My F117 RST Nullarbor Adventure - Part 10
Monday evening 2nd of May.
No time to go down through the gears, so I just knocked it into neutral and selected low range. I know the truck is usually stable when going off the shoulder and from my racing experience when it comes to steering wheel inputs, less is usually better in these situations.
Apart from the whirring noise, which turned into a tyre shredding rumble sound as I pulled up, the truck felt fine…
I’m hoping like hell I haven't cut a tyre whilst the softer side of me is hoping that the roo isn't suffering. I grab my little magnetic torch off the dash, sneak a quick look at the tyre which thankfully is undamaged. I jog back to Ol mate down the road a bit and thankfully he's not suffering any more.
I made my way back to the truck for a closer look and see that the stainless steel bumper and it backing support have bent back towards the front left tyre by about 4 inches.
The rubber Mack mudflap is backed up by a thick plastic mudflap to help it resist blowing back into the tyre at speed. This has numerous zinc plated bolts and larger spacer nuts to keep them both straight, although spaced. One of those bolts is a little long and has two large spacer nuts between the flaps and rear face of the bumper. I grab both shifters out of my tool bag and removed one of the spacer nuts, placed the left over spacer nut behind the head of the bolt in front of the bumper. This keeps the excess thread away from the tyre. Below that is another smaller bolt and nut clamping the two flaps together, this is the one that was rubbing against the tyre, so I simply removed it altogether.
I'm worried about the tyre rubbing on right lock. I'm wracking my brain as how to push the bumper forward. I have an aluminium pipe 28” long that fitted into my luggage to extend my ½” breaker bar incase I got a flat. So I grabbed that and tried to lever the bar forward without success. I have a look around the truck for a broken sign post or thick branch, no luck. I have a 6 tonne bottle Jack and got that out to see if I could find something to jack against to push the bar away from the tyre. No joy, so I jumped back into the truck and wound on some right lock to see how close it really is. It's close, less than an inch, so I try my pipe again and find I have a better leverage point with lock wound on.
Not wanting to hurt myself if it slips, I carefully position the pipe whilst squatting next to the wheel and somehow pull a yoga move that shouldn't be possible. Bracing myself against the wheel, grabbing what ever I can, I have a few goes with one leg on the end of the pipe and probably managed to gain an extra ¼” clearance. That'll have to do...
All the while, some disappointment has snuck in as I always wanted a truck with a nice bumper, even though I knew it’s not really suited to our conditions here in Australia and now it's bent, great!
As a boy working in my parents workshop after school and weekends, some drivers kindly gave me their old Overdrive magazines and I always loved looking at all the trucks with chromed bumpers and alloy wheels. The classy models that appeared in some of the truck pics looked great too and gave me a slightly warped mindset of what it'd be like to be a "trucker" over in the US.
I packed everything back into the passenger side tool compartment, which is really only meant to be for personal belongings according to the old worn but still easily read decal. I double checked to make sure my tool bag didn't foul the latch, closed the door firmly and re applied the same piece of duct tape as an extra safety.
Mack 1, Kangaroo 0…