Stripping Out The Mechanical Components
Last time we started stripping out the interior of our forest rally Paj. Go here if you missed it.
Everything Must Go!
The Paj made it to Dave’s workshop in one piece. Time to get down to business. Pretty well everything had to be stripped out and either kept, sold or thrown away. Then we’d have a look at the bare bones and decide what to turn this old girl into. A standard rally wagon? A ute? A fastback? A retro Dakar look-alike?
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The obvious place to start was the engine and gearbox. These were removed, along with tail shafts, exhaust system, radiator, intercooler, air conditioner, heater, power steering pump – anything in or around the motor and gearbox.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the amount of work required to strip the interior down to bare metal. Dave had mentioned it was a huge job, but I had no idea of the work involved.
Now to be clear, Dave did nearly all of the work. I was only able to help out for a day here and there. On these days, it felt like I would spend a whole day removing brackets or the like and have very little to show for it.
Once you start stripping the interior, it’s amazing how many brackets, bolts and plastic clips are inside a standard Pajero. Just about everything is bolted together rather than spot welded. Pajeros are certainly well built and it’s easy to see why they don’t squeak and rattle.
Why Remove The Windows?
Some off-road race cars use the existing windows, but mostly they are removed and replaced with polycarbonate. We took the second option – firstly for weight reduction and secondly for safety. The last thing we wanted was to side-swipe a tree and shower the driver and navigator with glass.
Only the windscreen is retained. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, a standard windscreen won’t shatter like the side windows do. Secondly, forward vision is obviously rather important and a standard windscreen is the best way to achieve this. Lastly, the front windscreen can be kicked out if the occupants are trapped – if it’s installed correctly.
What To Do With A Spare Air Bag? Hmmm…
We decided to have some fun with the air bags we’d (carefully) removed from the dashboard. So we clamped the passengers side air bag to a trailer A-frame, grabbed a 12V car battery and some cabling, crouched behind a forklift and hooked it up.
The result? A really loud noise and an appreciation for how much we’d hate to be smacked in the face with one of these things… Still, it’s better than the alternative I suppose.
So with the Paj stripped down to bare bones, the fun work can begin.
Next time: We’d better check if the motor’s going to fit…
Any errors or omissions are mine alone.