11 July 2006
4 Weeks ago Steve & I decided that it is time to see some parts of Australia that we had been promising to do for years. Our departure date has been set at 31 July 2006 & there is a lot to achieve before then.
OK first job was to have a closer look at our much loved vehicle. Having owned our vehicle for many years, we knew it's history & we also knew it needed some work. The vehicle specs are as follows:
Recently we had a fuel leak in the injector pump. Having this pump rebuilt certainly breathed a whole new life into her. This fixed the black smoke which was noticeable when putting your foot down.
The next issue to address was the rattle in the rear wheels. This was most noticeable when the vehicle was idling. Having owned the vehicle for a while we had previously tracked this problem to the anti dust plates. Interestingly, in our search around the wreckers, we found that many other patrols had the same problem, making it difficult to find second hand parts. We were lucky enough to stumble on a solution. The new GU patrol has the same plates, BUT they are different.... they are reinforced around the edge that bolts onto the axle (where the GQ plates rust out ). Problem solved & permanently fixed! The next item on the list was the noisy exhaust system. Our local muffler specialist had really let us down on this & so we sought out another expert. It was interesting to discover that our extractors were rusted through in an obscure location. Additionally, the rear rubber support brackets had worn, not enough to break, but sufficiently enough to rattle when idling. We had been told previously it was engine mounts! Another trip to our wrecking yard & some mount brackets later and a new set of extractors ($415) problem solved. The replacement of the extractors has made a noticeable improvement to the performance of the vehicle & it sounds just so sweet!
A job Steve had promised to do, was to reapply the under body deadening paint. This would also allow him to more closely inspect the mounts etc under the vehicle. Two other of those common Patrol design problems were discovered.
A trip to the local panel beaters had those problems fixed with some clever welding.
The photo at right shows the new springs & shocks that were fitted recently. We chose Lovell springs and Dobinson shockies. So far so good,
although the final setup will include Polyair springs in the back coils to compensate for the increase in weight.
So what else were we going to discover?
Inspection of the clutch & brake master cylinders suggested it was time to renew these. We also discovered the clutch line was sweating above the clutch slave cylinder. Both master cylinders were replaced as was the clutch line.
A clever habit Steve uses is to write replacement dates on the parts he services.
Over the past few years we have put up with a fuel tank that leaked very slowly and now we have the excuse to upgrade it to an impressive 159 litres.
The next job was to replace all the brake pads.
Steve had replaced the tyres recently to BF Goodrich 31x10.5xR15. He runs the same on our other 4wd & hope these will do well on the trip.
We normally run an air scoop on our snorkel, but for dusty trips we swap it to a dust bowl. The bowl is approximately 25cm across & really does an excellent job.
Another item we fit for outback travel is a Spinifex grass screen in front of the radiator.
About 6 months ago Steve rebuilt the 8,000lb Warn winch. It was quite an experience and there was many years of built up dust trapped in there & very little grease. Warn was really helpful & supplied new decals, as well as a manual. Excellent customer service.
With the vehicle looked over & the work needed carried out, our attention now turned to how we are going to remain comfortable & sane over the next 5 months. The items to address are accommodation, refrigeration, storage and some creature comforts. A trip to the Camping show helped out big time here. We settled on a rooftop tent from Aussietraveller, an Evakool 60 litre fridge/freezer & found some ideas on a storage system. We really liked the Black Widow drawer system but found it hard to justify spending over $2000 on it for a 17 year old 4wd. Ebay was the answer & $600 later we had our drawers!!!!
The fridge bought on some new challengers for our vehicle. We had a duel battery system for a winch already, so we decided to install a 3rd battery in front of the rear drawer system. Comet batteries do an AGM battery which can be install inside the cabin so after some clever wiring all fixed! It was interesting as we were redoing & checking our electrical system that we found that our thermal fan had been disconnected in the not so recent past by one of our mechanics. Good one to find! We also decided to take advantage of the Repco 25% off sale & replaced both cranking / winch batteries. Also when checking that our battery isolators were allowing charging correctly, we found that one was failing. Ebay again to the help & in 2 business days we had a new isolator.
So the final setup?
1989 Ford Maverick diesel 7 seater wagon with the following mods / improvements:
· Steel Bull Bar by ARB with matching side bars / steps.
· Warn Winch 8000lbs
· Hella 160 driving lights
· BF Goodrich 31x10.5xR15
· ARB Fibreglass flares
· ARB air front & rear diff locks
· 159 litre main fuel tank
· Aussietraveler rooftop tent ability to sleep 4 (fully screened)
· Triple battery system incl AGM 100 amp hr battery, and 100 amp hr deep cycle
· Hayman Reece tow bar
· Milford cargo barrier
· Black widow storage drawers
· Evakool 60 litre fridge freezer
· Powertec 300 watt inverter pure sign wave
· Ericsson R290 Satelite phone - $400 through ebay
· GME TX3400 UHF radio (also ebay), and aerial
· Ericcson R290 Satelite Phone
· Garmin GPSMap 60c
· HP NC8230 laptop & also entertainment system. NB the laptop is also connected by USB cable to the GPS for realtime mapping using Oziexplorer moing maps.