Build slipping…

With regards to the build, we visited OEC last week and whereas there is clear (and quality) progress, I think it would be fair to say that we were disappointed by what seems to be a lot left to do at this time. Now this might well be our desperation to get our hands on the vehicle before the autumn. Bearing in mind that we were expecting the build to start Feb 2010, and even accounting for the auto-box transplant difficulties, the malevolent winter weather, the delayed delivery of the pods from France along with a pinch of salt leeway – it does seem a little bit too far behind to not be, justifiably, a teeny bit ticked-off. We may yet be surprised, as I’m sure the final ‘put-together’ will be relatively quick – but to our untrained eye we are estimating late September (a shame as our last planned summer trip is mid-Sept!)

That said, I think a lot is to do with some welcome, good, old fashioned engineer pride at OEC, in as much as each build stakes their reputation. For example the newly designed main water tank has just been deemed borderline fit for purpose as far as build quality goes; and so OEC have sourced a new supplier to build one that is more robust. There have been countless improvements like this along the way, and it definitely means that by not rushing, we will have a better, even more resilient product in the end. Paul is also going to fabricate the tail-lift himself (in the interests of fairness and given he wasn’t there when we visited – I think Martin will be involved too). He plans to build a wooden prototype once the pod has been finally mounted. This will allow him to check all of the angles before fabricating the actual lift itself. As he described it,  it sounds exactly like we’d envisaged. What I can’t gauge yet is the time that this might add to our already overextended build project. Still, as the saying goes, ‘worry about what you can influence – and leave engineers to do what they do best’

Stuff that’s been done:

Colorifier and Eberspacher mounted with much plumbing for the same

More Electrics gone in

Final cuts and finishing panels done for Azalai (fitting these takes a lot of the remaining time – as Paul says, “well you could rush it, it would just look awful though, so you want to do it properly.” We’d agree.)

Cut-through completed on back of cab

Obvious to-do’s

Fit new, re-spec’d water tank

Fit waste tank

Fit auxiliary fuel tank

Finish suspension mods

Finish plumbing and wiring/electrics

Solar Panel

Fit cubby box when powder coated

Mount Azalai pod

Apply trimmings (roof and windows) and finishing panels

Refit hand-controls

Design, fabricate and fit lift

So are we happy – yes, but we do think it’s only fair to pressure OEC to pull out all he stops that they reasonably can now. We did accede to a request from them to pay a deposit late last year to secure a Feb/March build slot – and a three to four month lead time…..     But equally, I really don’t want them to think we are wanting them to compromise on their inherent high standards. Maybe I need to add patience to the list of personal virtues bestowed by engaging in this project (I’m sure Rachel would be grateful for that too!)

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