The cart is starting to look complete. The skin is on and the brakes are fully functional. While it is starting to look complete, I found a major design problem. Something that must be fixed or the run across Death Valley will fail.
I installed the coolers on the cart and filled them with water. When filled up to the top the cart holds 28 gallons. That is 7 gallons more than what I need, but is probably close to what the cart will weigh when my food, clothes and the rest of my supplies are added on. The cart will probably weigh in somewhere closer to 300 pounds when it is fully loaded.
After filling the coolers with water, I pushed the cart up and down my driveway. It moves well. Even loaded and on flat ground, it is fairly easy to push. My driveway happens to be steeper than any hill on the Badwater ultramarathon course in Death Valley, so I pushed the cart up my driveway. With almost 300 pounds it is extremely difficult to push the cart up the hill. Luckily by the time I get to any major hills in Death Valley, the cart will be lighter because I will have already consumed several gallons of water. The first major hill is 40 miles into the route. But that hill, called “Townes Pass” is steep, rising from sea level to 4,956 feet over 17 miles.
So what is the cart problem? When I was pushing the cart up and down the driveway the water splashed out of the coolers. Not good! I would loose half my water just from splashing. The water is leaking out because the cooler tops do not have seal. Just plastic-to-plastic without a latch to keep it tight, so the water splashes out easily. Apparently the coolers are not designed to shaken around like this. I bought rubber weather-stripping but it didn’t work well, so I will have to find another type of rubber seal.
When it is filled with ice and has the water-baffles installed, it will be less of a problem, but I can’t afford to loose any water. It seems like I will also need a top latch of some sort, a bungee cord or Velcro strap system. I should have checked this before I built the cart around these specific coolers. So it is back to the drawing board to solve this design challenge.