Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Introduction to Ruby

“Ruby” (named for obvious reasons!) is a 2012 VDJ76R Landcruiser Wagon. Ruby was purchased brand new with the intention of turning her into a vehicle capable of taking us safely and reliably on our adventure. For those of you that are familiar with the Toyota 70 series of vehicles (which also includes the Troop Carrier, Single and Dual Cab Ute variants) you will know that they are usually associated with the worksites, farms and mines of Australia.  All 70 Series Landcruisers come with the same 4.5L V8 engine (also shared in twin turbo configuration with the 200 series) and a 5 speed manual gearbox. Anyone who has ridden in one usually describes them as basic and no frills. This was perfect for us when we were looking for a platform to build into a vehicle for long range remote touring.

Ruby is a GXL grade 76 Series meaning she came standard with “luxuries” like power windows, carpeted floors and central locking (all of which are either not available or options on the lower spec 70 series family!). Air conditioning one the other hand remains an “option” for all 70 series Landcruisers (a box which both Jess and I were very quick to tick on the order form!). On the options list (though now standard for all GXL 70’s) were electrically actuated diff locks, which we included to improve the off-road performance (more about our thoughts on this in a later post). We also ordered the vehicle with a genuine Toyota tow bar and stone guards. We chose not to include other genuine Toyota Accessories as they did not suit our needs as closely as many of the aftermarket options available.

After ordering Ruby we settled in for the long wait. From the time of placing the order to picking the vehicle up, there was nearly a 6 month wait. It was almost 4 months after the car was ordered until the build commenced. This gave us the time to privately sell our existing vehicle (a 2008 SR Hilux) privately, which substantially increased the price we got for the car over trading it in with Toyota.

When the time came to finally pick Ruby up, it must be said that the experience was less than fun. The exact date for collection changed several times, due to the tow bar no being available (they had 6 months to get that bit right!) and other minor issues. The dealer we used was 250km from where we live meaning it was an effort to get there and pick it up, my Mum kindly volunteered to drive me to the dealer to collect the car. Once we arrived, there was yet more minor delays while last minute details were arranged, but finally the keys were handed over and it was time to take Ruby home.

Unfortunately this was not to be. 2km out of town and accelerating up past 80km/hr for the first time, a loud whistling noise started coming from the front end of the car. Pulling over to investigate, nothing obvious was wrong, but something clearly wasn’t right. So we turned around and took the vehicle back to the dealer. After 4 hours of searching (and some initial disbelief from the head of the maintenance department that there was anything wrong at all) it was finally discovered that the windscreen was not sealed properly, and that when the car was accelerated past 80kmph that a small amount of air was being forced in though the seals, creating the whistling sound! As it was late in the day the car had to stay overnight to let the sealant/glue cure before it could be driven!
Eventually the next day, we did manage to get Ruby home, and then the real fun of building her up as we wanted began!
Ruby when she was picked up from Toyota
Posted by Mat

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