Sometimes you get tired of winning, you know? It’s just win, win, win and then winning some more. The whole kick-ass day is just one celebratory orgy of constant winning. You just plan your day, tick things off your list one-by-one, all taking exactly how long you’d estimated. Those rusted bolts just took a little bit of a twist to come right off, you had exactly the right amount of oil to make that change you’d put off for ages, and when you undid that thing, you were amazed to find the gaskets and seals were in perfect condition. Just win, win, win. Said no one ever.
Troopy Diesel Filter
This week was another adventure. The four-hour drive in blissful sunshine to my friends place in the country was capped off by a swift diesel filter change that had eluded us a few weeks prior. We knew that it was already a filter tightened by Satan, so we had to whip the entire thing out of the engine. We did underestimate she sheer muscularly size of Beelzebub’s Biceps, as this bastard may as well have been welded. It took a heavy-duty vice, two of us using fuel filter straps, and a clamp that bent the filter itself to unlock the beast. But eventually it was off, the day was won, we were victorious!
Changing Troopy Disc Brakes & Pads
The next day didn’t go quite to plan, nor did the next two. In my old Land Rover, when you were tasked with a job such as changing the rotors and the brake pads, you set-up your stall for three tasks. The first task was to buy some brake pads. Still with me? The second step, and this was important, was that you then purchased rotors. You could also do step two before one, or even do them at the same time, but essentially buying rotors and pads were all important. The final step was to fit said purchased equipment. Yup. That’s it. Tricky eh?
With the Land Cruiser, things are a little different. Oh you can buy that stuff, sure, brake pads and rotors can be delivered and you can try to fit them if you like, but unless you take out the entire wheel bearings as well, you my friend are wasting your time. But I didn’t know that the first two nights. On the first night I realised I wasn’t removing the callipers from wheel housing, but instead un-doing the callipers themselves. This pissed me off, and I wasted a night on my stupidity. What’s more, with corrosive brake fluid seeping out all over the floor, a rubber washer promptly fell out of the calliper casing. Brilliant. Skip on a day with some cleaning, swearing, and adjustments later, the callipers were back on, the proper nuts undone. Again, Satan had been visiting, and required some colossal strength. It wasn’t just simply applying some grunt work, but literally hanging off the jacked-up car (Health & Safety look away now), using your thighs as levers and throwing your weight the other direction like a high-jumper doing the Frosby Flop.
Days later, with brake nipples refusing to move so the brakes couldn’t be bled, I resorted to finding a mechanic and paying them for the job at a later date. The brake discs and rotors would have to be fitted by someone else, and I will literally happily put my first-born in to the bargain. To further damage my already bruised ego, I have come to realise that at some point in the last two years, my biceps have utterly evaporated, and at full-strength I can muster the blustering strength of a girl guide. This doesn’t help.
Amongst the other task for the week included shortening the left bench seat. Sitting at 30cm high, it meant that at a pinch, I could sit comfortably providing that I was scalped by a Red Indian. With the foam mattress/seat installed on top providing even more height, I was then able could sit upright if I simply removed my head and put it in my lap. A 10cm reduction with a circular saw later, and the space had opened-up dramatically. Taking the chance to sand the wood as well as one of my fingers, and it was a job well done albeit a job that was successfully implemented at almost midnight on a Thursday. Next job was to adjust the right-hand cupboard to make it more accessible, removing the old brown wooden frame that housed two caterpillar cocoons and oozed spiders (they literally poured out of the bloody thing) and make it narrower, meaning I could now sleep 4 instead of 2, in theory, but more importantly, if push came to shove and we needed to camp in a city, we could now to do without putting the roof tent up. Stealth Camping!
So in the last two weeks there was some good news and bad news in terms of progress really. As per my last post about the seats, I managed to get two Volvo seats from a scrap-yard for $115 instead of $1000 on-line, I have located and paid for a 30V booster for the powered Volvo seat (will let you know how that goes!), I crafted some headlight protectors with a Dremmel – will post these on-line so you can make them too if required - and I have contacted two welders to see if they can help fit the seat and remove some rust one of the vents. I have also taken delivery of two beautiful single foam mattresses, will this afternoon take delivery of some mattress fabric, and will jump onto air-tasker to find someone that can make some mattress covers for me. I also got to try out the four-wheel-drive in both high and low range, running through some muddy paddocks that are being set-up for a housing estate. All works perfectly!
It's slow progress, but it is progress. As Branson says, even when I fell flat on my face, I knew that I was at least moving forward!
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