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Ed's Australian garage

Paddler Ed

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2012
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Now that my post count is up enough to put pictures up I thought I'd better show the Land Cruiser I had in Australia. Found it on eBay and it was a definite one of those move quick to get it jobs. Luckily we had 2 days off, but had to work out how we were going to afford it, as it was quite a bit over the budget (2x... luckily I have an understanding GF) and wasn't exactly what we were looking for (I wanted a diesel ute really). Unfortunately when we had to leave Aus I had to sell it, it's been sold onto an 18 yr old who had to borrow money from his Gran to get it!

We got it with 138,000km on it, and sold it with 151,000 6 months later. It was a definite keeper, and that was why we'd paid a bit for it. In the time we had it we never quite got to the bottom of why the temp gauge didn't seem to want to sit in the middle (2x Thermostats, 2x Temp Senders later) and the water pump died, as did the Radiator... most interestingly was when the brake master cylinder went! 5km downhills were exciting to say the least.

Just after we picked it up from Newcastle, NSW:


Both of our cars:

We never quite got the engine bay this clean again:

Hi Tech Interior for a Middy in Australia:

1986 Toyota FJ73, absolute base spec, no central locking, aircon or electric anything beyond the lights, ignition and radio.
Upgrades: circa 2" lift with IronMan FoamCell Shocks, ARB front bar, IPF 900 lights, BFG KO's, 2.5" exhaust and headers

From time to time we needed to do work on it; on this occasion the water pump had crapped itself at the top of the work drive, so it was roll it 3km down the hill and park it in the yard, borrow a work truck to go home and then fix it when we got the parts:

GF could only work on the engine bay like that; in fact I had to open the bonnet for her!

We did a fair few trips, they ranged from a couple of days locally, to a longer trip that got in as much dirt as we could when we found others who wanted to go out with us. Luckily at work we had a fair few others who were game for a trip:

4WDing in the Watagans:

Swag camping: (I'm hiding in the background in front of the 'Cruiser)

Group of guys who'd bludged off of work due to rain, so decided to go to the Watagan's; they'd spent the last 10km pulling a backpacker's fan out of the bush as it was FUBAR'd They'd decided they wanted to find a road that is somewhere in the Watagan's called Daniel's Point Road; they never found it but I think they went off on Sawpit Road and ended up with a long winch out (in fact one of the lads was in his boxers as he'd drawn the short straw of attaching the winch!)

Turon River Trip / 4 days to drive round Sydney:

This will get written up properly (one day!) as I need to do a photo book of it as well

GF had 3 friends arrive in Australia from Scotland, and us and a couple of friends had some time booked off, so we decided to do a bit of trip using the Boiling Billy 4WD Treks Around Sydney book as a base point. They'd arrived the week before, then got up to us and then we went of 4wding for 4 days, 5 up in the Cruiser, and used the Ute as the mule for all the gear (read firewood and booze!)


(Just before I got it wrong... went to select L4 and selected H2 instead in the middle of the river...)
It's great when you're the only lad with 5 girls... you don't have get some grief when you get it that wrong, and they pull you out by the arse!


Oberon Stock Route; worth a trip down to Yerranderie, especially when you've bushed camped for the last 3 days and are in need of a shower before heading back into civilisation!

4WDing in Victoria, near Ballarat; there was a ditch that I couldn't get through (I crossed axles, and had no traction due to the shorter wheelbase, the LN146 and FJ60 I was with didn't have a problem) so I applied if you can't go over it, under it or through, go round it... Only problem was the only way round was up a big hill and back down again, where the end was about 1.5 car lengths long and the angle was a bit steep (circa 45degrees, or more)

(not me in the picture; that's the driver of the LN146 who was working out how the hell I was going to get down!... L4-2nd IIRC was the option I went for)

I'll write up the trips properly, and with as detailed info as I can, for the Trips section.

