And yet more truck

I know this is probably getting a bit monotonous but its a pretty big project. I might put entries about my truck build into a separate page so the site isn’t all about the truck.
All 7 rims are now restored. Just a final coat to go on tomorrow.


The rear end and undercarriage is all finished and today I turned my attention to the front end. Overall big Red is in great condition for a 40 year old truck. There is virtually no rust other than a bit of surface rust under the truck. I pulled the front of the truck off today which turned out to take a lot longer than I expected. As a result of these trucks being built for use by the British Army, everything is massively built. They are virtually bullet proof. Here is big Red with the front off.



Of course Cutty was supervising everything I did.

I’ve tidied up the wiring, checked the steering box and tomorrow I’ll go over everything under the cab and give it a freshen up with some rustproofing paint. I’m going to spray the entire underside with a heavy duty zinc galvanising paint which should give some protection from rust for the future.

Here is a close up of what’s under the cabin.


I had to cut a couple of pieces of steel off the bumper bar that were left overs from the water tanker sprayers. About 6 months ago when I was doing some work with an oxy I looked into getting a plasma cutter. After doing a bit of research I came across a product called MultiPlaz. It is a plasma cutter and welder. I figured that I’d be doing a lot of cutting and welding with my truck project so I bought one. I’ve used it extensively to cut steel from the frame of the truck and weld a few pieces together. I’m still getting the hang of welding with it as it’s a bit different to regular arc welding and more like tig. Here is a picture of the MultiPlaz.


These little machines are awesome. It doesn’t need any gas but uses water as a shielding plasma. The water is contained in the gun. It cuts effortlessly through plate steel and can even weld aluminium. It also cuts concrete and ceramic tiles.
I love this little machine. Here is a picture of it cutting through steel.


The piece of steel I had to cut today was a bit awkward to access so I cut it freehand. Here is a photo of the cut. It’s not as clean a cut as can be achieved if using a guide and not free handing.


Wheels finished, painted and new tyres fitted. Just need to get them back onto the truck.


More truck

I hope I’m not boring you with the truck. I’ll be getting back to the boat in the coming weeks as I have to attend to some serious rot in the cabin sides. Until then I’m trying to get as much work done on the truck. My progress would be much better without a bad shoulder. It’s really giving me grief but I need to get the truck sorted before I go back to work in January.

Got the deck back on today and a final coat of black epoxy on the rims.


I also attended to some of the old welds I had done previously that weren’t painted. The welds and unprimed steel needed attention so I hit it with the grinder to tidy up some of the welds and remove any sharp edges. After that I applied rust converter and will prime it tomorrow.

While the wheels are off I want to get the brakes sorted. The bolts holding the drums on were really difficult to get off. I suppose that’s what you get with 40 year old trucks. Anyway after lots of mucking around I finally got the front drums off.


Here are the brake linings.


The photo above shows the drivers side shoes. What is really annoying is that the inspection port accesses the forward shoes only. The forward shoes usually wear faster so its easy to keep a visual check on the linings. To my (unpleasant) surprise, the aft shoe of this wheel was worn down to the studs and has scored the inside of the drum. The only explanation I can come up with is that whoever adjusted the brakes last, over tightened the rear adjuster. The passenger side front brakes had the same problem but not as bad. You can see the difference in the thickness of the front and rear shoe.


I’ll give the cylinders a good clean tomorrow and a check over for any leaks or issues. All looks good though. The bearings all feel good but I really should repack them while the wheels are apart. I think I’ll be struggling to get done what I want to so I might save myself until I’m feeling up to it.

A 40 year old work truck that has been off road and through lots of mud sure does build up some gunk on the underside. I scraped about half an inch of hardened grease and mud off all the steering linkages and exposed all the nipples. That sounds a bit erotic doesn’t it ! If only it was that exciting.
Here is a photo of an exposed nipple that was hiding under caked on mud and hardened grease.


Ok settle down, no more nipple photos.

I also cleaned up around the hub swivels. These are huge compared to the landcruiser.


I suppose I’ll grease all the nipples tomorrow and get some paint on the axles and steering linkages.

I’m very happy with the progress so far and I’ll hopefully have the truck on the road by late January. The next big project for the truck will be the accommodation pod.

