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Topics - el_freddo

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Victoria / Lerderderg 4wd day 24FEB19
« on: March 01, 2019, 09:02:09 PM »
Lerderderg 4wd day trip report - 24FEB19

Attendees: Nachaluva Matt - 2.2 equipped SF foz; "L series" Matt in his SH foz with 28 inch tyres; 1WD_Foz Nick - 2.2 equipped SF foz on roadies; El Freddo Bennie - 2.2 equipped L series with custom box and roadies (Ruby Scoo).

We met up at the start of O'Brian's Rd at about 8am:

We cruised in, dropped on to an offroad track, got out of the way of an arrogant single vehicle charging up the track then I backed Ruby Scoo into a tree and cracked the rear right tail light.  Nothing too serious, just frustrated at myself.

We did a couple of good long climbs that were a good warm up, then hit a number of "commuter" tracks: Nachaluva:

...until we hit digger's track.  There were a number of holes with water in them, one in particular that Nachaluva had a crack at - and only cracked his exhaust in the mid pipe in the damage department:
video courtesy of 1WD_Foz

At another point on this track we dropped over this little rock step.  It gave me a good opportunity to get some snaps of the foresters:

"L series" Matt:

1WD_Foz Nick:

"Forester action": :P

Nachaluva Matt:

Just before we crossed the river/creek at the bottom of the valley, we turned around to do a rocky climb on the track we had just come down.  It was interesting how different it felt on the way up compared to the bouncy feeling experienced on the way down.

We hit the main road again then shortly up the track veered off to the blue gum track link shortcut, where I snapped a pic of this sign, as it is one of the good ones:

The annoying ones were the road closed to all vehicles other than management vehicles.  The okay ones were the rare conservation zone road closed signs.

 Then we had lunch on the shortcut track:

Then we were off to one of our old favourite set of tracks, or a track off ratcliffe to be precise - Number Two firebreak track.  Near the start of the firebreak track:

Properly dropping into the valley.  Someone had carved up that track in the wet, leaving some deep ruts to negotiate on the way down, worst section is up around the corner the vehicles just came down:

From the river it looks like this:

^ Just after it disappears into the tree canopy, it does a slightly greater than 90* right hand turn, maintaining the same steep gradient you see here, and it has a rocky outcrop with some small steps in it for good measure ;)

I went first in Ruby Scoo - I assumed that we were going up it without too much thought, even after walking the track.  I was still on road pressures as I'm tired of spiking/cutting side walls on roadies.  They went well and didn't wheel spin much which I was happy with.

Those images are pretty rare to me - I'm usually driving and not taking pictures like these (Thanks "L series" Matt!).

And here's "L series" Matt in his SG - backing down to have another go at his approach to the corner:

I don't have any further pics of this event due to videoing others doing the climb that still needs editing, but here's a few videos from 1WD_Foz:

My climb:

"L series" Matt's go, and second attempt before he stalled out on the rocky outcrop.

Ruby Scoo towed/snatched Matt's SG up the track where his factory low range could do everything as it should.  I don't have any pics of this, but it'll be in the video once I've got it sorted.

1WD_Foz Matt's go:

And this standing start off from the rock outcrop:

Nachaluva Matt's run - piece of cake:

This was an awesome climb and definitely the highlight and most challenging stuff we did on the day. 

From here we cruised around sort of aimlessly.  I was navigator but didn't have a paper map with me so was relying on maps on an app with a phone that had patchy reception.  And there was a no through road sign and the challenge was accepted.  Which "allowed" us to end up on Lloyd track - a seasonally closed track with a track around the gate.  This got us into an area that seemed to be comp truck spec in the mud.  I rode the ruts, then was forced to drop into them, glad that they were smaller in this section as I made it through but I did damage the exhaust.

"L series" Matt followed and ended up like this:

In the mean time the forester "twins" made their way around a large bog hole that allowed them to access a track that avoided the rubbish that I put Ruby Scoo through.

Then Matt's SG followed after getting out of the rut and managing to turn around:

And the last image of the day: Nachaluva Matt cruising up the last of the rutted stuff for this section. 

We ended up popping out just southish of Woodend.  Airing up occurred, some reminiscing and stories were shared and we all left with a half smile - half not due to leaving the tracks, the other half for hitting the tracks!

A good day had.  Thanks for those that made it.  Condolences to Venom who planned/organised us all for the trip then fell ill the day before. 

Oh, and "L series" Matt was dubbed this due to his SG being a kind of blue like my L series, even though it's way taller!

I hope you all enjoyed the read/pics.



General Subaru / Replace your PVC valve if having issues
« on: February 01, 2019, 11:27:03 PM »
So I had a massive pinging issue with my EA81 brumby when ambient temps were near 25*C.

I decided to replace the PVC valve as this was probably never done. When I pulled the old one out it seemed to work fine and almost put it back in but decided to put the new one in since I’d removed a pile of stuff to get to the old one anyway.

Result?  Massive difference!  One the recent 45*C day here, I was able to drive around with very little detonation occurring. There were a couple of situations that it could be induced - but it was nothing like the detonation I used to get. Very happy!

So if you’re having an issue like this, look at swapping the PCV valve with a genuine unit.

I reckon the rest of my issue is in the carb’s shaft play.  We’ll see what happens there in time.



Victoria / TR: 27SEP-04OCT18 Border Tk and Radelaide
« on: January 05, 2019, 03:50:28 AM »
Bennie’s September 2018 Trip

It’s about time I got this sorted, a few details have slipped!  So I thought I'd "update" the forum with the latest trip that, on the surface at least, resembles something of the trip in 2017 - because it kind of does... just different.

So before we really begin, our planned trip was delayed for two days due to prep plans not working in our favour.  By the time we’d packed it was late enough to say it’s not worth the effort to leave now, only to set up camp a few hours out of Benders.  So we decided to get up super early and roll out of town in the wee wee hours of Thursday the 27th of Sept.

Our aim was to visit the top North Westerly point of Vic and McCabe’s corner where NSW, SA and VIC borders all meet.  Then head south along the border track from the very tip of Vic, into the Murray Sunset NP middle section before meeting up at Pinnaroo on Friday with a group of fellow subi nuts from a facebook group that we decided to hook up with for the border track run in the Ngarkat NP on the SA side of the border.

Day 1 - Thursday, 4am we were up, packed those last few bits and headed off at about 4:30am.  Fuelled everything up and off we went, headed for Mildura for our next fuel stop before we hit the desert.  We had a good run and to set the trip off we swung around to snap the sunrise, about an hour out of Ouyen from memory:

We refuelled in Mildura, added a few bits to the kit that we forgot but worked out at breakfast (north of Ouyen beside the rail line).

Once on the border, we turned right off the Sturt Hwy and headed north towards the corners of the three states. We saw a couple of these along the way:

Headed for McCabe’s corner first, this is as close as we could get.  I’ve been told it’s about 4km from the actual point:

We then turned around and tried for the Vic Tip.  This is as far north as we could get:

We did our usual country thing that we grew up with – stop and ask a local!  The farmer didn’t seem very welcoming at first but after an introduction and what we were doing he gave us some information that was super handy but not so great for what we were trying to achieve.

Firstly, McCabe’s corner is in the middle of the River.  This is the point where NSW/Vic/SA meet.  The land on the Vic side is now owned by someone who doesn’t want the public visiting and they’ve effectively shut off any access tracks to the area.  So it’s by boat access only now.  I’ve read on the web that there’s a monument, I believe on the NSW side of the river.

The tip of Vic was another story.  No actual tracks to get there, even from the SA side.  But it could be accessed by following the fence line “bush bashing”.  The fella we were talking to didn’t go into much detail about this option as it would’ve been on his land – or his neighbours…  We opted to turn around and head south, aiming for the Shearer’s Quarters for our camp for the night.  It could’ve been an ambitious trek depending on what lay ahead.  We had planned to camp on the Murray at one of these places but that changed.

