by John Rooth
People are always asking me - OK, so Chooka mentioned that his barber asked him - how I manage to keep Milo going when everybody knows the punishment the old girl's had. I mean, surely enough's enough, the old girl must be more worn out than a pub doormat by now.
Hmm, talking pub doormats, I'm thinking the last thing Chooka's barber will ever wear out is scissors. Poor bugger must just wave a comb and snippers above my old mate's head until he figures he's earnt all of his $15 I reckon. I mean, the last thing happening up there is hair.
It's because Loretta, the Chookstar's long-suffering wife, is slightly shorter than a 44-gallon drum and my old mate is six foot something in his thongs. If she could see that he was as bald as a Coot she would have let him know by now for sure.
Mostly because nobody else is game. Wow, I'd never dream of mentioning his lack of fuzz to anybody, except maybe a hundred thousand or so people through this article anyway. If you know him, just giggle a bit but don't say anything OK? Let the poor bloke think he's still part Wooky.
So while it's a tad hard this side of a row of carrots to do anything about replacing Chooka's melon mat, it's not that hard to keep an old truck flush in new parts. I've been lucky with Milo because they only made a few billion Toyota 40s which means that as we've started to run out of good old second-hand bits we've got Terrain Tamer filling the gaps with even better stuff again!
On a recent LowRange DVD film trip Milo snapped one hub and blew an axle, yet the big surprise was that the first call I made - to my old mate Allan Gray from TT - saw him show up with not just new axles but new hubs too!
But with a high performance machine like Milo - hmm, maybe I shouldn't have had prawns for lunch, that line's definitely not sounding right - it's all about the quality of the work that goes into fitting those new parts too. That, and very careful servicing.
Years ago an old mate of mine and a very experienced 4wd mechanic Roger Vickory said it's possible to keep any truck going as long as you can throw enough new parts in.
I was doubting Milo's ability to come back after a particularly tough Tassie trip had chewed out wheel bearings and brakes and then she'd spat all the body mounts before the trip home too. RV was right though, because that was over ten years ago and we're still going strong.
Actually stronger than ever, thanks to Roo Systems. My mate Hasbeen's crew have been handling all the servicing on Milo since Gleno convinced me about eight years ago to up the power and fit an intercooler too.
At that stage, with a fairly fresh rebuilt Terrain Tamer motor - carefully balanced and blue printed and assembled down in Melbourne while I hung around being useless - I didn't want to go messing around adding more power. See, as a lifelong hot rodder of anything that moves, I know the golden rule: add more horsepower and you subtract reliability.
Yep, except when Roo Systems steps in and does the job, the golden rule gets wiped by knowledge and expertise. First, they took my family 80 Series with a 1HZ from 47hp to 142hp - a jump in power so great it needed slotted discs and green pads to slow her down - and three years later, running better than ever I sold it to my brother in law Kev the Butcher, a man known for being able to break railway lines in his bare hands when he's trying to be gentle. He's still driving laps of the country in it all these years later.
So I trusted them with Milo and we went from 67hp - after the balance and blueprint - to 114hp with better fuel economy too. That's about a kerzillion hard off-road miles ago and Milo's going harder than ever. The 2H in my Mustard truck, good for a whopping 38hp and almost capable of taking on a Morry Minor with two cracked cylinders in a hill climb, got the Roo treatment straight away.
She's been making 82hp ever since and that includes a Simpson trip in 50 degree heat towing a two tonne trailer. And the Handbrake! Phew, yet the radiator didn't lose a drop.
It's no wonder I let Roo Systems loose on the new 76 then, taking it from a tad under 180hp at the wheel to over 270hp with just an exhaust pipe and some computer trickery. The bloody thing flies! This time there wasn't any waiting period though, I picked her up from Cousins and drove straight to Banyo!
So now you know why I let Wayne and Aaron and the lads play with Milo in between trips - because she always comes home better for it! I still like to do the odd bit of work on her myself, although these days that's mostly restricted to playing panel beater and spray painter - and I do mean 'playing' as anyone who's seen my hammer welding and roller work will tell you.
Which brings me back to Chooka Morris, my old mate and one of the best beaters in the business, when you can get him to put down his darts anyway. He should have been here by now. We're due down the Mudflats Hotel in about an hour for the first series of warm-ups for the Olympic Darts Training schedule.
Does anybody know when the Olympics are? Does anybody care? If they had an Olympics in diesel tuning then maybe I'd get excited, because I'd know the winning team!
Nah, maybe we'll just go do some jug training and hope old Pelican Pete the Publican remembers to bung out a few free plates of party pies. He forgot last Thursday, which meant nobody had any idea what time it was and we all wound up copping an earful from the various women in our lives for getting home late. Or something.
OK people, cop you later then!