Re-Inspired

The Big Red project has been dragging on for longer than I expected. I have been busy with so many projects that I haven’t had the time to finish the restoration off. I am making some progress though and have just needed some inspiration. A few weeks ago I began questioning my thought process. Why does a single bloke with just a dog really need a 10 tonne truck? Was I insane?

After a brief bout of anxiety I quickly became re-inspired when I searched the internet for stories of overland adventures in these great old machines. I recalled my day dreams of driving across the desert or camping my way up to Cape York.
These old Bedford trucks have a very significant history in the overland world and have traversed many parts of Africa and the Middle East. During the 70’s and 80’s and even today they are still the beasts of burden in those parts of the world where modern 4×4’s and trucks with electronics don’t survive.

Here is Big Red’s twin wading through chest high water

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Crossing a makeshift log bridge

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Not a bridge I’d want to cross with a 10 tonne truck.

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Loading onto a barge. This is something Big Red will get used to on the island.

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Now I just need to get myself one of these trailers.
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These photos show how capable these trucks are offroad.

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After some more research I came across a company called “Encounter Overland” which was based in London and operated overland tours in the 70′s and 80′s. Encounter Overland used Bedford 4×4 trucks and judging from their literature, and the state of the roads in places like Nairobi or Khatmandu in the 70′s, those Bedfords must have taken some punishment. This photo was taken on a London street in the late 70’s just prior to an overland trip to Africa.

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Below is some interesting old marketing material. It reminds me a lot of the Westsail literature of the 70′s. I was only born in 1972 but I imagine people must have had a similar reluctance to get bogged down in the nine to five and yearned for some adventure. Unfortunately times have changed and much of the freedom to wander the planet has been regulated by red tape, visas and government fees.

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Gardening

The garden is coming along nicely. Each time I go to the island I take a few bales of sugar cane mulch to spread on the trenches. Here is the jeep fully loaded. It’s days like this that I miss the old troop carrier.

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The pole on the roof rack is an aluminium lifting boom from a Nordhaven yacht. I bought it from a boatyard for the bargain price of $50. It has a 24v winch and gerhaur stainless pulley. I’m considering using it on the big truck or in my workshop to lift items.

I’m still spreading gravel around the yard and on the driveways. The Lilly Pilly trees are growing quickly and I’ve already given them a trim to promote some lower growth. Hopefully by next Christmas they will begin to form a hedge and hide the ugly fencing.

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Expedition Truck body mounts

I’m getting closer to having the truck on the road. After some more issues with the rear brakes I discovered that the rear wheel cylinders were pretty much shot. Fortunately I’d bought service kits from the UK but I suspect they will probably need replacing rather than sleeving.
I’ve also replaced the wheel bearings since they had been subjected to water previously and let sit for years. The problem with old trucks is they deteriorate from lack of use.

I’ve been doing some research on the best way to mount the pod to the truck. I’m really surprised at the amount of effort and engineering that some people building their camper trucks go to. I don’t think that the effort and expense is really justifiable unless you expect to be doing hard core off roading. I’ve had a few people contact me who are also building expedition trucks and after trawling through many online forums I can see that I’m not the only one who had problems with mounting bodies. I thought this article may be of use to those people building trucks.

http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/vehicle_regulation/bulletin/pdf/vsb_06_j.pdf

I will probably use a spring mounted method at the front of the body similar to this

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