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William Shakespeare, redux


phoenix2013

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Randy A hasn’t been posting for a while, so the forum has not been “entertained” recently with his “technological battles”, such as building pneumatic clutch assist with parts lying around in a need of utilization. At the same time I felt an “itch” to exercise my literary skills before they turn flaccid, hence my turn to old William and incorporating some of his prose as a literary vehicle.

 

To ET, or not ET, that is the question.

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—

No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to?

 

Oh, the angst of this decision has been legendary, on par with Prince Hamlets bemoaning the unfairness of life. The quest to ET-ize as many HDTs as possible has been going on for almost a decade.

So what hath brought thy humble scribe to invoke the immutable prose of long gone William in this circumstance?

The most recent ET-ization, had your scribe on the verge of entertaining Prince Hamlets dark thoughts and slaying somebody or something. Now that everything is swell your scribe thinks that this “tribe” might appreciate how one takes Arms against a Sea of troubles and end them” on a short schedule. To set this in a proper perspective an ET Jr. installation in an existing truck bed, is typically a 4-5 hours affair, as was this one installed at Hutch last year.

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The one installed at the ECR this year required almost a WEEK and was a source of daily “entertainment” for those walking by who decided to stop by and “observe”. Actually, there were days when the Sea of troubles, was pointing to it taking more than a week, but we managed to calm the Sea and “compress it” to a week to correspond with the length of the Rally. This post would be way too long to compose and to read in one sitting, therefore, I will make it a “serial”, first establishing the literary parameters and then adding chapters as events occurred. Who knows, it might take a week to complete this novel.

Those of you who hold a degree in English Literature do not fret, unlike Hamlet it is not a tragedy, this Hamlet redux, has a happy ending as evidenced by this picture,

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of another ET-ized HDT trucking down the highways and byways of this country with such an aplomb that a fellow traveler had to immortalize it for posterity. Now that we revealed a bit of the plot I have to ask this tribe, "are you interested in the rest of the play"? If yes, the curtain will go up to reveal the Act I later this afternoon.

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I'm in, start the story......... oh wait I lived the story, but now looking back I can laugh about it and also highly recommend the hitch and BOTH the installers, just make sure you give Tom LOT'S of credit.

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Randy A hasn’t been posting for a while, so the forum has not been “entertained” recently with his “technological battles”, such as building pneumatic clutch assist with parts lying around in a need of utilization. At the same time I felt an “itch” to exercise my literary skills before they turn flaccid, hence my turn to old William and incorporating some of his prose as a literary vehicle.

Methinks Henry may be spending too much time supping on Blackberry wine :P .

 

Shakespeare was truly a literary giant - despite the rumor that he was castrated at the age of 15 as punishment for his promiscuous adolescent activities. That intervention may have been why he asked "To be or not to be, that is the question.". Poor soul didn't know what to be after his unpleasant experience. Now, Henry, are you sure you want to follow in his footsteps?

 

I have been absent from the thread and my ambitions projects recently due to some scheduled cataract and iens implant surgery. Right eye has a distance lens and now the left has a close-up lens. Vision is now beginning to clear up enough to once again read the forum without the Windows magnifier. If time allows before we go back out on the road again perhaps I can devote some more time to my somewhat incomplete and previously secret project of developing an air to electric trailer brake controller using a Raspberry-Pi and the innards of a Prodigy inertia brake controller for braking feedback to the Raspberry-Pi. Air transducers are simply variable resistors that can give the Raspberry the needed voltage ramp for the initial logic input. There is so much you can do with these little computers, especially with the latest model. Humm.... maybe I can make it activate the clutch as well - or even recite Shakespeare?

 

Keep it up, Henry. You are too good at what you do not to occasionally express yourself with something other than steel. :P

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Randy, didn't know about the supposed castration, but judging by his other literary output he was well acquainted with the activity, even if his equipment was not fully functioning. Good to hear from you.

 

Since the "tribe" seems to be receptive, here it goes.

 

Act 1 Prologue

 

As in any play worthy of a Broadway stage, or perhaps local High School auditorium, it is not an immediate creation as both the plot and the necessary characters take time to develop and take shape. It’s beginnings went all the way back to late January 2015 when an inquiry was sent to the Old Goat about feasibility of an ET installation in a newly acquired Kenworth T2000 procurred from TomG100 (previous owner's forum name).

