tender loving care – we all need it from time to time, why would thorny be different. especially when one reckless owner decides to reverse without the help of a trusty spotter. mass (approx. 5 ton all together) times acceleration (walls don’t bend much, so that’s pretty instantaneous) equals bent rear door. except that fiberglass is not the most bendy material known to man.

the damage didn’t seem too bad which was a bit of a surprise. i would have thought the fibreglass would disintegrate pretty instantaneously. the fact that it didn’t seemed strange and a cause for concern.

ok that light is pretty obviously broken and needs to be replaced. luckily i found the exact part from a dealer in melbourne and they sent the parcel to the local post office where i picked it up. great service.

five minutes of creative soldering later and we are back in business. i even managed to move the ballast resistors the guys at the service put in there aside so both light strips sit as they should. the disco needs those to ‘sense’ the trailer and put itself in some sort of extra trailer pulling mode. or something. it also turns of the reversing sensors which is good because it stops the annoying beeping.

we decided that mildura would be a good place to stop as it is a big enough town to find someone who could make the repairs. the local fiberglasser said he would be happy to do the required work as long as he would be done before next wednesday because that’s when he’d have surgery on his leg.

take off the rear door? should be easy, what could possibly go wrong … well let me tell you. taking off the bottom part of the ‘lobster tail’ was easy enough. removing the two gas struts on either side of the fiberglass door was also not hard. i could then see a row of philips head bolts holding the hinge to the carapace.

of course the last one, the one in the right hand corner, was rounded off (thanks factory assembly person). that would be ok at home where i got a rather well sorted workshop but i didn’t bring any of my powertools due to lack of space. or the drill bits. what followed was a series of trips to bunnings, luckily just 2 minutes down the road. get a powerdrill, a 3.5mm drill and a 4mm drill, drill off the head. take off the door and take it to ken so he can start work … except it doesn’t come off. all the bolts are out so what gives? turns out there is also a layer of double sided tape in there. get a long screw driver (did i mention a few trips to bunnings?) and start to lever it off without damaging the hinge or the carapace. sweating bullets (and actual sweat, it’s pretty hot here at the moment).

finally kris & i got the door off and in the car (thank god the disco is massive). this is when it turned out why the damage looked pretty light on. the door is some sort of sandwich construction, with alu angles running along the edges as reinforcement and light weight panels in between fiberglass layers to keep the weight down. so on impact the fiberglass sheets flexed but the resin bond between the glass and the alu / panels was broken. in the end it was the right choice to get it fixed, to avoid further damage on the rough roads we will be on next.

btw ken was pretty impressed with the workmanship. he just figured it would take a bit (turned out a lot) longer than to just fix a bit of glass. and while he fixed the door i took care of a few other things that were not really problems but had annoyed me for a while.

back at base continue to drill through the bolt. take an extractor bit … and get about a quarter of the bolt out. so where is the rest? in the end i chased the thread with an m5 cutter (looks like i managed to drill the bolt right through the center) and after a few hours work i get through. phew. the new bolt went in as it should when we put the door back on. perfection; practically my middle name.

they mostly had to do with contact glue and rubber not really being where it was supposed to be.

a bit of elbow grease, isopropyl alcohol and more glue.

that part was interesting, someone had stuck double sided tape over contact glue. glue on glue is never a great idea. no wonder the rubber didn’t want to stay in place.

elbow grease, isopropyl … it’s all good now.

in the meantime ken had finished the door and really done a great job, too. no trace of any damage. the orange parts of the kardashian kollection logo seemed to have acquired some patina along the way which we think looks gnarly.

and i added the second barrel pin the people from kk apparently thought was not required.

and i fixed the missing locator pins for nat’s bunk bed. a 12mm alu pipe fit perfectly into the hole in the bed and the 10mm pipe fit perfectly into the 12mm pipe … i love it when a plan comes together.

unfortunately bunnings closed on me before i could buy some m4 stainless bolts, nuts and washers to install the new fan. kris thinks we’ll be using it a lot as we go further inland. i think she’s right.

bunnings opens at 7. one more trip …

and we have a new fan!

when it’s in use …

… and stowed away fro travel. love it.