On our return trip south from where we’d come we stopped for a few highlights along the way, first, this survey marker:

^ Someone did a good job on that one!  Even the official “government peg” beside it says that the marker is 3m to the south of the peg!

Then this interesting kink – not many people seem to know that the Vic/SA border is not actually straight.  Or that there’s about an 11km section of Murray River where SA is on the northern banks of the river with Vic on the southern side…  So this kink in the border, Looking south:

Looking north east-ish:

^ Behind me there’s another corresponding corner that re-aligns with the border, it’s about 150-200m further along.

When we first hit this section of track we saw Shingle-Back after Shingle-Back.  I snapped this little one, then promised the crew that I’d get a pic of them with the next one (that we didn’t see until the next day – Murphy’s Law!).

We crossed the Sturt Hwy and pulled up at the start of the next section so we couldn’t see the main road and had some lunch.  While we were doing this a police car (territory) drove past on the main section.  That was interesting.  Next thing we knew he was on our side track in front of us, didn’t hear him until he was right on us.  We had a chat, he complemented our setup for desert travel and he told us of a few 2wd vehicle rescues he’s been involved with – he put them down to the GPS showing them into the desert without any warnings of the terrain or requirements for self sufficiency out here.  Off he went and so did we.  This is basically what we saw for the majority of the rest of the day until we swung in an easterly direction to get the to Shearer’s Quarters:

There were a number of sections that would be quite boggy in winter, and a couple of little climbs that could be done too.  Generally it was pretty easy going.  Once headed east the vegetation changed to more Mallee Gum and we encountered some “fun” corrugations in the road:

This was an interesting “find” – an airstrip in the middle of nowhere!

As we neared the Shearer’s Quarters, we saw a couple of wild goats that roam this area, then we were there.  Not the greatest pic as I couldn’t get Ruby Scoo in the best position due to the vegetation out the front of the place.  There’s a big 6 (maybe) vehicle shed off to the right of the image:

The campground is about 100m further up the track in some lovely native pines or Sheoak.  I’m not totally up with the different species but they’re a cool native tree none the less.  At dinner time the new cargo setup was working its magic!  Unfortunately there was a massive stuff-up with my Bunnings Special Order and the slides for the kitchen box didn’t arrive, so it’s perched in place in this image – but still demonstrated that the design worked well for us:

The next day we did a “Blockie” – headed east from the Shearer’s Quarters, then north, then west, then south with a run along the airstrip (my top speed for the desert trip while “out bush” – 80kmph – I didn’t know the condition of the airstrip and I wasn’t out to break any land speed records, it was just nice to drive without corrugations for a little bit).  Just east of the camp the vegetation did another dramatic change from open Mallee gum to this Sheoak tree from camp:

It was a really cool looking area and the whole ambience was changed just from the vegetation.  It clearly followed a change in soil or hydrodynamics underground.  And this is why we did a blockie – The Creator:

It really did look like a creator, but it’s more likely that it’s a result of salinity, wind and sand movement.  Of course the little sign in the bush says “vehicles prohibited” or something of the like but those muppets that think it’s their entitlement to go where they want had been here and driven all over the bottom of the creator, leaving huge track marks everywhere.  It’s disappointing that people have to go and ruin these places.  They’ll only get closed up if we don’t look after them!

On our way in to the Shearer’s Quarters there was this track that intrigued me, they always do:

So of course we took it rather than heading back to the Border Track.  It was a fun section that could have a bit of pace going if you were careful.  Basically you’d crest small sandy dunes that weren’t really steep or anything, more rises than actual dune dunes, if you know what I mean!  The vegetation was mainly Mallee and it looked like this on a high point:

We passed a photographer who was just as surprised to see us as we were to see him!  Getting bored of this track I (I say I as Mrs El Freddo had fallen asleep at this point) decided to head back to the Border Track.  I felt like I’d missed a good section of it.  So we turned right and headed west… on this complete goat’s track:

I was worried about staking a tyre on a hidden mallee root or collecting spinifex looking grass under the vehicle and starting a fire, but none of those issues arose and I was very glad when we finally met the Border Track again.  This section was interesting as we started seeing some actual dune climbs, typically with flat clay based sections in between so it wasn’t as exciting as Big Desert or the next section of the Border Track in the Ngarkat  NP.  That was until we got to this little pocket of good fun:

Behind me in this pic is a short sharp drop off the top of the last dune.  You sort of meander your way up it then drop into this sandy “valley”.  This pic was after my first attempt to get out – and it was at the time we should’ve been meeting the group in Pinnaroo.  So I aired down for the first time this trip (yes, I was lazy, but I also didn’t really trust the roadies with Mallee root so kept them aired up until I really had to drop pressures, like now…).  It did cross my mind that we could get stuck here – then I thought about the cop yesterday with his recovery stories…  Anyway, second attempt was pretty good and I didn’t need to stress!

From here the sandy dunes became more frequent until we “ran out of 4wd tracks” and ended up on public roads – this was like the back block section while we tried to cut our way down the border as close as possible.  It involves heading east for a few km, then south west, then west before you find the next section.  We pulled up because we’d never seen this before – MASSIVE tumbleweed!

No joke, we found many of these to be as tall as the window sill of Ruby Scoo.  We even found one with a Witchetty Grub living in the stem.  Poor bugger got a free ride they probably didn’t want!  To the left of this pic (in the west) were a number of farm crops.  This tumbleweed was probably about 10m deep into the bush depending on how many larger trees were around to stop the penetration by the weed.  From here it became a bit tiresome to try and follow the “official” border track.  So we cut into SA and headed for Pinnaroo to fuel up and grab some basic veg etc.

The BP on the main road was a bit of a 4wd circus when we arrived.  It made us realise that the next day’s adventure might be a bit of a bumper to bumper car park event.  I wasn’t looking forward to that.  And of course everyone was here, it was the AFL Grand Final weekend – all Victorians had the Friday public holiday and SA had the Monday public holiday.  Great.

We headed into Big Desert State Forest solo to meet up at camp as communicated by Nachaluva and a mate we’d invited last minute (more on that shortly).  About to hit the sand on our way to camp – about 15km IIRC:

We arrived at camp, no one around so we parked up and waited.  It was blisteringly cold with an unrelenting wind.  The weather for this whole trip was cooler than usual and tonight was definitely a low point.  Eventually the group met up after their afternoon’s adventure’s playing around at Thompson’s Peak. 

Going back to that mate we invited last minute, that’s the Prado.  Our friend purchased it a week and a half before we left for this trip and they managed to slip it into their schedule for something different.  They drove this thing well and enjoyed their trip.  I admire their courage with such sort ownership of their first 4wd.  I have a mate that owns a 130 Defender, tells me how it’s a real 4wd etc yet it’s never seen any action beyond a typical dirt road…

Day three of the trip.  We lined up as others finalised their setup with pressures etc.  Other played in a bog hole, not to stereotype, but it was the P platers that wanted to have some fun. 

The Pretty Disco in the group got bogged, the 110 Defender pulled them out (the green one above, driven by “Dave Groll”), then ripped through it.  Then we met some rangers.  The gist of that conversation was that we were on private land – and we also needed a vehicle permit to enter the Ngarkat NP.  $10 per day. News to us, it wasn’t like this the last time we visited 4 years ago.  I guess the SA government is doing it tough atm, at least that’s what my uncle tells me!

The rangers also told us the track was pretty chopped up and in poor condition so it could be tough getting through (yes!).

We all scrambled back up the track to get phone reception to book our passes.  There was much radio chatter about which website and how many days we needed – one or two.  One if you’re confident in what you’re doing and know your setup.  Two if you’re just cruising.  If going for two days, you’ll also need a camping permit!

From here the fun began and excitement was high.  Not many pics from here due to mainly driving.  We met a few groups along the way, one that wanted to push past, so we let them through, only then to have them slow down and block us.  That was probably the most frustrating part of the day I reckon.