Old Goat these days is ready for any challenge; he resides now in southern Florida which causes him to be always full of piss and vinegar, particularly in January 80 degree sunny weather, while his offspring is shoveling 9 feet of snow in New Hampshire. The first requirement was to asses the “challenge” from a picture. This arrived from a cell phone.

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The next question was about the size of the “mongrel hitch” and the size (width and depth) of the “tunnel” where it was mounted. The new owner provided the tunnel dimensions, hmm, the width was OK the depth was too short for an ET. The tunnel rises to another height and has second higher and further inboard location for mounting the “mongrel hitch”.

The “rear location” sports a 1 inch thick plate, good, perfect for an ET Jr. What about the forward location?

The new owner said “it’s covered with a nicely fitted piece of aluminum diamond plate, but it looks like it is removable”.

“Can you remove it”?

This was done and another picture arrived.

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Hmm, horse puckers, looks like another big slab of 1 inch plate.

“Is it”?

The new owner concurred that it indeed looked like a slab of 1 inch plate.

“What does it mean”?

“It means that the deck will have to be modified and about a foot and half of the slope and the 1 inch plate will have to be cut out and then reinforced again to mount the ET”.

Things got a bit quiet after that, understandable, cost of an ET, cost of the bed modification, ET installation, finding a shop to do it all. All that combined with the fact that the Old Goat was not sure he was going to swing an appearance at the Rally. Few weeks later an appearance at the Rally became feasibility, the Old Goat indicated on the Rally forum that he was going to drive up in a van and reside at a local motel for the duration.

The new owner made a “gentle” inquiry about "possible" ET delivery and installation since it has been done before. Old Goat "suggested" that it could be done if the “mobile installation vehicle” was utilized, but the time by then was truly compressed, which meant that all the manufacturing shops involved in ET production needed to “drop everything” and deliver on a bad schedule.

Those who know an Old Goat know that he can be “persuasive”, so a success was achieved in spite of a bad schedule, with one casualty, since the hitch assembly stretched into Saturday morning he arrived Sunday afternoon, missing all the exciting seminars scheduled for that day and the folks he was supposed to see.

There was a key element which propelled this “adventure” in the beginning when the “gentle inquiry” was originally made, “how to get the bed modified” To that end the Old Goat got busy with the internet and found this outfit,

http://riverbendservice.com/

contacted them personally and got a commitment that they could provide necessary skills and material to get that done. In spite of an ample time notice the Old Goat was concerned, he got the feeling that they were somewhat immune to his “persuasive skills” and might not perform well under bad schedule once he arrived in Crossville, but more on that later in Act I.

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General note: Since no journal of the events was kept and the "play" is evolving out of Old Goats memory (not sterling anymore) he encourages all the players and characters (and the audience) to offer edits, clarifications and any pertinent details he might have overlooked.

 

Act 1

 

ET Jr. arrived in Crossville Sunday afternoon, it was briefly displayed to ascertain that it was indeed there and the door to the drom was closed. The attention then turned to the subject truck. A carpet was laid out under the back of the deck and the Old Goat slid under for a look and see and taking some dimensions. As the look and see proceeded his language got saltier and his thoughts got darker, hence the reference to Hamlet (I've got to kill the guy who built this bed). ET Jr’s are mounted on the deck with eight (four on each side) grade eight 5/8” x 2 ½” bolts placed at specific intervals.

 

ET%252520Junior%252520Mounting.jpg

One look at the measuring tape and it became obvious that the things were going to be “difficult”. Not only the original frame brace was there, two sections of massive tubing were added to support the massive 1 inch thick plate. “Who was this guy”, Old Goat wondered, somebody fired from M1A1 Abrams tank development team. Only four out of eight bolts would come through relatively “cleanly” for bolting at first look. The Old Goat decided that if the tunnel was enlarged beyond the minimum size required for the hitch, things might somehow evolve once the opening was created.

 

Prior to his arrival the Old Goat also commissioned the HDT “locals” to offer an assessment of the welding and machining “talent” in the vicinity. The shop chosen by the Old Goat didn’t elicit the warm and fuzzy but Steve Dixon did hire another local shop to do some aluminum welding which was done immediately and for a short dollar.

