dirty work JOHN ROOTH

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - JOHN ROOTH

ACOUPLE of is­sues ago (De­cem­ber, 2016), be­fore I got side­tracked telling African yarns, I showed you how Nick and I plucked the body off the old 1983 Troop­car­rier I’ve been stor­ing as a ‘spare Milo’, with a view to build­ing a new truck. En­ter Milo 2, and it is a bit of an en­trance, too. With the body off and bits ly­ing all around we’re re­ally tak­ing up some space in Op­po­site Lock’s work­shop.

But they’re as keen as me to get stuck into this build, and plenty of busi­nesses in Caloun­dra have been of­fer­ing their sup­port. As much as any­thing, this is about show­ing the rest of the world the sort of off-road­ing depth that ex­ists up on the beau­ti­ful Sunshine Coast. Maybe that’s no surprise, as we’re only an hour or so from Fraser Is­land, and the steep vol­canic mountain hin­ter­land coun­try around here has al­ways re­quired the tough­est trucks to get any­thing done. Queens­land has the high­est num­ber of 4WDS per capita of any state, and the Sunshine Coast is ab­so­lutely chock­ers with them.

I tell you what, though, it is won­der­ful get­ting all this help. When I first built Milo it was mostly out in the street in front of our house down on the mud­flats. Neigh­bours would drop in and help lift things or hold some­thing, al­though often it was just a beer from the En­gel. Even­tu­ally we built a shed in the backyard and I fin­ished the body­work on a con­crete pad un­der a real roof, but apart from a bit of help here and there it was mostly solo work all the way.

Then, as the lit­tle green truck got bet­ter known, mostly from be­ing bashed around the coun­try, some of the pro­fes­sion­als in the trade got in­volved. I think they felt sorry for Milo to be hon­est, as she was pulling some very tough trips. The big­gest hand I ever got was from Ter­rain Tamer, who re­built, blueprinted and bal­anced the 13BT mo­tor and supplied one of their re-en­gi­neered gear­box and trans­fer cases to go be­hind the new donk. By that stage, like most old Toy­ota own­ers, I’d been us­ing Ter­rain Tamer parts for years be­cause, quite frankly, they’re ei­ther as good as stock or im­proved.

So you could say I’ve had plenty of time to work out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to old Toy­otas. You prob­a­bly wouldn’t say that if I was stand­ing next

to Alan Gray. At one stage Alan owned a busi­ness called ‘Mr Land Cruiser’, where he spe­cialised in Toy­ota re­pairs and built a name for solid en­gi­neer­ing. Ter­rain Tamer soon re­cruited him to work in re­search­ing and de­vel­op­ing its parts line-up. It makes sense, as he started his ca­reer work­ing on the first Land Cruis­ers brought into the coun­try by the Thiess Broth­ers.

Since meet­ing we’ve be­come great mates be­cause we share a love of coun­try, mo­tor­cy­cles and old 4WDS. In fact, Al just got off the phone a few min­utes ago. Geez, he’s about 150 in the shade and he’s won­der­ing what sort of trail bike he should buy to keep up with the ‘young fel­las’.

Talk­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Nick Flan­ni­gan told me about Lau­rie from Caloun­dra Auto Pro­tec­tor Care who’s the Sunshine Coast’s ex­pert on rust­proof­ing. Given all the ve­hi­cles that drive on beaches up that way I was keen to get him in­volved. So, while the axles were still bolted un­der the chas­sis, we rolled her up to his shed. Lau­rie gave it a big clean and then ex­am­ined the chas­sis closely. Later on he ap­plied the first of a few coats of rust­proof­ing just to seal things up while we built the axles.

Mean­while Nick and I had made up a list of parts re­quired to re­build both axles and sourced them from Ter­rain Tamer’s Queens­land out­let, Sunshine State Spares in Archer­field. While talk­ing to my mate Mark down there he men­tioned Alan Gray was head­ing north to run some cour­ses for the lo­cal me­chan­ics. I got on to Al and asked him to stay a day ex­tra so he could spend some time with Nick and me work­ing on the axles. Okay, maybe I for­got to men­tion the ex­tra de­tails re­gard­ing the work part.

It didn’t mat­ter be­cause, as usual, Alan showed up in his over­alls, rar­ing to go. He bought a surprise with him, too: the Ter­rain Tamer kits re­quired to fit the new Elock­ers into the old diffs. It was a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing for this old bush me­chanic to work along­side Nick and Al who are both trained pro­fes­sion­als and very dif­fer­ent to the way old Milo went to­gether back in her day.

I cer­tainly didn’t start with diff locks. In fact, Milo got around with noth­ing more than Coop­ers on the split rims and a cou­ple of inches of flex­i­ble sus­pen­sion for the first few years. Then, over a cou­ple of decades, we used ARB’S air lock­ers and then TJM’S Prolock­ers – both of which are ex­cel­lent prod­ucts, but dif­fer­ent to the new gen­er­a­tion Har­rop Elock­ers.

Yep, this time around I’m go­ing for what I know works best right out of the box. That in­cludes the Elock­ers, a Mark’s Adapters low range kit in the Ter­rain-tamerengi­neered trans­fer and gear­box and, err, a fully re­built 12HT mo­tor.

Why a 12HT? Well, it’s the last of the fully me­chan­i­cal in­jec­tion Toy­otas. It’s also a six cylin­der, so it’s a tad smoother and more pow­er­ful than Milo’s old 13BT. And among us Toy­ota nuts it’s got a name for be­ing to­tally ro­bust with it, too. The only prob­lem turned out to be find­ing one.

Stay tuned – same time, same chan­nel. See you next month!

Lau­rie Franks has been rust­proof­ing ve­hi­cles on the Sun­shine Coast for what seems like for­ever, so I got him to check out Milo 2’s chas­sis. He steam-cleaned it so we could get a good look be­fore we go ahead and rust­proof it.

1. Alan and I plucked the diff cen­tre so Nick could get into that while we ripped into the axles, brakes and bear­ings. Plan is to re­place every­thing with Ter­rain Tamer bits and in­stall Har­rop Elock­ers right from the start. 2. Nick’s work­ing over the...



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