Thursday, June 04, 2009

Once more to the suspension shops!

Once more to the suspension shops!
This morning MsTioga has two appointments. The first appointments is at Taller Euzkadi to find out the price of heavy duty shocks. Our good friend and Reader Florida Mike has written with some concerns for installing unknown brand HD shocks such as these, preferring Bilsteins.

Our Chilton Ford manual states:
  • The purpose of a shock absorber is simply to limit the motion of the spring during compression and rebound cycles.
  • The simplest test of the shock absorber is to push down on one corner of the vehicle and release it. The vehicle should return up passed the original position and come down to rest.
MsTioga does not pass this shock absorber test, but has excessive (up and down) motion. This means to us that MsTioga's shocks should be changed more frequently than every 30,000 miles. We are changing our maintenance program to include the above shock absorber test in order to determine when MsTioga should have her shocks changed in the future.

It will be interesting to learn what the shock absorber shop suggests for MsTioga's suspension system.

Replacing MsTioga's leaf spring brackets.
The second appointment this morning is for the removal and installation of the four leaf spring brackets. You may recall that two existing rear brackets were found to have cracks, requiring repair or replacement. When the first cracked bracket was found, it was repaired by welding [link]. However, discovery of the second cracked bracket suggested replacement instead of repair.

MsTioga is going to the Cruz Brothers Suspension Shop where they specialize in heavy truck repairing. This will be an interesting experience. Two tanks may be in the way of this work. The black water and gasoline tanks may need to be moved to provide access for the bracket installation.

8:30AM - Monroe shocks win!
René, the owner of Euzkadi, the shocks place, told me that heavy duty shocks are not available for MsTioga.
  • "How about Bilstein shocks?", I asked.
  • "The Bilsteins are available. $4,000 pesos for the Bilsteins", said René.
  • "How much are the Monroes", I asked.
  • "$1,800 pesos installed", said René.
  • "We'll go with the Monroes, front and back", I replied.
The Monroe shocks will be here at Euzkadi tomorrow, and MsTioga will return here to have them installed.

9AM - Cruz Brothers Suspension Shop.

On arriving at Cruz Brothers, we found that only three suspension brackets had arrived. Two mechanics began to install these brackets. A little while later, the fourth bracket arrived.

Taking out the black water tank was difficult. The steel platform built to hold the black water tank had to be cut away in order for the tank to drop down. I did not know the procedure for removing this tank. So, one of the mechanics forced the tank from the plumbing. It was the only way to do it!

Figuring out how to reinstall the black water tank.

While the two mechanics installed the four leaf spring brackets, I worked to figure out how to reinstall the black water tank. There are two plumbing connections. One is a plastic pipe that acts as a flue to carry gases to a roof vent.

The other plumbing connection, is large black plastic pipe in an offset shape. How the large black plastic pipe gets reinstalled and the flue gets connected was a mystery. I spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon trying to solve this mystery.

Finally, I figured out that the flue must be knocked loose down inside the wall so that the flue pipe is lowered. Lowering the flue pipe allows this pipe to be assembled to the plastic threaded fitting in the tank.

The large black plastic pipe was reconnected to the black water tank and this pipe inserted into MsTioga's floor. It took quite a bit of bumping around, but finally the tank was raised into position. The toilet was reconnected and the black water tank platform was welded into place.

Two rear brackets.

Our toilet in the bedroom.

Black water tank with drain assembly.

4PM - Suspension bracket job complete.
My description of the suspension bracket job sounds not too difficult. It actually is VERY difficult. The two mechanics worked from 9AM to 4PM to get this job done.

I of course was underneath MsTioga watching much of the work. I got sooooooo dirty, and sooooooo tired, you would not believe!

After driving MsTioga back to our Nite Camp spot, setting out the Honda generator and lifting up the solar panels, I was completely exhausted. But being so filthy, I had to take a shower. Since I'd not eaten anything all day long, I was also starving and went across to the the shopping mall and bought supper.

8PM - Back inside MsTioga.
I'm now back inside MsTioga and typing this blog post so that you will know about today's adventure. And, it was an exciting adventure too. A tiring, dirty, challenging but successful adventure!

Oh, by the way, the cost of the four suspension shackle brackets, with installation and including removing and reinstalling MsTioga's toilet and black water tank: $3,600 pesos [$280US]. The parts cost $1,000 pesos, so the labor is $2,600 pesos.