Mitsubishi FH140 restoration pt 8

Mitsubishi FH140 restoration pt 8 Mitsubishi FH140 restoration pt 8
Mitsubishi FH140 restoration pt 8 Mitsubishi FH140 restoration pt 8

The next chapter in Lyndsay Whittle’s epic restoration project…

Looking back on last month’s story and the list I made of things still to be done before I could give the job the final sign off, I had to have a little chuckle to myself as nearly a half of the things on the list had a backstory attached to them.

I’d made a list that consisted of 10 bullet points ranging from giving the paintwork a cut and polish to applying signwriting and fitting an air horn.

I really needed to have the horn fitted and working in time for a job I had lined up to take an off-roader to Hamilton for certification. We wouldn’t want to operate a vehicle that wasn’t up to COF standards, would we?

For some unknown reason, I had been procrastinating over getting this seemingly simple job out of the way.

But the appointment with the Waikato-based certifier was looming overhead, and the day finally dawned when I simply had to climb under the truck to find out exactly where and how I was going to mount the horn.

It took me about 10 seconds to see the real reason why I’d been putting the job off. Having spent countless hours over the past few months working underneath the vehicle, cleaning and de-rusting every nook and cranny, I thought I had well and truly finished that part of the process.

But there it was all in front of me—the most difficult part of the job had yet to be dealt with. It was the one metre or so of the chassis forward of the front axle that was all coated with a mixture of tar, grit, and a splattering of God knows what from the truck’s previous life as a roadwork vehicle.

All of this mess, most probably, could have remained in place had it not have been for the surface rust that was appearing amidst the proliferation of other unmentionables that were accumulating therein. While it is fair to say that any rust present had escaped the watchful eye of the vehicle inspectors over the past three COF checks the truck has endured while in my ownership, I couldn’t ignore it, especially given the attention that I had paid to the restoration so far.

So there was only one thing to do. Just bite the bullet and get stuck in with wire brushes (some the size of toothbrushes) along with a little bit of bead blasting in a few of the tight spots, and pretty soon, it was time to fit the air horn in the nick of time to get on the road to Hamilton.

As is most often the case, the thing I had been putting off turned out to be not half as bad as I’d imagined it would be.

The trip to Hamilton went well, with my mate Dean’s Nissan Patrol flying through its certification without even having to be unloaded from the truck.

Dean had been dreading the welding certifier’s critique of the off-roader as much as I’d dreaded the descaling of the chassis, which just goes to prove that there’s a tip in not overthinking an issue.

Restoration _FH140_3

From my own point of view, the trip provided me with a bit of nostalgia by reminding me of the many round trips I had made between 1978 and 1993 in a TK Bedford, a Dodge, and a vast selection of Japanese trucks I’ve owned, including a Mitsubishi that wasn’t too dissimilar from the one we are talking about here.

It was interesting to reflect on how in 1978, the trip was made on a mixture of 10 percent motorway and 90 percent two-lane country roads, whereas, today, the percentage of roads versus motorways has more or less been inverted.

Anyway, I digress, so let’s get back to the restoration. At this point in time, although I’d managed to get the truck painted and given it a cut and polish (which incidentally I was quite pleased with, given that it was my first attempt at painting anything other than a house), I still hadn’t got around to organising the signwriting.

I think I’ve mentioned before that when I decided on a colour scheme for the truck, I wanted to maintain some kind of uniformity with the green and black colour scheme of the K Bedford I restored a year or so ago.

I was hoping to strike a happy medium with the livery and at the same time not having the 1991 Mitsubishi end up looking like something out of the 1950s.

The signwriting also had to look similar to the artwork on the Bedford while still having a modicum of commercial value in the real world of 2016 and beyond. I have to say that I’m reasonably happy with the result we’ve achieved. The other slight difference in the signwriting was that this time around I decided to go with vinyl lettering as opposed to the traditional signwriting on the Bedford.

There were several reasons behind the decision. Firstly, the vinyl option was less than a third of the price of the traditional method, which is including the cost of the professional application (as was the case with the Bedford, the signage was done by Keith Ellis of Osmand Signs). Also, keeping with the look and age of the Misti, I felt that vinyl lettering was a better option than traditional signwriting. And to top it off, you have to look really hard to see the difference even when the two trucks are placed side by side.

While I’m going to leave it till the wrap-up story next month to share some of those backstories that go with the to-do list, there’s one tale that I feel I must share with you, as it will go to prove that you don’t have to be smart to be able to restore vehicles.

If you’ve been following the story to date, you’ll recall how in last month’s issue, I’d misplaced four bumper bolts and that I had to find some temporary replacements to hold the bumper on until I found the originals.

Well, the bottom line is that it’s looking more likely that the temporary bolts will remain permanent simply because some goober has managed to lose an item consisting of four component parts in an area that wouldn’t measure more than a total 50sqmt.

Incredible as it sounds, I’ve had several people to help me look for the things and one might have expected that we’d find at least one of the bolts. Sadly that isn’t the case.

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to report on a positive outcome in the shakedown in part 10 next month.

Maybe the answer to this conundrum should also be the tip of the month: "Don’t overthink things."

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