Builds Refurbishing a 1985 HJ75 Trakka Bushman

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Well, I have owned this 1985 HJ75 for just about a year and have started the process of building it into a functional, durable, and liveable vehicle. Before dropping the cash on the build-out, I wanted a thorough understanding of the vehicle dynamics and my interaction with it, thus, the year-long wait. In that time I used a temporary build to get an idea of what I don't like and addressed a few maintenance items; routine things like a brand new H55F gearbox and split transfer case. Nothing too exciting.

In the last eleven months, Olivia and I took a hard look at what we need/want out of the Troopy over the next 700,000 miles of our travels. The first (or maybe last?) goal is to get the vehicle to the million-mile mark. This goal will be the base from which we make each decision throughout the build. If a product/mod doesn't have a have the durability to make a significant dent on our milage quota we will do our best to find a better option. After that, our aim is to do this build once. Cutting corners now, in an attempt to finish sooner, is only going to cost more time and money in the long run. Obviously there will be items that simply won't handle incredibly high mileage and the number of years it takes us to get there.

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The more tangible aspects of this build will be ergonomics and necessity. We want to build a vehicle that has enough features to maintain comfortable living, but avoid unnecessary accessories. There are a lot of cool gadgets on the market for the Troop Carrier platform so I might struggle a little. Every dollar we spend though is going to be a financial setback, delaying the date we are able to quit our jobs and travel.

In our travels, we have identified the areas in need of improvements and the modifications we would like to make: Improved sound deadening, rust repair, kitchenette, storage bench, fix A/C & HVAC ducting, suspension, strengthen pop-top, and reduce dust infiltration. Essentially, increase comfort and replace deteriorated components. The first step in the process was to strip the entire interior floor of the vehicle.

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I removed the temporary kitchenette, rolled up the cargo mat, unbolted the front seats, and got to work peeling up the adhesive sound deading already installed. Olivia and I thought about leaving the current sound mat for about two seconds, but the off-gassing and melted foam put an end to that. Earlier this spring we met up with Tim and Kelsey of @dirtsunrise for a beer and to swap a few stories. As they were touring us around their pop-top 80 series the mentioned they had used a product called Lizard Skin on their floor pan. The company makes two spray-on products, a sound deadener, and a ceramic thermal insulator.

We were quickly sold on the product. We needed something that would work on our floor pan/walls, in addition to the underside of our hood. The 12H-T contributes a significant amount of the driving noise, so it will be one of our primary focuses.

I am currently in the process of removing the off-brand Dynamat which has been quite a pain. The heat of summer has melted the mat into a goo reminiscent of cake batter. We are hoping to have the floor cleaned by the end of this weekend so we can repair interior rust early next week. Eight gallons of Lizard Skin (4 sound, 4 thermal) are en route to our house and once the rust is addressed we will prep for paint.

I'll update this thread along the way, but you can follow the process more closely on IG @gdayjambo and at gdayjambo.com

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umpqua

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Hey Cody, it’s Rodney in the troopy from Hood. Following along and good luck with the build. Mine is in mud; Portland Troopy build. Let me know if I can help in any way.
 
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Hey Cody, it’s Rodney in the troopy from Hood. Following along and good luck with the build. Mine is in mud; Portland Troopy build. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Hey Rodney, thanks for the offer. Tons of good info in your build thread, so I'll definitely be referencing that.
 
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This truck is such a classic survivor and I love it. The Trakka conversion is icing on the cake. Can’t wait to see where you guys take it. Looking forward to following along. :cheers:
 
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This truck is such a classic survivor and I love it. The Trakka conversion is icing on the cake. Can’t wait to see where you guys take it. Looking forward to following along. :cheers:

We are so keen on the Trakka, absolutely love the geometry of it. Not looking forward to the day it needs to be removed to address the rust though. Congrats on the purchase of your Troopy! Still remember picking ours up like it was yesterday.
 