Here’s one of the early dunes that Ruby Scoo got hung up on.  This climb was rutted out by diagonally articulated vehicles, so it was a hole on the left, then right, then left, then right etc.  Too deep for me to skip over them and maintain my momentum:

Some track work and we were off again.

Generally speaking, the track was easier than when Nachaluva and I did it four years earlier with a few other mates.  The base was firmer and the daily temps much cooler too.

At lunch we stopped and watched this group do a dune climb.  They drove like your typical steep climber – when the engine bogs give it more until you get out of it, but you don’t get out, you just dig deep holes and quick!  Then we were surprised to see one TOWING a camper van up the dune…

Yay, they clearly can’t read!  But they made it with some real effort.  I don’t think the track liked it though!  For Ruby Scoo we went around this climb after seeing how rutted out it was.  It’s not worth throwing my “historic” subi over that for the sake of it while out touring.

A couple of k’s further down the track and some good little dune climbs with ruts and stuff I realise I don’t have my DSLR with me… where did I have it last..?  Oh ____!!  I had it on the roof at lunch and left it there while I tended to something with the intention of taking more pics.  Luckily it was still where I left it between some deck chairs!!  Bloody lucky!  This was the point where I found it, and you can see more of what was to come in front of us:

The later parts of the Border Track become flatter and you can pick up some pace if you’re careful about it.  You also have to be aware of fatigue too.  Mis-read the section of track in front of you while at speed could result in your vehicle being violently thrown around up and down.  Not fun!

While collecting some Mallee root for the fire I snapped Ruby Scoo with a couple of the Foresters:

We made it to Red Bluff campground on the Vic side of the border (few k’s in actually).  It was packed.  A small group from our group decided to bug out back home (they’re nuts!).  We ended up finding a neat patch near the entry to the camp ground.  There would’ve been about 80 4wds here!  It’s the most packed bush camp ground I’ve EVER stayed in!  Here’s our little setup from the top of Red Bluff:

And half the camp ground including our bit, and the fellas we passed earlier on the track skull dragging a Gen2 Pajero all wearing cricket whites… must’ve been a buck’s party or a cricket team’s bonding trip, either way they were tame and enjoying a late arvo game of cricket that you might see in this pic:

Red Bluff in the setting sun’s light:

Day four.  Pack up camp and head south before departing each other’s company for the trip home for others and our trip into Radelaide!  This day had the second dune that Nachaluva was looking forward to on the trip!  It’s another good little play area too.  Ruby Scoo climbed, “watched” and decended.  Actually we went back down from where we came to try a different route to the top, anyway, pics!

Crazy angles!

Mitre’s foz looking tough:

The SH completing another climb:

@Nachaluva cresting:

The sand pit doughnut hole.  Last time we were here this was just a flat space!

While parked here watching the action up top, namely a recovery of Mitre’s foz that ended up in the scrub on a precarious angle, we met several other groups of 4wds that passed through.  All were out for a good time, one fella put his patrol on its side the day before.  He cracked his windscreen and dented the front RHS guard.  All his mates were still giving him poo about it!  He was bloody lucky I reckon!
Everyone was interested in the Subarus being out and about.  It was a good attitude change to what we’ve typically come up against while out bush!

The last section of the track before you get pushed out to the main road meanders it’s way through the border easement with little dune climbs and tight corners on a narrow track.  While in this section we found this lazy thing kicking back:

After completing all the track we could for the Border, we aired up, said our goodbyes and headed off in all sorts of directions.  We continued west towards Radelaide.   We still had plenty of fuel in the tank and two jerry cans full so opted to skip on fuelling up at Bordertown.  Now, I can’t remember at what point along the way this was, but the car had a vibration under acceleration that was getting worse as time went on.  This came on suddenly.  Then it couldn’t maintain cruising speed.  I worked out pretty quickly that we were running out of fuel.  We pulled over by this beautiful old ruin off the side of the Duke’s Hwy:

I also investigated a squeaking noise that seemed to be getting worse.  Initially before the trip I could hear it just at walking pace as the car began to move – and I hoped it wasn’t a clutch issue.  I couldn’t find anything, mounts seemed good etc.

We continued on while making plans for where to stay the night.  We selected a little caravan park on the Radelaide side of Tailem Bend, it took us down a side road then down to the Mighty Murray River.  We got a spot for the night for a top price and it was BEAUT!

Couldn’t have got a better spot!  The facilities were a little dated but clean which is always the important detail.  It was good to have a shower!  Our plan for the next day was to enjoy the morning then head over to the Monarto Zoo after dropping in the second jerry can of fuel.  The Monarto Zoo is another step up on our Werribee Zoo.  Plan a FULL day to be here if you want to see most of it!  Being that we forgot this Monday was SA’s public holiday, we encountered this line out the front of the zoo’s front gate!

Well, we decided to high tail it from there and come back another day rather than put up with crowds.  Since we were on the old highway we decided to take it all the way into the city if we could.  It was great to visit some places that family used to live in too, there’s a lot more urban sprawl out there too, it seems to be an epidemic :(

Then we came to Harndorf.  Awesome little German town…

…until you put a festival in the middle of the single main rd town.  That wasn’t much fun!  We continued to follow the old highway as much as we could, we fuelled up at some point too.

In the end we made it into Radelaide, and that squeak had turned into some other noise that was becoming concerning.  We cruised around checking out a few things before finding another caravan park to crash at for the night.  We stayed at Moana Beach CP.  Nice beach a stone’s throw away too:

At some point I realised the issue with the noise was a uni joint.  It was now becoming a nasty vibration.  Plans were made to visit a wreckers and HOPE another L series was there (these are getting thin on the ground – and are basically non-existent in Melb’s self serve parts yards).  There was ONE there, and it still had its tail shaft.  I took the whole thing, and a turbo crossmember from a vortex (score!).

We caught up with some family for dinner then headed off to camp out at Pink Gums in the Adelaide Hills.  This campsite was recently refurbished, and wasn’t really my idea of “camping” as such, but it was a neat area anyway.  Again, a permit was needed to camp here.

Before we headed off I swapped out the tailshaft.  Here’s the offending unit.  There’s no way we could’ve made it home with this the way it was – and we were reduced to 80kmph the night before:

After that was sorted we headed back to the Monarto Zoo for most of a day out there, then head home.  The leg it home didn’t happen.  We ended up getting a hotel in Tintinara for the night and tripping home the next day ( day 8 ).  On our way home we decided to mix things up and make a detour to Stawell for some pics at the Sister Rocks, then head to Benders via the back roads – and we took some back roads!  We found some places to go exploring on our way back home.  It was looking dodgy for a bit there!

The Sister Rocks, I don’t condone graffiti at the best of times, and I really hate it in the bush – yet this makes an interesting backdrop and is the only place I’ve seen like this (I hope it stays that way! – the number of locations like this is what I mean!):

Once again, a great trip away. These need to happen more often!  I’m very happy with the setup in Ruby Scoo.  The new cargo space has “revolutionised” how we operate with the vehicle and our gear.  Not having to remove our stuff from above the fridge to access it was a real game changer as was the “kitchen cabinet” - that still needs to be finished off…

If you’ve made it this far I hope I haven’t turned you off from reading trip reports.  Glad I FINALLY got it done!



Victoria / TR: Sept17 - Vic deserts and SA roadtrip
« on: May 07, 2018, 10:31:06 AM »
September 2017 trip:  How time's flown!

During the 3rd term school holidays I met up with Venom and we headed off to the Murray Sunset NP, entering from the west through Hattah. The plan was to hit up Pheeny's track and camp in what looked like the most remote camp of any in Vic...

So to start off, we had a little detour to the Mt Kooyoora State Park which gave us the first photo pic of the two vehicles:

Venom's running in a mildly lifted Gen4 H6 outback with all the trimming. I think the rims are Method rims from the states. Very nice and apparently light too.