 

Since the Sunday afternoon was still young we decided that we should get cracking and lessen the task confronting the welding shop of choice. We removed the aluminum tunnel cover to expose the upper plate and then proceeded to remove the mongrel hitch.

 

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An action schedule was then established with the first item being “Wake the Old Goat up at 7AM Monday morning and proceed to the welding shop”.

 

The conversation then turned to the Mongrel Hitch and if there was any value there. Old Goat collects old Binkleys since the clamping jaws and mechanism are truly indestructible. Attempt to remove those were fruitless and the owner indicated that the latching was intermittent unless the latching block was hit with a hammer (suggested by the previous owner as the “the way it was”). So the Binkley head was removed for a trip to Florida and the frame was destined for the nearest dumpster.

 

P.S. A post Rally “autopsy” was performed on this head to determined why it was “dying”. The pins on which the jaws rotate were completely frozen to the jaws. The removal of the pins required 60 ton hydraulic press. When the rust finally broke it was an explosive event with the pin shooting down through the press. One of the jaws is shown with some remnants of the rust.

 

Next was the block which is propelled between the jaws (to latch) by a substantial spring.

 

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On the right is the block with a “normal spring”, on the left the block from this head and the spring that came out of it. This fully explains the "requirement" of a hammer to seat the block.

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As you will see the next act will be titled “First Impressions” and requires a little setup. Those of you who know the Old Goat, know that he exhibits a bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. That’s because in spite of his corporate career and wife managing to dress him up to a tee on occasions

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You are more likely to meet him in this attire.

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That’s because he is comfortable around machine shops, machinery

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and machinists.

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But there were few things that gave him a pause in Act II

 

 

 

 

Act 2 – First Impressions

 

The Stage: 7 AM Monday morning, ECR, Old Goat is up and around climbing into the truck in search of a welding shop.

 

The owner, the Old Goat and his trusty cousin Tommy, left the campground and proceeded to the welding shop that Steve Dixon had such good luck with. Located in a small industrial area; it indeed looked like a typical welding/fabricating shop visible through a wide open garage door, we could not find anyone working there. Across the parking lot we spotted another shop which really looked promising, all kinds of work being done on trucks and semis. We engaged one of the mechanics in that shop.

“What’s the story with the welding shop across”?

He informed us that the welder has been battling cancer for a year, that he is still working, but on bad days he might not be there till 11, or not at all.

The next question asked was, whether they could do some plasma cutting, fabricating and welding.

He said, they can but only on the trucks they own.

Could he recommend another shop that does this kind of work?

He suggested we try Reed Towing & Recovery on the other side of the town. Twenty minutes later we were arriving at the facility.

 

South%252520Bend%252520area022.png

 

OK, they got the Recovery angle covered, as we were driving in we noticed lots of commuter vehicles and small vehicles, most with either one or both airbags deployed. Those that did not have airbags deployed were hit from the angle that did not generate the proper inertia angle. As we proceeded to the rear more commercial truck were in evidence in various shapes and conditions a "parts donors". The owner appeared and inquired about the purpose of "our visit".

We stated that he was "recommended" as a truck welding and machining shop. We showed him what needed to be done and he said that his welder, who is very good, could do it but he wasn't here at the moment. But he could call him and see if he could come over. This he did, in our presence and the situation has improved. The welder could come over in about half an hour to talk to us. Since it was close to lunch, we departed to the local burger joint. Half an hour later we returned and waited for the welder who was on the way. This gave us a chance to enter the "facility".

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The second thought that occurred to the Old Goat that the individuals in charge of the "Inventory Control" in this facility must have an excellent memory for spatial placement of things.

But any facility that operates and maintains one of these

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can't be all bad.

 

The welder arrived, the work was laid out, the rate was discussed ($55 and hour) and an attempt was made to "hire the individual". It also came out that this was a loose "association", the welder would work for the shop, but he was not an employee. As any good professional he was busy and indicated he could get to it "sometimes next week".

The Old Goat reverted to his "persuasive skills" and indicated that "sometimes next week" he was hoping to be back in Florida, so a compromise was struck. We had Wednesday morning and he probably could do all the plasma cutting then. But he had a "hot job" scheduled for Wednesday so any fabricating would have to wait for after that.

