dirty work

JOHN ROOTH

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

THE BUILD on Milo 2 con­tin­ues, and as parts get bolted on I can al­most feel the roar of the old girl com­ing back to life. What be­gan as a re­place­ment for my poor, old ’83 Toy­ota, Milo, has turned into end­less lessons in new tech­niques and prod­ucts, and I love ev­ery minute of it.

This is the thing about a truck re­build as op­posed to just buy­ing one. There’s a sort of in­ti­macy in­volved here, an un­der­stand­ing that comes from re­search­ing, plan­ning, sourc­ing and bolt­ing on bits that even­tu­ally all come to­gether to be the ve­hi­cle. It’s ex­cit­ing, fun and I rec­om­mend it to any­one who can find the space to play. Why? Be­cause when you’ve fin­ished it you’ll have learnt things that can’t be learnt any other way. And some­day they might just keep you alive (more on that later).

You’d be amazed at how many ‘fa­ther and son’ or ‘grandad and grand­daugh­ter’ projects I hear about in my trav­els. So many peo­ple have got some­thing old on the go these days you have to won­der if it’s a back­lash against au­to­mo­tive prod­ucts be­com­ing too techno-cen­tric for the skills of us mere mor­tals. Un­der­stand­ing a ve­hi­cle starts with un­der­stand­ing the parts; just as an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of good driv­ing is un­der­stand­ing what’s hap­pen­ing be­hind the ped­als.

All this oc­curred to me while I was fit­ting up the new clutch to Milo 2’s 12HT mo­tor, be­cause my first ‘ma­jor au­to­mo­tive re­pair’ was chuck­ing a new clutch in a Hill­man when I was about 14. It was all done with the car in the air on logs and a set of farm span­ners that were mostly BSF Whit­worth sizes; the old Bri­tish bolt size that’s some­where be­tween met­ric and AF. There’s not much you can’t do with teenage en­thu­si­asm and a ham­mer.

But it took about a dozen goes to get the clutch plate cen­tred enough to be able to slip the gear­box on with­out do­ing dam­age. Ly­ing un­der­neath the car – hoist­ing that dirty old lump of iron off

my chest so it could hang off the bolts un­til it fi­nally jig­gled over the first mo­tion shaft – gave a bloke plenty of time to think he might just take it easy on the clutch in the fu­ture be­cause it sure was a bug­ger to re­place.

Once you’ve re­placed a clutch plate you’ll never hold a ve­hi­cle on a hill by slip­ping the clutch again; you’ll never ‘ride’ the pedal be­cause you’ve got a lazy foot; and there’s ev­ery chance you’ll not bother with un­nec­es­sary things like wheel­ies and burnouts, ei­ther. Ev­ery time I see some kid smok­ing it up, I know straight away the most se­ri­ous mech­a­nis­ing they’ve done is pulling the back­ing off stick­ers.

Things have come a long way in the last 45 years – the new Ter­rain Tamer heavy duty clutch came ‘com­plete’. There was a new clutch plate, of course, fea­tur­ing much heav­ier duty lin­ings and im­proved spring­ing, but it came with a new pres­sure plate, too. It’s that com­bi­na­tion – stronger springs squeez­ing denser lin­ings to the fly­wheel – which is the essence of clutch im­prove­ment. Ob­vi­ously it’s go­ing to hold un­der pres­sure much bet­ter than the stan­dard com­po­nent, but with im­prove­ments in ma­te­ri­als thanks to tech­nol­ogy it’s now pos­si­ble to fit a much bet­ter clutch to an old ve­hi­cle. Think about how many times you change gears in a day of driv­ing, and this is one im­prove­ment you’re go­ing to no­tice con­stantly.

The kit also came with the lit­tle bear­ing that sup­ports the gear­box first mo­tion shaft in the back of the fly­wheel. If you ever hear a scream­ing noise from deep within the driv­e­train that dis­ap­pears when you put your foot on the clutch, it’s this lit­tle and of­ten for­got­ten bear­ing.

Ter­rain Tamer sup­plies one so you don’t for­get to re­place it. It’s the old case of ‘you’re in this deep so you’d bet­ter re­place any­thing else that might need it’. The bit I loved most, though, was the plas­tic mo­tion shaft dummy Ter­rain Tamer sup­plied, which meant I only had to bolt the pres­sure plate to the fly­wheel once be­cause the plate was guar­an­teed to be cen­tred.

So with a much stronger mo­tor run­ning through a much im­proved clutch, it was time to think about gear­boxes. Once again I was off to Mel­bourne to Ter­rain Tamer HQ where Dave, who’s been build­ing gear­boxes for the past 25 years or more, was putting to­gether the five-speed from the orig­i­nal 60 Se­ries we pur­chased to grab the mo­tor. He did this us­ing im­proved parts – when you’ve been in the Toy­ota parts and re­pair busi­ness this long you know what can be im­proved – and a lot of metic­u­lous con­struc­tion.

Yes, I went straight for a set of Marks Adap­tors trans­fer case gears this time be­cause I know how much they im­proved con­trol in the orig­i­nal Milo. The ra­tios I chose add about 10 per cent road speed in high range – to suit more horse­power and eas­ier cruise speeds – and re­duced low range by about 30 per cent. That means the low range gears are true crawler gears now, with fifth low range be­ing slightly lower than first high range for a true ra­tio spread.

Phew, run out of space again. I’ll have to tell you about the life­sav­ing po­ten­tial of build­ing your own ve­hi­cle some other time. Got to go, got span­ners to spin!

Dave with­out a lot you can get past gear­boxes, there’s not that I get to mix Af­ter 25 years build­ing is joy in build­ing trucks way. For me, the real ev­ery day. him know­ing a bet­ter some­thing new which means I’m learn­ing in with the ex­perts,

with a plas­tic tool that Duty clutch kit comes com­plete The Ter­rain Tamer Heavy so you can cen­tre the plate mo­tion shaft’s di­men­sions mim­ics the gear­box’s first hous­ing... beats us­ing fin­gers. the fly­wheel and sprung be­fore clamp­ing it be­tween

per cent more grunt as a stock 12HT makes 30 Ooh, isn’t that lovely? See­ing any­way), brand new brakes mo­tor’s a hot rod ver­sion than the old 2H (and this just makes sense!

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