Once we'd commuted a few more hours north westish we collected some firewood in the form of old railway sleepers - the little broken bits:

We then needed to enter the NP via someone's private property following signs like this one - about a 15km drive across their small patch:

Entering the park we started out on Last Hope Track:

This section of track was a little dull, much like most of the property commute. Last time we were in this area we came from the park back to the highway and this section really felt like a wasteland where no living creature should be. It's a very salty landscape and at the time barely had a blade of grass. This time there was quite a good lot of pasture grass, and water in the salt lakes.

On our way to the first camp of the trip at Mopoke Hut we buzzed up a dune that was the tallest thing in the area for a look around and for something fun to really kick the trip off:

Both the Outback and the L lapped it up easy :D

Shortly after this and some sand touring we arrived at Mopoke Hut. Here's the twilight after dinner:

The silence between the light breeze through the sheoak trees is amazing, something that needs to be experienced to understand!

The next morning we packed up after a lazy breakfast, with Mopoke Hut built in the 60's for grazing purposes in the background:

Our aim was Pheeny's Track for the day to end up at Pheeny Track camp for the night - get in early and kick back for a few hours before sunset. First off we visited Rocket Lake - still dry with plenty of shrubs on the lake bed, just not a cold as last time.  This place get get up a wickedly cold westerly breeze that saps the heat out of you if you're not prepared properly!

We enjoyed some fun twisty sand 4wd'n between short flat clay pans in this area that really built up our excitement and expectations for what was to come...

Once we made it to Pheeny's track it became pretty obvious that this was a desert highway as such. You could drive a commodore along here easy - we passed two trucks dropping beehives out here for their honey production!!

Average speed was about 40kmph and we covered plenty of terrain quickly. We passed two north/south tracks with signs indicating that they were 4wd only. This has peaked my interest to do a future trip involving these two tracks...

We stopped for lunch at a survey marker that was on a high point in the area - lucky if it was 30m above the track we were following:

A little further down the track we came across Pheeny's camp. It was about 2pm at this point and the camp didn't have much of a remote feel to it due to the easy track nor was it very aesthetically pleasing as such after looking at so many Mallee trees all day.

So we continued East, found this little fella on the side of the road before crossing the boarder into SA:

^ Shingleback ;)

We headed to Pinaroo, fueled up then headed back into Vic aiming near the middle of the Big Desert State Park, which we made just before sunset:

Twilight after dinner, again similar atmosphere to Mopoke Hut, but with Emus in the area:

We went for a night drive in the Outback to do some dune climbing and play around with some of the functions of the auto, working out what setting gives the best traction etc. After a few attempts on a particular climb we literally burnt 1/6th of a tank of fuel! That 6 can be thirsty!!

The next day it was pretty cold in the morning before the sun came up, a good night's rest in the swag was had followed by bacon and egg muffins for breakfast :D

First stop was a dune we like to visit, I was surprised that Ruby Scoo made it up the top. Venom coming up the peak of this complex:

One of the best things about visiting this area in the spring is a- the awesome pocket of warm weather we typically "run into" on these trips before that last cold snap mid October; and b- there are many flowers that pop out at this time adding some colour to the area:

I have no idea about their names etc, but I know the last one is some sort of bush pea.

Other, smaller dunes were climbed, some more challenging than others through a combination of soft sand and deep ruts with no side option/room to move out of them:

We cruised around some old haunts and came across this mess:

^^ This sort of treatment of the bush is criminal. How hard is it to take out what your bring in, really... not difficult at all! This boils my blood and next trip I'm aiming to clean up this sort mess when I come across it - just need to work out how it's going to happen/fit on the vehicle.

On a better note, Ruby Scoo looking fine:

^ Spot the sign post in that pic!

Venom's Outback and Ruby Scoo same location before heading back west to the big dune:

I don't know what happened to pics of this area at the big dune. Venom had a couple of goes at it but it was too flogged out up the top to make a successful ascent. He was a bit wary of his fuel useage too as we were in the middle of the park and still had another day's drive planned before our next fuel stop. All fuel cans were still full though so that was comforting.

From here we headed off to Pigeon Springs and camped the night. The evening cloud cover was extraordinary with several cloud layers separated by a great deal of altitude that added to the effect. Unfortunately it didn't eventuate into a speccy sunset but it was still speccy in its own right:

The next day was our last on the sand for this trip. We hit up Milmed Rock track, visiting Milmed Rock. Someone's stolen the guest book so no message left or chance to look for Sven's latest addition to the pages, I've heard he's traveling further up north now anyway:

^ On this track it was like carving up first tracks on a fresh drop of powder. We saw one vehicle that was solo, we kept leap frogging each other until we ended up losing them before Round Swamp. On our way out we saw a few interesting vehicles headed the other way - a lifted 4wd toyota commuter van decked out as a camper was an interesting one, as was an F150.  It was the most traffic we'd seen since Pinaroo.

We aired up on the dirt track - and found out I had a flat. I thought I had sand between the bead but I later found out that I pierced the side wall, so there's a perfectly dead tyre with plenty of tread left. Not happy Jan!

From here we commuted on the black top together for a little bit before we split and turned our sights on SA. We were already halfway there and had our zoo membership in hand to use interstate - also to visit family (didn't happen) and some friends (happened!).

We filled up in Nhill and arrived in Radelaide after nightfall. We had a bit of trouble getting a hotel due to some festival or big celebration in town that weekend.

From here we visited the Adelaide Zoo. It's worse than what the Melbourne Zoo was in the early '90s... and is falling apart under a major landing approach path. It wasn't a pleasant experience. But we did find out that our Vic Zoo membership allowed us into the Monarto Open plain zoo.

We met up with some mates, and another old mate from our Hotham days - it felt like yesterday since we'd all seen eachother. We ended up crashing with our Hotham friend in the southern suburbs. The next day we visited one of the SA parts yards, picked up some electric windows as a future project for the brumby. It would've been great to grab the two PS kits for the MYs to clean up and sell on back at home but space and money were tight.

After this we tracked down some new front brake pads, had to head back into Adelaide for this. We then took off for Monarto Zoo and spent the arvo up there. Top place and has one over Werribee Open Plain Zoo, I'd definitely recommend this place - we plan to visit again and do a few more things we missed out on.

Returning to the southern suburbs we cut through the hills, avoiding the main freeway. Another spectacular drive:

Once in the hills they were tight and twisty, still enjoyable in the lifted L. The snorkel roar at 4000+ rpm WOT didn't get old on this trip! We made a quick stop over to visit another forum member (Silverbullet on ausubi) who's doing a ground up rebuild on his family's one family owned MY wagon.  I collected a few more bits from him then headed to our friend's for dinner. From here we did a night drive down the Fluerieu Peninsula to a cheap campsite at Rapid Bay. The drive through the hills was fun while babying the brakes... and moving through a dark campground with a noisy exhaust on grandfinal weekend finished off the night's fun activities...

Had a good night sleep and awoke to some pretty awesome views of the hills meeting the sea. After breakfast this task was taken on:

Bedding in brakes while mainly travelling up hill isn't a fun experience - but I needed them ready for the down hill descent that ended with a stop sign...

We headed into Yankalilla for their local agricultural show. It was a classic wholesome small town show that had most of the town in attendance, very enjoyable. There were SES and RFS (rural fire service) displays cutting up rolled cars; classic cars and tractor displays, horse competitions, the usual CWA creative contests and small number of carnival rides. Here we managed to catch up with another forum mate, Phizinza!  We had a good, long overdue catch up.

The plan from this point was to leg it home, arriving late in the night. We took the scenic route through Victor Harbour and managed to stalk their steam train all the way to Goolwa. There's a wood fired pizza store in the main street that's worth a visit if you're ever in town ;)

Crossing the Murray River downstream from Tailem Bend at Wellington is always a fun experience:

We had a snag in bread at Tintanara in a community park using their bbq while watching some of the big trucks passing through town. Then it was back on the road again aiming for another favourite camp site off the main highway near Dimboola - I felt that at this point there was no logic to push for home when it was already lateish and I knew I couldn't do that huge drive after the town's show activites. We arrived here at about 2am - had a pretty clean run other than all the traffic from the Crows fans returning home disappointed!