So we had a free Tuesday to mingle and contemplate life, till the Wednesday morning appointment.

While at the shop we couldn't miss the "motivational posters" on prominent display.

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So we had till Wednesday to determine if ignoring First Impressions was a good decision!?

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Henry,

I am enjoying your story and now look forward to each new chapter. But, I think you should ditch the Shakespeare Marque and switch to Agatha Christie - you would do well as Tommy Beresford. But, who is playing Tuppence Cowley?

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Henry,

I am enjoying your story and now look forward to each new chapter. But, I think you should ditch the Shakespeare Marque and switch to Agatha Christie - you would do well as Tommy Beresford. But, who is playing Tuppence Cowley?

I think I have an answer for you. There is indeed Tommy, wife's cousins husband.

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He's been to two Rallies with me so far and we've been building and installing ETs with me for couple of years now. In order to conform to Agatha's literary output and stage adaptations, this would be my solution.

Miss%252520Hermon%2525201.JPG

Tuppence, perhaps from the later novels when she ages.

 

I thought you would enjoy this "play", since combating adversity is also in your DNA. More adversity will follow in the upcoming chapters.

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"The surgery" Act III – Scene 1

 

Wednesday morning the crew, plus the “patient” (T-2000), plus a Smart car, appeared at the surgery center discussed in the previous Act. The welder was there ready to perform the surgery and open the patient up. The cut line needed to be re-established as the original chalk line from Monday discussions

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was obliterated by the less than ideal weather. This wasn’t Old Goat’s first rodeo around truck drilling, grinding or oxyacetylene cutting.

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Since the cutting involved quite a bit of 1 inch thick steel plate, he had a clear vision of an inverted stream of steel sparks flowing downwards on par with the Forth of July fireworks. So he fully expected to see welding blankets similar to the ones in above picture. The welder indicated that he had the best of asbestos blankets, but the “environmentalists” made him get rid of these. I asked him if he had suitable substitutes, like fiberglass blankets. I indicated that the reason I was “pressing the issue” because in the cutting area we had suspension airbags, rear braking air lines, air suspension air lines, running separately and in big bundles. He said that he did not have a lot of use for these, so no. Now, I needed to know what “we” were going to do about sparks. His plan was to cover things in a large blanket thoroughly soaked in water. I did not view this as an ideal solution and it wasn’t marginally good solution, but faced with the only professional at the moment available to do the job, the only option was to go along with his plan, and pray to the Almighty.

Anyway, the welder got through the 1 inch plate on the top and the 3/16 plate on the slope in short order.

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Note that the forward line was moved couple inches forward, more on that later. The cut section of the deck was removed and the hard working wet towel was removed. No we did not throw it away, it's "utility" was not done yet.

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DW says I spend way to much time on this play, have to quit now, Act III - Scene 2 tomorrow.

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"The surgery" Act III – Scene 2

 

The next scene requires a little bit of a setup. As mentioned before the welder had another client to work for that day. Anyway, with the hole in the bed we needed to (my suggestion) "re-plate" the opening by welding an angle up front and weld a bottom plate (1/2 inch or so) from the rear plate to that forward angle. The welder looked at the hole and said, "what if we just extended an angle on all three sides and didn't plate it". The Old Goat has learned long time ago to not have his “brilliance” overshadow a better idea, no matter what source it comes from. “Yea, an angle on all three sides will certainly provide an adequate support, if it is wide enough, and nicely finish the side openings”. “All we need to do is find and angle, a 4 x 4 x 3/8, or ½”. A “search” of the inventory room and the inventory area turned up a length of 3 x 3 x ½ but nothing tall enough. I suggested that I could go to the machine shop and steel distributor I found but both the welder and the shop owner vetoed that idea. I detected a small town friction at work there; instead they proceeded to call someone else they had relationship with. A quick phone call produced a length of 6 x 6 x 5/16, not exactly what I was looking for but we decided that “we could work with it”. Since the truck was in the shop and the Smart was not up to steel hauling duties, the welder dispatched the owner to “go get it” and I was dispatched in the Smart to “go and get lunch for everybody”.

