BOXED IN

RON’S PATROL COPS A WELL-EARNED SERVICE, WITH A REBUILT GEARBOX AND NEW TRANSFER BOX AMONG THE CHANGES.

WORDS AND PHOTOS RON MOON

OVER THE past few months the Expedition Patrol has been having a holiday on the south coast of NSW and up in the high country Victoria. On these trips the gearbox occasionally growled at me and, as we clocked up more kilometres, it became more regular. With 400,000km on the clock I guess I shouldn’t complain, so before it expired on me completely and left me stranded somewhere in the scrub I thought I’d better do something about it.

Off we went to Outback 4WD in Bayswater (Vic) and they soon had the gearbox out and sent off for a rebuild. It turned out that all the bearings were showing signs of wear, while the gears themselves were pretty good; so a few grand later we had the ’box back at the workshop and ready to go back in.

While the ’box was out we also machined the flywheel and fitted a new clutch. Again I went for a Safari Tuff clutch from Exedy, as the previous Safari unit had performed faultlessly over the last 250,000km or so in all sorts of terrain and towing different sized vans and campers. The clutch was still okay and wasn’t causing any problems – and it probably would have lasted another 20-30,000km – but it made sense to drop in a new one while the ’box was out.

Previously, I had learned my lesson with two OE clutches failing in the first 150,000km, so I knew they weren’t the units I wanted. Exedy claim the Safari clutch offers 25 per cent more clamping pressure without any noticeable effort on your part, and I’ve certainly found that. I had also been warned on both occasions that the clutch can rattle and be a bit noisy, but, again, I haven’t noticed that... maybe it’s because I’m deaf in one ear.

The transfer box with the Marks 4WD Adaptors low-range gearing in it was also overhauled with new bearings; although, again, it wasn’t really necessary. I’ve found the extra-low range gearing the Marks 4WD Adaptors mod has given me is handy when I’m towing in the really rough stuff, as the extra torque available and the low speed you can enter an obstacle with is not only handy, but there is less chance of doing damage to panels and vital underneath components.

WITH 400,000KM ON THE CLOCK I GUESS I SHOULDN’T COMPLAIN

1. Again I went for a Safari Tuff clutch from Exedy; the previous Safari unit had performed faultlessly over the last 250,000km.

2. Outback 4WD soon had the gearbox out and sent off for a rebuild.

3. The crew at Outback also overhauled the front axle CV joints, swivel hub seals and bearings.

As well as the gearbox and transfer box the crew at Outback overhauled the front axle CV joints, swivel hub seals and bearings. With the exhaust showing signs of wear and tear and a few broken brackets, we patched it up for another round or two in the scrub. However, it won’t be long before we’ll have to source a replacement unit and, at this stage, I have no idea which one to go for. As I intend to keep the old girl for a few more years, perhaps a stainless steel unit is the way to go. If anyone has a recommendation, let us know.

Finally, with a service the old Patrol rolled out of the workshop ready to hit the road once more, the first trip being a quick run up to the scrub beyond Broken Hill at Easter.

We might see you on the road.