New trucks are popping out of the woodwork for 2017 in huge numbers – Neville Smith’s Prolite kits and trucks mentioned last month, imported trucks reworked for local conditions, Craig Carlyle’s new black and white truck.
But what do you do when your pride and joy gets comprehensively trashed?
Raina Horan had the grandstand view from his Nissan Titan V8 truck. Jono Climo’s locally-built Toyota Hilux – near as anything to a Trophy Truck, and exquisitely built with painstaking attention to detail – leaped into the air over a fast rise at the Hawke’s Bay national round last year.
The landing was not pretty. Climo described it as a ‘lawn dart moment’. The truck’s nose dropped out of the air and dug into prime Hawke’s Bay farm soil, launching 869 into one of the most spectacular ‘yard sale’ end-over-end crashes in years.
A bit worse for wear!}
A master of understatement, Climo said the turbocharged V8 truck was “a bit worse for wear and in need of a makeover”.
Back in the workshop, all the panels and body work were removed to assess the damage of a 130 km/h endo.
A massively strong BTR trophy truck wheel had smashed apart in several places. The left hand chassis had a stylish new ‘z’ shaped in a rail. The front suspension arms had been forced outwards and bent.
On the bright side, having raced the truck for three years, the North Auckland driver had lots of ideas for improvements to make.
New ‘rock bouncer’ 35-spline CVs from FORCE4 went in the front, adding another seven degrees of steering lock. And the lower section of the firewall has been tapered off to accommodate new, more aggressive tyres. The front wheels and suspension now sit 10 mm further forward to get tyre clearance on full lock.
The smashed race wheels have been replaced with Race line 17x8.5 beadlocks now on all four corners.
New uprights were made to give adjustable steering lock and a larger flow rate steering pump was added to compensate for the change in leverages.
A new look bumper was made to replace the mangled one, and the new fiberglass body panels were covered in gloss black by Michael Small, then were refitted – this required repairing or replacing bent and broken body mounts.
The truck had been wrecking its 31-spline rear axles so Climo has also put together a new rear differential housing and head with a fully floating 35 spline axle with the same Trail Gear unit bearing and brake combination used on the front sourced through 4WD Bits.
Climo says the rear 2” hydro bump stops were on the limit of their performance so a pair of 2.5” RADFLO units were fitted.
A new livery in the form of a vinyl wrap has given the truck a complete fresh new look for the 2017 race season.
The truck had a static debut at the Leadfoot Festival, and offroaders who attended say it is once more a testament to Climo’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. 869 returns to championship action in March.