 

I returned with the lunch and we settled to a meal while waiting for the steel to arrive.

 

I hope that the readers allow me a little bit of social commentary at this juncture. I traveled extensively all over the country and had many opportunities to engage folks helping me in a pickle, here’s just one example among many.

 

Sodus%2525201.jpg

Sodus.jpg

I also spend most of my life in north-east where the sophisticated Harvard educated liberals (in conjunction with the California liberals) call the rest of the US the “flyover country”. My experience with the folks in the “flyover country” was that I never had to worry about being helped or about my wallet. Why am I bringing this up?

 

During the lunch I wondered about the other client the welder was committed to that day. To which he answered. “I’ve known him for years and his job is not that critical, so I called him. I’ll do his another day so I can finish this”. You can’t imagine what a relief this was.

 

OK, the length of steel angle arrived and was torched into three pieces.

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Then one piece was turned into the left side (by the way check on that grody wet towel continuing it's "protection" duties).

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another piece into the right side,

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and the third piece after some "adjusting"

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was fitted in between.

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Once everything was fitted and tacked, the welder (per Old Goat's request) laid in some serious bead to weld everything together. The Old Goat wanted extra metal there so that he could do his "sculpturing magic" with a flapper wheel

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and end up with something like this.

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So, remember what I said about people in the "flyover country". The welding bill came to $550 and hunk of angle with pickup and delivery $160.

And remember what I said about "First Impressions", while all this work being done I wandered around the shop, guess what else these guys are into, car rebuilding and show trucks, get a load of this.

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An ET would definitely be needed on this suspension.

There was another KW in the shop in process of restoration.

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And I found out that the "recovery truck"

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was primarily a show truck and the hauling was done by another wrecker the owner owned.

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Well, I gotta say this.....the Old Goat and Tommy are, sure as heck, not quitters. They have the resourcefulness of McGyver and the tenacity of bull dogs and won't let go of something one they sink their teeth into it. You know, I do recall hearing lots growling sounds eminating from the rear area of the aforementioned truck at the rally....sometimes i would just peek around the rear of of the hoist truck to see if approaching the beasts seemed safe.........Charlie

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“Where was Almighty”? Act IV – Scene 1

 

Remember, in Act III – Scene 1 there was a discussion about welding blanket to protect “things” from flying sparks. There was none at the facility, but a suitable substitute, a grody wet towel, was going to be utilized for those duties, with the help of the Almighty. We proceeded to the campground and parked the (converted) truck in its hitch installing spot. The instant the truck was turned off and everybody gathered around to admire the deck conversion job, it quickly became obvious that Almighty was not on the job, or perhaps quit the job early. There was a quite noticeable pssssssssssssssssssssssss emanating from the rear of the truck.

There was no pssssssssssssssssssssssssssss before the truck went into surgery, nor was there an accelerated settling of the suspension before the truck went into the surgery.

This was perhaps one of those moments Charlie was referring to where the crowd thinned out as the Old Goat assessed the situation in terms not suitable for mixed company, corporate boardroom, or investor relations meeting.

In his long design, manufacturing and corporate career the Old Goat developed certain techniques for dealing with adversity, or multiple adversities. “Stop cursing, move on to something else, come back to it when you are calmer”.

Lets prep the truck for hitch installation. Once the truck is prepped the actual hitch install only takes minutes, although in this instance, we couldn’t do the install until the pssssssssssssssss was dealt with.

First, we put the owner to work blowing off all the crap from various “activities”

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Next the area rust was ground off and a coat of Rustoleum was applied. Once the paint dried we proceeded with the installation details which were:

  1. Drilling the eight 5/8” holes for the hitch mounting bolts.
  2. Drilling the 1” clearance hole for the airbag air fitting.
  3. Drilling two ½” holes for two air lines, one for supply air to the leveling valve and one for the outlet line from the valve to the airbag.

DSC_0150.JPG

Pretty simple, most of the times, except on this truck, see anything odd? Note how close the second pair of holes (from the front) is to the two bolts holding the frame brace to the frame rails. If the hitch was placed in the “ideal position” those holes would want to go right through those bolts. Remember, we cut the deck a little deeper forward, this allowed us to reposition the hitch and those holes further forward away from the brace bolts.