Camp in the morning, top spot right on the Wimmera River:

And that's basically it for this trip. We had a good run home and began the unpacking.

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get it all written up but it's all done now! I hope you enjoyed it!



Off Topic / 3D printing ideas/request of other forum members
« on: July 15, 2017, 01:19:09 PM »
G'day all,

I don't have access or the skills to use a 3D printer and this got me thinking about those forum members who may have access and skills to use this technology - would they be willing to make pieces by request?

My thoughts came about when I realised that my brumby's gear lever is loose - and it's not due to the clamping trick on the gearbox shaft.  The issue is that little bush that lives at the base of the gear lever in the gearbox.

Is there anyone that's able to make a run of these for forum members and flog them off for a few bucks to cover materials and effort?



Your Rides / El_Freddo's daily RS wagon
« on: August 11, 2016, 09:43:34 PM »

This is what happens after a pretty bad back injury with some time to kill over a weekend - purchase a vehicle from Tassy of all places!  Not just a regular vehicle though, a 93 Aust delivered RS wagon (just after a wash):

Once home it was time to check out the dead engine - it runs but it's very nasty!  As soon as it's got a load on it blue smoke everywhere - out the back and from the PVC system.  The knocking sound isn't bottom end, it's in the driver's head.  But I'd suspect the rings in cylinder #1 are at least shot considering the smoke coming from the PVC system.

Still looks awesome:

I'm still working out how to sort out the engine - rebuild the one in the back (apparently it's got a blow HG, but I think I'd rather rebuild it an know it's good from the get go) and source some original RS heads to go with it, source a good runner (I thought I'd got a good deal on a create engine but it turns out they didn't have what I wanted) or just slap on some fresh HGs on the second engine with the WRX heads.

My build aim is to have it factory spec and just enjoy the drive - hence wanting the RS two bolt coil pack heads for it.  Bboypebs lined me up with one of his old RS engines with these heads, but I think I'll keep that one for the project unit, plus it's "deep in storage" at the moment...  Fun Fun!

Free time is also an enemy of mine atm - only due to the lack of it :(

I can't go past the RS model - love them and will always appreciate a well maintained unit ;)



Victoria / TR: Toombullup State Forest solo trip
« on: August 11, 2016, 09:20:14 PM »
Toombullup State Forest

On the weekend starting on the 5th of August at 4:30pm, a mate and I packed up and headed bush for a weekend of camping with some 4wd'n.  We headed to a place I'd not been before – Toombullup State Forest near Tatong and Tolmie; at the Kelly Tree Campsite (roughly at -36.8754822,146.2347008).

Friday night we legged it out there to get camp setup and the fire going, it was freezing! 

^ Saturday Morning Camp.  After a bit of a look around the campground, we headed out to check out the Kelly Tree and the site of the Police Camp shooting.  Pretty interesting. 
Then we hit “the tracks”:

Quality 4wd tracks were few and far between, we had fun looking around and the little pockets we found were good.

There were some decent rivers and creeks in the area, especially with the amount of rain we've had recently:

Traffic report:

The irony here is just after taking this pic a local fella trundled past us – we got stuck behind him shortly after...

We hit up Middle Creek Track, it was pretty easy going for 99% of it.  The area is heavily used for logging – native forest and pine plantations, so most of the roads are “bush highways” really.  This was an area with some negotiation required, as usual the photo just doesn't do it justice:

Later we hit a couple of creek crossings.  The first was the most interesting:

One of our activities in our cruising around was to checkout all the campsites marked on the map as this place is pretty strict on where you camp (if you stick to what the signs say).  This was after visiting one of the better campsites that had a fun track in and out:

After another creek crossing and bumping into more hunters (we'd been seeing them from about the first half of the Middle Creek Track) we started to head back to camp.  The hunters became spaced about 500m apart on the track as they were tracking deer in the area.  We noisily cruised through the area then cut some wood when we finally found some dried out stuff.

On our way back to camp we swung by to check out a historic grave of Emma Sophia Heller.  Tough life back then to say the least.

Once back at camp first priority was to get a fire going before the sun went down and the night chill visited:

Oh yeah – this was THE BEST fire I've had in a long time:

Dinner prep – pretty important when you start on a few cans early and skip lunch – rookie mistake!  Chicken Parmas on the go:

All I needed in this pic was a rum (it was in the side pocket of the chair – not enough arms!).  It doesn't get much better than this:

Sunday we packed up and headed home.  While airing up the tyres I had a bit of a mud splatter appreciation moment.  My favourite mud splatters are on the lower right part of the rear view mirror:

Last pic of the trip – Tatong Pub on our way through to Benalla:

Another good little trip.  I think next time we'll hit up the Strathbogie Ranges and focus on finding the good 4wd'n pockets, but it was fun to get out and about again for a mid term trip.

A few maintenance issues showed up on the return trip – front bearings need to be seen to very soon.  I wouldn't be keen on any long trips with the noise they're currently making.  Other than a few other niggling things that need doing a new set of tyres would be good.

I hope you enjoyed the read, I'm hoping to make a video of a few sections we remembered to film, we missed one awesome section – two tyre track ruts around a fallen tree in some mud where some hunters watched in disbelief :D



Western Australia / El Freddo's Epic WA Road Trip:
« on: February 20, 2016, 02:00:17 PM »
So this was in the wind for some time, only those directly involved knew about it until I knew it was a green light – including my parents who were not impressed when they learnt we were off for a period of time after we stuffed Christmas (but that's another whole story).

Vehicle prep was key for a beach run.  The week and a bit before xmas I spent cleaning up and treating some surface rust that was appearing in the wheel wells/guards from previous activities.  All went relatively well.

We delayed our departure a day on the account of being totally wrecked from the run around of xmas and boxing day.  So on the 28th we set off, and legged it to Morgan, and with typical Bennie tradition arrived late.  This was the moon rising late night:

Super glad I gave Ruby Scoo her first proper wash in about 2 years – we hit a patch of white dirt road that was about 40km long.  Not much fun at night.

Wikicamps (highly recommend this app!) said there was a dodgy camp in town at Morgan, we didn't like it so kept driving toward Burra where we met a roadside stop for the night.  Was pretty good for a late night stop:

Tyre pic, because I can (and I love this tread pattern offroad, not too noisy onroad either)

Ruby Scoo, Day two of the drive:

We detoured through the town of Laura to stir my sister up:

And beware of your GPS settings – we had a couple of little detours that had us playing “leap frog” with some other travellers, nice scenery anyhow but it slowed us down:

Our little detour to Laura had us drive this beautiful stretch of road through the range just SE-ish of Port Augusta:

With this view on the western side:

Lunch and fuel up in Port Augusta before things start to take a step up on the road trip, this was between Port Augusta and Iron Knob where the engine temp started to climb and our AC didn't seem to be doing much:

Things got hot, so after some searching on the road side we found something to bush mechanic up to try and get more air through the radiator.  Then we hit Kimba – apparently half way across Australia – our halfway mark was more like Penong.  Here's the marker anyway, and a giant bird:

At the general store near the big Galah we got some nice ICY COLD drinks – well worth the money!  Also, I don't remember this section of the drive being so up, down and generally boring...  At Ceduna we fuelled up as the sun went down.  We also booked into the Nullarbor Road House as we knew our mobile reception would be patchy from here on until Norseman in WA.  Basically from Penong there's no reception.

So they accepted our late night arrival time by leaving the key out for us.  Winning. Except for this:

Dusk/twilight driving is not fun mainly due to the possibility of wildlife strike which could render the vehicle useless or worse.

On our way over we passed a ute on the side of the road, half on half off.  I thought they were trying to change a tyre in the dark.  Turned out they were sleeping in swags beside their ute.  Fools!  Shortly after that we hit the edge of the Nullarbor Plain – dark night time pic:

We arrived at the road house at about 11:30 “local time”, so midnight on the east coast.  I managed to wake early enough for a pre sunrise pic of Ruby Scoo looking mighty fine!

