Mog Blog

This is a weblog documenting some of my experiences in owning a Unimog. I hope to add to it regularly, but it'll probably be pretty sporadic.

Index of Entries

17 January 2002 (How I Found my Mog)

I first came across the Unimog about 7 or 8 years ago when we were looking to move from surburbia to the mountains - I wanted a capable 4WD vehicle so that we could get around in the bad weather. While investigating Landrovers, Hummers, Jeeps, etc., I came across the Unimog - I loved the idea of a multipurpose vehicle with PTO's, hydraulics, excellent off-road capability, etc. but I couldn't really afford more than one vehicle and needed something a bit more comfortable and faster for long trips (I ended up with a Jeep ZJ).

We got snowed in a couple of times during the Winter of 2001-2002 (which we expected), but with a new baby, I decided that we needed a snowplow so that we could get out in an emergency. A Mog seemed a good solution - and I figured I could add implements later to do work around the place - build a shop/barn, dig trenches, etc. My plan was to get a basic Mog, snowplow, and chains and to add other implements as my budget allowed.

I spent a lot of time on the Internet, trying to get educated and trying to find a suitable Mog. There are a lot of models to choose from, a lot of variation in prices, and a lot of differing opinions. I looked into 404's (and Pinzgauers) which are cheap, but aren't really implement carriers. I found an ex-US Army SEE Unimog at a place in Utah - it had a loader, backhoe, and blade, but they wanted $30k which was well beyond my means. Then I found a local guy who sold Unimogs - after a bit of negotiating, he offered me a 1981 U900 with a snowplow for $22k delivered to my door. It seemed like an OK deal and I found I could get a loan for that amount. However, the truck was in Germany and he wanted cash up front (before shipping it). I was very uncomfortable with buying a vehicle sight-unseen, so I posted a message asking if anyone in Germany could take a look at it for me. As a result of that post, I got a call from a guy in Phoenix who had a Case MB4/94 Unimog for sale. When I told the local guy that I was going to look at a Case, he went off on a rant:

Be aware that the chase Unimogs are not the same as the Unimogs built in Germany. The chase Unimog was designed only for chase north America, they sold about 800 Unimogs. It was a disaster, no parts no service. It is very hard to get any parts for this Unimogs, the reason is Mercedes-Benz only built a few and never created a parts catalog for them. Than mid 80' everything came to a stop. All the Unimogs broke down because off no service available and no parts.
I do have a few customers with a chase Unimogs, they are all a mess, and I have the hardest time finding parts for those trucks. A lot of times I have to convert the Unimog to make the parts fit. Few examples: The Hydraulic pumps are not the same, much less power full. All the hydraulic hoses and fittings are also not the same.
Transmission is not the same. The Engine has a different head. It is just a different Truck even so it looks alike.
I just want to warn you. If you want me to I can get you also an chase Unimog for about half the price, because everybody is selling it.
Just don't let nobody take you for a ride! There is not a lot of good Unimog people in the US!

I knew better from my research and I haven't dealt with him again.

I flew to Phoenix and spent a day playing with the Case Unimog. It wasn't perfect, but it had a loader, backhoe and rotary broom and the price was right - $12,500 - I bought it. It cost me $2200 to get it shipped to Montana (I had to use a RGN truck). I put wanted ad's on the Unimog Exchange for a snowplow and tire chains. I found some ex-Bundeswehr RUD Griefsteg chains in England and in Canada - I bought them from the guy in Canada for $700 for a set of four plus $160 shipping via UPS (the guy in England was cheaper, but the shipping was more expensive and customs more iffy). I was contacted by a guy in Laramie, WY who had a snowplow at a good price, but without the mounting A-frame. I took a bit of a chance, met him in Casper, WY and bought it for $1000. Next, I put another wanted ad on the Unimog Exchange for the mounting A-frame. I got a response from a guy in western Montana and I bought his A-frame for $400 - it wasn't worth making the trip (Montana is a big state), so shipping cost me $117. I had to fabricate some 30mm diameter pins to attach the plow to the A-frame and I had to put together some hydraulic coupling adapters to mate the plow's lift cylinder to the Mog's hydraulics. I also fabricated a loader stand from a screw jack I got from Harbor Freight and some steel. That took care of the implements!

