MY OLD BJ73 Middy has gone very much unloved since I drove it to Melbourne four years ago.
I used it regularly for eight months, but once the New South Wales registration ran out, it sat under a tree in my driveway, growing moss in the window rubbers and providing a home for countless spiders. I’ve started it once or twice a year; usually in autumn when the tree drops its leaves all over the FRP top and stains the plastic and I hit it with the CT18 and Karcher to clean it off.
More recently the high-pressure cleaner has been taking the paint off as well. Despite the fleet of new 4x4s we drive here at 4X4 Australia, I do miss driving the old bus. It’s authenticity, heritage, character, smells and rattles more than make up for the lack of creature comforts and performance. Perhaps it’s been the time driving the G300 Professional over the last few months that has reminded me of the simpler side to off-road motoring and has prompted me to action.
To get the Middy back on the road in Victoria will require a roadworthy certificate and, knowing it has a few nasty oil leaks and the possibility of other ailments a 400,000+km truck would have, I sought professional help. Terrain Tamer is an old Land Cruiser owner’s best friend. The company produces and sources replacement parts for most old and new Cruisers, as well as other 4x4s, and its massive warehouse in Melbourne is like a candy store for a kid like me.
Knowing that Terrain Tamer would have the seals and parts needed to fix the oil leaks and anything else, I took the Cruiser out there to have it thoroughly assessed. Terrain Tamer’s Allan Gray and in-house mechanic Tony Demetriou gave the Cruiser a detailed once over and came back with a pretty extensive list of things that needed attention. The oil leaks were coming from the steering box, rear main seal, transfer case and rear differential.
Then there were faulty light switches, cracked tail-light lenses, loose seat bolts, worn and leaking rear brakes, cracked rubber brake lines, loose wheel bearings, and a few other items that could be covered by Terrain Tamer’s extensive replacement parts catalogue.
Ultimately, it seems every part the guys touched or unbolted needed attention or replacement, and the list soon snow-balled.
Over the coming months we’ll show what was required to get the classic Cruiser roadworthy and ready to hit the tracks in 2018. With what’s going into it the car should drive like a new one by the time it gets licence plates back on it, and we’re looking forward to giving it a new lease on life with a swag of new or reconditioned parts from Terrain Tamer.