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At play on Vashon

July 13th, 2011

Ever since I brought Trog out to Vashon Quentin begs me to take Trog out for rides.

This evening Quentin informed me there was a huge fire that needed to be put out.    Quentin and I boarded Trog and set off to the rescue.

Unfortunately we got hung up in the frog pond

TrogStuck 1 (1)

Really hung up!   The frogs weren’t amused.

After trying unsuccessfully to extricate ourselves we called in backups

TrogStuck 2 (1)

Tractor to the rescue!

TrogStuck 3 (1)

Out came Trog.   Dirty as ever.

TrogStuck 4 (1)


Where I’ve Been

July 10th, 2011

Sorry for not updating the TrogBlog in over a year.    I’ve been quite busy with other projects.

First, we purchased a property on nearby Vashon Island.    It’s 30 acres and features mixed pasture and forested lands.    We are planting an apple orchard and starting a hard cider business.    Dragon’s Head Cider is the name.   Not much has happened to Trog in the meantime, he has sat sadly neglected in my old shop.

I finally am moving out of the old shop and one of the last things to go was Trog.   He likes it over here.   So does my son!


I’m hoping to carve out a bit of time to get the interior gutters installed so Trog is rainproof.   Right now I have to park him in the shop here.    He takes up too much room.

(I can’t remember Trogblog tone here.   Have I been referring to Trog as him or it?)


Gas shocks for front flip up window

May 5th, 2010

The drivers front window on many Volvo C30x’s flip out.    They are held out via two rigid steel spars which must be manually placed.     That simply won’t do.

So I replaced them with gas shocks.   two 30 lb gas shocks.

Trog Gas Shocks Window 3

I was able to reuse the bottom spar mount, but had to weld on a new mount on the window frame for the upper end of the shock.

Trog Gas Shocks Window 2

Trog Gas Shocks Window 1



February 9th, 2010

The old door and oh-shit handles on Trog were some ugly plastic coated stamped metal things.     Using some stainless marine fittings and some 7/8″ stainless pipe I made up the 4 door handles and am in the process of making a few more oh-shit handles:

The standoffs with wing mounting flanges didn’t match the existing bolt holes that the old handles used.

Trog Handles 5

So I had to cut off one side and weld it to the other side.    I made a jig out of a piece of scrap aluminum to get the spacing right:

Trog Handles 2

Then welded and polished and assembled:

Trog Handles 1

and installed

Trog Handles 4


Bed Prototyping

February 9th, 2010

I’ve been debating doing a single panel bed that attaches to the roof via hooks vs some sort of folding design.       The hook design would have the bed rise with the poptop when raising the roof.   To deploy the bed on the bed rails I would have to unhook it and lower it to the rails.    This seems cumbersome and also adds a bunch more weight that I have to lift to the roof.    So, it looks like I’ll do a folding design.

When the roof is lowered, the bed will be flat, unfolded and reside on the bed rails.    After raising the roof, it will be folded and pushed forward out of the way.    Then when we want to use the bed, it’ll ufold to lay flat

If none of the above makes a bit of sense, maybe these pics will.    This is prototyped using 3/4″ plywood which is heavy and flexes too much.    The real bed deck will be some composite material.  Perhaps Nida-Core, aluminum honeycomb or Coosa marine board.

Folded up:

Trog Bed 4

Folded flat and pushed back to the rear.    I’m not sure whether I’ll use the bed forward or to the back.  Forward allows one of us to get down in the morning and make coffee on the stove.    Towards the back feels a bit more natural and creates a 2nd sleeping area below, between the cabinets.

Trog Bed 1


Front Cabin Interior

January 30th, 2010

I’ve been spending my time recently on the front cabin interior.   I bought some polypropylene auto carpet and fitted it over the carpet padding.   Unfortunately when I tried to sew the seams up I found out how lame polypro carpet is.   It’s basically astroturf and unravels unrelentingly.   It also looks cheap, kinda sparkly like astroturf.   I’m going to replace it with nylon carpet instead.   I guess I now have a somewhat expensive full size template.

Trog Front Interior 1

On a whim, I bought some dark red vinyl at the fabric store.   With it, I made a headliner and covered the old passway pads.    I was a bit worried that Laura wouldn’t like the color, so I took the opportunity to compliment her on some boots that are a similar color.     I think it worked because she gave the thumbs up when visiting today.

I also had to spend some time doing preliminary wiring and mounting of the siren and dome light.   Volvos, being essentially single layer boxes have very few easy paths for wire runs.   I spent a lot of time fishing wires, drilling holes, pushing in grommets and cursing to do this wiring.

The headliner is a piece of SurePly with some thin headliner foam sprayglued down.    It is followed by the vinyl stapled.

Trog Front Interior 2

Trog Front Interior 3

I also fabricated a bunch of bamboo panels to cover the flat surfaces.   Here it is a cove piece with strengthening battens glued transverse to the grain.    The silver stuff is more Damplifier constrained layer dampening material.   Without it the panels would be pretty boomy/rattly.

