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1980 Toyota FJ40 - Survival Wheeling in New Guinea

Posted in Features on April 1, 2007
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Contributors: Scott Wisley

Over the last couple of years, we've been trading e-mails with Scott Wisley, who lives in Indonesia with his family. Scott is one of those do-gooders that makes the world a better place, working for a nonprofit organization that conducts schools in impoverished areas to teach locals useful trades. Scott has sent us some great pics of their ordeals in two stock 4x4s in Papua, and from the looks of it, his rides need some serious help in the form of lockers. We decided to call up Richmond Gear and told them about Scott's situation, what he was doing, and that his mechanical and financial resources were very limited. Together, we came to the conclusion that a Powertrax LockRight locker was the only choice for Scott. It's an automatic drop-in locker, with no external parts to go wrong. It should be the perfect project for Scott's students. Scott tells us that no one down his way really knows about lockers yet, so this might be a new potential market for Richmond Gear/Powertrax after they see what Scott can do with one!

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Hey, guys! We live in the village of Bokondini, Papua, Indonesia (Island of New Guinea), and the closest town is 90 kilometers away and the dirt road has turned into an impassable mudbog in the last three months of rain. We've been using an '80 FJ40 and Land Rover for the school. We've got a come-along and a whole lot of people to solve our getting stuck or falling through or off of slippery, nasty bridges. Nothing like the Land Cruiser falling 20 feet into a ravine to get all the local guys excited! Four-wheeling for real life!Scotty Wisley

This is my first Land Rover so I'm pretty in the dark about all that stuff. I've always been a Land Cruiser man and this is a big switch for me, but I like the Rover's gas mileage. So far, I've got brakes that I have to pump three times before it will stop, which makes driving in these conditions a little more challenging. I've also got this tiny electric fuel pump that isn't strong enough to pump anything once you get the front end up. So I've converted my windshield-wiper reservoir to be my extra gas tank since it is right next to the fuel pump and when I get in a jam I just swap the fuel line into the windshield tank.

I'm sending you some pics of our last trip. We had 12 people in the truck, 240 eggs (which were all scrambled inside the shell by the time we got here), 25 kg of flour, 25 kg of rice, and 12 people's stuff jammed in and on top.

P.S. Took us 6 1/2 hours to go 88 kilometers to town today. Got stuck once and had to winch out, but other than that it was pretty good as we didn't have much rain.

The Rover has been down for six months and we are putting it back together this week. The road has been out for most of the time so we haven't had a lot of incentive to get it done quickly. Now we've got a "Mechanic" training program going so we've got three Papuan young people training as mechanics and our vehicles are good "practice" for them. It slows everything way down but fits with our purpose for being here. Seems that the rains are stopping so we are hoping the trips to town won't be as bad for a few months, but ya never know here. Scotty

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