All told, I've spent about $15k on hardware and about $3k on shipping/trips. I consider that a pretty good deal, but it's all relative in the world of used vehicles - e.g. much better deals have been gotten at auctions.

November 2002

The Mog had been used in the desert and had a pre-filter on the air intake - the pre-pre-filter was slightly damaged and the hose from the pre-filter to the intake tube was disconnected (with a coffee can covering the intake). I bought an Engineaire prefilter and fitted it to the intake tube. There was a fuel prime problem which I fixed by replacing the fuel filter, tightening up the fuel hose clamps, and fully bleeding the fuel system. The engine still needs a bit of work - it produces white smoke even when warm - I suspect the injectors might need servicing or replacing, or maybe one of the cylinders is losing compression - I'll look into that next Summer. The electrics also need work - another Summer project. I also added a Kim Hotstart tank heater to make cold starting easier (and to reduce the prodigious amount of white smoke produced). Details on this project are here.

I talked to my agent (State Farm) and they first said that I needed insurance even if I wasn't driving it on the road - $158 for 6 months. Then a month later, they cancelled the policy and told me that I was covered under my homeowners policy as long as it wasn't registered. If I ever register it, I will need to re-instate the $158 for 6 months policy.

Winter 2002 - 2003

We got a lot of snow in the second half of the winter. The Mog makes an awesome snowplow!

March 2003

I added a total of 6 quarts of oil over the winter - for only 13 nominal hours of engine use. I guess the white smoke is burned lubricant (and actually "blue" smoke). The collective wisdom of the Mog mailing list seems to be that something in the engine is worn - valve guides maybe. If I'm really lucky, it'll just be the valve cover gasket. For now, I'm just going to keep a close eye on the oil level; someday, I'll pull the head and see what's really going on.

Summer 2003

Did quite a bit of earthmoving including pulling some big stumps and digging rock (soft sandstone) with the backhoe - sure beats a pick and shovel! At some point the voltage regulator seems to have flaked out - the battery was overcharging and losing electrolyte. I pulled the regulator and alternator and bench tested them - they were fine - put them back in and the system is now working again. The wiring is in bad shape, though - I really need to re-wire the whole machine as some point.

October 2003

Reworked the snowplow to add wheels. The skid plates were pretty worn when I got it and actually failed during the winter. I think wheels will be much better than skid plates on the very rough road I'm plowing. I welded up an assembly to carry a wheelbarrow wheel (that I had lying around) for the front. I bought some dumpster casters for the two rear points. I'm not convinced the wheelbarrow wheel will be strong enough, particularly when turning, but I'll see. There are tougher wheels available if I trash this one. If it works well, I'll take some photos and add it to the "projects" section.

1 November 2003

It was in the 70s last week; the weather service said a cold air mass was coming, but there would "little or no precipitation" - we got 16" of snow and the temperature dropped to 2°F (-17C)! Luckily, it was very powdery and packed down pretty quickly so I didn't need to plow. But I did take off the loader, mount the plow, put on the chains, and change the oil. I was hoping to build a counterweight so I could take off the backhoe - maybe if the weather improves.

8 November 2003

So much for the wheelbarrow wheel - it came off the rim within about 10 yards! Not too surprising, I suppose. Also, the cutting level is a bit high. This weekend I think I'm going to try fabricating shoes out of some Trex I have lying around - it may wear too fast, but it's worth a shot.

13 November 2003

After a great deal more research into snow plows and their wearing parts, I've decided to replace the steel cutting edges with 1-1/2" wide polyurethane cutting edges. This will also allow me to eliminate the (problematic) skid shoes since the polyurethane has a large bearing surface. I will still need to block under the skid shoes during storage to avoid compression set in the polyurethane. This probably isn't the cheapest solution, but it should give me the best performance, last "forever" given my usage, cushion the impacts of hitting rocks, and quieten the plow. I'm getting final quotes from several places and I hope to place the order next week. More later once I get final quotes and buy the material.