Merry Christmas

Different people have different ways of spending Christmas. Some people have a big family get together, some spend it on their own. I’m one of the latter. I like it that way. I’ve never had a big family Christmas other than once when I had a girlfriend with a big family. It was nice to experience people who go all out with gifts, lunch, dinner and a big tree. Sometimes I’ve thought it would be nice to have that experience again but I never really feel like I’m missing out on it. I’m sure there are some people who have big family Christmas days who wish they could spend it on thier own. It’s a case of the grass is always greener.

So merry Christmas.

Got my rims primed today.


And more truck

Two rims prepped and rust converted ready for primer and painting. Only 5 more to go.


Frame and chassis primed


And final coat in gloss black epoxy.


I’ll put the deck back on in a day or 2 when the paint hardens a bit. Those old mud flaps need to be replaced with some nice new ones.

I’ve over done it with my shoulder today and will be paying the price for the next couple of days. Fortunately it’s Christmas tomorrow, so no work.

More truck work

It’s good to get a break from work at Christmas so I can get some work done. That doesn’t really sound quite right.
I spent the day getting the truck sorted. All the tyres are off the rims and I’ll be giving the rims some much needed love over the weekend. Once all the rust is removed I plan to give them a good coating of gloss epoxy to keep the rust at bay (hopefully).

Here is the truck up on axle stands, minus the wheels.


And all of the rims ready for some loving.


The pictures don’t demonstrate how big everything on this truck really is. I had to buy a new set of axle stands for the back axle. These are 12tonne stands and are enormous compared to anything the landcruiser uses. Even the rims weigh a tonne and are such heavily constructed lumps of steel.


My Christmas Present

Finally, the Christmas holidays have come. I finished up work yesterday for a 10 day break which I’ve been looking forward to. It’s not really going to be a break though since I’ll be working flat out trying to get the big Red truck sorted and repairs to the boat.
I decided to spoil myself with a Christmas present and bought myself a new tool box. The reason I’m writing about it on here is because anyone who is on a boat will really appreciate this toolbox. In fact anyone who is around the water or dusty environments will appreciate this.

It is a product made by Pelican cases. Pelican are well known for their military grade cases which are used the world over. Here is the toolbox.


Sure it looks just like a big Pelican case but when you open it up there are drawers inside. I spent the afternoon today cutting pieces of foam to fit the drawers and making slots in the foam to fit tools.


Now I have a secure place to keep all my tools together. Well maybe not all of them.


Here is one in action.


Ok, sorry about the tool section but I’m really happy with my new toolbox. It’s awesome!

Boat Repairs

Owning a boat has taught me many valuable lessons. One lesson is the importance of fixing a problem as soon as it becomes evident. About a year ago I noticed some rot in the timber along the inside of the cabin sides. It was mainly confined to an area under one porthole. I left it thinking it was only a problem when it rained and I’d get around to it in due course.
I was inspecting the boat yesterday making a list of jobs that I need to do over the Christmas break and I came across another really bad area of rot under another porthole.
I’ll post some photos in the coming week. I’m going to be busy ripping old wood out and replacing it over Christmas. I’ll also need to attend to the root of the problem which is the old broken down sealant around the port holes. It’s not bad for having lasted nearly 40 years.

Another Project

I’ve also started another land based project. You might recall my old landcruiser troop carrier that I used for camping trips. The old troopy has been a great truck and I’ve put about 150,000 kms on her. The only criticism I have of the troopy is that I’ve found it too small to fit everything into. Often I’d be away somewhere and I’d want a tool or item that I didn’t have packed. Much of the time I would sleep in the back and that was a bit cramped when its full of gear and raining outside. I also liked the idea of having a form of accommodation that I could somehow jack up and drive away, leaving a sort of pod in place. I’ve tried the rooftop tent. That was ok but a pain in the butt for short stops. I’ve tried the camper trailer. That was ok but a bit of a pain to have to always set up and try to tow into rough terrain.

I searched the Internet and came across some of these:




The idea of a big 4×4, go anywhere truck with the ability to carry tonnes of water, fuel and gear really appealed to me. Even better if I could access remote locations or drive on the beach. So the search began.

