Saturday, November 7, 2015

The work continues

Well, its been  months! With  working 3 jobs, and a truck  to  restore I  have been  flat out with little time to Blog. Twitter too, has become perhaps a preferred way  of keeping in  touch. So, this blog is really a record of events.

The work on 179 continues.

Chassis prepped for painting. Years of road grime and oil made this task difficult.

Electrical work to the cabin completed, and now I have an interior light, a blinker lever that works, and the exterior reverse spot light working. I  am  told this light is rare as most fall apart over time.

The chassis was acid washed and prepared for painting, in its original "cement grey" colour.

Cement grey paint as ordered when  new in 1985

A new battery  box was made, painted and then  scrolled and pin striped in exactly the original way. Old battery  box is sitting on the top of the new. Years and millions of kms reduced the old one, literally!

New mudflaps and tail light rubbers fitted.

179 had an air leak in  one of the valves and, as such, a replacement valve was purchased and installed. This meant it could get air up and hold it much  better.

New steer tyres purchased and fitted.

The condition  of steer tyres is critical, especially with a loss of traction equals a loss of steering and almost  impossible to  recover from, with  potentially  awful results.

A ball race turntable lifted on and installed.

Whilst this is not an original, the original being a "Compensator", it will do  for the purpose of making the truck complete, until a compensator can  be found.

The turntable was painted the same colour as the chassis.

Shiny new hubcaps fitted, as they were in 1985

 I did not think hubcaps were fitted to  fleet trucks in 1985, however I  did meet "Red" who was the mechanic at Blue Circle Southern, and he assured me that 179 was indeed fitted with them, so I  was delighted to buy a set and fit them.

More to come soon. ...Kenworth W900 is an on-going story which is keeping me busy and I  hope to  spend more time here on the blog.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blue Circle Southern 1985 Kenworth W model 179

The next  phase of the work continued as I  removed the mudflaps  ready  for replacements to  go  on., purchased a new blinker switch and labelled the toggle switches on the cab, (mainly  for my  own benefit).

Into the workshop

I  did purchase new rear hubcaps but have decided not to fit them as I  don't think the truck  had these when ordered, and they are a pain to  fit.

So, the list  of things "to do" continues- New clutch pedal rubber, seats re-upholstered, the floor covering replaced, (as it has a hole in  it from  the heel of a boot), Some original fog lights for the front bar. 2x new steer tyres. tacho, and repair fuel gauge.

There are quite a few toggle switches.

All these are relatively  minor items and can  be done over time.
We have replaced the interior light, and the window winders which  were worn simply  from  use, and we need to  grease, oil change and replace the glycol in the radiator.

The new backing plate for interior light

I  am  leaving the body original, as its patina look  keeps the truck  100% original.
The rear of the chassis has been  modified from the dove tail of a prime mover to  re-enforced for the tipper, however I  will  keep that approach as we still have the pump and controls for the tipper and dog trailer.

Some new mudflaps ready  to  be installed

We have done a cold pressure wash just  to  see how the chassis cleaned up and its going to  be very  good.
All in  all a great  hobby (  well, if you  like big sandpits! lol!).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kenworth 179 work continues

The work continues on  Blue Circle Southern  1985 Kenworth W model fleet number 179.

The lads have removed the Bin, it has been  sold and is heading to QLD. 

We are searching for a tray to suit, and the truck will  go  over the pit to have the chassis steam and acid washed.

This will remove most  of the dirt and any surface rust. Surprisingly the chassis and under carriage is very  good. The rails are all original with no "after market" hole drilled in it.  It was a relief as we bought the truck based on  word of mouth and good will.

Once the chassis is cleaned and dried it will be painted its original colour (which  it already  is)- a 'cement" grey.

My thanks to  Johnson Transport for all the work they are putting in.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Everyone needs a Kenworth W model.

When I  was a kid I had a real desire to  own a Kenworth  W Model truck. I  would spend hours looking at posters, writing to Kenilworth to get stickers, and stare as they  headed down the Hume Highway.

