Andy's Hilix - Agent orange
As told by Andy
My Partner Sonya and I saw the ute on Gumtree up in Echuca, and thought it looked like a good opportunity to work on another car together. Having recently finished my circuit car and upgrading her KE30 with a new engine, the bug had bitten, and we bought the truck over the phone. The previous owner had used it as a farm hack for about 10 years, and it was last registered in 2006, so at least it wasn’t totally neglected. For the past 4 years it had been sitting in a hay shed, collecting dust, and spiders… lots of spiders.
A friend of mine who happened to be holidaying up by the Murray was good enough to take his tandem trailer away with him, and after I covered his fuel costs coming home, and with slab of beer tucked under his arm, the ute (and all the spiders) was under my carport. It sat there for not longer than an hour until I decided I wanted to see if it would run. I grabbed a spare battery and turned the key. It cranked really slowly at first, and after I fitted a new set of battery terminals and a temporary earth strap, I tipped another thimble of fuel in the carby and gave it another kick. It ran. It also smoked up the street, clearly it had been sitting unloved and many of the seals had dried out. I replaced all the ignition parts, and found an old OEM cartridge filter for it. Replaced the leaky rocker cover gasket and hit it with the pressure washer, again, and again, and again! The car had no gears, so I set about fixing that first. I sourced a new clutch and master cylinder, and slave, and bled the thing until I had a good pedal. I poured a few litres of fuel in the tank, and we took it for a victory lap around the court! Was a great feeling steering it, trying to work out the "4 on the tree" all the gears worked, and under its own power, it drove…. But didn’t stop too well So next I got onto to all the other safety items. New ball joints, steering rack bushes and arms, and I sourced a set of knuckles from an RN40 Hilux with Disc Brakes. It was such an easy upgrade, and with a new master cylinder, it works so well
Trying to work out what to do with the styling took us a while, but we decided to stick with the low, rat, with a bit of polish on the old paint, and its worked really well. Inside we re-trimmed and restored the old bench seat, and cleaned up the original vinyl floor, and I sourced some really old rubber Toyota Floor mats. I wanted to keep an oem feel to it, so we restored the grille and polish some bits and pieces. I sourced new indicators, rear lights and interior dome light. We cleaned and pained the sun visors, and opted to keep the original AM radio. It all adds to the experience. lowered it 4" in the back and found Corona RT104 springs worked well in the front allowing me to keep everything captive. There is tonnes of travel in the rear which means its super practical too. We’ve picked up heaps of odds and sods in it, even its own future replacement engine, a Celica GT Twin Cam 2lt 18rg. The front lip is made from a 2012 Kluger Rear Bumper trim piece, and the Fender mirrors are the original items. Inside Sonya made up the beads and I found a Mexican blanket, from Mexico, that had the right colours to work with the OEM orange and white roof. We love this thing, and its got heaps of scope for growth with us, so stay tuned!
Andy and Sonya.
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