So I spent my birthday cleaning the carpet in the back of the Land Cruiser, and then I spent my only day off in the week at a scrap yard, and came out covered in dirt with blood dripping down my hands. Ahh the romantic life of an overlander . . . it’s all glamour, don’t you know! The charcoal carpet has been scrubbed with a citrus cleaner, and then scrubbed and dried with a towel before being sprayed with a super-duper enzyme cleaner that would even cleanse the mind of a priest, both doing a pretty good job in getting rid of the tired old smell of the poor old Troopy! Oh, and I found out the carpet was actually blue. Little detail there!
Visiting Scrap Yards
I haven’t spent that much time in scrap yards, but will certainly do so again, picking up odd screws and gromits and, in this particular case, seats too. During 5 hours in some untypically warm weather for Melbourne’s winter, I spent 3 hours searching for a pair of front seats. When I finally settled on a decent looking pair, the passenger’s side was out and on my trolley in about 10 mins. The driver’s side though was a complete bastard, and two hours later, I was still struggling, with shards of glass stuck into my hands and the driver’s seat still wedged in. It was an odd sensation seeing drops of blood dropping onto the leather seat and looking to the car roof to find out where it came from. Oh it’s from meeee!!!
Landcruiser Aftermarket Seats
I had to abandon my quest for the driver’s seat given I was supposed to be attending my own birthday party in a few hours time. Unfortunately for me I’d barely slept the night before so was absolutely reeling from tiredness, but managed to get through the note, spending a considerable amount of time talking about the vehicle and the next thing I need to do. I’ve become a constant bore!
One of the constant sticking points I had with the vehicle was that I wanted seats that folded down: not just any seats, but ones that folded forward flat so that I could get more space in the vehicle if I needed. The only company that seems to manufacture said seats were Volvo in its luxurious XC90. Yup, Volvo. They're not exactly renowned for 4x4, but they are renowned for being bloody comfortable, which is a step-up from the Troopcarriers! So I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find ones and found a good looking pair up in NSW for a heady $950 for the pair including shipping. For something I’d never seen, it was a risk. The passenger seat I’d found at a scrap-yard cost me $67.
How much is your time worth?
However, on the other side of the coin is time, that old clincher: how much is your time worth? If you value time above all things, like I do, then making things yourself and spending time on anything when you can buy it doesn’t make sense at all – and yet! There is joy in the search, the find, the fixing things yourself aspect, which is extremely hard to quantify, and I do sincerely have trouble with it. Yet there is great satisfaction of sitting back and admiring some good work and saying to yourself “I did that!”. Naturally I’ve never done any good work to be proud of, but still . . . one lives in hope!
Bedding, Fabric & More Jobs
At the moment though I’m very positive, unlike the wiring in these old things, which is predominantly negative. The cabin lights don’t work, and what’s more annoying is that the wiring doesn’t work. Lights I can handle, wiring issues means more re-wiring – tracking and tracing the problem in, through, under and around trim. I’ve fixed up one internal light and power source that will work when plugged into the mains, but I will need to scrap the current 12V in the rear as it’s absolutely worthless. I will also need to go back and get the driver’s seat. As it was raining today I also started building flyscreens, but will write about that in another post. In other good news (there is some) I have a friend that may be able to help out getting some foam mattresses, and another friend that may be able to help out with the fabric. All these little pieces help to make the dream possible!
Shopping. Effectively it’s a crutch for those that are desperate for change, thirsty for something new in their trivial lives that are already beyond redemption. Tawdry day-to-day existence is punctured by the pathetic longing to purchase another something, a quick-fix of satisfaction. It’s a drug for the feeble minded. These knuckle-dragging lunatics refer to themselves as ‘shopaholics’ but in reality it’s a veneer of an attempt to disguise what is basically below par intelligence coupled with the feeblest of scintilla self-control. At its best it can amount to wasted money and time with the accumulation of worthless junk, at its worst it can cripple families and ruin relationships . . . which is a long drawn out way of saying that I’ve been shopping a lot and thoroughly enjoying myself to boot.
The Landcruiser has been thirsty but wonderful work. I found out most of the below after travelling to a friends’ place 400km north, ‘just up the road’ distance in Australia. So whilst working at our normal jobs during the day, at night we set-about making some plans and fixing small pieces here and there. I’d been shopping already for new brake discs and pads, oil and air filters, but it was fun finding out new things about my beloved vehicle. I’ve already listed out the positive aspects of the vehicle in a previous post, so concentrating on the “to be dones”:
Making Money / Selling My Body
We had a lot of fun over the few days we were up there, although I appear to have made the same mistakes I made with the previous overland vehicle when back in my beloved Wales – buying it in Winter and having to make the repairs whilst freezing my nuts clean off. Four layers of clothes wasn’t enough. Still though, doing a 9-hour work day and then doing another 5 hours of Landcruiser work was bloody tiring.
We did manage to complete a full oil change and replace the oil filter, replace the air filter, replace and re-fit a new winch, clean up the fridge, lubricate the seat-belts, check tyre pressure and play with the air compressor, play with the maxx-traxx and electrocute ourselves trying to fix the old winch. All lots of fun! I had brought my Go-Pro with me to do some filming and then forgot the SD Card. Annoyingly, that’s the second time I’ve done that.
I’ve also decided to keep an electronic log-book in Excel to keep on top of what I need to change and when I need to change it. Naturally with all this buying prowess wasn’t cheap (well, the phone attachment for the car was $1 ha ha) so something had to give.
A fin yet saggy old bottom like mine doesn’t fetch much of a second-glance down on the mean, bourgeoise streets of Melbourne so I had to make the start selling a few things around the house, including my beloved motorbike. . . . which just about covers the first vet bill for my new animal and getting her registered. Onwards!
The blog will be a record of everything - from idea conception to old age in making this adventure happen
You can find the excellent 2006 Antipodean Adventure blog by Dwyer Rooney here