Trog Front Interior 5

I think it turned out pretty good.

Trog Front Interior 6

Trog Front Interior 7

And the passenger door

Trog Front Interior 4



January 17th, 2010

After truing up the ropes that lift the 4 corners such that each corner lifts the same amount, I am able to now spec the tenting.    Total lift is 32″.

A piece of scrap Sunbrella duct taped to the bolt-tape that slides into the tracks.   The actual tent will likely be light grey or tan.

1001 Trog Tent sm 3

1001 Trog Tent sm 4

and collapsed.   It’s a little awkward at the corners because there isn’t much room behind the lift pole.

1001 Trog Tent sm 5

I may go for a design where the corners have to be zipped up, in which case the sides would lay much nicer:

1001 Trog Tent sm 1

or rolled up:

1001 Trog Tent sm 2


New Windows Mounted

December 4th, 2009

Last week, Eric came down to help me build a paint spray booth.    The new shop is a much better place to do painting as the road outside is paved vs the dirt/gravel road of my old shop.    This makes a huge difference in the quality of the paint job.   I had to redo the flip-out flaps 3 times due to dust nits getting in the paint.    With the new shop, I got a good coat the first try.


The new windows went in without any difficulty.    The new paint is slightly brighter and more “lipstick red” even though it is the same paint code as the old paint.    A few years of sun fading on the old paint must have made the difference.   I’ve found with a mild abrasive rubbing compound I can quickly fade the new paint to match fairly well.   I’ve done this on the door jambs, but not on large areas like the doors.   I’ll try a “cleaning” wax first since the rubbing compound forever kills the gloss.




Floor finished

November 18th, 2009

I had always planned on putting the floor in last so it wouldn’t get dented and scratched while other things are installed in Trog.   However, I got into a few blocking issues where the floor needed to go in before cabinets could be installed.    I got 50 sq ft of Mocha Moso engineered bamboo flooring from Bamboo Hardwoods which was just enough to cover the area.   Flooring was glued to the subfloor using a polyurathene glue.

The floor and subfloor are floating — that is they aren’t directly fastened to the metal floor.   Instead the various cabinets and seats clamp the floor down.   The exception is the cowling that covers the transmission tunnel.   In this case the floor is glued to that piece.   I’ll set some countersinks into the bamboo so it can be bolted down.

I’m prettty happy with how it turned out, however if I were to do it again I would choose a blonde bamboo as it doesn’t show scratches as much.

I’ll cover it with some hardboard or plastic to keep it from getting dinged up.





New Window Installation

October 23rd, 2009

I’ve finally gotten a chance to do some work on Trog again.   The old windows and seals were in pretty bad shape.  The driver/passenger windows both leaked and one side didn’t lock.   The rear side windows were made of plexiglass or lexan and were pretty scratched up.   And finally the rear window was never installed — just an aluminum panel where the glass should be.   I spent some time tracking down new slider track for the driver passenger windows, but everything that I could source wasn’t quite the right size.   So instead I ordered new 1600 series windows from Motion Windows.

The 1600 windows are available with mitred corners, but I think they look a little funny.  So I elected to get the radiused corners.    That means I need to fill the existing rectangular window cutouts with corner pieces.   I also needed to block the edges a bit using some old oak flooring to allow for the window flange.





Tach Installed

October 23rd, 2009

I got the new VDO 6K RPM tach installed in Trog when I redid the wiring.   The trip to Mogfest was the first time to try it out.    Turns out there’s too much noise in the ignition system and it reads high.


Blurry pic as I was driving, but it’s reading > 6K at 90 km/h.   When I install the 123 Ignition the tach should read correctly…


Northwest Mogfest 2009

October 23rd, 2009

Colby and I returned again to Mogfest this year.   This time Colby’s girlfriend and Laura and Q joined.



Quentin’s first driving lesson.




On Sat night I took Trog thru a gully and got hung up.   Trog was spanning the gully with the front and rear bumpers supporting it.   Only a little bit of the front wheels bit into the hillside, the rear wheels were fully off the ground.    A helpful Mog pulled me out.


And the damage — the rear bumper tweaked a bit.


Corbeau Seats In

October 23rd, 2009

Sorry I haven’t updated the TrogBlog in a bit.   Life has been hectic with the shop move in, Mogfest, Burning Man, an East Coast trip, a wedding in Santa Cruz and other distractions.   Back in the summer, before Mogfest, I installed the seats.   Instead of using the adjustable rails, I chose to mount them in a fixed position — thru bolted thru the floor.  This gives me another 1″ of headroom.


A little “cold forging” of the cockpit area with a hammer gave me another 2″ of legroom.  🙂


It turns out with the seats in a fixed location Trog is still comfortable for normal height people to drive.