17 November 2003

I ordered the polyurethane material today. I hope to install the stuff when I get back from a Thanksgiving trip, maybe by the second week in December. I'll be posting pics.

I'm also bashing together a cheapo vertical exhaust stack from some of the bits that came with my mog and some chimney tubing. If it works out OK, I'll post pics of it, too.

And I've pretty much given up on the idea of building a counterweight this season - the weather just isn't cooperating.

9 December 2003

Got back from a trip East for the holidays and the new cutting edges were waiting. I tried to take off the old bolts today, but they are stuck badly - I might need to find the nutsplitter. Maybe I'll get them mounted this weekend if the weather cooperates.

13-14 December 2003

Fitted the new edges; details here.
Installed the vertical exhaust pipe; details here.
Also rigged up a 2" receiver using a 36" long piece of 1-1/2" pipe between the lower rails. Definitely not for on-road use, but if I have to haul water this winter it might get me out of a bind. In the wildly unlikely event that someone's interested, drop me a line and I'll post pictures.

20 December 2003

I didn't like the way the chimney cap worked - it tended to direct the exhaust downward. So I fabricated a new cap from a hinge and some aluminum plate I had lying around. Works great and looks like one of the big rigs! Details here.

28 December 2003

Got maybe 14" of snow starting on the 25th, then it drifted with winds gusting to 50mph. Plowed out the drifts today. The new cutting edges are excellent - I was able to plow in 3rd gear with the plow in float and it just bounced over the big rocks (in the past, I'd had to slow down and even manually raise the plow in some places). Plus it was much smoother. The vertical exhaust was also a big improvement - I have much less mogstink on me than I'm used to.

1 January 2004

The battery is definitely starting to flake out, probably because of the overcharging that occurred over the Summmer. Anyway, when it's cold I usually have to recharge it to get enough cranking speed to start the engine. So today I wired in a connector so that I can easily hook up the charger; I'll charge the battery at the same time as I preheat the engine. Should be much more convenient.

7 March 2004

Just over a week ago, we got 28" of fairly heavy snow. I plowed the 3-1/2 miles of road (and rescued a neighbor) without any problems. We got another 6" of snow on Tuesday, but I didn't bother plowing that. On Friday and Saturday, the winds picked up to around 40mph with gusts over 60mph which caused lots of drifting. Yesterday, I thought I'd spend an hour or so plowing out the drifts, but it didn't quite work out that way:

The first half mile went fine, but then I ran into about 600 yards of 3+ ft deep drift. This took multiple runs - go about 10ft with the plow up, then back up and plow the rest, repeat. The resulting snow banks were up to the Mog's windows.

The rest was easier - there were many deep drifts that required multiple runs, but they were relatively short. Except for two drifts where the road was cut into a side slope (one was on a road that led to a neighbor's house, the other led to the county road). Both of these were maybe 3 ft on the low side and 6-7ft on the high side. I couldn't get through them - after 20-30ft of plowing, the snow was piled up into a wall that the Mog couldn't move. Plus, with nowhere to push the snow on the high side, the Mog kept sliding to the low side (with a scary drop-off). I was going to head back home to get some tools so that I could lower the backhoe and dig through the drifts, but a neighbor offered to hire a local guy with a big bucket loader to come dig out the big drifts. I got home after 4 hours.

I guess I learned a couple of things: take some food and water, take the tools for the backhoe.

17 April 2004

I was using the backhoe to excavate for the foundation of a (fairly elaborate) playhouse for Maggie. I noticed some hydraulic oil on the ground and found there was a pinhole leak in one of the hoses. The hoses are in rough shape - the backhoe is 25 year old and lived most of its ife in the desert - I expect I'll have to replace all of them before too long. I called the "local" Case dealer and ordered replacements for all the hoses on that circuit (bucket). Total bill $240 for 4 hoses - wow! I later learned from the Mog Mailing List that if I can take the hoses off and bring them to a hydraulic shop, I can probably save 50% - 60%, but that entails a couple of 180-mile round trips to Billings. Maybe I'll take off the remaning hoses later in the year, take them in, and get replacements all at once. The stabilizer cyclinders leak a little and I might get them rebuilt at the same time.

