.: Getting Our Lives Together

We first had the idea of doing 'The Trip' in about June 2011. It was just a bit of a crazy idea then (probably still is now), but over that beer when we first mentioned it to each other, we never thought it would really happen.

In fact, it couldn't happen straight away as my brother and his family from the UK had already planned and booked to come out and see us for that Christmas and we couldn't let them down, so what ever we were planning had to stay on hold until after that. We set ourselves a date of end of January 2012 to decide. January came and went very quickly as we were lucky enough to do our Australian Citizenship on Australia Day - the final end to a long and at sometimes stressful and uncertain 4 1/2 year visa process.

At the end of January, we sat down and decided the time still wasn't right. Firstly, we realised that we didn't especially plan to come back to Sydney at the end of the trip, so our initial idea of renting our house out seemed wrong. We thought that we would be constantly getting phone calls from eth real estate agents saying that the tenants had this and that problems and that if we wanted to sell with tenants in the house, the presentation of the house wouldn't be so good. We decided to put the trip on hold again and instead booked a two week holiday travelling around California.

In September, for one reason and another we decided that the time was right to do 'The Trip'. We began by trying to de-clutter the house, doing decorating and just generally getting the place looking good. The house went up for sale after we got back from Roger's 40th birthday weekend in Coober Pedy and sold on the afternoon of the first open house.

Right now, we are in the first stages of packing. We have arranged to go with a specialist storage company, who will come to our house and load a container and put it in store in their Sydney warehouse. Wherever we settle, they will just put the container on the back of a truck and send it to us. This is looking like it will work out much cheaper than self storage and has the added advantage of no double handling and hopefully very easy delivery of our stuff when we settle down again.

We still have a lot of work to do to sort out banking, wills, insurance, mail forwarding etc, but we hope we will be ready in time for the big day.
 

 

 .: Getting the Campervan Together

The Toyota Hiace was one of the first things we bought when we moved to Oz 5 years ago. We have already enjoyed many great trips in, but the longest time we have spent away is 10 nights, so a year or more is going to be very interesting.

The van itself is 1992 build and is 1993 registration. At the point we set off, its already done 355,000 kms - 220,000 miles! So for a Toyota, only just run in.

Its basic specs are: 2.4 Litre Petrol, Carburettor, 5-Speed Manual. We think that it was used as a general van from 1993 - 1997, as the camper conversion (by the original Discoverer Camper Company) appears to have been done in 1997.

The van has never (touch wood) let us down, but it has had a few back firing/running on/idle issues, that I have never actually been able to identify...but these haven't been apparent now for two years or so, apart from the odd back fire. My feeling is that its down to worn/sticking carburettor parts, mainly because it is stood for so long, so hopefully with use, these should stay away!

I designed a built a bike rack to carry our two bikes. The idea is that it swings out of the way quickly and easily so that you can open the van's back door without having to take the bikes off. Hopefully my welding holds up!

From the time we started talking about the trip, I decided to begin a programme of preventative maintenance on the van, changing parts that although not 'broken' were probably near the end of their life. In summary I have replaced:

- Radiator
- Water Pump
- Fuel Pump (its mechanical)
- All Belts
- Rebuilt Rear Brakes (Shoes, Adjusters, Springs, etc)
- New Front Brake Pads
- New Front Brake Discs
- Replaced All The Flexible Brake Hoses
- New Front Wheel Bearings
- New Front Sway Bar Bushes
- Gearbox Oil Change
- Differential Oil Change
- Plugs, Distributer Cap, Rotor Arm & HT Leads
- All carb and emission control vacuum houses and some of the vacuum switching valves and external carb parts.
- Aircon Changed for Modern Gas, Seals Replaced and New Receiver (done professionally)


Concerns?

- Who knows!
- Its a timing chain on this engine, that is supposed to last the life of the engine, so not changing it.
- There is a worn bush on one steering rack end. I have bought the bush to carry with us, but wont be changing it unless it gets worse.
- I guess all the suspension parts are getting quite tired and may need some work at some point.

Spares - I have decided to carry:

- Fuel Pump
- Water Pump
- Fuel Filter
- Oil Filter
- Front Wheel Bearing
- Rear Wheel Bearing (looks a bar-steward to change!)
- Belts
- HT Leads
- Radiator Cap
- Top and Bottom Radiator Hoses and Water Pump By-Pass Hose
- Obviously fuses, general nuts, bolts, fasteners, stop leak, epoxy putty, tyre weld, etc, etc

For an update of how the campervan is going nearly 5 months in - CLICK HERE

 

 

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