They barely fit in there.


Trog in new Shop

July 9th, 2009

I finally got Trog running again.   After sitting for 8 months it started right up!     I drove it without incident (and roof) to the new shop.    I’ll go back to pick up the roof after I clear out more of the machines that are in the way.


I like how Trog looks swayback in this photo:



Moving to new shop

July 7th, 2009

I’ve been pretty jammed into my current shop.   Trog takes up a lot of space and I have acquired a bunch of tools over the years and it’s getting harder to use them because everything is in the way of everything.    This week, I will be moving into a really nice new shop that I will be sharing with Colby.   The space was previously used as a development shop for a computer graphics special effects company and was finished to a much higher level than most shops.    It features a nice kitchen and a bathroom with a shower.   A/C, heat and ceiling fans too.  Before moving in, the owner put in a new floor.    Here’s a few pics of the empty shop.    Note the 6 ton bridge crane!


Fuel Filter

June 30th, 2009

Yeeks, I’m pretty sure the fuel filter hasn’t been replaced in 30 years.    It had a Volvo part # on it…though if the firefighters in Kungsbakka did replace it it would have likely been a Volvo part as well.     I performed an autopsy…




Finished Intake system

June 27th, 2009

Trog’s air intake and filtration system is a somewhat flawed design.    The plastic air filter box sits right above the carburetors.    After Trog is turned off, there is a little bit of gas remaining in the carbs.   This gas evaporates and soaks the air filter.    In the event of a fire or backfire this is ready fuel (to quickly light the plastic air filter box).     When the Swedish military renovated their fleet of TGBs they added a new metal air filter box further upstream in the intake system and just used the old air filter box as a manifold to feed the carbs.

I have been wanting to make the same mod to Trog, but have had trouble finding a suitable air filter box.   I finally found one off a mid 90s Jeep Wrangler with a 6 cylinder engine, same as Trog, so it should be sized appropriately.    Plus, this means that air filters are easy to come by.   Most auto parts stores don’t stock the correct filter for the old filterbox.


The air path goes thru the new filter box behind the passenger and up thru a stainless tube to an intake box.   A vent plate finishes the outside.   I believe the vents will alllow enough air in (their combined area is almost the same as the diameter of the intake hose).    If not, I will replace the vent plate with something with larger orifices.


The old route was thru a bit of flexible tubing with an intake just in front of the radiator.   This took up some room in the engine tunnel and I found it somewhat untidy looking, as well as possibly prone to water intake.


Replaced Vacuum system hoses

June 27th, 2009

The 30 year old vacuum hoses were showing some significant signs of deterioration so I decided to pull them and replace with new.     Trog uses a vacuum based system for locking the differentials, engaging front wheel drive and the power take off (PTO).   It’s a bit of a mess with hoses having to run up into the front cabin to be switched via manual valves.    Volvo was a bit sloppy with this system.  Where a nice neat manifold would minimize mess, they went with a series of T’s.

The front wheel drive actuator is controlled by a 12v solenoid.

FWD is engaged when any of the following are true:

  • FWD switch enabled in the main cabin
  • Gearbox put in low
  • Hard braking (there is a pressure sensor on the brake line)


Most of the old hoses.    They were replaced by Gates fuel line.   The fuel line is rated for vacuum service and won’t degrade quickly with oils or gasoline vapors that will creep into the vacuum system.   The vacuum system is “powered” by a port on the intake manifold of the engine.    After then engine is turned off, residual fuel in the carburators evaporates and makes it’s way into the vacuum system (not much, but over time, enough).     That gas can also degrade the membranes of the vacuum actuators (and brake servos), so I intend to put a charcoal filter  inline with the intake manifold hose.

It took almost 25′ of 3/8″ Gates 27004 hose and 25′ of 1/4″ Gates 27002 hose to do the system.

I still need to redo the hosing for the vents on the various gearboxes.    To prevent stuff from getting into the gearbox vents, Volvo has run a network of 1/8″ish hose connecting them.   The output uncermoniously dumps into an interior panel stiffener box tube.

In the future, I want to replace most of this tangle of hoses, at least the ones that lead to the manual switches in the main cabin, with  solenoid activated valves

I believe Skinner 3000 series valves should work, specifically 3133BJA7LNC4 RR T1J1 C1  12 VDC


The common manifold eliminates a lot of redundant hose.   It is a little unclear whether the valve seating on this are appropriate for vacuum on the common side.   Also, I’m not sure if the Cv of the valves are sufficient to move enough air to engage the actuators in a short enough amount of time.

Trog, Uncategorized

Flipout Flaps Finally Finished

June 8th, 2009

With gas springs, gaskets, latching locks and bamboo inner faces installed.



May 21st, 2009

Miguel showered with sparks while cutting a hole in the back of Trog for a vent to draw in cool air for the refrigerator compressor.    Here’s a mess of pix.