In this pic you can see the mad max air scoop I rigged up the day before – I think it's a commodore air dam from behind the bumper.  I thought about it over night and ended up changing the setup so that it sat against the bash plate to hopefully create a low pressure pocket behind the radiator.  Talk more about this later.

Unusual things you see – spotto'd this at the road house, thought it worth sharing:

Now “the usual” Nullarbor pics:  Road Sign:

Spewing that the SA government has setup all these fences, the spot I really wanted to be was on that patch of dirt you can see above the bonnet:

^ Awesome, I'd love to spend some time just hanging out here looking at it all day.  The colour of the water near the limestone cliffs was simply amazing!

Classic sign at the above photo spot:

Sure sign it's hot when the locals are hanging out in the little bit of shade they can find!

Another Ruby Scoo pic just before we hit the WA/SA boarder:

Love these trucks – the three trailer road trains are so much more impressive, mainly because we never see them over here, these are still impressive enough for me:

At the WA SA boarder there's a major customs check for anything plant based, honey etc.  So due to a miss communication and Mrs El Freddo thinking we were at least two days away from the boarder we had to gorge ourselves on our fruit we got in Port Augusta.  We missed two Avocardos, not happy about that.  Everything gets wasted.

From here we decided to see how far we could make it into WA.  Our ultimate aim was Preston Beach to meet some good friends of ours for New Years Eve.  After Eucla the temperature rose up to the 40*C mark.  I caught it peaking at 44.3*C before Madura, we were stuck without AC running and at a speed of 100km/h as this kept the engine temp steady just above 93*C:

From this point in the images I had the camera on the wrong setting, so quite a bit of photo editing occurred to get the darkness etc right.  You'll see when I work it out...

Every few hundred kms you come across these markings on the road – and they're not pedestrian crossings!  These are the marks of the Royal Flying Doctors' emergency runways.  Some are cleared to the side, others just mowed.  Pretty cool and would be awesome to see one land, just not under the typical circumstances:

Before we left Ceduna we contacted our friends who told us we would meet a cold front once we were near them in the next couple of days.  Well, lucky for us it came early but with a ghastly head wind.  Engine was working harder but the temp dropped down to the normal operating temp of 82*C and stayed there solid.  On our last trip I got a pic at the Madura Pass.  So I got another one, but couldn't get it the same:

Back then:

Shortly after this we made it to Cocklebiddy to refuel.  Tanker at the servo:

And a bloody good sign that every Australian should pay attention to:

If you're curious about the Nullarbor Straight, it looks a lot like this most of the time:

The Western End sign is a little worse for wear from my memory of the last time I saw it in person:

Norseman was looking pretty good from here.  Near Balladonia the sun was setting and we got a bluey shot of it going down, and the long straight road ahead:

As last light was disappearing I decided we needed to use a jerry can to make the distance to Norseman where the next fuel station was.  Through the trees on the road side stop I could see a salt lake, on the return trip we saw loads of them...

After fuelling up at Norseman we headed off towards Hyden along the dirt highway.  With the amount of driving we've done on the third day concentrating on the surface of an unknown dirt road and passing a side tipper road train took it out of me and we pulled over for the night – we happened to find one of the campsites on the map and camped up there for the night:

The road trains continued every few hours through the night, but we were far enough off the road that they didn't bother us.  Day Four on the road had more dirt highway in store for us.  It was awesome:

All up we did over 300km of dirt and passed a few of these:

When you do roadworks out here you don't need to worry too much about detour arrangements – just bulldoze one around the work area:

I took a few Ruby Scoo photos again:

On the way to Hyden on a single lane sealed road half way around a bend we passed an oncoming car and got showered in glass.  Gave Mrs El Freddo the fright of her life but I knew what it was:

One of our destinations for the trip was Wave Rock, Ruby Scoo made a friend while we were at the Kiosk:

Wave Rock itself was much smaller than I envisaged from the pics I've seen, still pretty awesome if you overlook the man made wall across the top of it to save stupid:

On our way out I caught sight of another brumby, this time a targa top.

From here we had some drama with roadworks and a shot radiator about 50km from our destination.  This last 50km made the previous 3500km easy.  The planned route had a bridge out so we tried to get around it but all the GPS could find was easements across people's paddocks.  Then at a stop the engine got super hot – 120ish on the temp gauge.  Found out the top radiator channels 4, 5 and 6 had cracked at their joint with the hot side tank. 

With the water we were carrying Ruby Scoo could manage about 5 minutes of driving before getting hot again.  I carry copper seal with me and after some umming and arring I shoved it in and we drove the rest of the way to Preston Beach without an issue – and made it in time to relax and celebrate the new year.  Here's the sunset after our arrival:

While at Preston Beach what do you do?  Well, hit the beach of course!  Air down first – 18psi was my choice of lower pressure, this is how well the Kumho Road Venturer Mts bag out:

Down the beach:

The water was an awesome colour:

After a few days at Preston Beach we headed back to Perth to sort out the radiator issue.  I love how they have their passenger rail in the middle of the freeway, bus station above rail station on the overpass:

On the way I had to get a pic in the same place as I did last time I was here in 2007.  The only problem is that I can't find the original and imageshack has “dropped” the image (frustrating!).  I do have this thumbnail from google images though:

And now:

I would have liked to get back here without the gear on the roof or the roof rack, just my usual set of two roof bars, but time didn't allow.

So it was onto sorting out this radiator – ebay special is what I had to make sure it would fit to begin with – but this radiator had 28mm outlets and the only ones we could get were 42mm and the drain was in the bottom outlet which put that pipe straight into the cam cover.  Not ideal.

After hunting around we got onto a Vietnamese fella who was passionate about radiators to say the least.  He spent a day at his distributor looking for the end tanks I required but came up with nothing.  He ended up ordering a dual core copper radiator with plastic end tanks (38 or 35mm outlets) with the idea to use my existing end tanks.  But they didn't fit either so I was left with a dual core radiator that I couldn't return.  Good thing was that “Mr Myagi” charged me $15 more than the off the shelf “oval core” alloy radiator.

So we took it back to Ruby Scoo, pondered a bit, dropped it in place to see what could be done and we decided to move the whole radiator about 2 inches to the passenger's side as I had room to do that.  A couple of new holes:

Dual core N13 goodness:

Lower outlet clearance to the cam cover in the new position:

Due to the new outlet size I needed to match it to the larger EJ sized hoses.  I used my old adaptors that I made for the last setup with a Camry hose:

This hose made up the top and bottom hoses in combination with the factory EJ hoses cut down to suit too.

A new thermo fan to replace one that wasn't working so well, fitted up with the dual core I was happy with the clearance between the fans and the front of the engine:

So with the radiator sorted we headed off north to Jurien Bay.  We had a few stops along the way:

The one of the good roads:

The next day we headed towards Jurien Bay via the dunes and tried on a beach; I've been watching footage and looking at images of these tracks from the WA boys on the forums for ages, so to be cruising a very small section of them it was awesome:

Jurien Bay around the bay area, we hit the beach to try and make it through:

After some messing around it was obvious that I wasn't going to do it – tyres too skinny, car too heavy (needed a supercharger and second radiator to keep it cool!), so we decided to turn around once I was off the embankment.  Not much of a fun exercise:

Once we found one of the lost maxtrax we headed to Jurien Bay for some lunch.  I was here a few years ago on a trip with work.  The Salt and Pepper Squid was just as good as it was back then.  We made “camp” in the carpark for lunch:

While we were there this neat number rocked up, sounded awesome too:

After lunch and some rain we aired up and headed to the Pinnacles for a self guided drive tour (and loads of pics!):

Great place to visit with many spots for photos that really highlight the vehicle in the right light and angle!

