News - May 2011


31 May / 1 Jun 2011. Land Cruiser repaired. The repairs, servicing and maintenance on the Land Cruiser have now been completed. The quality of the work, the attention to detail and the "personal touch" by JB's Auto Repairs, R&D Off-Road and Power-Flow were exceptional. The efforts of Johann Meyer, Chris Ingram and Roddy Newsham are acknowledged - they transformed the Land Cruiser (battered by 120,000 kms of harsh off-road conditions) into a "new" vehicle that is now even better equipped for the conditions than before. Details of the repairs, upgrades and improvements will be presented shortly. At this time, however, the Desert Lion Project would like thank Adolf Huester, Johann Meyer, Chris Ingram and the Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa for their efforts and support.

The Desert Lion Project received additional support and assistance from many sources during the long stay in Cape Town, and these are acknowledged. In particular, the Project would like to thank Daan du Plessis (for transport & accommodation in Gordon's Bay), Adolf Huester (for a visit to Jhb), Eben Human (Die Burger), Dr Etienne Bruwer, Dr Freddie Senekal, Marnette Meyer, Elzette du Preez (De Grendel Wineries), Bernd & Frauke Sander, Jonathan Tee, Tony Kruger (Snap-On) & the iStore at V&A Waterfront. *Moment*

Final repairs to the front brakes
The "NEW" Land Cruiser
JB Meyer (jr), P Stander & Johann Meyer
The team at JB's Auto Repairs
Johann Meyer giving the vehicle a final touch
Sunset in Gordon's Bay
The view from De Grendel this afternoon during lunch with Eben Human, Elzette du Preez & Etienne Bruwer

22 May 2011. Gordon's Bay. Whilst the Land Cruiser is undergoing major repairs & maintenance in Cape Town, accommodation in Gordon's Bay and the use of a VW Beetle for transportation have kindly been provided by Dr. Daan du Plessis (see images below). The Desert Lion Project would like to thank Dr. du Plessis, as well as Dr Etienne Bruwer, Stephanus du Plessis and Frank Kamanga for their support.

20 May 2011. Service Update. After two weeks of intensive work on the Land Cruiser by Johann Meyer and JB Meyer (jnr) the major service and preventative maintenance is nearing completion. Johann Meyer reported surprisingly little wear and tear on the vehicle when considering the 120,000 km of hard off-road conditions. Apart from the rear differential pinion oil seal, there were no oil leaks, but due to the salty conditions along the Skeleton Coast, the Cruiser was badly rusted. The repairs and maintenance included the following: clutch overhaul, new engine rear main oil seal & gearbox input shaft oil seal, skim & balance of fly-wheel & clutch pressure plate, overhaul front prop-shaft & universal joints, balance prop-shaft, new right linkage stabiliser bracket, replace all stabiliser bushes, front control-arm bushes, rear pinion oil seal & fan viscous coupling oil, replace load-box bolts, fuel lines & breather hoses. Preventative maintenance included the alternator (new bearings, brush holder, rectifier & regulator) and the starter (new solenoid contacts & plunger, lubricate & service all reduction gears). Two new head-light assemblies (sponsored by an anonymous donor) were fitted.

The work by JB's Auto Repairs will be completed during the coming week. Thereafter the Cruiser will go to Roddy Newsham at Power Flow in Bellville (for a new exhaust system), Glen Andrews at SCS Tyres in Bellville (for wheel alignment) and to Chris Ingram at R&D Off-Road in Brackenfell (for new heavy-duty front & rear OME suspension & shock absorbers, repairs to the dual battery system & winch, and, depending on the availability of funds, a second-hand AlloCab canopy).

Johann inspecting the rusted control arm bolts
Balancing of the fly-wheel & new clutch pressureplate
Due to the rust, removing the front control arm bolts (normally a 2-hr job) was problematic and took more than 7 hours. Photos by JB Meyer (jnr).

18 May 2011. Land Cruiser Progress. The repairs and servicing of the vehicle at JB's Auto Repairs is progressing well. The Cruiser is receiving a lot of personal attention from Johann Meyer and his staff. A brief meeting was held with Tony Kruger from Snap-On Tools to purchase specialised tools to assist with repairs in the field.

13 May 2011. Land Cruiser Repairs. The field vehicle has been undergoing "major surgery" at JB's Auto Repairs. Johann Meyer and his staff are working hard on the Land Cruiser. They are attending to all the wear-and-tear problems, but are also doing a lot of preventative maintenance (e.g. by replacing the clutch, overhauling the starter & alternator, etc.).

The workshop of JB's Auto Repairs
The Land Cruiser being dismantled
Maintenance & repairs on the field vehicle
The gearbox and worn clutch-plate

9 May 2011. 4-day Journey. Unprecedented rainfall in the southern Namib Desert, flooding rivers, muddy roads and some mechanical problems resulted in a long and difficult journey to Cape Town, that lasted four days. The Land Cruiser finally arrived safely at JB Auto Repairs at 12:00 on 9 May 2011. *Moment*

Gigantic thunderstorms between Walvis Bay and Solitaire.
Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn
The Kuiseb River in flood
A vehicle trapped by the floods
Successful river crossing
Blow-out at Maltehohe
Arriving in Cape Town

3 May 2011. JB Auto Repairs. During the recent visit by the Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa, the problems experienced with the field vehicle during the past few months were discussed at length with Adolf Huester, Johann Meyer and the other LCCSA members. A decision was made to drive the vehicle to Cape Town for repairs and a major service by JB's Auto Repairs. After almost three years of hard work under difficult conditions, the Land Cruiser is in need of a good service and personal attention from the Land Cruiser Whisperer. As a result, the regular updates to this website will only resume upon return to the Desert (between 15 & 20 May 2011).

2 May 2011. Rivers. The Uniab River is still flowing and during the past two weeks floodwaters of all three major rivers in the south of the Skeleton Coast Park (the Koigab, Huab & Ugab) reached the ocean.

1 May 2011. Sponsorships. Several valuable sponsorships were received during the past week. Acknowledgements have been listed under Sponsors. *Moment*