 

Simple, not so fast, that moved the two rearmost bolts right above the massive piece of tubing supporting the 1 inch plate. OK we came “prepared” with 5/8” grade 8 mounting bolts 2 ½” long in both threads, coarse 5/8”- 11 and fine 5/8”- 18. So we jumped into Smart and GPSed Fastenal (after a phone call). Two items waiting for us on the Fastenal counter, 37/64” tap drill and 5/8”-18 tap. Back to the campground, change the mag drill over to Jacobs chuck, drill the tap holes, tap the holes all the way through 1 inch plate and the rectangular tubing.

 

OK, everything’s prepped, almost. During the actual installation there was another “surprise”. The holes that missed the bolts in the brace, these seemed quite deep being drilled with a 2” long 5/8 mag drill annular bit. Turned out that the 2 1/2” bolts on hand were not gonna cut it. Back into the Smart, back to Fastenal, no GPS needed now, to buy two 3 inch long 5/8” bolts.

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“Resurrection” Act IV - Scene 2

 

Since the Almighty did not have our back during torching and welding we needed to determine on our own how to perform the miracle of “resurrection” of the truck to the pre-psssssssssssssssss condition.

We prepped the truck for hitch installation but decided to hold off with mounting the hitch until we found the air leaks and dealt with them. The small opening in the deck was very useful in providing some daylight under the truck, for passing tools, lights, parts, etc., and for hurtling an occasional expletive out to the assembled crowd, who in turn would offer encouragement and understanding.

Karl came up with a nifty tool which we thought would make an “air leak sniffing” a cinch. When wended around an area it apparently would detect air pressure differential and help to localize the air leak. There was a sensitivity setting to help pinpoint the leak, but we came to the conclusion that the instrument was way too “refined” for the task. Sort of like a DEA finely trained drug sniffing dog, capable of detecting just ounces of the bad stuff in an airport baggage, transferred to a duty on a Mexican border and confronted with a semi carrying a thousand kilos.

So the Old Goat retreated back under the truck, the truck was aired up and shut down. As the pssssssssss returned he passed his hand over the area and announced to the crowd above, “I think I know where the leak is and there is more than a (expletive) one”. It was actually pretty easy to feel with one’s hand that 125 psi air escaping here, here and here. The reason for the expletive was that one leak was obvious in an easy to get to area and two were in the bundle

AG%252520100_1.jpg

buried and clamped to the rail behind the accouterments of the fine eight airbag Paccar two axle suspension. This was also the moment where the Old Goat re-assed the role of the Almighty in this venture, who apparently did have our back but left early due to the worldly mess he’s dealing with. After all an airbag, or two in that area could have been punctured and leaking, but all was good with the airbags.

While “formulating” a course of action, I had a chance to observe and learn about this suspension up close and personal (about a foot away), very interesting. Coming from a perspective of a guy with a singled Volvo and two airbags, I’m beginning to feel I’ve been shortchanged.

So why the sudden fascination with the Kenworth AG 100 suspension?

AG%252520100_5.jpg

To an engineering eye and soul this is a thing of beauty, I’m sure Professor Scrap is jaded by now about “it”, its successors and variants and can correct me. But the more I looked at it the more I wanted to “learn” about the various reincarnations of the design, the 200, 380, 400 etc.

AG%252520100_4.jpg

 

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Looking at as an engineer this is seriously elegant stuff and its new 40,000 pounds successor is even more elegant, but I also understand now why trying to single one of these is next to impossible if not impossible.

 

Crawling, down below the suspension also afforded me a look from underneath and for those who would to know how an AG 100 looks from underneath I found this picture.

AG%252520100_3.jpg

As I said as a Volvo owner I feel shortchanged.

 

Back to the psssssssssssssssssssssssssss! Laying my hand like a Messiah over the suspected areas I could “feel the afflictions”, it turned out that all three leaks were in airlines running the suspension, couple emanating from the bundle up high in the rail behind the last airbag, and one more from the thin line from the leveling valve going forward, I guessed to the cab suspension pressure gauge. That guess turned out to be correct.

 

 

Now that we are coming to the good part I think will bring the curtain down for an intermission. At least it's an intermission and not a break for a commercial of the latest drug with side effects that are surely going to croak you.

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