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Nice pics. I randomly stumbled upon your IG a while back and enjoy your photos and experiences with it.
I'm literally in the exact same rebuild stages as your Troopy, and i'm looking forward to see how your truck comes out.
 

John Young

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Great troopy pal! And best wishes getting to 1M. Did you happen to notice what the off brand sound deadening was? I have been using a product off Amazon called from Noico. I've been happy with it in my 100, but I need to do the troopy too, so I'd very much like to know what you are pulling out.

And if it is not too intrusive, could you expand on your idea of quitting your jobs and hitting the road? How much of a 'nest egg' are you targeting? I am reminded of an old favorite movie of mine, Lost in America.
 
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c2dfj45

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You may want to have a look at sound deadening products from Second Skin Audio. I have a pretty detailed write up in my build thread on our latest 79(the Troopy too but to a much lesser extent). You may want to lay down some sound deadner(like what you are removing now) then top it with the Lizard Skin products since you already purchased it. That butyl layer on top of the metal and under the Lizard Skin makes a big difference. Do the inner doors, do the inner quarters with both the sound deadener and the Lizard Skin.....do as much as you can. Fire wall too. It's a lot of work to get it in all the places you need it but sound and heat will find it's way to the places that aren't coated.

The mass loaded sound deadener sheets are great for the front floor boards in these trucks. A little tricky to make work with the vinyl flooring(getting it to lay back down nicely) but that stuff REALLY stops noise. Amazing.
 
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Great troopy pal! And best wishes getting to 1M. Did you happen to notice what the off brand sound deadening was? I have been using a product off Amazon called from Noico. I've been happy with it in my 100, but I need to do the troopy too, so I'd very much like to know what you are pulling out.

And if it is not too intrusive, could you expand on your idea of quitting your jobs and hitting the road? How much of a 'nest egg' are you targeting? I am reminded of an old favorite movie of mine, Lost in America.
Noico is the product we were pulling up. Didn't mind it so much when it was down, but pulling it up was quite terrible. I don't know that I would ever use an adhesive sound mat again. As far as quitting our jobs, we air aiming to have $500K invested. That will be split roughly 50/50 between long-term retirement accounts and short term investments. Once we quit, our goal is to live on less than $25K a year for the two of us. Ideally, we will continue to work jobs we enjoy. For me, that will be photography and writing. That additional income from work will allow us to keep more money invested. To do it in five years is going to be a pretty big stretch and require incredibly efficient use of our money.
 
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You may want to have a look at sound deadening products from Second Skin Audio. I have a pretty detailed write up in my build thread on our latest 79(the Troopy too but to a much lesser extent). You may want to lay down some sound deadner(like what you are removing now) then top it with the Lizard Skin products since you already purchased it. That butyl layer on top of the metal and under the Lizard Skin makes a big difference. Do the inner doors, do the inner quarters with both the sound deadener and the Lizard Skin.....do as much as you can. Fire wall too. It's a lot of work to get it in all the places you need it but sound and heat will find it's way to the places that aren't coated.

The mass loaded sound deadener sheets are great for the front floor boards in these trucks. A little tricky to make work with the vinyl flooring(getting it to lay back down nicely) but that stuff REALLY stops noise. Amazing.
After this experience, I don't know that I would ever put an adhesive layer in a vehicle again. It sounds like when the previous owner put the Noico down there wasn't much rust, now there is a fair bit of pitting and a handful of holes. The Lizard Skin will prevent any accumulation of moisture between the insulation and metal. The cargo area will have the vinyl flooring and buildout to dampen noise as well, and in the cockpit, I will likely put some form of non-adhesive mass noise dampener down. Then the stock floor mat on top.
 
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Making a bit of headway in prepping for spraying on the Lizard Skin. Most of the floor has been cleaned up and brushed with a brass wheel. Hoping to start patching the holes early next week. Gotta learn to weld first haha

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Still need to get the walls cleaned up and figure out what to do with the large vents on the back right panel. We are planning to install an Espar D2 diesel heater, but I don't think the current vent setup is going to be the best setup. One step at a time.

