Holiday update

It’s busy here for the holidays, and things always seem to take more time than you think they will. We’ll be taking some time off before getting back to work in January to prepare the Erg Machine for another trip to the Sahara! If all goes well, we’re planning to go back in April, but we have a little maintenance to perform in addition to finishing the new microcontroller for the transmission.

We got some good news from the Tatra Factory just in time for Christmas: they’ve completed maintenance on the EM-2, and everything has been put back together! We’ll be going to the Czech Republic in a few weeks to pick it up once they’ve finished repainting it. We’re also putting together a series of posts describing the trip to Tunisia last September.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the EM-1 and the EM-2 side-by-side in our workshop hangar not long before we took the EM-2 to Kopřivnice. The perspective is a little misleading, the dimensions of both trucks are almost identical.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday!

Diagnosing the Transmission Anomaly

We spent some time this weekend making a micro-controller test platform to develop a new control unit for the EM-1 (Erg Machine 1) transmission. We’ll be reporting on that once we’ve made more progress, but now seems like a good time to describe our diagnosis of the gearbox error and the steps we took to make sure we didn’t have any problems because of the transmission while in Tunisia.

During the road test we experienced an intermittent problem with the transmission; from time to time when accelerating or decelerating the gear would not engage.

One of the nice things about the Scania SBA 111 is its automatic transmission. This makes it a good vehicle for a first big truck experience, since the driver can concentrate on driving and doesn’t have to worry about shifting the gears. It’s also great for dunes (as we learned), since there’s no worry about losing momentum when shifting gears. However, the downside is that the automatic transmission adds complexity to the maintenance and increases the number of potential failures. Read more of this post

Delicate Souls Abstain

Welcome to the new Erg Machine blog on WordPress! We hope it will be easier to navigate the archive and find posts on a variety of topics ranging from preparation and maintenance to travel logs describing our trip. To start things off before launching into a description of our recent Tunisia trip, here is the very latest news about our new Tatra 815.

We drove the Erg Machine 2 to Kopřivnice just over a week ago for servicing at the Tatra factory. The work has started, and the staff sent us some impressive pictures.

As you can see, they’ve removed the engine!! It’s a V12 that weights approximately 1.2 tons!

Removal of the engine makes it easier to perform a complete inspection of the engine bay and carry out some maintenance that was already identified: The hoses that make up the lubrification and cooling system will be changed. The two starter motors were removed and will be checked to identify and repair an intermittent failure. The engine valve covers have been removed to perform an adjustment and check of the injection nozzles.

The drum brakes were also removed for rectification, which will eliminate all the irregularities induced by wear from the brake pads.

More work is planned in addition to that described here. We’ll post updates and provide more details as it progresses.