7 August 2004

I found a Schmidt VF3C snowcutter on the Unimog Exchange and finally bought it! It should be here this week. More info once it arrives.

16 August 2004

The VF3C snowcutter arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, the unloading wasn't too smooth: The hauler got stuck on a hill about 2 miles from my place. I went down and pulled him out with the 'Mog but we decided his rig wasn't going to make it up to my place. We unloaded the power unit using the stands but my loader couldn't pick up the cutter head - I couldn't lift it high enough to clear his trailer, and trying to lift from the bottom, the moment arm was too great. I tried to get hold of some neighbors but nobody was around (it being Sunday lunchtime), so I told the guy I'd get someone to unload him in the morning and I'd pay for an extra day of his time. He headed back to Columbus (an hour away, the nearest place with cell phone service). About 30 minutes after he left, I got hold of a guy with a big (6 yd!) loader who came and unloaded the trailer. I put the power unit on my trailer and hauled it up to my place with my Jeep. The big loader hauled the cutter head up to my place.

The unit looks in good shape, although it has a damaged gearbox on the cutter head that will probably be a bit of work and $$. I probably won't get a chance to look at it further until next weekend.

19 September 2004

I've spent many hours removing the woodruff key, snap ring, failed bearing and shaft seal from the cutterhead drive shaft. I had to buy a bunch of new tools and do some creative adaptation to get them all out - mainly because everything is so big and I'm removing stuff with the shaft still in place. But, finally it's all done. I bought all the "standard" replacement components (mainly fasteners) from McMaster-Carr, and I contacted Schmidt for the other components. Schmidt still hasn't given me a price, but they say the stuff is on its way to them from Germany (!?). Hopefully I'll be able to get the stuff in the next week or so.

I removed the airtank for my Mog and added an adapter so that I can plug the power unit air hose into it. I used a standard 1/4" quick-connect socket so that I can have access to air for other things too - e.g. inflating tires.

I mounted the bracket for the intermediate bearing on my Mog, but I've run into a big problem: the exhaust system interferes with the bracket. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to work around this issue and I'm a bit concerned. In a nutshell, the pipe out of the muffler exits right in the middle of the bracket, preventing me from installing the rest of the exhaust pipe. It looks like the exhaust system was modified by a previous owner since the bracketry doesn't match the parts manual and the fasteners are not metric. It's very tight in there and I just don't know how I'm going to solve the problem. If I run out of time, I may end up leaving off the rest of the exhaust pipe temporarily - a lousy solution, but it may be necessary.

The other concern is that the Summer's over and I'm running out of time (since I'm working outside) - it's raining today and snow is forecast for tomorrow. I still have to modify the deck to accept the power unit, install and hook up the electrical controls, rebuild and install the intermediate gearbox, repair and install the cutterhead lifting frame, install the discharge chute, and test the unit.

26 September 2004

I figured out the exhaust pipe! I had been assuming that it should go above the bracket for the intermediate bearing (but I couldn't make it go there). So today I tried making it go below the bracket and I got it to work. It entailed fabricating 3 brackets to (re-)mount the muffler and the tailpipe. I also re-routed the tailpipe so that it runs closer to the frame and so that the vertical exhaust runs in front of the ROPS - this is required (I think) to be able to mount the power unit.

I also re-installed the air tank and went for a short test run. I used the new hookup on the airtank to inflate one of the tires - it worked well.

I ended up drilling out one of the pins from the mounting frame - not a fun job, but now they're all out. The only tasks left for the mounting frame are to free up or replace the ball swivels in the various rod- and cylinder-ends. I've laid in a good supply of liquid wrench and I'll be soaking them daily for a while.

I still don't have the parts from Schmidt - the guy said he thought they were being airmailed, but he's not sure. I guess I'll just have to keep bugging him. I ordered a parts washer so that I can clean the intermediate bearing parts, but it's back-ordered. Murphy strikes again!

