Restoration Project: FGK Morris—Part 35

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Deals on Wheels writer Lyndsay Whittle makes it to the testing station, hoping he's one restoration piece away from finishing

We finally made it to the testing station, stopping off along the way to get the old girl weighed for a tare weight, which came in at 2160kg. However, it might as well have been three-and-a-half tonnes empty for all the good the lower weight did me.

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A bird’s-eye view

The testing station had made a big thing about getting the truck weighed for a tare, as they told me there was no point in bringing it in without weighing it first.

It just so happened that there’s a weigh station just down the road from the testing station, so it made sense to leave the weigh-in part of the exercise until the day I was satisfied that I’d done all I could to get the truck up to the best standard possible so as to not get handed a list as long as my arm of things that needed rectifying.

I didn’t in my wildest dreams think I’d drive the truck over the pit and come out the other end with a truck that was road legal, which was just as well because I’m still waiting for final approval.

It’s fair to say that the majority of the list of items to remedy wasn’t all that onerous, save the technicalities as to whether the truck should be tested as a light vehicle or a heavy unit. I’d put four new tyres on the truck and made sure all the usual items such as lights, indicators, and wipers were operating, so I knew I’d be all right there, although, they knocked me on headlight adjustment being too low, which was an easy fix.

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The inspector also didn’t like the left-hand tie rod end and one of the universal joints, so I robbed the former from one of my parts trucks and was able to source the latter from a driveshaft firm called Drive In in New Lynn, Auckland.

Drive In was exceedingly helpful and knew their stuff. I highly recommend them for anyone who needs driveline gear repaired.

There were a few other minor items to attend to, such as a couple of split pins I’d missed and a leak in the fuel pump that I wasn’t able to find.

The big problem was the matter of the manufacturer’s GVM, which the boffins at VTNZ had discovered from archives was 3680kg—a mere 160kg above the three-and-a-half tonne threshold where a light vehicle by some form of magic becomes a heavy vehicle.

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The interior completed at last

As I’d agreed to leave the truck with the testing guys for a few days while they found out for certain whether or not they could test it as a light vehicle or not, I told them to go ahead and test it as heavy in the meantime, just so we could get the ball rolling (this is a decision I later regretted making).

It turns out that when the truck went over the brake machine, it tested okay for the front brakes but was inadequate on the rear brakes. Evidently, if it was being tested as a light truck, the rear brakes would’ve been given a pass but not so for a heavy truck.

I’ve since adjusted the rear brakes up a notch or two and I’ll have to wait until I go back for a recheck to find out how well I’ve done.

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Hub caps now fitted

I reckon I can attend to all the mechanical stuff, but the one thing I have no control over is the requirement for all welding on a heavy vehicle to be signed-off under an LT400 by a heavy-vehicle certifying engineer, as opposed to the light vehicle engineer who oversaw the welding on the cab.

At the time of writing, the jury’s still out on whether I can get the CVM downgraded to 3499kg by NZTA or not. An application for the downgrade has been made, but I’m told I’m unlikely to get a definitive answer before this article goes to print.

I should explain that I was able to justify the application by virtue of the fact that the truck’s manufacturer’s GVM is within a few percentage points of the magical 3500kg and that the crane that’s fitted to the truck is for show purposes only and effectively stops the truck from being loaded to capacity anyway.

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One very austere dash

In essence, I can only hope that logic is going to prevail. All this drama brought me to reflect on the K Bedford I restored and covered over a 15-month series of article in Deals on Wheels back in 2014/15.

Getting the K on the road was made a whole lot more-simple because I accepted the fact that even though its GVM comes in at a similarly-small amount over the 3500kg threshold because it has a flat deck body, it can carry the full potential weight.

I was able to take that truck to the testing station and get it checked in a matter of hours, with the only difficulty being applying for approval to use the old black and silver number plates.

NZTA was quick at responding to my request and that was the end of the matter. The truck’s been on the road ever since.

Speaking of NZTA, I was a bit smarter this time and got my request to use the FG K30’s old plates into them, so the approval was granted before I took the truck to the testing station. It’s worth noting that the approval was granted in both cases, as I could prove that the plates belonged to the vehicle in question and that both the front and rear plates were in a neat and readable condition.

We’re simply going to have to wait for the decision to be made by NZTA as to whether we’re going to be light or heavy, and as I said earlier, just hope that logic prevails.

Tip of the month

Keep the faith!

Coming up...

Hopefully, an answer from NZTA is forthcoming and hopefully, the final chapter in this saga

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