Update 1: Accidental upgrade
Ron’s trusty old steed loses a rear leg in the Vic High Country, prompting a thorough replacement of worn parts.
THE OLD Patrol let me down recently, both literally and figuratively. We were coming home from an enjoyable weekend up in the Vic High Country and had just got onto the Crooked River Road, when with hardly any warning the rear wheel on the Patrol parted company with the rest of the vehicle. Talk about being dumped.
I could have repaired it myself as I had spare wheel studs onboard, but being inherently lazy and so close to civilisation I opted for a recovery and a repair job, and the boys at ARB Bairnsdale helped us out at a moment’s notice.
Then it was back to Outback 4WD in Bayswater, where they replaced all the studs on all the wheels. By all accounts studs can stretch after years of hard work and changing rims and, sooner or later, they break; and if you don’t do the wheel nuts up correctly, wheels can part company. Patrols, it seems, are more liable to do that than some other vehicles; I guess I was lucky I was on a major dirt road and not halfway up Billy Goat Bluff.
It’s been a while since the old girl has been in the mag, and we’ve done a bit of preventative maintenance over the past few months, not the least of which was a new rear diff housing. I had cracked the original back at about the 200K mark, and I had it welded more than once between then and the 400K the Patrol has now done. With another welding job required, I decided it was best to replace it.
Around the same time I had Outback 4WD replace all the rubbers and bushes on trailing arms and the like, as well as fit braided brake lines to all the brakes. To help with the cooling of the radiator we fitted a GQ fan and drive hub; the fans shift more air than a standard GU fan but make more noise in the process.
I replaced the light bar that had been sitting on top of my ARB bullbar with a more discreet Lightforce single-row light bar fitted with combo spot and flood LEDs. It might be smaller and draw less power, but the light output is amazing. Wanting to improve the standard headlights, I opted for a replacement Narva Ultima LED globes which are a direct replacement for halogen globes.
As many of you would know you can easily opt for a high-performance halogen globe and, while they throw a better light, you sacrifice longevity. With the new LED light you get a bright white light coupled to a stated life of 30,000 hours. I’d be more than happy with a third of that.
Now with better lights, new studs so the wheels don’t come off, and with a full service and oil change, the Patrol is ready to hit the road and the bush tracks once more
4x4 Shed Log 1: 2001 Nissan Patrol
Current mileage: 393,000km
Date acquired: 2001
Mileage since last update: 35,000km
Average fuel consumption: 17L/100km
Update 2: Box fresh
Ron’s Patrol cops a well-earned service, with a rebuilt gearbox and new transfer box among the changes.
Over the past few months the 2001 Nissan Patrol has been having a holiday on the south coast of NSW and up in the high country of 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.
4x4 gear: Heavy duty clutch kits explained
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.
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.
4x4 How to: Regearing an LC70's gearbox
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.
The complete ownership adventure on 4x4 Shed
4x4 Shed Log 2: 2001 Nissan Patrol
Current mileage: 413,000km
Mileage since last update: 20,000km
Average fuel consumption: 16L-17L/100km