Builds Aussie HZJ78 in Canada: "Ozzi" (simple build) (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jun 16, 2020
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So, back on track and writing about Ozzi and what we did in those precious two weeks...
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Came back home to a few Amazon packages with things I would need.

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Loved that Kilmat was made in Russia... haha.

First, cleaned up the hack-job.

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I debated and considered replacing the receptacle for a US-spec, but ultimately decided against it because: a) I would struggle to find one large enough to cover this existing hole; b) I would probably have to drill new holes. Instead, I ordered a female plug and cannibalized an existing heavy-duty extension cord.

Australia, meet Canada.

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Ozzi was overdue for a wash, his last having been in Australia...

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We made our way south to pick up the storage/sleeping system we had imagined.

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First sight - oops, missing some details...

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Our friend who made the set is an amazing carpenter and great guy, but sometimes a bit aloof... he forgot about the covers that were supposed to be over the wheel wells ("well, you can't put anything there anyways, right?!").

Still, the kit looked very good...


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But - would it fit?


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The answer was: yes, like a glove.

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All packed up (complete with a console intended for his brother), we headed for a beer...


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A dramatic evening to head home...

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First test - two mattresses purchased at Costco. Unbelievably, they are the perfect size - both lengthwise and widthwise - for the Troopy. Quite comfortable, foldable - and inexpensive. Sometimes, things are just meant to be.

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Walked into the garage one morning to be greeted by a ghost... the Troopy's past will haunt me again repeatedly.

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Here I am working on the floor cutout. First I used some cardboard and a piece of wood to trace the opening - used a vinyl flooring trick from YouTube. Cut out the cardboard, placed it against the wheel well - if it fit, great, if not, trim some corners or start again. Then I took some scrap coin flooring (we cut the length already) and tested whether the method worked.

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It wasn't easy, especially the care required to keep the exacto knife from running away or tilting. After both of the "tests" were flush I used those to draw out the openings on the actual piece of floor. Didn't get any pictures of the process as I was simply focused on doing it once but right. Oh, it also doesn't help the Troopy is slightly wider at the back than in the front.

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Decided to remove the existing flooring of course, but as I mentioned above I wanted to keep the plywood in place. This required some ingenuity as the areas where glue was laid were higher than the areas where I had unscrewed the fiberglass cases.

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In any case, I was very satisfied with the final product after laying and gluing (also a somewhat challenging process).

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The colour is great, too - matches with everything else - Toyota grey.
 
Joined
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Oil change was next on the list (apparently it had one before leaving Brisbane, but apparently is not enough of a guarantee). Toyota filter (8T version) came from some industrial oversupply store in Thunder Bay... $10 (Canadian). Afraid my next ones won't be able to compete with this one on price...

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Out came the Aussie one...

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Back to work on the tinting. Ghosts of the ambulance present themselves again...

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Installed the SONY head unit. Very happy with the look and design - though I am apparently a millennial, I love having a volume knob and despise fiddling too much with awful UIs. I also enjoy how it doesn't stand out too much from the dash. The not-so-good: the screen itself, which can be hard to see in bright sun.

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Floor shot with one of the cases in place - the nice thing is one person can easily remove or install them, and the coin floor means they don't slide or rattle at all.

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With ambulance lighting (the fluorescent lights aren't pleasant, but have proven to be very effective):

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Went to pick up the panels from powder coating. I had debated painting them grey or another colour, but the "furniture white" doesn't stand out too much from Toyota 045 paint.

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This meant I finally had the chance to try fitting them... and thus my project for the next days presented itself. All the curves and the hand-edit I had made in LibreCAD fit great, but the holes didn't all line up, and some were completely unnecessary. PSA - if you use the Australian CAD drawings, check all the dimensions before sending off to the machine shop.

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Inserted a rivnut (another project - Prime to the rescue, since I needed to order a different tool when the first one inevitably stripped) to check whether I could place them to the side... No dice.

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In the end, I did manage to place them in corners and force the bolts in. Ultimately, the rivnuts are only aluminum and I can always replace them if I need to remove the panels...

I went off to work putting the sound deadening on the back of the panels. Perhaps this isn't the usual placement, but I was going to have to put foam tape between the panels and the body to mitigate rattling in any case. Foam tape from 3M cost practically as much as the sound deadening... easy choice.

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In the end, between the panels and the deadening, the Troopy is incredibly quiet... incomparable to without panels at all (obviously) but significantly quieter even compared with the "original" ambulance interior.
 
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In the meantime, got the email that the OEM headlights were ready to pick up from the local Toyota dealer. I agree with members on here who have said this is probably the best-value original Toyota part. Amazingly solid and quality product. I think I will order another set to have as spares in case they decide to raise the price or discontinue product...

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Installation was easy, just a matter of figuring out where you want the relays to be screwed in (found two mounts behind the battery which were unused, but to get at them I had to remove both batteries) and also routing the cable to the RHS headlight.
 