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c2dfj45

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After this experience, I don't know that I would ever put an adhesive layer in a vehicle again. It sounds like when the previous owner put the Noico down there wasn't much rust, now there is a fair bit of pitting and a handful of holes. The Lizard Skin will prevent any accumulation of moisture between the insulation and metal. The cargo area will have the vinyl flooring and buildout to dampen noise as well, and in the cockpit, I will likely put some form of non-adhesive mass noise dampener down. Then the stock floor mat on top.

If you do it right, there should be no issue putting down an adhesive sound deadener first. All about the prep of that rust....which is the biggest challenge generally. I'm not sure I've ever found rust under OEM sound deadener that we have removed. Always perfect under them with rust everywhere else.

The mass loaded layer is really impressive stuff. Huge difference in my trucks that have that and the ones that don't. Lot of work to install but worth it. Remember that for it to work, it needs to not have any gaps....has to be full coverage.
 

umpqua

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Noico is the product we were pulling up. Didn't mind it so much when it was down, but pulling it up was quite terrible. I don't know that I would ever use an adhesive sound mat again. As far as quitting our jobs, we air aiming to have $500K invested. That will be split roughly 50/50 between long-term retirement accounts and short term investments. Once we quit, our goal is to live on less than $25K a year for the two of us. Ideally, we will continue to work jobs we enjoy. For me, that will be photography and writing. That additional income from work will allow us to keep more money invested. To do it in five years is going to be a pretty big stretch and require incredibly efficient use of our money.
The money I’ve read about traveling is $75 per day for everything...so you’re not far off. You’re young, just the 3 of you. Live the dream....
 
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Before I tackled the welding myself, I wanted to get a quote from a place in town. Mostly to make sure doing the repair myself was the best use of time/money. The shop quote me $4,500, not including the rain gutter/door frame rust or the shaping of the rear body panel. I'm sure by the time all the body rust was gone we'd easily surpass $10k. With that knowledge, I set to learning how to weld! Thankfully my parents have a nice shop with welding equipment that made the process easier.
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I practiced for about 6 hours over two days before getting started on the cargo area of the Troopy. The fresh 18 gauge sheet metal was easy to melt on its own, but the rusty bits liked to disappear in a flash. Shaping and welding in new sheet metal was fairly straightforward, but the smaller pinholes required a fair bit of finesse.
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In general, the cargo area was a simple job. I had plenty of space to work and there wasn't much shaping of the new metal. I also finished welding our "secret compartment in". Whoever initially installed it thought tacking it in and sealing it with silicone was good enough despite a few 1/4" gaps. After everything was patched and cleaned up I threw a coat of Coraseal on all the exposed metal and called it a day.
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The next day I finished the drivers footwell. It was a little tricky to get everything shapped and lined up properly and welding in such a tight space was a challenge. This is the last rust repair we will do for a few weeks. I need to remove the windows before fixing anything else.
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Yesterday we got started on the application of the Lizard Skin sound control. It took awhile to get everything prepped: removing the remaining greasy/oily areas, tapping, and a light sanding of smooth areas. When doing the sound control and ceramic spray, the sound control needs to be sprayed on first and allowed to cure for 24-36hrs. We did the first coat and a second about two hours later.
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We tested the spray on the transmission cover and front fuel sender port. I was a little surprised at the spray pattern, it was more of a spitting action than an even spray. It was a pretty easy process and getting the tight spots sprayed wasn't much of an issue.

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We are really impressed with the results of the first coat. Feels nice to have a solid looking cargo floor. Despite looking like a bed liner the stuff wouldn't hold up to the abuse of heavy loads scraping on it. I think it would hold up well to standard use under a carpet or soft floor mat. I will finish spraying the underside of the hood this evening and tomorrow we will spray the two ceramic coats. After that, We will be installing Lifeproof flooring. This weekend will be a good test of the product as we drive the length of the Oregon coastal highway. Gonna be a bit of a push to finish step in time.
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