A new roof for Baloo
Pretty much exactly 3 weeks after we found out with horror that the hinge of our lifting roof was almost completely torn out, we are now proud owners of an overhauled and intact roof.The idea for the solution came to us overnight:
Still on the camping site in Teotihuacán we had a sleepless night after the discovery of the broken lifting roof. We rolled back and forth in bed until Mathias suddenly had the idea. He remembered the Canadian Calvin who runs the camping "Overlander Oasis" in Santa Maria del Tule (near Oaxaca) together with his wife Leanne. We already spent a few days there last spring when we were on our way back to Mexico City from the Yucatan. The campsite is, as the name suggests, actually a small oasis with everything you need. Calvin is also an excellent mechanic with great craftsmanship and innovative ideas for repairs or improvements to vehicles. In the past, the former designer of his own rally cars has helped many travellers with problems with their vehicles.
We quickly know that he would be our only chance to get the roof properly repaired. What makes us especially confident is that we can communicate with him in English, that he knows the area around Oaxaca and that he attaches great importance to clean and quality work.
Our first action the next morning is the call from Overlander Oasis. We are lucky. There is space for camping and Calvin has time to take care of our problem. Quickly we eat something, then pack our things together and drive through the 500km long stretch to Santa Maria del Tule in one piece. For the trip we fastened the roof with additional lashing straps so as not to risk it slipping backwards.
When we arrive at the Overlander Oasis, we move into the lovingly furnished Casita, which is available for rent next to the campsite. The next morning we dismantle Baloo's roof and can't spend the night in it anymore.
Since the hinge is screwed together in a complicated way, we first have to unscrew the shock absorbers and the tent fabric and then set up the roof at a 90° angle to the vehicle. Only in this position do the screws, which have to be loosened, become visible. To make matters worse, we can see that the manufacturer did not use any retractable screws, but that half of the screws are flexed hexagonal. Fortunately, Calvin has a special tool with which we can still separate this craft. The tree in the garden has to be used as a suspension device for the roof (see photos).
Since we see after the disassembly of the hinge that this has its best days behind it, we decide to order a new hinge from Europe. This type of hinge is manufactured exclusively by Titgemeyer in Germany. But we find a dealer in England who sends us a new one with FedEx at a very reasonable price to Mexico. The package arrives 48 hours later and the assembly can begin ...
Calvin is a perfectionist. For this reason, we make several other improvements to the roof (metal reinforcements, new rubber to protect the edges, supports for improved closure) before the hinge is attached and the tent fabric or shock absorber is reattached.
We have also made other improvements to the vehicle if we have access to such a good workshop. So now we are proud owners:
- of a table in the interior
- additional shock absorbers with which the bed base can be lifted to the ceiling when the roof is open
- of leveled sand plates (in folded down state)
- a tightly closing rear door
- a tight water bumper
During the 3 weeks in Tule we not only repaired our roof, but also had time for some small excursions:
Arbol del Tule - 2000 years old tree with the thickest trunk diameter in the world
Mercado Tlacolula - Authentic Mexican Sunday Market