Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Going to Car-O-Liner in my mind





It’s taken a while to get round to an update. Unfortunately, my ghost-writing colleague was so completely worn-out and knackered by his narrative efforts that he had to immediately rush off on holiday to India as soon as I got back from the DC. This left me, worn-out and knackered as I am from our rallying, to do some actual work in the office. Sadly, this has taken priority over blogging.

Anyway… 2nd April saw me heading back to White Sands Grocery with the trailer on tow, while Streaky and Dave Pryce headed out from Pryce Mansion in the leafy suburbs of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with my cunning plan, they reached the dead Patrol a lot earlier than me, and did all the donkey work. They winched the truck out of the hole, winched the steering rod into some semblance of straightness and (surprisingly) drove it back to the gatch track, where I only had to load it on the trailer. Job done, and many thanks to the two of them.

Back in Dubai, we realized that we had an impressive list of mechanical jobs to do. Front hub bolts to be drilled out and replaced, gearbox to be removed (sounds like a ton of sand in the clutch), front axle to be straightened, further work on the cooling and so on. And on. But before we get to that, we need to rectify the damage, which turned out to be much more than superficial. With the wings off, we could see that the chassis was bent, so I contacted Mr Sacco Dermoussissian at Polimar. Polimar have the Car-o-Liner, a piece of Swedish magic which makes a 3D map of the damaged chassis and compares it to the record in its 10,000-plus car database of what the chassis should look like. Each of the 60 datum points should be within 3mm of the original, and the data shows exactly what has to be pulled, pushed or massaged to achieve factory-perfect alignment.

So now we have a competition. Using your skill, judgement and the above photos, guess the maximum misalignment of the chassis in any direction. All I can tell you is that the left hand chassis rail is bent up, and both are bent to the right, and anything in excess of 9mm is sufficient to fail registration at Dubai Police (who also have a Car-o-Liner). The nearest guess wins a passenger ride in the Beast once it’s back in one piece!