Picking up the Kenworth in the Hunter Valley (as well as some hay!)

Trucks fascinated me. I  am  lucky that, as an auctioneer and valuer, I  can  spend a lot of time with  them as part of my  job.  However, I  always wanted to "own one".

Well, 4 weeks ago I  got one!  Its another tick on the bucket list.  So, here are the Stats-

1985 built Kenworth W model prime mover. Day cab. Ex Blue Circle Southern Dubbo truck.  Fitted with  Cummins 400 horse power big cam engine, running through a 15 speed Road Ranger Gearbox, and sitting on torsion bar suspension.  Yes, I  know- some will not like that suspension spec, however, it does give you 12 inches of travel, a softer ride and is perfect for rougher road conditions.

Just arrived at the depot. The truck drove faultlessly.

Its described as a "mid wheel base" which  makes it look great  in my  opinion. The interior and the truck overall still has its original features, as well as original fleet paintwork. Its been well looked after too. Being a highway  truck its not worn out or loose.

I am not after a "blingy" hot rod truck, and don't have then money for that. I  prefer the truck to  remain as it was-a "working truck." With  a history of millions of miles...

View from drivers seat

Our plan is- to sell the "bin", (thats the tipper part), off the back and return it to  a prime mover spec.

Paint the chassis the original colour (grey), fit rear guards and do some minor electrical/mechanical work to  ensure its safe and road worthy.

Kenworth W179 in workshop.

Work done so far- Headlights repaired and replaced (as necessary).

Batteries replaced and rewired.
Jakes brake adjusted and rewired.
All clearance lights, roof lights checked for operation.

I  want to  say a big thank you  to  Bert, the previous owner of the truck, for allowing me to  buy it. I  would also  like to  that Ross from Johnson Transport for organising the sale, as well as the delivery.

More to come!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 first ride

As many  of my  friends know I had surgery on an ankle in 2011, and despite a lot of rest, it has proved to  be a problem, often "clicking out" when I  least  expect it.

As such  the bikes have sat  in the shed pretty  much  since then.

Well, I  went over to my  UK friends blog " No Hidden Lycra", and became inspired to  give it a crack.

The tried and true Cannonade Prophet turns 10 years old this year!

So, today I  took the Cannonade Prophet down to  the polo fields simply  to  "spin" along the flats and see how I  shape up.

Needless to  say, I am  unfit. Too much  Christmas pudding, beer and wine have seen to that, and I  am  a long way  off doing 200km a week.

Today  was warm, and the fields looked good with  horses and cattle. I  set off and kept the gearing up  so  that I  had to really  spin (  i.e. get the revolutions rocketing).

The ride was short 15km. However I was breathing quite hard when I  returned to the truck.

The plan of action is- one month  3 days a week at this distance, increasing to  25km the following month, then introducing some hilly terrain.

Overall I  felt good, no ankle soreness and I  am  keen to  get back out!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Innaminka Station and the year that was.

Innaminka Station is located in the north east  corner of South Australia. Its a total in excess of 2 million acres and carries about 13,000 head of cattle.

It  is part of the Sir Sidney Kidman dynasty and my  daughter works there. Just before Christmas I  drove up  to  collect her and back again. Its about 3400km round trip.

The new 2014 Landcruiser.

Seeing that I  seem to be spending more time in the outback, it made sense to buy a new land cruiser and get it kitted with a few essentials- bull bar, side rails, UHF radio etc.

The trip involves familiar territory- Kurrajong-Bourke-Hungerford-Thargomindah-Innaminka and return.

Small strip of tar in Ghost  Town of Yantabulla.

The road heading from Bourke to  Thargomindah is called the Dowling track. essentially  following the Cobb and Co coach  route it heads North west to the dingo fence and the township of Hungerford, then onto Thargo.

The track from Yantabulla.

The track from Bourke varies in condition a great  deal, and in some sections can  be hard on a vehicle and its tyres. I  strongly advise to  carry  2 spares, extra jacks and wooden chocks, and run  your tyre pressure at 50psi at least.