Great pics Ed, thanks for sharing. :clap:

I keep meaning to do a thread with some of the pics from my 4wding in OZ. :flags-australia:

Had to do a huge self recovery job while in the High Country. :think:

Also got a load of pics from my trip to Fraser. :icon-cool:
Quick update on this; I'm back out to Aus 4 weeks today, and have got a 4x4 lined up before I even land! Only thing I've seen are some photos of it, and it's not that great, but nothing that a bit of a valet and a clean won't cure... VZN130 4 door 4Runner, with a freshly rebuilt 3VZ-E in it. Standard metallic red clear coat peel and a mismatched bonnet (completely different colour!) and stock suspension, wheels, bar etc... $1500 un-registered. Pics will follow, along with some photos of the trips that I have planned for it.

I'm going to be based up in New England in Armidale, so I've got Oxley Rivers National Park within about 45mins drive, and then Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo is a couple of hours away. My plan is to get out every other weekend around study (I'm doing a Masters in Economics at UNE out there) and the horse competitions that are held at weekends that my GF will likely to be attending with our friends who live nearby (the one standing in the middle of the creek in jeans is our friend whilst I'm stuck there, and the driver of the 2nd 4x4 in that one)

I'll make sure I get some pictures, they won't be as extreme as Ben's trips, much more of the dirt road touring type, but we do go off and play a bit.

We've gone for something a bit tattier this time so we don't feel as guilty about putting some trip memories on the sides etc...
Good luck Ed. :thumbup:

Can you afford to spend anymore on a 4wd when you get out here?

I know in the UK you could get an ok car for £1000, but out here thats the very bottom end of the market. :think:

Is that 4-runner a petrol?

I know fuel is less than £1 a litre, but diesels are generally cheaper to run. :icon-biggrin:
Yep the 3VZE is a the V6 Petrol, and it's only on Petrol (I don't like LPG/Petrol without a standalone ECU really, and that means it needs engineering in Aus because you've changed the EMS.)

I could spend a bit more, but I'd prefer not to... however, if when we get there I see the ideal and it's still sub $4k then I'd go with it. There are some tidy 4Runners for that money; ideally I'd love a 2dr 130 series 4Runner, but they only existed 1989-1992 so are quite rare.
Just realised I'd not really said any more on our vehicle out here in Aus. I know it's not a Land Cruiser (I couldn't afford one, both to buy a good one and to run one)

I went to see what is known as Trev's 4Runner (the red one a couple of posts up):

It was OK... BUT... I'll let the dodgy evening photos tell the story... It wasn't that bad but it wasn't a lot better!





So, even though we were offered it for $800, needing 4 new tyres, a front bumper, Blue slip ($50 for an inspection where they note all the numbers and check it's safe) and 12 months rego, which would have been about another $1800-2000 all up, it was more than we needed to take on. I've still got the option of getting it, which would be a way to make about $2k out of parts from it, and have a spare 3VZ-E

Instead we went down to Newcastle to pick some furniture up for a friend who we were staying with; there was a(nother) red 4Runner down there that I wanted to look at, 370,000km and it was bit rough in the end; they wanted $3k for it. BUT on the way there we drove past another one for sale at the side of the road, and said we needed to look at it on the way back. Sometimes you're lucky and they're still there when you drive past for a 2nd time; it was up for about $3300, had 250,000km on the clock and a stack of history. We took it that day, and ended up bringing not only a ute load of furniture back up but a 1992 4Runner:


Since then we've put on 10,000km; in that time we've had a slight problem with the head gaskets, the drivers side had a good drip at times, so we put a pot of Rislone Head Gasket fix in to see if it cured it as we didn't have problems with mayonnaise. Then the waterpump crapped it, so that was replaced. We didn't do the belt at the same time because it was only 20,000km old (service history supported this, so we left it)

We ended up skipping a tooth on each cam, but that's improved fuel economy, and the power band is more usable.

