Tunisia 2010: Day 2 — Ferry to Tunis

This is the third post in a series describing our voyage to Tunisia in September 2010.

We woke early in the morning on Saturday to have time to eat breakfast before heading to the ferry. We didn’t have far to go, but we wanted to arrive early in case the boarding area was crowded. The 45-minute drive stretched into an hour or more when we took a wrong turn after exiting the Autoroute and had to backtrack several kilometers.

We followed the Ferry access road to the first entrance where we were told by the attendant that the truck was too big to follow the other cars and we would have to take a separate service road. This was unfortunate since the road he indicated was not well marked. We started off, but after a few minutes it became very clear that we were not headed in the right direction. We had probably missed a poorly marked turn, if it had been marked at all.

Read more of this post

The Tatra T815-2 Race Exhaust

We also got something for the Tatra fans last weekend: we made a short recording of the wicked 19-liter V12 engine. Now that’s something to get revved up about (1400 revs to be exact).

How to stop the TGB30 engine with a broom

When we arrived back at the workshop after making the video of the Gearbox ECU Override Unit, we had the misfortune of breaking the engine stop cable. Those of you who don’t have an TGB30 may not know that you don’t turn off the engine with the key, as you normally do with a car. Instead, you pull a lever that is connected to a cable to shut off the fuel supply to the engine.

So how do you stop the engine when the cable breaks? As you can see in the video, even though it’s less convenient than the cable, a broom handle does the job quite well!

Gearbox ECU Override Unit

Judging by the search terms leading to the blog, as well as the popularity of the post Diagnosing the Transmission Anomaly, many of you are interested in our experiences trouble-shooting the problems we had with the transmission before leaving for Tunisia.

This weekend, we had a chance to take the Scania (EM-1) out for a drive, and we filmed a short sequence demonstrating the switches we installed on the gearbox monitoring unit that enable us to manually force a gear change if the ECU fails to send a command to the gearbox. The switches are mounted in parallel to the ECU, so that we can engage a gear if the ECU fails to do so. However, if the ECU has engaged the gear, then the switch will have no effect.

Since we first encountered the transmission problems only a few weeks before our departure to Tunisia, we did not have time to find a more comprehensive solution before the trip. This unit was designed to be an emergency override to make sure that we would not remain stuck in the desert in case of an ECU failure. Driving for an extended period of time while manually changing gears using the switches would not be easy, but in an emergency, it would be feasible.

We are still working on a more permanent solution and are investigating both repairing the ECU and designing a new micro-controller to replace it.  We’ll post an update once we’ve made more progress.