Fords bridge is the first town- More just a great  pub and history. Yantabulla has a rural fire shed, public phone and looks like a scene from Mad Max- as if people just  left yesterday.

Hungerford is my  favourite spot. Population of 7, with a police station, a brilliant pub run by Grahame, and friendly  locals. Its always a good place to  stop  for lunch and a beer. Its even better to spend the night.

The next 210km the road improves greatly as the Bullo shire are constantly working on it. However the numbers of emus, kangaroos, wild horses and cattle also increases, and keeping a vigilant eye open as well as keeping the speed down are essential. Its not a track I  would recommend to  drive on at night, regardless of how much money you spend on  driving lights.

Thargomindah is a tidy town. There is a Toyota dealer, caravan park and general store as well as fuel.

I pulled in and topped the cruisers tank up and headed towards South Australia.

Innaminka on the horizon.

The road to  Innaminka is called "Adventure Way". In the peak tourist  season it looks like a conveyor belt with  white goods on it- being caravaners.  Its mostly a single strip of tar, with  heavy rocky edges.  The "Way" climbs through the Grey  Range and it really  does remind me of travelling on the bottom of a dry  ocean bed.

My advise to travellers on this section is-tune your UHF to channel 40. Road trains (  trucks with  3 or more trailers), mining vehicles and nut jobs towing camper trailers too fast are a constant.

Communicate with  on coming traffic, and get off the road.  Simply sitting on 100kph and passing another vehicle showers stones everywhere. Road train drivers cannot stop, or pull over as their rig can become twisted.. so be courteous and pull over.

The final section of road is dirt and in poor condition on the South Australian side.

Innaminka, frankly,  does nothing for me. There is a nice Pub, and a general store but thats it. I  pulled in  for a beer before driving the 3 km to the Cattle station.

The front lawn is a stark contrast to the desert just metres away.

Innaminka Station is at the pointy  end of the cattle production in  Australia. well run, well managed, it represents to best  of the best and carries on a tradition spanning over 100 years. My  daughters home is neat and tidy. The lawns are constantly  watered. One day  without and it dies. With  temperatures in the high 40's the cool of the verandah was most welcome.

The South Australian road.

A stay  over night, and an early  start back to  Sydney was in order. So I  hit the hay  early and the following day, repeated the trip back.

Vehicle report:-  I  meet a lot of tourists in my  travels, and they all want to  talk about vehicles and whats best. Many are critical of the Landcruisers, as they  talk number of airbags, KW, NM of torque etc.  Everyone is welcome to  an opinion, and I am yet  to  meet someone who has invested in $50-$100,000 tell me they  "got it wrong".

I  like my  Landcruisers. They are tough. The front end, with  live axle needs little or no repair, (  i.e. bushes) for 100,000km at  least. The V8 is lazy, good on fuel and the truck is happy  to  sit on 120kph all day with  a load on the back.

There is no doubt that the V8 is not as good in the bush, as it has too much  power for idling without wheel spinning, and I am  not too sure the airbag dash board will last like the old steel one.

My  daughters working dog- A Cooley. Smart and tough.

The wider tack at the front does make for interesting handling in  sand.

However,  it suits me. It  has a big clutch, big gearbox and big diffs, and that  is a formula for getting 400,000km out of it. Yes, you  do have to  keep onto the oil changes, and be sure the fuel is clean more than an  older one. Sure, statistically an Amerok/Ranger/BT50 produces as much  power and are more comfortable.  But they are not for me. The front ends fail, ( as it did in my  2011 FJ cruiser twice!), and as an auctioneer in the fleet  industry I see it first hand. The trim and fittings cannot stand the constant punishment of a life off road.  Yes, I  know mines are moving away  from Landcruisers- But those who  don't use roads (  Surveyors, cattlemen etc), still use the Landcruiser.  And whats this business of having to  change the oil in a BT50/Ranger 3.2 litre diesel in under 20 minutes or you stuff the motor?

So, I am delighted with my  purchase, and look forward to  many  more travels!

Happy  2015 to all my  readers.