Another piece on the ongoing story of my 345/Conquest. I have just returned from a 3 month trip from Melbourne, Ceduna, Maralinga, Gibson Desert, Wapet Rd, Kimberley for 5 weeks including the Carson River/Oombulgarri Track (a great trip and highly recommended but not with a trailer), Balgo, Kiwirrkurra, Alice and home. ‘Bout 15000kms all in all. So there were a few rough roads in there and miles of corrugations. The trailer did a fantastic job although I did manage to break a spring at Kiwirrkurra which was slightly inconvenient as it is about 600km to the west of Alice and not blessed with many good spring shops. We hobbled along however and made it into Alice where another pair of springs were purchased this time a little heavier duty. I will also put some bump stops on them this time to limit the compression somewhat. The new springs also have greasable shackles which I think will prove beneficial as the old ones didn’t and had completely flogged out.
The other issue I had was the shock absorbers falling off. Well, a bit anyway. I finally worked out that nyloc nuts on shock absorbers are not ideal as shockers get hot, the nylon softens and the nut undoes. Next time it will be those self-locking aeronautical type nuts for me and probably a bit of Loctite.
But the main reason for writing was to demonstrate my elevated awning system which worked surprisingly well, if I do say so myself. I did what I should not have done and fitted it just before I left, completely untested. There are some photos below showing the ingredients, the rear post in the elevated position, the sliding mechanism and the fitted awning in the dropped position. Basically it consisted of a pair of sliding RHS aided by some plastic inserts to take up the slack and assist the sliding process. I was going to stick a couple of gas struts internally to the sliding tubes but the whole thing is light enough to lift easily. I needed to be able to lift each end of the awning separately so I had to work out a way of allowing the distance between the attachment points to increase so I designed another sliding arrangement that worked well. I am able to lift the awning about 300mm which allows for good head room and also space to put the new travel cover back on. I bought a second hand Kings awning for $60 and the steel work was about $50 in the end. I could add a 270 degree awning as I am sure the design is strong enough but the rectangular 2.5 x 2.5 awning seems ample at present.
Thinking about the next trip. On with the dust sealing…