Last week on the local Farcebook Buy, Swap and sell site I spotted a bar for sale when I was (supposed to be) studying at uni; TJM bar for a HiLux 89-97, $150. OK it's for a solid axle one rather than an IFS, but hey, for $150 even if it didn't fit I could probably flip it for $250ish.


Went and spent a couple of hours on Friday morning fitting it; had it fitted in about 2hrs:


Used the car port and some rope to support stuff so I didn't drop it on myself, GF was packing for a wedding I was going to later that day.





It fitted, but (as always...) the lower brackets didn't fit properly; the Solid axle ones have a chassis rail that sits about an inch higher, so I need to get some new brackets fabricated so that it's supported at the bottom properly.

Buzzed into town and picked up a pair of new indicators from TJM (they carry them as stock spare items) and fitted those and the number plate, and off to the wedding we went!

So next up for it is a set of driving lights because the standard candles are so-so! Probably going to find some rectangular ones, as they'd fit with the rest of the car better, and I want as much air into that radiator as much as possible!

Next up are set of new wheels and tyres; I've got some 15x8 steel wheels on their way up from a mates in Melbourne, I'll pick them up from another mate's in Sydney and then fit some 31x10.5's.

That'll be a bit better than the Cooper Discoverer ATR's that are on it at the moment; they're bit squirrly in the dirt, it steps and slips a bit, so I'm probably going for an aggressive AT (Hankook Dynapro's) as for what we do with it they'll be a good option.

I'll do some trip reports when we get ourselves sorted a bit more; I've got a route down from Armidale to Quirinidi (where a friend lives) that doesn't do the bitumen too much... not as extreme as Ben's trips, but it's different country out there.
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GF now has a job, so money is going to be a bit less tight, and I have 4 1/2 months off Uni!

So I've started planning some trips to see people; at the moment I have a route planned from Armidale to Coff's Harbour via the Old Grafton Road and a couple of state forest/national parks. Next week might be Armidale to Port Macquarie via the Armidale-Kempsey Road (which is about 50% dirt looking at the map)

Will post pics when we do the trip!

Other big thing is my 15x8's are going to be making their way from Melbourne towards me this weekend; next up is tyres and alignment!
Well my wheels made it to Sydney in early November care of the TurboBricks Bruce Courier service™ so when I went on a quick visit with the GF to see one of her school friends she'd not seen for a couple of years who now lives in Perth, WA (why was it easiest for 2 Scots to meet in Sydney?!) I got 4 new tyres sorted out:


Set of 31x10.5 R15 Nankang Mudstar N-889's. So far have done in the region of 700km with them, mainly on freeway but a bit on dirt and in a muddy paddock today, and they've been really nice. Will do a proper write up soon for people on them, but the Kiwi's love them!
A bit of a gap since the last update on here; 2 bottles of Rislone later, and the HG has finally let go:

So I need to do something with the spare heads I have had sitting around for a couple of months...

They've moved as far as on top of the washing machine, but now really need to make it to the machine shop for a skim and refurb as they may need some new valves etc. I picked them up for $75, so that's alright, and I reckon if I refurb the other heads I could sell them for $350 or so as people always need them... HG kits are coming in at around $300 on ebay over here
Yep, head work is estimated to cost $650, but for that I get the heads:
-Crack tested etc
-Lap and grind
-All shims reset (by using over long valves, and trimming the valve to suit) to the correct clearances
ready to bolt back in, about 4 days after I drop them off. The best thing? When you ring the place for the quote, you speak to the machinist who is going to do the work, and he tells you exactly what you've going to get for the money.

Trying to sort the gasket kit out; do I need a VRS kit or just a full gasket kit... no one has a decent list of the contents for them, and that's before you get to the different makes....

Oh, and for the added fun I've got an Benefit-Cost analysis assignment due on Friday, another 2 due a week on Monday, another not long after that and a research proposal by the end of May... and then exams, and I fly back to the UK in mid June... so somehow I need to find 2 days to do it all...

