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Thread: The Tracey's Patrol (AKA "Thunderbird")

  1. #1
    Seriously Hooked
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    The Tracey's Patrol (AKA "Thunderbird")

    Well this has been a long time love affair, as I have owned my GU wagon from when I bought it brand new in '98. The mods were fairly modest up until a couple of years ago, but have since come thick and fast, making the old Patrol a bit more capable, and a bit more comfortable. Whilst it's never been a real powerhouse on the highway when fully loaded and towing, get it off the beat'n track and into low range and it shines.

    I'm currently in the final stages of a suspension lift, which has cost a little more than I had first thought it would, but I'm more than happy with the results. When people say lifting a 4by over 3" gets a bit complicated, believe me they are right.

    My Patrol is mainly used for touring, during which time it is normally towing a heavy camper trailer, and as I said it struggles a bit on the highway. I've added a DP chip (massive improvement) and 3" exhaust to try and get as much out of her as I can.

    It's got all the usual bits and pieces bolted to the exterior, and is setup with storage, fridge and extra batteries in the back.

    EXTERIOR
    • TJM steel winch bar and winch cradle
    • Outback Accessories (OL) rear bar
    • 8000lb Warn winch and nylon fairlead rollers
    • Albright Winch Solenoid
    • ARB full length steel roof rack
    • Safari snorkel
    • Rallye 2000 spot lights
    • Bolsy Engineering rock sliders
    • Hayman Reese HD towbar


    INTERIOR
    • GME UHF radio
    • GME sideband CB radio
    • Dept of Interior roof console
    • Modified and cut down Milford cargo barrier
    • Homemade rear storage box
    • 1 X 120 ah Century AGM battery
    • ARB compressor
    • 47ltr ARB fridge


    IN CAR ENTERTAINMENT
    • Alpine CDE-121E CD/MP3/WMA/AAC Receiver


    UNDER THE HOOD
    • 2.8 ltr 6 cylinder diesel
    • DP chipped
    • 3" Mandrel bent exhaust with hi-flow muffler
    • EGR blocked
    • Intercooler butterfly removed
    • ARB hi-flow compressor
    • ARB front air locker
    • Excedy Sports Tuff clutch and solid flywheel


    SUSPENSION
    • Rear
      - Dobinson 4" HD coils
      - Polyair Bags
      - Ultimate Suspension Long Travel shocks
      - Superior Engineering Sway-bar Extensions
      - Superior Engineering Brake Proportioning Valve bracket
    • Front
      - Dobinson 4" HD coils
      - Ultimate Suspension Long Travel shocks
      - Superior Engineering Sway-bar Extensions


    WHEELS AND TYRES
    • BFG Mud-terrains 305/70R16 on black Dynamic D-slot rims.





  2. #2
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    Bar Work

    One of the first and most important things I fitted to my Patrol was a steel TJM T15 winch bar. I bought it on special as floor stock from a 4by accessory store, and promptly took it home and fitted it. It was a pretty easy fitup with the hardest part getting it to sit even and flat on the front of the vehicle. It's listed as being a winch bar, but it's really a winch compatible bar, as it needs a winch mounting plate mounted in behind it to mount the winch to, as the winch does not connect directly to the bullbar, but is mounted on its' own bracket in behind the bar.



    The Patrol went for years then without any other bar work, until another good buy came along in the form of a steel full length ARB roofrack, at $500 and in brand new condition this was a steel or is that steal. Whether steel is the best thing for a roof rack to be made out of, will probably cause some debate, but I liked the idea of the strength it offered but didn't like the idea of the weight it imposed. It's frigg'n heavy, trust me! The rack is now the permanent home to my spare tyre, until I work out something for it to swing on, on the rear bar.



    I then got a little bit more adventurous with the places I was taking the old bus, and with a couple of bruises inflicted on the genuine aluminium side steps it was time to invest in a little bit of more serious sill protection. After reading a lot of good things about Bolsy Engineering side step I ordered a set, however Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were these side steps. With a lot of emails, text messages and phone calls the new sliders were eventually delivered to my door and fitted without too many dramas.

    These have been good protection for the sills on some of the tougher tracks, but have still flexed enough for the support brackets to slightly touch the sills and leave a slight mark, but i'm sure without them the damage would have been much worse.



    Having lasted over 11 years in perfect condition, the plastic rear bumper had had a sheltered life, until one slightly miscalculated reversing manoeuvre in the Watagans. The result, a badly gravel rashed passenger corner piece and a couple of broken mounting clips. The decision was made to upgrade the rear protection, and after much searching and researching I settled on an Outback Accessories steel rear bar from Opposite Lock, which I bought without the swing-away arms to make the purchase price a little more reasonable (at $700.00/arm this made the price not so attractive). Once again I fitted the bar at home, with a little bit of cursing on the final aligning stage. Geez I hate being such a perfectionist when it comes to getting this stuff looking right.


