Yo – Dave here.
It’s been a while since the last update and the Troopy’s a little bit worse for wear. After almost a year in Darwin, we had to spend some time and money fixing, changing and modifying bits and pieces. When we rolled in to Darwin, we had a cracked windscreen and a stuffed battery and by the time we left Darwin, we had another stuffed battery and the humidity had brought out every single patch of rust.
While we were in the Kimberley, a flying stone from a passing truck put a chip in our windscreen. By the time we got to Kununurra, the chip had already become a crack but we decided to wait until Darwin before getting it replaced because it would be cheaper. That said, I reckon $450 isn’t that cheap…
Before we left Darwin, a rattle was coming from the front end of the Troopy. Turns out a join was split in our exhaust pipe, and while I tried using some exhaust putty to fix it, the split was under the wheel arch on the inner side and I couldn’t get to it. Luckily, the people we were staying with in Alice Springs run a steel yard and have a welder. I drove the Troopy to the yard one Saturday and together with one of the guys and a six pack of beer, we worked on the Troopy. We removed the section of the exhaust and were really surprised at how big the hole was! We filled it up and put the section back in. Good as new!
That wasn’t the only welding that needed to be done. The right hand rear door on Troopys notoriously crack at the bottom of the window pillar and ours is no exception. The left hand rear door also needed some welding – a spot weld on the hinge had come apart and our jerry can bracket had split the panel it was bolted to. After reinforcing the back panel with a sheet of steel and welding the hinge, the door was good as new.
We’d seen quite a few decked out Troopys with a drop down table on the right hand rear door, and I’d been waiting for a chance to knock one up for our Troopy. While I had access to a drill and a circular saw through Juz’s boss at the party hire place in Darwin, I scored a piece of plywood and picked up a couple of hinges. I cut the wood to size, drilled some holes, and connected some rope from the door to the table. I finished it off with a lick of varnish and Juz loves it.
With all the hot nights and mozzies up north, having only two windows with flyscreens on them wasn’t enough. We wanted to be able to sleep with the back doors open too for maximum airflow. We picked up a couple of magnetic flyscreens that are normally used on house doors and I set to work. I cut them to length, added some extra magnets, then attached them to the inside of the door frame. I used the left over pieces on the sliding windows in the back and also replaced the original flyscreens I’d installed. The extra airflow will get tested once we’re back in the tropics.
While we were in Darwin, we didn’t need our Engel fridge in the Troopy so we used it in the house. Unfortunately, because the fridge wasn’t in the Troopy and we weren’t sleeping in the Troopy, our auxiliary battery died without us knowing. I picked up a new one in Katherine and all was fine again.
A few weeks later, we were on our way to Alice Springs and I noticed again that the fridge wasn’t clicking on when the Troopy wasn’t running. The new auxiliary battery was flat!
After some research and voltage testing, I guessed that the battery isolator wasn’t working, and this was confirmed by an auto-electrician. However, before replacing the new battery, I decided to replace the terminals – they were pretty corroded and perhaps this was the problem. The next day the battery was fully charged. I’m glad I didn’t fork out the big bucks for a new isolator based on the words of that auto-elec…
We were only going to stop in at Lorella Springs Wilderness Park for five days, but we ended up there for almost two weeks! Set on 1 million acres, they’ve got about 1000 kms of 4WD tracks throughout the park. Check out our article about Lorella Springs here – Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – Part 1
While at Lorella Springs, we started hearing a grinding noise coming from the back right tyre. I pulled the wheel off and found the brake pad so worn that the metal had cut a nasty groove into the brake disc. We couldn’t do anything about it until we got to Tennant Creek, where I picked up some new brake pads and disc and replaced them in a back streets while Juz hung out in the library.
While we put off getting new tyres for as long as we could, a chronic puncture at Lorella Springs meant that we needed to start shopping for a new set of wheels. Alice Springs would be the best place to do it, and it would also be our last chance before hitting the east coast. I checked out what was available in our price range and ended up settling on Maxxis Bighorns. We’ll see how they go and I’ll give them a review in the next Troopy update.