Expedition Planning - a month or so out.

This one is going to be pretty geeky. Consider yourself warned before progressing...

So most of the major maintenance tasks are done.

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Weekends, afternoons, squeezing in visits to pick up parts during the work day. It has been a busy few weeks, prepping the 105. To be honest I have enjoyed it. I have missed getting out and under the stars, but you legends on here have kept me going vicariously.

A quick look at some of the jobs completed.

What is the best thing about a bull bar? Somewhere to put your music, cup of tea and tools. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Those worn out rear brake pads were replaced with genuine Toyota items. Interesting to see the high metal content in these pads. That’s is the sort of thing you expect to see in a ‘fast road’ or similar pad, most factory brake pads are focused around being quiet and working well from cold, this is more common of a pad that is expected to be worked somewhat harder and hotter.

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After harping on previously about how good Toyota electrical connectors were, of course one broke on me as I started to strip out the stuff to get to the valve clearances. This connects to the vacuum sensor, pretty critical in measuring the volume of air going into the engine, so there was never any doubt it would have to be replaced.

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The retaining tab has broken off. Luckily this is the connector Toyota use on this sensor for pretty much all their non air-flow meter engines, so spares were cheaply available at my local ‘U-Pull It’, these connectors are pretty easy to change. I clipped three spares off various Camry’s and Corolla’s in case I destroyed them getting them apart, but I now have two good spares on hand.

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Speaking of, back in the Range Rover days I used to carry quite a few spares, as well as spare fluids, etc. We did some big trips with that truck, and those spares were pressed into action on more than one occasion. Plus just having ‘stuff’ on hand to make field repairs, of whatever sort is always useful.

Fixed!
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I have sort of gone away from carrying this stuff, since getting the Toyota and not doing any really big trips it hasn’t really felt necessary. However, a few issues on the last trip, plus the extended nature of this one. I think some well chosen spares, plus a few essential fluids, etc, would be a good idea. The flip side of course is weight, the heavier the truck, the more likely you are to break stuff or wear it out prematurely. So, it’s a balance.


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Next up was valve clearances. On most modern engines this is looked after by a hydraulic lifter, that uses oil pressure to pump itself up and fill the gap between the top of the valve and the cam follower (this is the slight rattle you can hear on start up for a second before the oil pressure kicks in and it goes away). On Toyota inline sixes petrol and diesel this clearance is set using a shim, interestingly this configuration is used in high revving performance engines - as the hydraulic lifter can’t keep up at very high engine speeds - not a concern in a Land Cruiser engine - so I presume it is for longevity and reliability.

Why check these clearances? Too big a gap and the impact of the cam continually striking the follower from too far a distance will result in excessive drivetrain wear. More concerning, not enough clearance and the valve can’t shut properly, quickly burning out the seal to the valve seat and losing compression on that cylinder. So we are talking pretty small tolerances here as you can imagine, on an inlet valve on this 1FZ-FE engine the clearance must be between 0.15-0.25mm (5.91-9.84 thou) and 0.25-0.35mm (larger due to the increased heat that valve will take) on the exhaust. Using feeler gauges to measure the clearances, all seemed acceptable until the very last one on the inlet side.

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This was only 0.01mm off minimum, so I decided to change the shim for a different size that would bring the clearance back to more in the middle of the accepted range. A special tool helps you hold the valve open so you can remove the shim (if this doesn’t work it’s camshaft out, which complicates things somewhat), which you then measure and calculate the size shim you require.

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Order that shim, re-fit. Check the new clearance, give the engines a few rotations by hand to make sure everything is good to go, re-check the clearance. Put it all back together.

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I’m sure that sounds horribly complicated to many, but like a lot of technical things on a vehicle, of you give yourself the time and tackle just one job at any one time, it is not too bad. Although don’t make this particular job your first!

I used this opportunity to clean burnt on oil residue off inside of the cam cover, replace the seals relating to that cover and a new set of spark plug wires too.

