The Tatra is Back!

We’re just back from Kopřivnice with the Tatra (Erg Machine RS). The maintenance and painting are finished, and we picked it up at the factory on Monday. It was a 15-hour drive back, but this time the heater was working, so it was not as brutal as when we drove there in November!

The Tatra 815 (Erg Machine RS) at the Tatra Factory in Kopřivnice

The engineers did a thorough job, and the truck is almost like new, especially with the completely new paint design. We were impressed with the attention to detail the truck received, which included changing the Clearance/Marker lights for a more aesthetic look. Read more of this post

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.

Fixing the cooling system leak

The fix of the cooling system leak in the fuel pre-heater was completed today at the Scania workshop in Echandens with the replacement of the leaky stopcock.

Although replacement of the part itself was not difficult, we decided to have Scania do it, because its location between the exhaust manifold and the injection pump made it difficult to access. Moreover, the stopcock was tightly mounted, and we did not want to damage anything by trying to remove it without the proper tools.

The leakage seems to have stopped, but we’ll check on it closely over the next few days to be sure.

Originally published on Tumblr


Preparation for the first voyage started in the spring. The first item of business was to clean and protect the chassis: removing the worst areas of rust, applying a base coat to protect the metal and then painting with the final layer. We painted the chassis black.

Once the work on the chassis was completed, it was time to place the personnel cabin on the bed and bolt it into place. The cabin weighs 500 kg, so we needed a mechanical lift to hoist it.

Because our truck had not been fitted with a cabin, the spare tire had been mounted onto the front of the truck bed. When the cabin was moved into place, we realized that the tire bracket would need to be removed into order to place the cabin correctly on the bed and bolt it into place.

Once the cabin had been mounted, general maintenance could begin. We replaced all the worn cables and hoses, and performed a complete oil change of the motor (25 liters), the gearbox/transfer case (32 liters), the axles (4 liters per axle) and hubs (0.5 liter per hub).

The work was performed with the help of a friend who owns a garage specialized in the preparation of 4×4 vehicles for rock crawling and cross country rallies.

Originally published on Tumblr

Initial inspection and minor repairs

We acquired the Erg Machine before Christmas from a civilian in Beaujolais who had imported it from Sweden.

During the Winter we performed a general cleaning and inventory of equipment in the material boxes, metal cases fixed to the truck bed that can be used for storing all-purpose equipment and tools. Inside two of the boxes we found four snow chains, one for each tire, weighing about 35 kg each!

We also carried out some minor repairs to the interlock valve and headlights, as well as replacing a few worn out parts, such as the exhaust pipe. Two of the material boxes, the ones located just in front of the rear wheels on each side of the truck, were completely eaten away by rust. We removed them and ordered new ones.

Originally published on Tumblr.