I picked up a car a couple of days ago. It was a bit of a hassle finding something to buy but I got there eventually.
Originally I was planning to buy a Land Rover Perentie. The Aussie army have been selling off their fleet to replace with G-Wagons. Every month they have an online auction in Sydney and from time to time in the other cities too. I thought I got lucky when I found that the month that I returned home there was an auction in Melbourne. I was expecting that I’d have to fly up to Sydney to buy one that was sold there. I went down and checked out the cars they had and picked out a nice one to buy. I was happy to pay top dollar so I didn’t choose a backup. A week later when the auction was drawing to a close the prices for them all went up to about two or three thousand dollars more than what they were going for in Sydney. I had $14,000 budgeted to get a car and the price went up to about $12,000. After paying the tax, duty, registration and getting it roadworthy plus anything else that came up, it was out of my price range. It was a shame because having watched six months of auctions in Sydney, the most expensive car I saw sell cost $10,500.
So then I started looking around at some other things. First a Mitsubishi Triton Ute. They didn’t seem too crash hot. They aren’t much of a 4x4 but I could get something fairly new for about $7,000.
After that I almost bought a 1988 Hilux Ute. It was a long way away. A six hour drive or something so before I went there I paid to have it checked out by a mechanic. He looked at it and found that it was loosing some compression in the engine which is a sign of wear. Nothing unexpected in a car so old. I called another mechanic and told him about it and he said I was crazy to even consider it. It was old and parts were expensive and if it needs an engine rebuild I’d be looking at about $9,000. It was probably an exaggeration but none-the-less, he was adamant that I should look for something else. I took his advise and passed on that one.
I decided that a Triton would be good enough so I went to look at another one. From what I could tell it drove well and looked pretty good. I had another mechanic look at it and he reckoned that it had a lot of little things wrong but in particular, there was a oil leak at the bottom of the engine. He said that could mean that the turbo was pushing air in past the piston rings and letting oil out of the seals. If that is the case then it could be an expensive fix. He could run more tests but I didn’t really want to pay for the chance that it might be alright. I offered $5,000 if they get that checked and fixed. They didn’t accept the offer.
Then the last car that I ended up buying is my 1999 Hilux Ute. It’s been fully decked out with most of the gear I would need while I’m living in it. I checked it out and it seemed good. I wanted to get it with a roadworthy but he wouldn’t do it. It looked to be really well looked after and I knew that I was at a massive disadvantage. If the car was good, someone else who could better check the state of the car would buy it. If it was bad then they wouldn’t buy it and I would be left to spend money having a mechanic tell me what’s wrong with it. I decided to take my chance and gave him $10,000. I figured that if it turned out to be no good, I’d get a lot of my money back if I just sold the accessories. I’ve taken it for a roadworthy. It needs a little bit of work but nothing to drastic. It should come out under a thousand which is what I was expecting to pay.
This week I’ve put a bed and some extra boxes in it. I’ve worked out what all the switches do. I’ve learned how dual-battery and the water tank and all the lights work. I still need to work out how to engage the front diff and double-check that the dual-battery thing is working as I expect.
Over the weekend I’m going to put in an inverter so I can charge my laptop and have some electricity. I’m thinking about lining the inside of the canopy to help prevent condensation forming on the walls on cold nights. Once that’s all done, I think I should be about ready to hit the road and start my adventures.