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.
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.
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