So things left to are: modify the deck to accept the power unit, install and hook up the electrical controls, rebuild and install the intermediate gearbox, repair and install the cutterhead lifting frame, install the discharge chute, and test the unit. If the weather stays the way it was this weekend, and I can get the parts, I might get it all done before November!

3 October 2004

I installed the intermediate drive shaft bearing for the snowcutter on its bracket, which was fairly easy although the thing is heavy. While I was in the area, I also re-installed the mid-PTO hydraulic pump skid plate - it had come as a loose part when I bought the Mog and I kept forgetting to re-install it.

I built a stand and took off the backhoe. It was relatively easy to do, although I suspect it'll be harder to put back on! I found that the bracket for "parking" the rear lift cylinders was missing on the driver's side - I'll have to fabricate a replacement. I also found that one of the spring clips that hold the front mounting pin in place was missing on the same cylinder - which is a bit scary! I've ordered a replacement. Finally, the click linch pins were missing from both rear (removable) pins and had dubious clips substituted. i've ordered replacements.

Now that the backhoe is off, it's clear that I'll have to remove the diverter valve that San Bernardino County fitted to allow them to run the Sweepster on the front. (Which I wonder about, since the manual says not to use the mid PTO except when the machine is stationary.) It shouldn't be too hard to do, but it'll be messy since everything is full of hydraulic oil.

I've managed to free up all but three of the ball swivels in the various rod ends and I'm hopeful that the remaining ones will yield soon.

I'm still waiting for the parts from Schmidt. It seems to be taking a long time.

10 October 2004

Spent a bit of time fabricating a "parking" clamp for the left rear hydraulic cylinder (one of the pair that raises and lowers the backhoe). I'd love to find a real replacement, but I suspect it hasn't been made for years. Next time I buy parts from the Case dealer, I'll see if it's available.

I removed the hydraulic diverter valve and extra hoses that San Bernardino County had installed to run the Sweepster. It was easy to do, but a bit messy with hydraulic oil pouring all over the place.

Then I tried backing up under the VF3C power unit. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit because San Bernardino County had welded a couple of hooks to the lower frame. Removing these hooks was difficult because my portable band saw didn't fit well into the space available - I managed to cut off most of the hooks, but had to spend about an hour with the grinder removing the rest.

Once the power unit was on the bed, I had to drill two mounting holes for the M30 mounting bolts. I used a 1/4" drill from the top to locate the holes and then a 1-3/8" hole saw from the bottom (there wasn't room to drill the large hole from the top). This entailed temporarily removing the air regulator and bracket from the right side.

Next, I tried to connect the driveshaft to the intermediate bearing. The linear slide part of this shaft was frozen, so I spent quite a while grovelling under the Mog to free it up.

Finally, the power unit was installed. I hooked up the control box and tried to start it. The batteries were dead, so I charged them and it started right up. The engine seems to run very well (much better than the engine in the Mog - I really need to find the time to work on it).

All the controls seem to work, except for the high/low gear selection which sticks. Could be the air cylinder, could be the transmission itself. I can probably live without it, but I'll look into it further if time permits.

The parts I need for the cutterhead intermediate transmission rebuild finally shipped from Schmidt. So I should be able to start on that next weekend. I'm still working on freeing up the last three frozen rod end ball swivels.

We got rain and a little snow on Sunday, so I worked on other things. I'll try to a couple of evenings this week to mount the control boxes in the cab.

17 October 2004

The weather was snowy and rainy all weekend, so I only worked on the Mog on Sunday (in the mist and almost-freezing drizzle).

I received the parts from Schmidt! I carefully cleaned and de-rusted the snowcutter main drive shaft and the housing that's welded to the snowcutter body. Then I installed the replacement seal, the big ball bearing, and the retaining ring. I oiled everything and wrapped it in plastic, so that it doesn't rust while I'm rebuilding the intermediate transmission.