Add in the other fun of working 3 days per week, at uni 5 days per week and the GF has 1 day off (that I happen to share with her) per week... anyone see the problem?!
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I have found some time; finished exams on Friday, worked Friday arvo, and then started to work on it this morning. Got a mate up from Tamworth to give us hand, and then had another guy we know through the Volvo forums appear on the back of a tow truck with his 'new' 1974 Volvo 145 that he picked up in QLD and is driving back to the ACT.

In between that, buying new drill bits and beer and kebab's we got (Jon) the heads off:


So a bit grotty inside the the heads; the plugs were definitely in need of replacing, and the amount of carbon explains why I couldn't get them out!

Note the steam cleaning in the lowest of this 3:

But there's the real problem:

And there's the gasket, where it's fired out the back of the head:

RHS looks like it's got baby poo

Shiny new heads have been fitted... but the blasted cam cap at the front of the RH bank, and the back of the LH have shonky threads we discovered as we tightened them to 12lbft...

So now need to find someone who can helicoil or time-sert the threads so that I can finish it off this week... need to find someone who can do it whilst it's on the motor as I'm not pulling them off and then refitting them again, as the cams stop the head bolts dropping straight in.
Good luck with that Ed, hopefully you will find someone who can do it in situ p.d.q. I would be well pi55ed to get that far and have to stop!! cheers, John
So it looks like it might all come together this week, after about 1100km of driving.

I've got to do a 200km round trip to pick up some helicoils that are the right size, but I do need to get some other things down there (I need to go to the bigger city for some bits and pieces before I head back over to the UK for 3 weeks) so that's not too bad.

Once I've got those, then it's go to Brisbane to pick up a 2nd hand exhaust and extractors that remove the hotspot that the factory routing causes at the back of cylinder 6 (which is the gasket and 1st cylinder head and bank above):


For $250 I get the headers, exhaust, cat and boxes. Even the fact it's a 1000km round trip to get them (so about $200 on fuel in the Mitsushitty Magna that we have borrowed) makes them cheaper than the $1200 or so it would cost to get them new and fitted. Headers alone are about $400 new...

So I might manage to get it all put back together this week with a bit of luck!
Good luck with that Ed, hopefully you will find someone who can do it in situ p.d.q. I would be well pi55ed to get that far and have to stop!! cheers, John

I've ended up borrowing the kit from the local machine shop, $20 deposit and I pay for the helicoils I use. Got 2 drilled and inserted and then ran out of light on the last 2, they're drilled but they haven't been tapped yet.

Given all the stupid stuff I've done over the years on the water and on mountain bikes, I think my heart was beating the fastest it has for a long time after drilling the first threads out! Really odd feeling of a mix of nerves and adrenaline; first time I'd tapped a thread, never mind doing a a helicoil insert. I've seen them done before, but didn't do them, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Just slow with the drill on drilling the hole, and then working the tap into the hole nice and slowly with a bit of oil to catch the swarf and a rag stuffed into the engine to stop anything falling in.
That`s good news Ed. having the right gear helps enormously, but I know what you mean about the heart rate soaring - thinking, what happens if the initial pilot drill drill runs off centre?, what happens if the drill snaps?, As you say, slow and steady and your over the worst now, I think. Good luck,

So I had to redrill a hole today as it wouldn't let me tap the thread; Luckily the original hole was drilled with an 8mm, and the correct size for the helicoil is 8.3mm, so I got a drill that size and redrilled the hole a little bit so I could get round the dodgy bit at the start. Other one I did today I put the helicoil a bit too far down... so a longer bolt fixed that one!

That seems to have taken most of the day...

Now I'm at the point where I decide what to do with the exhausts... Do I go with that set I've found for $250 + a load of driving, or do I pay a bit more and get a brand new system for about $800 fitted? I get the headers/extractors sorted, and then the local shop fits the rest.