Seats and Roadworthy Test:

The old seats were in pretty good condition, and quite comfortable, but Africa has back breaking roads, and with the help of Produkta trucks Nelspruit, and our good friend Bennie van Biljon who motivated them – they sponsored us with two brand new Iveco Daily suspension seats! Both are passenger seats, so the armrest of one must be adjusted, but that’s a worry for another day.

We’d like to thank Produkta trucks Nelspruit for their support in our venture, as these seats are very expensive to purchase, and we would not have been able to acquire them any other way. We’ll be thinking of you when driving over 100’s of kilometers of corrugated dirt roads.

We removed the old seats, and started planning the install.

It seemed the seats weren’t going to fit… Not stopping us.

After much debate, we decided to remove all the steel structures that supported the old seats, clean the floor up, move the handbrake to a more suitable position, and build new mounting structures that would match the height of the original seats.

(above: Our new seats!)

(above: the original seat structures, and handbrake position)

(above: Goodbye for now, may your steel be repurposed!)

(above: the floor was cleaned up, and levelled out so that we could start from scratch)

(above: we found some scrap steel lying around, and used it to fabricate the new seat mountings)

(above: new structures spot welded to the floor, and the seats bolted to the square tubing)

(above: Vusi did the welding for us)

A test fitment was done, and we removed the seats to prep the floor for paint. The last of the sharp edges were grinded down, and Jolandie cleaned the floor with thinners. We proceeded to mask the cab with newspaper and used marine sealant and water proof lining to cover any holes in the floor. All the rust was removed.

We sprayed the floor area with a rubberising agent – no primer needed, and will seal the floor from any possible water damage. It’s also very tough and does not scratch easily. It also prevents things from rattling too much.

After everything was painted, Jolandie made the templates for the new carpets. She used normal packing boxes and a box cutter to join the pieces together.

(above: structures installed, painted, and templates cut)

The original idea was to install sound proofing, but as we didn’t have the extra budget for it, and the truck needed to go through roadworthy because the license had expired, we decided that carpeting would have to do, and we bought some auto carpet from a local fabric supplier.

We used a combination of scissors and a box cutter to cut out the carpets according to the templates, and it worked like a bomb. Everything fit perfectly, and we then stuck the carpet to the floor with a strong adhesive. The front foot section was not covered as our conveyer matt works very well for cleaning purposes. The new seats would be in the way of my foot stepping down on the exhaust brake, so we came up with an idea and used the acceleration pedal repair kit that Seshan Moodley from Assagy Trucking sponsored to fabricate a solution. As seen in the left bottom corner of the following picture:

(above: carpeting done, and exhaust brake issue resolved)

Pugs asked us to look after their farm as they wanted to go on a family holiday at the coast. It couldn’t come at a better time as we used it to our advantage. We didn’t need to drive the extra 30km’s everyday, and could start working on the truck early in the mornings.

The airlines for the hand brake were extended, and rerouted through the passenger side of the cab. 90 Degree bends were used in order for the airlines to fit without obstructing the new battery position.

After everything was installed and connected, we sat on the seats, and I could swear I heard and elephant trumpet😊.

This was the first moment that we felt we’ve actually made progress with Betsy, and that we were getting closer to our goals.

Betsy had to go for her roadworthy, and passed the test on her first go.  Jolandie got a bit worried, as the first drive was a bit bumpy. I reassured her that this was because of the absence of weight on the chassis, and that the ride would greatly improve when the “habitation box” is on the back.

I’m really hoping I’m right.