I also installed the power unit control connector on the cab. This is a pair of connectors that mount back to back on each side of the rear cab wall. A fat (20mm diameter) 25-wire cable runs between them. I punched a hole in the cab floor, installed a grommet, unwired the cable from one connector, mounted the connectors, ran the cable down through the grommet and back up to the inside connector, and rewired the cable to the inside connector. I plugged in the control box and did a quick test - it seemed to work OK.

The next task is to rebuild the intermediate transmission. I think I have all the necessary parts, but I was looking at it yesterday and it looked like some of the retaining rings on the short shafts were missing - maybe a previous owner tried to rebuild it and screwed up? Anyway, I guess I will have to give it a good inspection and make sure before I do the rest of the work.

In other news, the right front tire was flat yesterday. I reinflated it and will watch it to see if it goes flat again. The left front tire already has a slow leak and there are some nasty looking cracks in all the tire sidewalls, so i know I'll have to replace them eventually. I would just be nice to put off the $1500 spend for another year.

23 October 2004

The Mog gods were conspiring against me this weekend: some parts showed up from Metric Specialties, but not the M10 tab washers I need - they are backordered until (hopefully) next week, the parts washer didn't show up, and it rained and snowed (4" on the ground).

After six weeks of a daily regimen of soaking in Liquid Wrench and tapping, I still haven't been able to free up the ball joint bearings on the lower arms. It looks like a bear to replace them and there are no part numbers in the Schmidt manuals, so it would probably be very difficult to source the parts, too. I'm going to leave them be and hope that they don't cause too much of a problem - one of the four does move and they will of course pivot around the pins, so it should be OK. I was able to free up the four ball joint bearings on the upper arms.

I've decided to replace the four ball joint bearings in the hydraulic cylinders. These were pretty badly mangled and a bit corroded and two of them had popped out of the cylinder ends. They are standard parts, so I can get them overnight from McMaster-Carr if Schmidt is expensive or has a long leadtime.

Since I don't have the parts washer or tab washers and it's snowing, I decided to wait until next week to rebuild the intermediate transmission. Instead, I repaired the stand for the front loader. I've installed the loader twice and each time I've broken the weld that connects the bar to the jack. (Part of this is probably that my welds aren't very good, and part of it is that it's hard to line up well on the rough ground where I store the loader.) This time, I welded an additional piece of steel strapping around the back and to the sides of the bar - hopefully it'll add enough strength to withstand the abuse I'll dish out next Spring while trying to re-attach the loader.

One bit of good news is that the right front tire seems to be OK.

I've added the snowcutter to the project page here (with pictures).

31 October 2004 (Halloween)

I updated the snowcutter project page here so most of the story is there. It wasn't the best weather for working outside: 28F with a windchill of 2F, but I figured time is running out and I needed to get the intermediate transmission rebuilt. It went pretty well.

I'm still waiting for the pesky tab washers so that I can attach the driveshaft to the intermediate transmission, but that shouldn't be too big a job (just 8 bolts).

I'm still waiting for a quotation from Schmidt on the ball joint bearings. If I don't get one by the middle of next week, I'll buy them from McMaster-Carr.

With luck, it'll be all back together next weekend!

7 November 2004

Updated the snowcutter project page again, here. I installed the lifting frame, the chute and the driveshaft. I also finished installing and wiring the snowcutter contol box.

I didn't get a quotation from Schmidt on the ball joint bearings so I ordered them from McMaster-Carr - they are backordered for 2 weeks (the first time I've ever had anything backordered from them). So it's all done except for the lift cylinders.

12 December 2004

Got back from a business trip plus vacation on the East Coast and the ball joint bearings were waiting. I installed them in the lift cylinders this morning without any problems. Then I installed the lift cylinders on the lifting frame.

Mounting the cutterhead on the plate was a bit of a pain - I ended up using a couple of heavy straps to pull the top of the frame back towards the plate. It would no doubt be easier on a flat surface, and much easier with the storage base. Someday I'll build a garage.

