I gotta be nuts…


As usual when I begin a new project with a tight schedule I start with something which is plenty of work, expensive and of limited use. After getting bogged at the Meierei I was lucky to find a guy who will deliver an rear axle with a better transmission ratio and (drumroll) a locking differential. If you don’t know what a locking differential is and/or you want to see a good explanation watch this video (warning, long intro). Now I am really exhausted, working on vans really is like working out in the gym…

Good old Meierei

I just returned from the annual party of some friends who are living in the countryside. It was really nice as usual, I met quite some folks I haven’t seen for some time and I really enjoyed myself. The only downer was that it was raining straight from Saturday afternoon until Monday evening. So we spend most of the time in the shed where we couldn’t light a fire. It was cold as well. I had to put on two sweaters, my winter double jacked (fleece + hard shell), two trousers, two pairs of socks and a woollen hat to feel comfortable during the night. Normally I wear less at -10 degrees but the totally moist air at +5 degrees is really pulling the heat out of your body.


The nexus cam is no good for taking pictures of sunsets. I should remember that next time…

Well, this is embarrassing. When I wanted to leave I got bogged with the 310d for the first time. On a wet meadow. After 48h of continuous rain it was soaking wet. I feared the narrow gate and was too slow on the part which goes just a little little bit uphill. When I realized that I wasn’t moving despite the fact that the wheels are turning I quickly changed to reverse but it was too late. The tire profile was full with mud and I was stuck.


I left some small reminders of my presence. Sorry guys!

All the usual “quick tricks” like reducing tire pressure, putting carpet under the tires, putting wooden planks in front of the tires, … didn’t work. Eventually we got it out by pulling with another car simultaneously¬† pushing with three guys.


What a start for the off road season… I always hated mud. I think I know why…

This one is weighting hard on me. Maybe I’m lucky enough to find a rear axle with a differential lock. Combined with larger rims and decent tires the van should achieve limited off road capabilities. I definitely have to buy anti skid chains at least.

Working on the 310D

The world didn’t change much since I stopped working in Oldenburg. Instead of doing long hours over there I started to do long hours over here in the workshop. It’s weird how long stuff takes to be done. When I look at the photos I think it’s a couple of hours but it actually took a couple of days. But I didn’t take pictures of everything and especially gathering parts is quite time consuming.


The disassembled gear lever assembly. The gearbox has three levers which go back and forth to switch gears and this box translates this in the classic H scheme (or dogleg in this case) on your shift stick.


You can’t just push the plastic thing inside…


… because it is springloaded from the bottom…


After some pressing and cursing I finally took a piece of pipe and hammered it in.


“special tool”

You can’t just push in the new plastic seats by hand so the easiest way is to “build” a special tool to press them in. From left to right: Head of a bolt, washer, plastic seat which should be pushed inside, gear lever with hole, socket with larger diameter than hole, washer, nut. Fasten nut until the plastic seat sits inside the hole. Watch out that you can remove the bolt afterwards because the of the hole gets smaller. I had to cut one bold to get it out after pressing…


The anti roll bar mounts, old and new. If you can remove the rubber-metal joints by hand they are definitely worth replacing…


pushing out old ones…


Thanks mister Mercedes! The new brackets for the anti roll bar are 5mm shorter than the old ones. Exactly these 5mm are needed to press together the rubber….


Just apply some brute force and than you can screw on the nuts…


One of the worst smells available in an automotive workshop: old gearbox / differential oil.

The change of the gearbox and differential oil did not show any unusual signs of metal wear and tear. The gearbox had too much oil in it, the differential was missing at least a cm of oil level. Let’s hope that was the reason for the high pitched noise it makes in 5th gear. I’ll find out today…

The next big step will be taking care of the leave springs.





IMG_20130521_224831.jpgs IMG_20130523_171025.jpgs IMG_20130523_170954.jpgs IMG_20130523_170947.jpgs

Stuff I haven’t seen before #1


This is a piece of a catalytic converter (KAT in German) of an Mazda RX8. It wasn’t starting probably so fuel got into the exhaust system and the hot engine which wouldn’t start acted like a blast furnace producing the 1000+ degrees Celsius to actually melt the ceramics. It was really spewing out big chunks of this stuff from the exhaust system. Luckily nobody got hurt…

Goodbye Oldenburg

It’s done. I’ve finished work. I’ll certainly miss some folks and I’m looking forward to visit them again. I didn’t go to Hamburg but stayed in Oldenburg for two days of celebration which was quite some fun.

But all in all I’m quite glad that I’ve finished this episode. The feeling of beeing free still hasn’t arrived yet. There’s quite some stuff I ignored on the last couple of weeks which needs to be taken care of before I can leave for travelling. The van needs work. The internet access at my flat is broken. The list goes on and on…