cop is in right lane on the other side, lights go on, lights go green, U-turn done, low-speed pursuit occurs, I eventually move left (takes a big gap...) and pull over and he stops behind me. Breath tested "say your name and address" > "2468, dig in, don't wait", "again", "1234 I declare a peanuckle war" etc. No booze, of course. "The reason I've stopped you is that there has been a complaint about your driving from another motorist" > "Oh really? That seems unlikely!". <looks at notes> "they said you were passing on double yellow lines" > "absolutely not! Under no circumstances would I do that! I mean, look at it, if I were passing anyone they'd probably be doing 80kph or less! or it wouldn't be worth it!". Checks license etc and comes back and sends me on my way. Friendly chap :-)

Not sure what else, typical stuff, though. About four hours end to end (plus the stopped time), and 336km covered, which gives you a good idea how windy and hard-work the roads were! I will say that it tows smoothly at any speed I was willing to test it at. I won't say what those were :-)

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Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:00 pm
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