I hooked up the front driveshaft and fired up the rear engine (after charging the batteries again - I guess they are shot). I hit the clutch switch and the cutterhead started spinning! And throwing sparks! I discovered that if the cutterhead is raised all the way up, the driveshaft universal joint hits the bottom of the mounting plate. Doesn't seem like a very smart design, but maybe my mouting plate is slightly different from the one on the original truck. I'll have to remember not to lift it up all the way. Or maybe I can adjust the struts to avoid the problem.

Anyway, once I lowered the cutterhead slightly, it all seemed to work great. My plan is to leave the cutterhead on until we get a significant snowfall - just so I can test it out. Then, I'll probably switch to the V-plow and reserve the cutterhead for the nasty drifts we sometimes get. Although I might need to build a "storage station" to make switching betweem them easier.

10 April 2005

Well, the least snowy Winter I can remember here is over - there's still some small hope for a big dump of snow, but not much. I did run the cutter down the driveweay when we had 8", but it wasn't really worth it. I guess I'll have to wait until next year. I'll probably swap the snowcutter for the earthmoving stuff sometime in the next few weeks.

24 July 2005

Last fall, Von talked about some Monroe shocks (model 65406) he'd found that matched the OEM specs pretty closely. And the price was right. I bought four them last fall, but I had problems getting the lug nuts off and then Winter closed in.

I ended buying a big impact wrench from Harbor Freight. It's their one inch industrial impact wrench (item 92622) - up to 1400 ft-lbs. It made short work of loosening the lug nuts and I got the rear wheels off.

I removed the top bolt from the shock, removed the lever from the torsion bar, but then ran into a problem - the threaded pin that goes through the bottom of the shock was stuck (in the shock) and there was no room to fit a puller (or even a hammer) in the space between the end of the pin and the hub. After various failed attempts, I found a solution: I used the nut and washer from the upper bolt, oiled the threads, put the nut on first as far as it would go, then the washer. Next I cut a length of SCH40 1" pipe and slid it over the end of the bolt; I made it as long as possible that would fit in the clearance available. I then slid a small piece of scrap 1/4" plate in between the end of the pipe and the hub (it sat on a couple of bolt heads). I backed the nut down the pin and it slowly pushed the pin out of the shock. I had to cut three different lengths of pipe because I kept running out of thread, but I finally got the thing out. All the parts were in reasonable condition except the "rubber" seals on the arm bearings.

It took a long time for the seals to show up from Germany (via Jim Ince - thanks, Jim), but once they arrived I was able to replace the shocks without any difficulty. I used two M20 extra-thick flat washers (5mm thick, 35mm OD, 21mm ID) on each side of the shock's rubber bushings to compensate for the difference between the original shocks and the Monroes.

I'll replace the front shocks sometime soon when I have the time - it looks like an easier job than the rears.

25 September 2005

I finished installing the shocks along with new wheels and tires. Details are here.

5 December 2007

I haven't updated this for a long time - mea culpa.

The winters of 2005 and 2006 were very mild by Montana standards. I think I plowed the road out only a couple of times each winter.

I did use the Mog a lot in 2006 and 2007 to move dirt about: I built a small basketball court and badminton court (both of which required a lot of levelling). I also poured a foundation for a storage building and used the loader bucket to move the concrete from the truck to the forms. And I built a retaining wall and am currently levelling the building pad for a largish shop.

Around Thanksgiving we got a bunch of snow followed by strong winds (gusts around 70mph). I plowed out the road twice. The second time the drifts were nearly 5ft deep in places and I had to use the backhoe to dig them out. The backhoe worked well - it was a bit of pain to turn around but overall I think it was significantly faster than it would have been to switch the plow for the snowcutter. A bigger bucket on the backhoe would be nice for moving snow.

I'm now thinking that, around here, the plow/backhoe combination works best (with the possible exception of extremely deep new snow - over 4ft - which might be too much for the V-plow). I guess in the long term I'd like to replace the Mog's engine with the OM352A engine from the snowcutter and rig up the snowcutter head to run off the rear PTO. The snowcutter engine has low hours, runs very well, and is turbocharged - it would be a vast improvement over the tired engine in the Mog. Of course, I need to build that shop in order to do this!

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