Cape York - 2006

Ivan's Diff Repair - Timeline to Get Back on the Track


The Office (container) which Andy works out of - it belies the professional work that is undertaken here - note the sign above the door!!

This timeline demonstrates the frustrations with delivery of spares into remote locations.   In reality, Bamaga is pretty well serviced with mechanical support etc from Andy (Cape York Spares and Repairs) and other facilities - but the freight systems which support the area do not always run to plan, and never as quick as what you might like!   There are many places much worse than Bamaga/Seisia to be stranded - we had full facilities, fishing, pool and more - but it was still frustrating to wait for so long.

Day 18 - Tue
  • Around lunchtime, diff broke while exiting Nolan Brook.
  • 4pm - Steve G begin towing Ivan to Jardine River Ferry
  • 6pm - Arrive Jardine River Ferry - unable to organise anything via sat phone due to dense cloud cover and rain.
more detail here...

Day 19 - Wed
  • 8am - Jardine River Ferry opens - ring NRMA and Cape York Spares and Repairs - ETA, 9:30am.
  • Note - interesting when I spoke to NRMA and she asked what was wrong (all I said was blown front diff), she said - "what a Landcruiser"!
  • 1130am - RACQ truck (Andy from Cape York Spares and Repairs arrives)
  • 1pm - arrive Bamaga - Andy sorts accommodation and hire car
  • 3pm - Rang Cairns Toyota to warn them out for diff replacement.   Cairns Toyota advise that there are a number of different diff centres which could apply - need to count all teeth and accurately identify which part is required.
  • 4pm - still unable to get the car on the hoist due to other repairs already under way.
  • 5pm - identified eight teeth on crown wheel and four teeth on pinion as culprit.   Diff accurately identified - will order correct diff tomorrow morning.
more detail here...

Day 20  - Thu
  • 10am - have identified that if only crown and pinion are supplied, other sub assemblies (spider gears, cross pieces etc) are not held in Australia therefore, a complete diff centre is required.  
  • 11am - have identified through Toyota Cairns that there are two diff centres in Australia.   One is in Townsville, (best ETA Friday) the other in Sydney (best ETA Monday if we can get it to Cairns Toyota and then to air freight company by 5pm Saturday).   
  • Note..   Transport times based on air freight.
  • Andy discusses warranty with Toyota, but their perspective is 'lets get the parts up there, and worry about warranty later'.
  • 2pm - have identified that the diff in Townsville is not on the shelf as listed by the computer system.
  • 3pm - have tasked TNT with moving the diff from the warehouse in Sydney, via Toyota Cairns to Bamaga
  • Andy has to put the car back together to get it off the hoist so that he can continue work on other vehicles.

Day 21 - Fri
  • Public Holiday in Cairns today, so unable to confirm delivery to Toyota Cairns (until Saturday)

Day 22 - Sat
  • Diff hasn't arrived in Cairns, and TNT can't locate it.   We don't have the consignment number, and can't get it from the warehouse in Sydney because it isn't open.  
  • Best ETA is now Tuesday lunchtime, so long as the diff is found and delivered to the air freight company prior to 5pm Monday.

Day 23 - Sun
  • No change

Day 24 - Mon
  • Diff is delivered to Cairns Toyota by 9am, and delivered directly to the air freight company.   The plane is due to leave at 8am tomorrow.   Hopefully, the diff won't be offloaded due to higher priority stores or pax - to be confirmed at 8am tomorrow
  • Ivan rings Toyota Warranty (Cairns) and discusses warranty - advised that:
    • warranty won't be available because correct process hasn't been followed
    • air freight has been used and Toyota will ONLY use road freight (any ones guess how long that might have taken)
    • any warranty claim must be processed through Melbourne and that will be a minimum of two working days.
  • I got Andy to ring Toyota and 'have a chat'
  • 5pm - confirmed that diff is still scheduled to fly tomorrow.

Day 25 - Tue
  • 8am - plane departs Cairns, and diff is delivered to Bamaga airport.
  • 1130am - Andy has the diff.
  • 1230pm - Toyota have agreed to fix the vehicle under warranty (see Note)
  • 1:30pm - Other vehicles (all major repair jobs) finished and Ivan's able to get onto a hoist
  • 3:00pm - Andy rings Ivan - two of the wheel stud cones that Ivan had removed at Nolan's Brook is missing (there are two cone halves per wheel stud) - Driving without them will result in stud wear, especially with all the corrugations - must have them.   None in Bamaga - need to ship them from Cairns..............
  • 3:10pm - Andy rings his opposition in Seisia (not the first time they have helped each other out) - Seisia has a government 100 series in the yard which has just been dropped off for a repair - Ivan goes around to pick up the borrowed cones and returns them to Andy in Bamaga
  • 4:10pm - vehicle is on the road again - paid for - a firm shake of Andy's hand and we're racing to catch the ferry - 40 mins we're told - kids in the car, quickest refuel you've ever seen, and we hit the road.
  • 4:40pm, caught the ferry and were finally on our road south again..
Note:   Whilst Toyota agreed to repair the vehicle under warranty, they supplied the front diff and a 'standard' amount of $172.   That money had to cover:
  • removal, inspection, and disassembly of diff,
  • order and chase up of parts,
  • putting the vehicle back together to get it off the hoist so that other vehicles could be repaired in the week it took to get the diff.
  • disassembly of the vehicle again on arrival of the diff
  • installation of diff including oil
Some 8 hours billable work!
Andy had done a first class job, and I wasn't going to leave him in the lurch, so in addition to having to pay the air freight, I paid the difference of the full labour costs.

more detail here...

Photo's of the diff..

The new one - a sight for sore eyes!