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Next up - replacing the horn. I think I mentioned earlier that the original horn was incredibly anemic and felt like a danger on the road (big car but small horn). Nice and shiny - and much louder.

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Oh hello...

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The seal from the extra door was loose, so I 3M double-taped it together for an interim fix.

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Our friend came to Calgary in the meantime with the missing "flaps" and a pneumatic stapler. He broke the rear window of his van slinging the stapler into it... as I said, a bit aloof. :p

So I can now fully present the storage/sleeping system - as I said from the start, basic, but practical and still aesthetically pleasing, all without "compromising" the original Troopy.

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Details - installed a very nice and unintrusive dashcam from 70mai (China's Apple...).

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And I went to sleep in the back... Please tell me I'm not the only one who has slept in the garage, and not because I was kicked out of the house...

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Slept very well, and spent the next day preparing to leave for our trip. This was August 8, and I had to leave to Europe (for an indeterminate time) on August 13.

Celebrated in the evening with some Australian wine.

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The next morning, we headed out after a quick breakfast. A beautiful, typically Albertan, sunny summer day.

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Finally off the road, out of cell service. Peace. Quiet. No Covid.

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Joined
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why not take it with you?
If you mean "with you to Europe", then the simple answer is I like having it here in Canada... I have a house in Europe but a car (like this, especially) is next to pointless in a very populated place... in Canada, on the other hand. ;) Also, I am back here and hopefully next summer will be able to stay for a month or so.
 

D21FJ60

I'll get to it
Joined
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If you mean "with you to Europe", then the simple answer is I like having it here in Canada... I have a house in Europe but a car (like this, especially) is next to pointless in a very populated place... in Canada, on the other hand. ;) Also, I am back here and hopefully next summer will be able to stay for a month or so.
Got lazy and didn't finish the second half of my thought- yes to Europe.
Understandable about the dense population.
So you'll have to wait 7 months to drive it for a month....a modern tragedy :crybaby:
 
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I forgot to mention that somewhere in the above process I also reglued the headliner. After the heat of Australia and simply 20 years, it was coming loose in some places. Additionally, the two holes for the siren mount had been patched up from the inside before the roof had been resprayed... More about that in a moment. Though I didn't get any pictures of it, I patched up that cut in the headliner and a few holes in the vinyl floor at some stage, too.

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Anyways, the semi-peeling didn't really glue it on properly but it isn't sagging nearly as much as it was - the material is probably already deformed, so if I ever get a full body respray then of course I'll redo the headliner. In the meantime, it looks fine.

By the way, this is a picture of (more or less) how the HZJ78 looked before it was sold. I think it was repainted before being moved to another government agency (based on documents I found in the glovebox). So, first off at Queensland Ambulance Service in Beaudesert, then at some Emergency Response unit in Brisbane. Obviously not used much throughout...

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And before somebody points out the obvious - yes, that's a HZJ75. But the bullbar and the door on the RHS, and the location of the siren mount match up completely. Also there are scratch marks where the "AMBULANCE" decals have been peeled off on Ozzi, and the phantoms of the stickers on the rear windows are also identical. The recommended air pressure stickers on the arches were still visible when I first received it, too.
Pretty awesome to see how Ozzi looked before he came to Canada. :)

As an aside, the siren holes seem to have been filled with epoxy or something... seems professionally done so I don't have a strong urge to redo everything ASAP.
 
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OK, back to the road.
It was a beautiful day, and a beautiful drive. 0 complaints, the ride was oh-so-smooth after airing down.

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I had a bunch of Rec Sites on my map, and one I wanted to see was the first we came across. The trail leading to it was a ways off the main road.

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It quickly became obvious we would spend the night here... A beautiful, secluded, spot on a small lake, with a jetty and even a rowboat - with oars. We were the only people here - and there were very few entries in the logbook.

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Relatively warm water in the lake:

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Here's the reason these roads are well-maintained:

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I really enjoyed seeing the logging truck come 'round the bend, it reminded me of encountering trucks on the ice roads up North at night.

Lots more beautiful spots, and too many pictures to share.

Dropped down to the riverbed - a nice spot but too early in the day to call it "concluded".

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Here's Whiteswan lake - a provincial park with (paid) campgrounds and lots of families enjoying the weather.

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The "fog" is from the gravel road that runs parallel to the lake.

After a nice drive and stopping off at some rec sites along the way (most seemed to be mainly used for hunting later in the year), we made it to the "end of the road", Maiyuk Creek.

Enjoying our first moments at the new spot with some cold watermelon...

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It was truly awe-inspiring.

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The view from "bed": fireweed, new growth forest (lots of forest fires previously), and the Rocky Mountains.

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Had some olives from Australia that I brought with me on one of my final pre-Covid trips (not on purpose, they sort of survived the journey).

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The next morning, the phantoms of the ambulance were out in full force...

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It was raining, so we slept in a little bit, and when we decided the rain didn't really want to let up, we left. Of course, moments later it stopped raining, but we headed up a hillside on a logging track that seemed to go up to a decent elevation...
 

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