TThe 79 cruiser has had a rough time over the past eight months, crossing the Simpsons three times along the famous Madigan Line, making two coast-to-coast voyages from Sedona in South Australia to Pardo Station in the Indian Ocean, and then two more. Cape York completed the trip which not only saw the OTL track each time but also the Starke River Track, the Frenchmen’s Track and the Old Coach Road from Laura to Maytown.
These journeys were interspersed with kilometers of gravel roads connecting the start and end points, and while they weren’t difficult they still added wear and tear to the vehicle.
There will be very few vehicles in Australia that travel four-wheel-drive kilometers as hard as this rig. As you’d expect, such distance and breaking down these hard-hitting tracks comes at a price.
Once we started looking, the mechanical carnage was more dramatic than we first imagined. One of the various breathers had given way somewhere along the line and had released water and mud into the rear diff, destroying the axle bearings and housing, allowing the bearing to rotate inside the axle housing. had gone.
There was so much carnage in the diff, axle and axle housing that we decided to bite the bullet and replace the whole lot with Multi Drive Technology Heavy Duty diff housings, which is an anomaly between the track width between the front and rear axles. Corrects the
This engineer-approved mod includes dedicated longer heavy-duty axles with GVM upgrades, if equipped with the properly approved spring pack. We chose the Terrain Tamer parabolic spring pack which took the GVM up to 3780kg, while other TT spring packs can take your GVM up to 3950kg.
The front diff wasn’t much better. The CV joint and axle shaft assemblies, along with the swivel housing bearings and seals, were showing definite signs of wear and tear. We blame the dirt for it breaking during a trip to Cape York, or when you splash through a long mud puddle in the desert.
We replaced all of these shafts, bearings and seals with Terrain Tamer kits and bearings. All bearings in TT Cruiser kits are made in Japan, have a Rockwell hardness rating 2.5 points higher than OE bearings, and are designed and manufactured for long service life. You can also find seals with improved sealing surfaces and constructions to prevent oil loss and ingress of unwanted substances.
We also replaced the front and rear brake rotors and their pads, again using Terrain Tamer’s extensive parts list that covers every eventuality. During the brake repair, we replaced the ABS wiring to the rear brakes. Again it came out of nowhere during our trip.
Underneath the car, we replaced the front radius arm bushings and all around bushings, while running a TT diff breather kit on each diff. This places the breather outlet above the engine firewall and will provide some protection from water and dirt ingress.
After finishing up at Taryn Timmer’s workshop, we went to our normal service centre, Outback 4WD, Bayswater, Vic, and the rig was serviced with new engine oil, oil filters and fuel filters. While the car was on the hoist, I had the crew install a de-bug filter in the fuel system. I’ve had one of these units in our petrol for years and they – in various sizes – are often fitted to large diesel engines in ships and trucks.
The De-Bug unit has a series of magnets through which the fuel flows and which kill any bacteria, yeast and fungus that may be present in the diesel fuel and clog your normal fuel filter. There are many different bugs that can be present in fuel and they are all called Hydrocarbon Utilizing Microorganisms (HUM-bugs), and although the name may sound a little cute, what they do is something different. Not even.
However, after proving the worth of these units in patrolling, I wanted one mounted in a cruiser. It was a pretty easy job, with a lot of time and effort to find a spot that was close to the actual fuel line and somewhere where the D-Bug unit was safe from flying rocks and the like. As it was, a small protective plate had to be fitted to ensure the unit was out of harm’s way.
As you might suspect, the tires have had a tough time during these scrambles where, almost all the way, we’re towing an AOR Sierra camper trailer. For traversing desert dunes, the tire pressures on both the tow tug and the trailer were pretty low, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t suffer any sidewall damage.
That being said, with over 40,000km on this set of six Mickey Thompson tires, we’re very happy with the way they perform on scrub and blacktop.
With all these repairs and services, we’ll be back on the road soon. First the desert country of north-west Victoria and then the Victorian High Country before heading into our vast western deserts and doing it all again.
We believe the new rear diff housing and wider track will offer a more stable experience, especially in Cape York’s creek crossings when the side angles can be extreme.
Overall we’re also expecting little trouble with our redesigned diffs and brake setup. Only time will tell!