Beckworth acquired the HJ from Australia via the import services provided by AUStoUSA.com. He attempted to locate an internationally-sourced Cruiser on his own, but ran into numerous hurdles. It was on IH8MUD.com that he learned about Phil of AUStoUSA.com. Phil helped Beckworth evaluate multiple trucks before finding the right one. The importer handled everything and had it shipped to Texas in late 2013.
When the truck arrived, Beckworth had parts waiting. AUStoUSA had supplied numerous photos, giving Beckworth a good idea of what he was dealing with. He ordered parts from CCOT, e.g. door panels and body repair panels (both rear corners were rotten). He turned to Specter to obtain upholstery and non-US parts.
Next up was repacking and resealing the axles, pulling differentials and installing an Aussie rear locker. Beyond that, everything was in great shape. The engine looked like it had a lot of new parts, which was the result of some work done by the previous owner. The refreshed engine had only 15,000 KM.
For suspension, Beckworth added HFS shocks from CCOT and OME Springs (heavy rear and medium in front). He converted to a 100 amp Isuzu NPR alternator for more juice, thus allowing the truck to run a T-Max dual battery system.
The HJ is outfitted with a homemade swing out tire carrier and rear bumper, which includes a telescoping floodlight. Also homemade are the rock sliders, roof rack, back-up light bracket, and a mount to haul the Hi-Lift jack he has been using since his teens. While the roof rack is sturdy, it is also quite heavy and thus is usually not on the truck. The plan is to replace it with a lighter and lower rack. For the back-up light bracket, he figured out a way to attach a single Nordic LED spotlight to a bracket that fits perfect on the factory license plate holder between the little lights for the plate.
He added an auxiliary FJ40 fuel tank from Marks Off-road, and wired it in to transfer fuel to the main tank, providing more than 500 miles of range when combined with the main tank. Beckworth’s favorite homegrown gadget is his lantern hanger made from an old hinge and some all thread. Attaches anywhere on the roof, and with the lantern filled with citronella oil, it provides pleasant light and keeps mosquitos away.
His first big trip with the HJ was in the summer of 2014: “I traveled from El Paso to Socorro, NM following the Camino Real route, finding important Parajes (camps) and locations and traces of the route of America’s early overlanders. I then cut west, exploring the Sawtooth range and areas around Magdalena and Pie Town, returning through the San Mateos and Black Range. In all, about 400 off-road miles. It was a neat solo trip and I would like to revisit it with friends. This is when the factory alternator gave up and the Isuzu alt and dual battery system came on the scene.”
The HJ performed well on the 500 mile Ghost Divide trip, which comprised of a 5-day expedition over 300 miles of off-road trails. The HJ is used monthly for camping and will be used in the future on more long-distance expeditions.
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