Vehicle Preparation

The vehicle was purchased as a standard ex German Army flat bed truck and although appeared to be mechanically sound we knew that it needed to be stripped down to its chassis to be suitable for the cabin constructors

Unfortunately, we were unable to undertake this task ourselves without the necessary equipment so we paid the person who we bought it from ( FT Design ) to strip it down and replace all the original tyres and wheels with the new ones .

The 1017 A chassis has an original 3 point pivoting system built into it and we were faced with the dilemma of whether it use this to mount our cabin onto this or whether to remove it completely and have a new mounting system built .

Although very robust the original 3 point system raised the floor of the new cabin by at least 150 mm and would have made our desired vehicle height of under 3.5 mts harder to achieve .  We had also heard from many 1017A owners that the rubber mounting can become sloppy with time and cause uncomfortable handling. 

It was hard choice to make considering that we hadn't even driven the vehicle at this stage.
We decided in the end to have it removed . Its weight alone must have been at least 400kgs so this was also a saving. 

We did have the further option of removing a further chassis rail , but this would have meant the loss of the rear axle stabilisers. We decided to keep this part as original.

The tyres we chose were an intermediate tread on Bridgestone M478 on steel rims . The new size is  now 385 65 x 22.5  and only single wheels were on the rear. We looked at other brands such as Continental and Michelin, but the final decision was based mainly  on cost as we wanted two spares a well.  We chose this size as it is a very common size in the haulage industry and our thinking was that we should be able to source the same size tyre ( maybe not that tread pattern ) anywhere in the world. 

The vehicle then had to go back to the TUV station to be brake tested and the speedo re calibrated. 

A few weeks after purchasing it , the truck was delivered to Ormocar in Hauenstein, Germany ready for the cabin to be built. 

Whilst the vehicle was at Ormocar, the owner, Peter, kindly gave us the opportunity to work on the vehicle and Chassis in his yard whilst the cabin was being prepared .

The cab was stripped down to its bare components the rear pods were reduced in size to accommodate the cabin. We worked out that by reducing the rear pods and putting an angle on the bottom of the cabin we could in effect move the cabin forward on the chassis by about 150mm . All of these measurements sound small but they do all add up and you start to get obsessed by saving just a few mm here and there. I also cut out the opening in the rear of the cab to line up with the crawl through door that we were having at the front of the cabin .

A frame was welded into the aperture . You will see that opening in the rear of the cab is slightly offset. This was to ensure that it opened directly onto the engine cover in the cab and still left us enough room in the future cabin for the kitchen worktop.
Whist at Ormocar we were lucky enough to introduced to their vehicle painter Stephan Greiner of the company Max Greiner in Pirmasens, which is about 20 km from Ormocar.

We stripped as much out of the cab as we could, leaving it still drivable. We had arranged with the painter that we would do as much of the preparation work as possible in order to keep the cost down so we set about the laborious task of rubbing all the paint down to a smooth state ready for its new coat.

One thing I have learnt about the German Army is that they paint their vehicles on a regular basis whether they need it or not, so this cab had about 10 layers of army green, black and brown paint on it. I think it it took the best part of a week to rub it down, and a further 3 days to rub it down further after the painter told us it wasn't good enough .

We delivered the truck to the painters and they very kindly allowed me to continue to work on it during the week it was there getting the cab painted . I had to quickly learn new skills such as masking up. The cab was completely stripped down, the doors were removed, all the glass came out and the wheel arches were taken off. It was a good opportunity to hunt for corrosion , I didn't find any. Everything on this vehicle that isn't painted was sprayed by the army with an underseal that is like anti climb pant and when you scratch the surface f the inside of the panels or chassis it is still sticky like tar. This meant that all the metal in the cab and chassis was as good as the day it was built 25 years earlier.
This was an interesting week as I had never painted a vehicle before and as Stephan spoke only German and his assistant spoke only Russian I became a formidable charades player.

The vehicle came out looking fantastic and I could not believe that it was the same cab. The colour we chose was called Stone Grey , RAL 7030. The cab had both a good layer of primer/ undercoat then a two pack top coat. 

We added a sun visor and the difference between this and the original cab was incredible .