I eventually found a truck that suited my purpose perfectly. It was a Bedford MJ truck which was being used as a rural fire brigade tanker. The British Army use them as their general transport truck, so I figured they must be pretty reliable.
There was one listed for auction way out in country NSW and was being sold off with some other council trucks. I spoke to the auction house over the phone and was assured that it had no rust. I figured if it had been sitting out in the dry west of NSW it would be a safe bet not to be too rusty. I was also told that it had a brand new 6 cylinder Isuzu diesel installed about 20,000kms ago. I watched the auction online and after some furious bidding I was the owner of a sight unseen big red Bedford 4×4 monster truck.

This was the auction photo.


A couple of days later Cutty and I headed off to country NSW, which was about a 12 hour drive.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the truck didn’t have a speck of rust and was in really good condition having been serviced and maintained by the fire department.
My plan was to strip the gear off the back of the truck and eventually build a removable pod. I initially considered getting rid of the crew cab but I will keep it on as a secure storage area now.
The truck drove back without incident and I got started stripping it.

Here is the big Bedford and the troopy side by side.


I didn’t really count on the gear on the back of the truck being worth much. I was in for a pleasant surprise when I discovered that there was a valuable little air cooled Diesel engine and pump on the back and a good quality steel water tank.


I took all of the gear off and ended up selling it for a sum not much less than the truck cost me.

Here is big Red (that’s the truck’s official name) after stripping it down, relocating the fuel tanks and having a bath. Still plenty of work to go yet.


I’m not sure whether to make the pod like this


Or with a bit of character like this one which is owned by Chef, Jamie Oliver.


The next job was to change all the fluids in the truck and go over everything to check Red was mechanically in good order.
I dropped the engine oil and put a new filter in. All looks good there.
The next job was the diffs. I noticed the rear diff was running pretty hot and was a bit concerned there may have been a problem. I drained the oil and it was not a pretty sight. Not only was it low but it looked like it had gone through some water crossings.
The next step was removing the diff covers to get a good look at what was going on inside.
Another pleasant surprise. The diffs looked pretty good with no notable gear damage. That’s a relief.


I made up some new gaskets and refilled with fresh 90w hypoid oil.

Next up was to shorten the tray and chassis, mainly to keep the length under 7m, weld in some extra supports and get some new LED lights on the back and sides.
By keeping the length shorter I get a substantially cheaper fare on the island barge and also get the benefit of a better departure angle when doing some serious off roading.


And now with the deck attached.


I used a product called nycel which is a kind of hard plastic sheeting and a modern, non timber replacement for ply. I’ve used it before around the boat and it’s great since it doesn’t rot like timber. Then over the top of that I put 6mm checker plate aluminium sheet. The finished result is pretty good and should be hard wearing, albeit a bit too shiny.


Changes afoot

Having been forced to be more land based over the past few years due to my injury and work, I decided I should get myself set up with a more conventional type of accommodation. I also figured it would be nice to have something to eventually spend my retirement in.

No, I haven’t become a land lubber, I still have the boat and still intend to live aboard once my injury stabilises, but its also nice to have a little patch of dirt. In my travels I came across a place that immediately felt like home. I wanted a place that I can moor the boat out front and still have a feeling of privacy and seclusion and not suburbia. I think I found that place. After a bit of negotiation with the owner I bought my little piece of paradise. I’m now the owner of land and on an island no less. My mooring has been approved and I should be able to move the boat onto the mooring in a few months.

To get to the island I have to take a barge or ferry. Here is a picture heading over to the island.


Getting back on track

It’s been almost 2 years since my last update.
I’ve decided that my new years resolution for 2013 will be to get my website back on track.
There is a link to my old website above for 2004-2010.
If you are a reader of my old website you will recall that I had an accident back in 2009 and injured my shoulder. That accident has stopped me from doing any serious physical activity and has really caused me a lot of grief. Hence my website discontinuing. I’m hoping to have surgery to try to sort my shoulder in the early part of next year. So enough with the negative and on with the positive.

Despite having physical limitations for the past three years, I have still managed to be fairly productive. I haven’t done much sailing but I’ve still had some little adventures and have a few fun projects on the go. More on those to come.