Hi everyone – Dave here.
We left Melbourne almost three months ago and since then, we’ve learnt a lot about our mobile home. We’ve had mechanical issues, punctured tyres, spring cleans, new additions, and practical renovations. We’ve even tested it’s abilities at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park.
Our first hiccup was a tinny rattle coming from the under the bonnet. We were initially told that it was the water pump, and after spending most of Christmas Day changing the part with a spare we got from 4x4world.com.au, we were later advised that it was the alternator.
The timing was a bit inconvenient – most wreckers were closed for the holiday period, and New Years was just around the corner. We picked up a second hand alternator from a wrecker and installed it. Unfortunately, one of the bolt holes was really worn and I couldn’t get any tension on the belts. So I got another one from the wreckers and put that in.
The weird thing was that it still didn’t seem to be charging enough. We decided to get an auto electrician to have a look but we had to wait until about a week into 2013 before one was open. He had a look and promptly told me the alternator was dead. He sold me a brand new one and I installed it before I drove away. Unfortunately, the dying alternator took one of our batteries to the grave with it, so we had to replace that too. We returned the second dodgy alternator to the wreckers (with a full refund) and the Troopy is now running smoothly again.
On our way to Arkaroola, we copped two punctures. One on the dirt road between Flinders Ranges National Park and Balcanoona, and the other was while we were driving to our campsite in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. We decided that we didn’t want to camp there so we drove back to Balcanoona and realised that we had another puncture.
On both occasions, we worked as a team to change the tyre and managed to have the job done in under 30 minutes. This included taking the high-lift jack off the roof from under the TREDs, digging out the cross brace from its storage place and removing the spare tyre from either the back door or roof racks.
Unfortunately, after the two punctures, we had no spare tyres left so we decided to turn back rather than take on the rougher terrain of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
Once we got to Parachilna Gorge, I pulled out the tyre repair kit that we got from BushJunkie.com.au and worked on fixing the puncture. One tyre worked perfectly, but the other was beyond repair.
We took the Troopy 4WDing (fully loaded) around the tracks at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park and learnt a few more things about our truck:
- It’s rear clearance could be a little higher because there was plenty of bum scrape on the 150 Bumps track.
- The degree of sideways tilt was underestimated – it has room to tilt a little more than expected.
- When 4WDing, all books must be removed from the overhead parcel shelf prior to commencement.
- Juz can drive the Troopy over a sandhill! She got in heaps of 4WDing experience at Loveday and loved every minute of it.
While travelling with our new friends Tom and Bella, we decided to drive along the beach from Parry Beach to Green’s Pool. The sand was initially nice and firm but then it got real soft real quick! Tom and Bella were leading the way and soon their Hilux was stuck past its axles. While they did some digging, I wound out our winch (thanks BushJunkie.com.au!) for its maiden use and hooked it up. We pulled the Hilux back on to firmer sand and they took a different line that was a bit easier. We started following them but managed to get the Troopy stuck too! Meanwhile, Tom and Bella got stuck again about 100m ahead!
We all let our tyres down nice and low and started digging. Juz drove the Troopy out (with ease!) and got close enough to the Hilux to reach them with the winch cable. The Hilux was on a fair bit of an angle and the tide was starting to get pretty close, but we got it out without too much trouble.
At this point, we decided it was probably best to turn back. We made our way back to the bitumen to respool the winch and pump up our tyres. Our compressor from BushJunkie.com.au was super-fast – it filled all four of our tyres in the time it took Tom to pump up one of his tyres!
Getting stuck in the sand was a great learning experience. We got to use the winch for the first time and truly appreciate the power of our compressor.
We have a new piece of equipment onboard – courtesy of Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park and TRED 4×4! A set of TRED (Total Recovery & Extraction Device) 1100s. Looking forward to our next precarious mud puddle.
In the meantime, I’ve found the perfect place to store the TRED1100s. They’re mounted on an angle in front of our roof rack box. Not only are they safely and securely stored, they’re also acting as a wind deflector. We felt a significant decrease in the amount of drag straight away. We’re very happy about that because less drag = less fuel 🙂
We picked up a couple of cheap push-bikes while in Port Elliot – a little blue mountain bike and a Harley-esque black low rider with flame decals. When we were leaving the Port Elliot Beach House YHA, we decided to donate the low rider to the hostel instead of lugging it along with us. Ben at YHA was absolutely wrapped! We still have our little blue bike strapped on the roof and it comes in quite handy sometimes riding to and from toilet blocks while camping.
We’re getting really fast at setting up and packing up camp and the inside of the truck’s neatness is surprisingly maintainable. We have makeshift hooks to keep bags from rolling about in the Troopy and ocky straps to keep everything secure and out of the way!
Our pocketed curtains are working perfectly (thanks again mum!) and the additional storage space they provide is being well utilised with shoes, plastic bags and bedside table accessories. Our improvised magnetic fly-screens on the side windows are working so well that I might have to copyright my design!