dirty work


4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - JOHN ROOTH

SO LAST month I did­dled around fit­ting the clutch and get­ting the gear­box built, and this month we’re talk­ing about Milo2’s maiden run – that’d be a worry if it wasn’t pretty much how it un­rolled in real time. Why? I’m the sort of bloke whose life has been dic­tated by dead­lines. I got through col­lege – it was free in the 1970s and they’d take any­body – by wak­ing up a day or two be­fore the ex­ams. Then life was ruled by the sea­sons dur­ing my bush days, where we had to get ma­chin­ery ready for the sum­mer’s gold prospect­ing and then change ev­ery­thing for win­ter’s opal hunt. Then there were the 30 years or so mak­ing a liv­ing out of mag­a­zines, where to miss a dead­line just wasn’t on. I can hear Ed­i­tor Matt chuck­ling about now, see­ing as he still hits me with a stick to get his words most months.

Milo2 got to a crit­i­cal stage. I had most of the bits back home, the chas­sis rolling thanks to the two Nicks up at OL Sun­shine Coast, and Ter­rain Tamer had re­built the en­gine, gear­box and trans­fer. Build­ing a 40 Se­ries is hard in one sense be­cause they’ve all been flogged mer­ci­lessly, but it’s also easy be­cause you can get most parts brand new – and im­proved, thanks to Alan Gray and Ter­rain Tamer. Af­ter 50 years in the parts busi­ness, they know what breaks.

Get­ting ev­ery­thing to­gether wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out Mr Land Cruiser Paul Reid, ei­ther, be­cause a project like this needs a mate with a heap of wrecks. Paul and I are also both mem­bers of the Clas­sic Land Cruiser Club of Queens­land.

It doesn’t mat­ter what you’re try­ing to do, some­one’s usu­ally done it be­fore. Like fit­ting that 12HT, which was made a whole lot eas­ier thanks to con­stant mes­sag­ing with fel­low CLC mem­ber

Chris Mc­connel, a diesel-fit­ter on mines ma­chin­ery when he’s work­ing, and a builder of tough 40s when he’s not. It was Chris who said a 12HT and five-speed would fit us­ing the right com­bi­na­tion of standard parts – no weld­ing, no fab­ri­cat­ing and a life­time of easy ‘stock’ re­place­ment parts. That’s a huge win. All I had to do was put it to­gether, but af­ter a cou­ple of years muck­ing around I knew that meant a dead­line. With a month or so to go be­fore the Mel­bourne Na­tional 4x4 Expo, my mates fig­ured that’d be the whip I needed. Si­mon (my 60 Se­ries driv­ing mate), and mu­tual friend ‘Smart’ Richard, were go­ing to lend a huge hand, and Ja­son, an­other old Tojo nut and FIFO (fly-in fly-out worker), lent his spare days, too.

The driv­e­line was fin­ished and, af­ter muck­ing around with a few cabs, we fi­nally bolted down an ’82 ute body. Then the whole plot went on a trailer – aptly towed be­hind my mus­tard 45 Se­ries – up to the Bush Com­pany on the Sun­shine Coast, where owner Dean fit­ted one of the 79 Se­ries tubs he im­ports from South Africa. The plan was to com­plete that with a Rhino canopy – the all-alu­minium tops The Bush Com­pany man­u­fac­tures in Aus­tralia. They’re so strong I fig­ured I could do with­out the rollcage – those bars suck up the space in a 40 Se­ries cab.

Dean got Hyl­ton from Fly­ing Paint to paint the tray back Milo Green, but when Hyl­ton saw the ‘standard’ of my previous paint­work he wouldn’t let that blue cab go with­out work­ing his magic. Mean­while, Jase fit­ted sound­proof­ing and mats from Aussie com­pany Tru Fit, and Smart Richard didn’t let me get away with my usual shoddy bush me­chanic-style work. Bug­ger.

We wound up bleed­ing brakes and bolt­ing in seats at 3am on the Mon­day morn­ing, just a week be­fore the show. By break­fast Milo2 was reg­is­tered and I was on the road to Vic­to­ria. A day and a half and a cou­ple of thou­sand kilo­me­tres later, my old mate Alan Gray checked her out at Ter­rain Tamer HQ in Sun­shine. We did a full ser­vice, and then took her on a few laps of the test track just for fun.

I think I could have slept for a week about then. We’d made it in an un­proven rig, with a whole lot more to do to fin­ish her off. But Milo2’s on the road, a dead­line was met, and the world’s a bet­ter place for hav­ing an­other old truck re­stored and ready for an­other round.


Milo2 on her maiden run at Ter­rain Tamer’s HQ in Mel­bourne. Just like driv­ing a new 45 – only bet­ter.

when they dammed Gray. Alan worked on Toy­otas the mae­stro him­self, Alan I lis­ten when he speaks! Snowies, so you can bet

A quick sus­pen­sion swap. The 350kg packs that’d worked fine in Milo weren’t up to the job in the longer Milo2, so we re­placed them with 500kg units. It might have had some­thing to do with the tonne of books I’d car­ried un­der that Rhino canopy.

With the

Noth­ing but new bits ev­ery­where. Where it’s not new, it’s been painted ... just not with the brush I nor­mally use.

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