Chassis detailing

Today I took the train to Doncaster to have a look at the chassis that Designa-chassis are building for me, and to discuss with them any alterations before sending it to be galvanized.

The chassis, being manufactured

The chassis, upside-down on the manufacturer’s jig.


The chassis is nearly complete, with another crossmember and the outriggers still to go on. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the construction — it looks not only very solid, but also neatly-welded.
Because the chassis will be galvanized (dipped in molten zinc, for rustproofing), modifying it later would be problematic (because drilling or cutting it would break the zinc layer, exposing steel to the elements and risking rust; and welding it would give off poisonous gases). So, I’m getting all the extras that I might want later, built into it from the start. The most conspicuous of these will be some flanges with holes pre-drilled in them, for attaching a frame holding the electric motor and batteries that I hope to add as my next big project.
A much smaller customization is some threaded holes to take extra earthing points. I had been prevaricating over whether to run 50A or 57A cable to the back of the vehicle for general power, or whether to use the more expensive 63A or 70A cable. Then I decided to do it properly, and chose 345A cable, so I can put an Anderson SB175 power connector on it, and also possibly have an electric winch at the rear. So, I need earthing points that will take such a current.

Side note: Anderson connectors are high-power hermaphroditic connectors (i.e. there’s no distinction between “plug” and “socket”, any connector will fit into any other connector of the same size), originally intended for charging electric fork-lift trucks. They’re widely used by Land-Rover owners for connections for jump leads, removable winches, etc… and perhaps even battery chargers. And they’re excellent 🙂 I wish the various types of computer connectors were so solidly made, and hermaphroditic.

I often have projects waiting some time for the next stage, which although generally not advantageous, this does give me more thinking time, That happened at the stage of this project, because I had an interesting extra idea this week, which is to increase the manoueverability of such a large vehicle by having more than one axle steer; ideally, all axles steering. This requires fitting “front axles” at the rear as well as the front, turned round so that the diff flange is pointing forward. So, I’ve asked for holes to be drilled for steering boxes, and Panhard rod brackets to be welded in, for the rear axles as well as the front. I might never do that one, but I’d like to allow for the possibility.

In about a week, it should be ready to be sent off for galvanizing, then delivered.

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