After leaving the Pinnacles we headed out to find a camp site for the night, we had to head inland to find a free camp as that was our preference.  After checking out one place that looked ideal we found it had loads of ants so decided to continue on.  We found another place and used it as a back up, no less than 5 minutes later we were back there and the spot we preferred was taken by a motor home.  After a short hello they happily moved for us to pitch our tents.

The next day we headed south towards Lancelin.  We decided to see if we could hit up Wedge Island beach area but every time we tried to get to the beach it wasn't to happen.  One placy was pretty interesting with a pile of white dunes that buried anything that got in their way:

On the way out I spotted one of the locals:

On a side trip I found another off-shoot road in the scrub, we followed it for ages until it petered out to nothing, so we were forced to turn around and do it all again in the other direction.  When we hit up the main highway again it turned out that we pulled out in front of another old forum mate.  Couldn't have timed it better!  We lunched at a park in Lancelin before heading to the dunes and airing down:

This is what Lancelin has to offer – and it looks a pot load steeper from the driver's seat!

Ruby Scoo up her first dune in the area, Subarino was disappointed he couldn't do it...

Loved this area, I climbed the highest dune I could find – twice!  I didn't get in the position I wanted the first time so I “was forced” to do it again.  The aim of these pics are to give a rough 360 degree view:

Great time had even in this little space of time.  So with the crew playing host, they left it up to me to see what I wanted to do.  I pretty much said “lets cut through the guts and head north to that scrub on the dune near the beach”.  Yep, I was hitting the mark for what I wanted to do here!  This was one of my last pics of the vehicle on the dune until...:

Until I got stuck in some soft sand and stuffed my gearbox.  I was hoping it was shot driveshaft but it turned out I'd broken my precious AWD locking centre diff gearbox.  Locked I had read wheel drive, unlocked I went nowhere.

So the Ranger came in handy and got me most of the way out until I was under my own steam again, then I unlocked the centre diff and found the truth of the matter.  The decision was made to run back to Perth in rear wheel drive only.  All went well for the ~70km.

That night with Taza's help on the gearbox and Subarino in other support areas we got the box out, on the bench and in pieces to find the broken part – a snapped pinion shaft.
The next day we got on to a mate and one of his mates who did some massive MASSIVE! Favours for me and sorted out my issue.

A few days later the gearbox was back together when RSR555 and Toonga dropped over.  RSR basically took control of the rebuild in the morning, by about 6pm there was a Subaru convention at Subarino's place:

That night we had it driving again with all working well.  Hanging out with Toonga's EJ'd vortex:

The next day we headed down to Rockingham to RSR's workshop to drop the gearbox oil for the proper stuff as I was running a lightweight oil to flush out any crap that was still in the box.  First mechanic any of my vehicles have visited for work to be done:

I just missed out on a “up on the hoist” shot... anyway.

While I was there the infamous Hatchie was present, I couldn't help myself with some pics of course:

And with RSR's twin turbo converted auto Outback:

All three lined up:

On the way back to the north of Perth we stumbled across this wicked build:

And along the way Ruby Scoo achieved this little milestone:

And a location reference as to where it happened – not as glamourous as I'd hoped, but a good marker none the less:

Last night in Perth and we tidied a few things up and tried to pack some gear.  The next day we continued packing and sorting things, we got off later than we'd wanted to but still cut a lap in the middle of Perth where I got a greasy look from a bus driver when we were at a set of traffic lights beside some road works – not realising that we were in the bus section of the only lane open and the rest of the traffic was a good 15 metres behind us...  No pics of Perth as we were too busy taking it all in – such a light filled city that feels like a good version of Bendigo on steroids.

That night we decided to stop off at a Hotel/Motel and ended up in a quiet one in Southern Cross.  Before we booked in I grabbed a shot of us out the front of the Palace Hotel on the main road:

And back in 2007:

The next day we headed over to Kalgoorlie to check out the super pit.  On the way over I thought I should get a pic of one of the road train warning signs.  This one was the three trailer one, probably the first I'd seen on this trip that I can remember:

The old buildings in the main street of town were pretty awesome too and gave the place a real historic vibe.  Here's Ruby Scoo with some of the old mining equipment on display:

And the superpit itself:

There wasn't any planned blasting for the day, which was probably a good thing as I'd be inclined to hang around for it...  From here we headed to Bunnings – to grab some sausages in bread.  Gotta love Sundays and the Bunnings BBQ.  This was ideal as it made for a quick stop, quick food with no mess to clean up and only paper towels to throw out at the end.  It was a real time saver for us and highly recommend it for others too!

After leaving Kalgoorlie outside temp rose and our engine temp followed.  We did the usual trick of looking for something on the side of the road.  Mrs El_Freddo found a dodgy looking piece of air dam off some vehicle, it looked pretty floppy.  After umming and arrghing we turned around to check it out.  I went for a walk a bit up the road behind us to see if there was anything else worthwhile up there – then came back on the other side of the road where I struck gold.  Scored a hard rectangular plastic grill from a MAN truck in good condition.  That was hooked on the bash plate under the front of the subi with three cable ties and off we went.  Engine temps returned to normal even with the AC on.

Heading down to Norseman we came across some roadworks – radio channels used are posted as you approach the road works, it's pretty interesting listening in and we heard a convoy of trucks carting oversized loads requesting a smooth run through the roadworks without having to stop.

Once back on the main drag we passed a number of road trains from one or more of the mines around here.  I wouldn't mind driving something like this for a short period of time just for the fun of it, better yet would be an outback tanker roadtrain!

We also got a chance to watch a freight train roll by, sounds dull but was pretty interesting – we didn't count the carriages but there were LOTS, probably well over 100 as there were two locomotives in the middle or 2/3rds mark:

Once in Norseman (mid afternoon now) we fuelled up, grabbed a sticker or two and headed off aiming for the WA/SA border and beyond to an old historic homestead, with picture stops along the way:

On the way out of Norseman we'd barely hit the 110km/h speed zone when a road escort convoy moved us off the road to let them through:

Pretty cool to see – I got these pics and the blokes forgot that anyone with a CB can listen in as they referred to us as a couple of brown eyes.  When I mentioned this to them they went silent pretty quick.

Next stop was Balladonia for fuel as this was most likely our last fuel stop before Border Village.  This place was also near where the sky lab crashed down:

From here it was drive and photos...  At the western end of the Nullarbor Straight:

Same spot with some interesting light settings provided by Mother Nature herself – no editing:

Eastern End:

Eucla 2007:

and in 2016 (midnightish) trying to remember how the pic in 2007 was...

The spare jerry can went in to get us to Border Village at this point.  We'd hoped we'd make it in time to Madura for fuel but they were closed.  Fuelled up, grabbed some pics with Roey II:

After driving further than expected, we finally found the turn off to the Koonalda Homestead, then aired down due to the insanely bumpy road, travelled carefully at 30km/h we finally made it to the old homestead.  Once the tent etc was sorted I got my chance at some night photos which was something I had been looking forward to.  We arrived here at 1:30am WA time, 4am SA time.  The WA arrival time was much more respectable.  Got some good night shots:

Early morning sunrise:

Later that morning (I was going to say next morning) the heat got us up about an hour, maybe two after sunrise.  We moved the car into a patch of shade, packed up, had breakfast and met a fella from Geraldton called Grant.  He was wondering if we were headed out to the Koonalda Cave.  Our plan was to have a poke around, then hit the road and get some better pics on the Bight.  Since we had a second vehicle we decided we'd go and check it out.  Before we left a second vehicle rocked up – a forester.  They weren't going to head out to the cave but they caught us up on the way out there.

One of the many tracks out there:

Every homestead and road house on the old Eyre Highway apparently had a graveyard of vehicles that didn't make it.  I could spend hours poking around in this area:

“Fill 'er up mate”

^  When we were here last time there were two pumps and they both looked in much better condition that the one's that left is in now.

We drove to our next photo opp with the Bight where we aired up and took a pile of pics:

I can't get over how amazing these cliffs are and the colour of the ocean as you look from the cliffs southwards.  I also don't have the right lens, angle or desired location for Ruby Scoo to get the pic I'm really after.