  3. #3
    Forum Master Tour'n's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist Gary, thats one very capable looking Patrol mate

  4. #4
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    It was good to get it out on the weekend and finally test out the new suspension. Penny and I were pretty impressed with how it performed, as was the owner of the adventure park we were at also.

  5. #5
    Leading Hand Touring Rich's Avatar
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    Gaz having seen your Patrol in the flesh it sure is a credit to you and how your build up process has taken shape.

    Cheers
    Rich

  6. #6
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    Squeezing a bit more power out of the little 2.8.

    When I bought my Patrol I was going from a 2H powered 60 series, and I thought the little 2.8 went pretty well in comparison. However after a bit of driving I soon realised that this new vehicle suffered badly from turbo lag when trying to take off on even the slightest of inclines. I put up with this problem for the first few years the vehicle was covered by warranty, and then when this warranty period run out, made a trip down to Berrima Diesel Service and had a chip or power module fitted. At the time, the company was claiming figures of 25-30% increase in power, and driving it after the chip was fitted I had no reason to doubt these claims. It went like a rocket (maybe a slow rocket) when the turbo spooled up, and even improved on the take offs on inclines as well, with the turbo getting spinning a few hundred RPM earlier in the rev range. This chip from what I've read is the original DP chip which now is very popular for diesel upgrades in the modern four wheel drives, however wasn't a simple plug and play type fitting like its modern variant.







    Whilst the vehicle was at Berrima I also had an adaptor plate fitted to the original fuel filter housing so that CAV/Delphi fuel filters could be used. I've recently had problems with using Ryco filters (R2132P) with this new adaptor and have reverted to buying genuine Delphi filter after reading that the Ryco ones aren't really designed for diesel use. The Ryco filters appeared to not let enough diesel to flow through, and sucked the priming plunger closed and caused the motor to miss.



    This was the end of the motor mods for many years, however as the years rolled around the weight of the added bits to the Patrol also increased, and so I invested in a 3" mandrel bent aluminised steel exhaust, with a 3" dump pipe, and a hi-flow muffler from Scott's Rods Exhausts. This was delivered to my door, and was relatively easy to fit, once I worked out a couple of tricks with the turbo studs. With the new exhaust fitted, there was another slight improvement in the rev range which the turbo began to get going, however I didn't really notice much increase in power which was a little disappointing, but it did give the exhaust a great sound (some may argue) with the whistle from the turbo very noticeable now.




  7. #7
    Leading Hand Touring Rich's Avatar
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    I have just re-read this thread Gary of your love affair with your GU, Do you think there will always a place in your driveway for it?

    In regards to your mods and improvements is there anything else you would have done differently or maybe not have done at all?

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    I research pretty well before buying any mods for the Patrol, so pretty much everything I've got I've been happy with.

    I've got ideas of adding a bit more fuel capacity, but it's not labelled very urgent at this stage.

    The jury is still out on the lift I have just put in, we love the ride and the clearance we've gained, but have still got a few things to buy before we can call it complete.

    Don't think I'll have it forever, but can't see anything new to buy at the moment which I like the look of, so she'll have to last a bit longer yet.

  9. #9
    Mexican Jeep Tourist tcf's Avatar
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    Very nice build to date Gary. You blokes with patrols on here have certainly set them up very nicely for touring and getaways.

    I'd be interested to hear if the 'grenade' name is true or just a myth? As you have likely driven more places than a lot of other people. Have you had to deal with anything or take extra precautions with respect to this? I'm looking at gauges for mine currently as I've been scared off by a few issues I've heard about jeeps 2.8L CRD.

  10. #10
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    The 2.8ltr six cylinder diesels doesn't seem to have the problems the 3.0ltr four cylinder ones are rumoured to have, but they do suffer from the harmonic balancer coming loose and destroying the end on the crank shaft (very important to loctite the retaining bolt when changing timing belt), overheating problems associated with cracked heads, and the usual timing belt tensioner problems which seems to be common on a lot of models of Patrols.

    Having said all that, I haven't really had any of these problems with mine, although it does get a little hot under the collar when towing in hilly country.

    I've blocked the EGR system on mine (to stop the buildup of soot in the intake manifold), and removed the blocking butterfly in the intercooler pipe (to avoid any chance of improper blocking of the intake system).

    I'd like to add a catch-can to the pipe from the PCV to stop that heavy oil saturated air being sucked back into the intake system also.

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