|After wrestling with RoboShaw to
get through some of the amazing dunes that formed last year, I was very
eager to do the following:
- Get larger tires, with more flotation, and add weight to
the driving wheels. The total weight of Roboshaw (people +
vehicle) is probably 1800 lbs, and the driving wheels carry perhaps 300
lbs of that.... so we we spent some time pushing to get through the
dunes. Getting larger diameter tires and lowering the gear
ratio significantly looks like it would really help. I'm curious
about the effects of better tire traction on steering, but so far this
hasn't appeared to be a problem. The steering remains pretty high
effort at slow speeds - not surprising given the lack of a
- The chain again appears to be a weak link in terms of
drive, although given the weight we're carrying it's not
surprising. A proper gear-type final drive would help a lot here;
the torque converter seems pretty immune to the dust, but the
chains bite it in one week - about 120 miles or so...
To accomplish the above, I've obtained 11" wide x 22" diameter lawn
tractor tires, and a 11.7:1 gear box that will serve as the final
drive, and designed a largely new front drive unit. However, RoboShaw
is playing second fiddle this year to rebuilding a antique steam engine
for our 19' steam launch, and it looks like the RoboShaw projects will
have to wait for 2010. In addition, our camp situation has
changed, so we're rebuilding some infrastructure as well as acquiring a
new trailer to transport everything out to the playa, so this years
improvements appear to be confined to the following largely maintenance
- replace once again the final drive sprocket and chain.
- leak check propane system, redo steel wool on ignitors.
- spot paint rusty areas (RoboShaw spent the year outside).
- replace rear wheel bearings.
- repaint wooden seats and find cushions - wooden bench seat
gets pretty hard.
- check wiring - one light tube appears disconnected, and the
head leds are flakey.
- lube all bearings, change engine oil, service air cleaner,
leak check tires.
- Reload IPod with best playa tunes ever!