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Torsion Free Subframe:

As mentioned before, a torsion-free subframe allows a vehicle such as this to move freely over obstacles. Some roads in Africa are in unbelievable conditions. If you’d like to see what I’m going on about – check out “worst roads in Cameroon” on youtube, there are many examples of this.

In order for our “home” to survive, the next step is crucial. In order for us to fabricate the mountings, we need to draw up a design and figure out measurements, placement, risks, and costs.

We were extremely fortunate that Jolandie’s brother – Paul Bosch offered to do the Autocad rendering for us – free of charge. He has years of experience in designing mechanical components for logistic, industrial, and mining companies. We put our heads together, and he gave it a go.

The following design will probably be adjusted as we progress, but we are confident that it will do the job.

We did thorough research regarding the topic, and Paul’s design actually coincides with the older versions of the Mercedes Unimog, which has been tried and tested for decades.

Betsy’s chassis was designed to “twist” and the following image makes it clear why a torsion-free subframe is necessary when it comes to building an expedition truck:

If you would like to understand the workings of such a system, I advise you to watch some of the following videos:

After a quick visit to the truck, we’ve measured up the chassis, and found that the original design (1st torsion free subframe design) would not work as there were too many obstructions in the form of fuel tanks, leaf suspension mountings, and a couple more small issues with the design. Paul was notified, and he agreed to drive down from Witbank, to do a final measurement of all the components that was problematic.

He came down the following week, and we spent a couple of hours brainstorming possible solutions, so that he could start designing the system from scratch.

(above: Paul Bosch from Umdwebo Projects doing his final measurements)

(above: Paul brainstorming session)

Paul phoned us a couple of days later, and asked us to do a full-scale printout of the new center mountings, so that we could check whether the new design would work. We drove to farm with high hopes, and we weren’t disappointed as it seems that the new plan work in theory.

(above: the cutout for the center mounting)

(Above: Like a glove!)

After a couple of weeks, we’ve received the final design. It’s a big step, and will ensure the survival of Betsy’s body. The design will be sent off to various steel cutting suppliers around South Africa, in hopes of finding an affordable quotation.

Final Design: