I’ve bought a car…..

18 05 2012

No, you’re not reading it wrong, I did really buy a car.  It’s a ute (pickup for all you Yanks…), and the main reason I bought it is that it was a steal.  So cheap, I’m almost embarrassed to report it…

A year or so ago, friends of ours’ neighbour apparently came home from work in the ute and said to his wife “the aircon’s not working’.  So he parked it outside, and bought a new one.  Such is the wasteful state of our modern society it appears.  I became aware of it of course, but he wanted $800 for it, a fair price too, and I didn’t have $800 lying around, so I ignored it.  As did the owner.  It sat there, all forlorn, accumulating grime from stuff falling out of trees above it, looking more and more like no one loved it.  Eventually, I think, the neighbours must’ve complained about the poor old thing bringing property values in the street down, and he told our friends he was going to have it towed away.  Or I could have it for $200.  So of course, said friends called me to let me know.

Armed with jumper leads, we drove the Citroen up to the ute, and it started first kick…..  the aircon fan belt had come off the pulley, and was rubbing on the water pump, causing some alarming smoke (at least to the women present at this event!).  My multi meter told me the battery was totally stuffed, refusing all charge from the obviously operating alternator.  Unfazed, I jumped in and drove it down the road and back, and thought, “definitely worth a couple of hundred bucks”…

The owner arrived home by then, and said it would need new shock absorbers, as it “wallowed” along as one drove it, and the windscreen would need replacing to pass roadworthy certification, and it did look terrible after sitting there for a year or so.  A deal was struck regardless, and I took it home a couple of days later.

I always buy belts for my mowers at the local hardware store.  They have every conceivable size hanging from their ceiling in a most amazingly organised fashion.  Bring your belt, any belt, and they’ll measure it and match it.  Never failed me.  I ended up with THREE new fan belts (they were all stuffed) for nineteen bucks!  When proper automotive ones cost about $25 a pop!  It’s not like there’s anything wrong with mower belts, they are rated heat and oil resistant, and surely, spinning under a mower with wet grass and rocks and sticks and snakes under there can’t do them any good, and they still last……

One of the headlights was also broken and full of water, and the local wreckers supplied a perfectly good one with all bulbs attached for $55.  A quick oil change and some new wiper blades, and really, anything else was just cosmetic……  everywhere I delved, the car was very serviceable indeed, with brake pads only 25% worn, a brand new air cleaner element in place, and seemingly good enough shock absorbers too.  I spoke to the mechanic who was going to do the roadworthy, and he said he wouldn’t be concerned about the windscreen so long as there weren’t any big stars inside my field of vision.  So it stayed.  All I had left to do was replace the battery, and I got a budget one from Supercheap Autos for $58.  It’s only got 6 months warranty, but it’ll do until I recover from what is a large purchase for us….

The tray looked seriously rusted out, but as I started peeling back the layers, I found far more red oxide paint than rust.  Another mate of mine who also owns a ute happened to visit at this stage, and told me how he restored his rusty tray with Penetrol and then painted it with Hammercoat paint…. neither of which I had ever heard of before.  A hundred bucks later, and admittedly many hours of work as well, it looks a million bucks.  I’m really kicking myself now for not taking “before” photos just so I could show you all the difference.

It sailed through the roadworthy, and the “wallowing” all but disappeared when I inflated the tyres properly.  It’s now road registered, the entire project cost me $800……. and I’ve been told I could easily get $3500 for it!  I’m still pinching myself…..

No more carrying hay bales in the boot of the Citroen, or carrying long lengths of timber and step ladders through its cabin.  It won’t be driven that much I expect, I have no idea what fuel consumption I can manage to squeeze out of it either at this stage, won’t know until I fill it up and do a proper mileage run…  In the long run though, I have serious plans for this vehicle; I want to one day convert it to electric, just like this Ford Courier (same car, different badge)…. then I can use all that excess solar power for battery charging!

One Tonner EV Ute Conversion

Electric Motor in Engine Bay

Under Tray Battery Storage

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5 responses

30 01 2014
Lachlan

Great job. What is the motor out of ? I have a Ford Courier 1986 and you have now tempted me. Had thought of a few ways to do this.

30 01 2014
mikestasse

I haven’t actually done this yet…… I have to drive the ute to Tamania before attempting the conversion…

Start here… http://evworks.com.au/

23 08 2014
Another Silver Bullet Jams in the Breach……. | Damn the Matrix

[…] – the timing of the collapse allowing of course – to eventually convert my trusty ute to electric drive once I get it safely to Tasmania.  Now you may ask why I would do that if I […]

15 04 2015
Well……. we’ve started. | Damn the Matrix

[…] here on DTM for almost two weeks.  I have in fact done the unimaginable: my son and I drove the trusty old ute and a tonne of our treasures to Tasmania in preparation for the inevitable sale of Mon Abri in […]

18 05 2016
When it rains it pours….. | Damn the Matrix

[…] These Nickel iron batteries were originally designed over 100 years ago to be used in electric vehicles, and now it’s got me thinking about doing this too if I ever get around to converting one of my utes to EV status. […]

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