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Getting there... Cleans out your lungs too!
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I was also trying to clean anything I was taking off before re-fitting, this isn’t bad practice and helps you feel better when the area you have been working on actually looks better than it did before you took it apart. Even if the important stuff you can’t actually see.

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Next up was power steering fluid change. One of those ‘forgotten’ fluids. this was a pretty straightforward job, after equipping myself with a few simple pieces of apparatus, as per this post on mud.

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As you can see from the photos, the existing fluid was pretty much black. About three litres is what it took to flush through nice and pink (stop sniggering at the back).

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Next big job was to change the radiator, all the coolant hoses and the coolant itself. I got some extra practice after the first radiator that I fitted had a small crack around the filler where it would seem it had been damaged in transport at some point, which only revealed itself once the cooling system had a small amount of pressure in it as it was coming up to temperature. The coolant hoses under the inlet manifold were good fun too. Anyway, starting to get there.

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From this.

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To this.

I would love to replace that scruffy looking inlet hose, but aesthetics are not in the budget at present!
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I gave it a run out to our local race track to watch some mates have some fun at the super sprints, all seems well.

So, I used to work on cars a lot. Not so much these days, however this run of weekends has been a great reminder that all skills need working on. I definitely got better at what I was doing the more time I spent on the truck, something to think about for the future I guess. Anyway, just thought it was worth mentioning.

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There are a few jobs still to do. I have new foam to seal the radiator airflow in. A quick camping trip this weekend coming to watch some dirt racing. Then it will get a big service, a thorough look over, plus new fluids for the diffs and transfer. Then fingers crossed, the old girl is ready to rock.


Other gear: So as I mentioned last time, a comment by Hammerhead got me thinking about making our sleeping arrangement more bed like and less more just a hiking set up with some pillows, etc. It would seem this is starting to become a thing, with the ever innovative Nemo already setting the bar very high.

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Thankfully this isn’t available in Oz, I’ve priced up Nemo stuff out of the US before and the freight is bracing, as one would expect. Anyway, apart from cost it isn’t really suitable for us. As with a lot of US gear it is designed to be working in mostly colder climes, too hot for the average Australian night in the bush. Not that it doesn’t get cold here, but I would rather something that is more versatile to suit the wide range of conditions we will encounter.

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So Exped Mega Mat Duo was first up. A mate bought one about the same time so we got chatting about camp bed set ups, I told him what I had planned and he mentioned he thought that Australian company Black Wolf had something that might fit the bill.

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A cheap fleece blanket and a mattress protector, completes the set up. These are easily washable or replaceable if necessary. Hopefully leaving the expensive stuff from getting too worn or dirty.

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We’ve road tested this set up ‘camping’ on our living room floor. Dogs loved it!

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So with long trips planned in the future. This sort of thinking is more about long term comfort than anything, being clean and comfortable in the bush will be key to enjoying staying out for longer periods.

After reading Tom Sheppards book, all this gear we take seemed a bit excessive. However Tom is an old school explorer, and his trips are around certain destinations rather than just outdoor living, which is more of what I am aiming for. Often being a solo vehicle I got a lot out of that side of his preps, but once you have more than yourself to look after, you have to take other peoples requirements into account. Not just, well I’m fine with doing it this way and that’s it. You be doing a lot of properly solo trips with that attitude! Anyway, I like to kick back in comfort in the outdoors as much as anyone.

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So we are taking a camp toilet. I’ll be getting a pop up ensuite. I would like to work on some sort of shower system. Nemo (again) do a killer one.

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At the end of the day, could a weed sprayer or something be adapted...?


What’s left? Well, lots of little stuff like always, but with many of the major boxes ticked and plenty of time before we go, we are looking good (famous last words...).

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I unpacked the truck for the first time this year at the weekend. Once all the new camping gear is here, it will be a matter of going through what we already have and seeing if there is anything that can be left out. Then I’m thinking I am going to make some laminated lists, etc, so I or whomever has an easy reference for where things are. To be honest I’m not completely happy with the kitchen set up, but it is good enough to go. That might be one to think about before the next trip.

Thanks for reading along.

Cheers.

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