After leaving here outside temps hit 44 degrees, Ruby Scoo ran like a dream with AC on full tilt at 110km/h.  Mrs El Freddo complained that she was too cold at one point in the direct airstream.  We stopped off at the Nullarbor Roadhouse for fuel before jetting off again towards Ceduna.  Near the eastern end of the cliffs we came across the remnants of what was previously a tyre expoded all over the road.  I even made comment to Mrs El Freddo about there being an unhappy truckie at his next fuel stop.  A couple of hundred metres up the road was the lines of the rim running on the bitumen.  Coming over the crest of the hill we saw a caravan stopped before the crest of the next hill – oddly enough the lines followed them off the side of the road.

So we pulled over to help them out.  Single axle caravan, range rover bottle jack (mine) and the jack was hard work.  Turned out they'd been to Margret River and had a dozen cases of wine in the caravan headed back to Sydney.  They were an older couple and there was no way they were able to change the tyre.  So I did it for them.  The rim was destroyed as you could imagine.

Once we were done they left and I repacked our car with our tools etc.  They wanted to leave us with a case of wine for our efforts which we declined – they insisted so I pointed at my car and asked where would I put it?

Before we left there was an old cassette tape on the side of the road which I thought looked cool – I had unfortunately disturbed it a little with moving around between the vehicles, it still looks good though:

Thinking that the grey nomads would be doing about 80km/h with their huge load and now no spare for the van I was sure we'd catch them up before long.  About 250km later we caught them up probably due to a couple of big loads that held some vehicles up until they could pass.  These guys were still hoofing along happily just under 110km/h.  I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, we had a late lunch/early dinner in Penong, then fuelled up in Ceduna.  We were hoping to make it to the eastern side of Port Augusta – but where to camp had not been decided.  On this return trip it seemed that most of what we travelled at night we did during the day and vise versa with exception to the Nullarbor Plain area from the WA/SA border which was good for us.  Back in Kimba:

We ended up camping less than 30km west of Iron Knob on a secluded roadside rest stop, again late at night but not as late as the night before.  Back on the road the next day we came across another escorted oversized load convoy:

At around this time I'd made contact with another forum and facebook friend that I was yet to meet in person – Brumby Boy.  We made a small detour after fuelling up in Port Augusta, back through that awesome road through the range out to where he was working on one of his boss's properties:

It was a good meet/catch up/check out each other's rides we've read so much about.  Then back to the drive – I decided to head back to the main highway, via that same road again through the ranges, it was much better not having to watch engine temp like a hawk this time!  Then it was south to Adelaide hoping to catch up with some family – turned out everyone was away.  So we got straight to business cutting a lap in the Adelaide CBD and promptly getting stuck in their peak hour.  One the way out we grabbed a couple of pizzas and fuelled up. 

One of our last pics of the trip was our shadow cast by the setting sun as we approached a town near Keith.  Also around this area we saw the aftermath of a crash where a family managed to put a hired winnebago into some of the safety cameras at Kiki.  I don't know how they did it but they got it up on the other side of the armco railing with the front wheels in the air on the road side of the railing where the whole vehicle should have been.  It didn't look like they'd rolled it either.

Next we fuelled up in Boarder Town before trying for “home” in Bendigo.  We swapped drivers regularly and pulled over for a few hours to sleep at one point.  Mrs El Freddo finished off the drive and we arrived at 7am in Benders.

Awesome trip, I kind of wish we were still cutting a lap around this big country of ours, with a few trips darting inland... Maybe one day but unfortunately I doubt it'll be in Ruby Scoo.

A huge thanks goes to Subarino and Mrs Subarino for putting us up during our visit, and we're forever grateful for the extra time and patience from you while Ruby Scoo was “in for repairs”.
Vidler for his welding skills and his links to mates (Rob) who also helped out (read dug me out of a hole); RSR555 for his time, contacts, building/directing and the final check over Ruby Scoo.  Toonga for hanging out with RSR555 and I for the day – and being our wheels.
Taza for towing me out of Lancelin, lending me jacks, stands etc and for your help with the gearbox removal.

I'm sure there are others that I've forgotten to mention – everyone's efforts are greatly appreciated!

And I enjoyed catching up with old mates and meeting new ones too.

Good times!



Victoria / Strathbogie Ranges Solo Trip Report
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:25:58 AM »
It's about time I got around to posting about my last (and first for 2015) offroad trip, this one being my first solo trip in "unknown territory" that's longer than just a day trip.

It started out with packing at home and getting Ruby Scoo sorted for the trip - new gear such a Uniden CB given to me by a good mate Venom (ausubaru forum).  Packing the gear in a different manner took a little longer than expected, plus there were expected storms, this is what we saw from our backyard:

I decided after our later than expected departure time that we would head off after dark and have a bit of a solo night 4wd session - which was totally awesome.  We fuelled up at Elmore Shell servo enroute to the Stratbogie Ranges.  Start point was the northern end of Lightening Ridge.  A few hundred metres up we aired down to about 20psi.  There was one particularly challenging section of eroded granitic rock that was a decent amount of fun at that time of night before making camp at 2am - this pic is prior to making camp for the night:

The next day was a bit of exploring - not knowing what sort of tracks to expect, was hoping for some challenging stuff but the maoity of it could've been done in 2wd :(

Impressive boulder covered in moss on Lightening Ridge Tk:

We checked out a lookout on this track but it wasn't as spectacular as anticipated :(

Following some "old" logging tracks that were very tame (and disappointing) we came across this impressive gum over the road:

In this area we noted quite a number of trees that had been burnt out in two or more directions, creating a large number of tree like this one:

I can't remember the location off the top of my head, but there was an awesome lookout that was occupied by a bunch of motorcyclists that we weren't waiting for them to leave, so we headed to the top of the peak of this place:

An interesting seasonally closed track caught our attention - and from the DSE signs about closing the track it made sense after curiosity got the better of us - there's no way we would have passed this, or the next section that would've been impassable unless you ran a full blown tonka toy anyway:

[img}[/img]http://It was quite a shock to come across the pine plantation that had been cut down for production:

And more after trying to navigate our way through the continually changing maze of the common pine plantation:

After working it out we found ourselves at camp after having a sneak peek of what was to come tomorrow - the climb up Lincoln Ridge Tk (from memory).  We setup camp before a thunderstorm ran in:

Before camp:

Mid setup:

Final setup - rear bar swing arms got in the way since adding the rear lights not allowing me to remove them:

It rained heavily that night, we managed to get a fire going amongst it :D

Once we got a fire going it was time to chill out - a bit of mucking around due to boredom and his is the end result:

The next camp from us sent two 4wd's up later that night - they both got stuck so we decided to give it a miss the next morning and opted for the easy way up in the same direction since we were a one vehicle show.

Mt Bugaree was our aim - a particular rock that was vehicle accessible, here are the results:

On our way down from the rock we stumbled across this local - not every day you get to see a little fella like this:

On our way out we stopped by some good friends then headed home.  For a double over nighter it was a great trip that marked one year offroad since second gear was lost on the Dedick Tk - one that's on the list ;)

Upon arrival home this is how Ruby Scoo presented:

I'm looking forward to the next offroad adventure - hopefully a few more challenges next time.  Strathbogies was still very enjoyable with plenty of tracks to check out next time!



General Subaru / how to work out low range ratio?
« on: May 31, 2015, 02:50:05 PM »

I'm trying to get my head around how to work out what low range I got in a gearbox.

Do I divide the drive gear tooth count by the driven gear tooth count for both sides of the low range then multiply these two numbers?


Do I divide the driven gear tooth count by drive gear tooth count for both sides of the low range then multiply these two numbers?

I've done two calculations but I think I've got it wrong as one time I get 1.447:1 and if I do it differently I get 1.196 :/

Something tells me that I have the 1.196:1 low range.  I was hoping I'd have the half decent low range to sell on and recoup some of the cost of the gearbox :(



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