Well the last few weeks have flown by as we get closer to ETD for our Cape York trip, with plenty of preparation tasks in amongst the normal hurly burly of life.
Our first list of jobs was getting the two vehicles up to scratch which includes servicing them and repair of some issues lingering from the last couple of trips.
The 200 Series
Long outback roads and the occasional tough track take their toll on 4WDs, bringing out faults and causing wear that a city driven car won’t see in a lifetime. In the case of the Landcruiser, a source of frustration has been chasing a leak in the suspension air bag circuit that started on our NT trip and has been very elusive. After pulling the system apart and removing half the rear suspension the leak was finally tracked down to a bypassing check valve on the electronic control manifold, Airbag Man were super helpful and provided the replacement part for free, express posted to my door.
Both front struts were replaced under warranty by ARB due to lower bushes starting to collapse and while the Cruiser was in there I had new OME upper control arms fitted, which has improved the steering feel and should improve long term tyre wear.
I also had a fault on the blind spot monitor circuit, similar but different to the one that caused us issues near Chambers Pillar (NT) earlier this year, traced to a broken wire in the cable on opposite side to the previous fault. From there the list whittles down to a full service, a few adjustments, refitting a weathershield and replacing Kaymar wheel carrier gas struts that the manufacturer couldn’t supply due to Victoria’s lock downs so I found them through GasStrutGuys, again super fast service.
The GU Patrol
Gus the Patrol has been on a pretty intensive detox and muscle building program the past few months and is really looking like a tough tourer.
Early work was mainly tidy up of the electrical system and addition of a decent auxiliary battery for the fridge and accessories at rear of the wagon. The Patrol now has three batteries; cranking, in-cab auxiliary circuits and rear of wagon auxiliary circuits – this required a BCDC1225D, fuses and heavy gauge cables to rear of the car. While we were at it we stripped out most of the previous owner’s handiwork and redid it in new cable with conduit and fuses for protection.
We lifted the Patrol when Lachie first got it last year, since then he’s fitted 33″ tyres and then upgraded again to 35″ tyres, which brought out a few suspension and front end gremlins. Lachie has spent a lot of time chasing this one which was solved with a combination of king pin shims, wheel rotation, radius arm bushes, steering damper and a wheel alignment.
You can grab all of this gear and a heap more at Lachie’s online store – Locked 4×4 Australia.
With accommodation all booked, other than bush camping nights, the remaining big task is organising supplies. We’ll wing it as far as Cooktown and rely on bought meals for expediency while we are pushing out long driving days.
Luckily Cape York is no longer a remote destination, with plenty of food supply options along the Peninsular Development Road (PDR) and at the tip itself. This only leaves off grid nights on the Old Telegraph Track (OTT) to be catered, and any other meals we want to prepare ourselves to save time and money.
We’ve split meal preparation duties between the two cars for most of the way, though Lachie and Sarah have the bigger fridge (and biggest drinks tab) so they’ll end up with most of the cold food on board. We’ve got a bit more interior room and will carry most of the dry food and supplies.
Only a handful of sleeps to go now. Lachie and Sarah are planning to get a head start and spend a night at Burrum Point campground near Woodgate, we’ll meet up with them in Childers because I need to hang back for a final chemo treatment before heading off.