For the last few thousand miles we had been noticing the rear tub beginning to lean at a rather dubious angle, giving us cause for concern…
The line between the main cab and the rear tub should be straight and very tight together.
Keeping an eye on the mounting points to the chassis I could see them deteriorating and looking rather bad…
When we got the clutch and rear suspension fixed in Lubango the mechanic mentioned about the chassis being rather ‘flexible’ when jacked up, plus a sizable hole in the chassis behind the rear left wheel. A cause for concern of course but at the time I was more concerned about the rear tub completely detaching from the chassis and sliding off the back of the car.
From Lubango we carefully drove south, over into Namibia and down into South Africa with no apparent worsening of the chassis condition. Once in Somerset West we went to see a couple of 4×4 specialists who, unknown to the level of rust UK vehicles suffer, recommended we replace the vehicles chassis and tub. This is impossible in South Africa given the subsequent change in VIN number and its affect on our paperwork, especially our Carnet (import document). They also highlighted a large crack in the chassis on the rear left side.
After some discussions with friends and family they were adamant that we could get the chassis welded back together with sufficient bracing put in place to make it strong again. And upon further research the crack seems to be a common issue with the Hilux chassis’. Following a recommendation to check with panel beaters we came across a company called Burnco in Stikland, Cape Town. Their first impressions were widely different, with them stating they had recently repaired another UK vehicle in a similar predicament. They were more than happy to take on the vehicle, removing the tub, cleaning up the chassis, repairing the crack, cutting and welding in place new bracing on both sides of the chassis, and fixing all of the tubs mounting points. After a quick 24 hours to consider we quickly agreed and have left the car with them hoping it get it back around the 1st / 2nd week of August.
Initial photos from Burnco (below) show the chassis with the tub removed. It looks bad but the chassis is covered in a mixture of old chassis / rust protector paint and dirt from our travels. Doesn’t look too bad to me! It is the underlying metal which counts, and that will require some scrubbing / grinding back to really determine it’s condition.
As of Monday 31st July Burnco have been cleaning back the chassis and from the photos supplied (see below) got the right side clean, straight, and repainted. The left side is that with the hole and crack, and will require more time to repair.
In the meantime we are enjoying ourselves in Cape Town