Vlad’s Defender 110 – “Doris”

Episode 1: Doris



defender proud1

I had been wanting a Ute for years and had recently established an equity loan with the bank (what a nightmare!) so I bit the bullet and decided to
get a Ute. I had also wanted a four wheel drive for many years and it had
been my dream to own a Land Rover for as long as I can remember.

I began by researching 4wd’s on the net and was originally looking at
LandCruisers and Patrols in my price range (ie up to $15,000). One day I
came across an internet ad for a Defender Ute, $15,000. Sounded good but it was in Bundaberg. Never mind it’s only 3 1/2 hours or so away – so I jumped on the tilt-train at the last minute and headed to Bundy.

When I test drove the Landy I kept turning on the wipers instead of
indicating (amateur mistake, but I still do it sometimes after driving the
Falcon!) and I LOVED it ! The missus had a drive and I expected her not to like it, but I was wrong. So before she had a chance to change her mind, I agreed to buy it.

An RACQ report, another trip back to Bundy, and a lighter wallet later….
it was MINE ! Oh Happy Day….

Drove it home from Bundy and couldn’t stop smiling !

What is it exactly? A 1993 Land Rover Defender 110 (200 Tdi) – Trayback Ute.

As any Landy owner knows, there’s always something to tinker with or add so I have added:
– CD player (It didn’t even have a radio, nor provision for one, when I
bought it)
– Fire Extinguisher
– Recovery Gear (Snatch strap, shackles, long handled shovel, bow saw)
– ARB Winch Bar (No, I can’t afford a winch yet but the price difference was only $50)

Wish list:
– Lightforce spotlights
– New 6.5 or 7 inch rims with BFG AT or MT Tyres.
(I have since added 7″ Disco rims, and BFG Muds)
– Canvas top for tray
– (Ideally) A new Td5 110 in a dual cab ute format. (Sway bars suck – who needs ’em ! )

Problems so far:
One day while idling there was a sudden and continuing loud clunking noise
– a bad expensive sounding noise, like big end damage. I was sh**ing
myself…. So I stopped it and had it towed to MR Automotive. The mechanic said “Hmm, sounds like big end damage..expensive). I was still sh**ing myself. Anyway, it turned out that one of the rocker arms had broken (yeah, I know!) But how it made that noise… ?!.

and hopefully I won’t have any more problems with it…… touch wood.

I’ve taken it off road several times in the months that I’ve owned it –
anytime that work and other commitments allow and it’s great. (now that I’ve owned it for years it’s been off road a lot, and I’m still thrilled with it !) I wouldn’t swap it for anything (except perhaps another Landy)


Out & About


P.S. After I bought it a mate retouched a photo with the number plate “DORIS”  which I stupidly posted on www.aulro.com  This was NOT my Landy’s name. It’s just my idiot mate’s dinosaur joke. He has a Toyota…….. Corolla. Anyhow the aulro blokes wouldn’t let it go, so she’s known as DORIS for all eternity now !  That’s the idiot mate, there in the red shirt in that earlier photo…..

Vlad’s Fraser Island Freshen-Up : 1 – 3 May 2010

Fraser Island Clean Up
1-3 May 2010

This is a tale of the Land Rover Owners Club of Brisbane (and guests) during this years Fraser Island Clean Up.

Our cast of players:
tineapedis (and family) – Disco
TEPPO (and family) – Disco
Paul L. (not on AULRO) – Disco
sadbenn (and son Gavin – in his Defender 110)
John Ellis (and Mrs JE) – Range Rover P38
discotek – Disco
vladtepes (and Mrs Vlad) – Defender 130
Ranga (visitor) – Defender 110
macfamily (visitors) – Defender 110

We had a few last minute withdrawals, which is always a disappointment, not the least for those who weren’t able to come! Ian S and bigmac had reasonable (unreasonable?) excuses as they were busy reinforcing the stereotype, having mechanical trouble with their Landies. We missed you on the weekend fellas, and look forward to your company on another trip soon.




A number of members had gone over on Friday to make the most of the weekend (those who weren’t tied down at work, lucky sods!). While waiting for the rest of us to arrive they went on a trip to Moon Point. I’ll let tineapedis take up the story:

“It was a fantastic weekend, discotek, sadbenn & Gav, Paul L, TEPPO and Sarah and Sam and I had arrived on the Friday. Whilst waiting for the rest of the guys to arrive we went exploring to the other side of the island to Moon Point, we picked up the track at Rainbow Gorge to Lake Garawongera and then onto Moon Point. En route we popped in to see an early settlement but, overgrown foliage and fallen trees prevented us from reaching the site.


Once on the beach we took some time to relax and take in the view. The ocean was calm, the sun was high and the beach was pristine. We then headed north up the beach, crossing Coongul and Woralie creeks before turning west past the Knifeblade Sandblow and onto the beach just north of the Maheno wreck. The tide was out, the sun was starting to drop and the mist in the distance made for a good back drop for a few photos”.

Meanwhile, John Ellis decided he was going to go up to the island early on Saturday morning, and was consequently able to take care of the registration for us. Thanks John.

Ranga met us at our place and from there we drove to BP Morayfield to meet up with the macfamily.


We topped up on fuel at Rainbow Beach (there was no way I’d be repeating last month’s error in paying $2.00 per litre on Fraser). Fortunately the tide was on our side and we were able to get around Hook Point, thus avoiding the torturous inland bypass road. We then had a relaxing and mostly uneventful drive up the beach to the camping area at Poyungan.

On arrival at the camping area we saw that discotek, sadbenn and Gavin, Paul L, and John Ellis and Anne had set up in a grassed area near the cutting. As there wasn’t enough room for our tents there, we moved in a bit further to find that the Inverell Club had set up, so we went to the other end of their camp and set up our own – not that it was a long walk back to the rest of the crew. Tineapedis and TEPPO (and families) had rented a house at Eurong but, we caught up with them at opportune moments.


Saturday afternoon called for a relaxing session so folding chairs were carried to the top of the dune, and we sat drinking a few beers, eating snacks, watching the passing parade and generally just thinking “life is good”.



Clean Up.

After breakfast we met up with the Inverell 4WD club to commence the clean up. We had jointly been assigned an area of beach between Eurong and Cornwell’s Break Road to clean up. It was decided the two clubs would split up, and work from the ends, meeting in the middle. A coin toss was held, whereby tails we’d start from the Eurong end, heads and the Inverell club would, on edge and we’d all go to the pub. The coin was tossed several times but, failed to land on its edge. Tails, Tails, start at Eurong. We split up into further small groups, each attacking one part of the area… and it was a good thing we did or we might still be there!

Our little group consisted of John Ellis and Anne, Ranga and me and Mrs Vlad.



The beach itself wasn’t all that littered but, every now and then there was a break in the dunes where the tide would wash objects up and the wind would blow them in. In such places there were large amounts of rubbish. Most were not large pieces (easier to collect) but rather very small items which required a lot of leaning over and finicky collecting. Without doubt the most common item was the plastic bottle cap. But we also found toothbrushes, thongs, high heel shoes, golf balls, plastic and glass bottles, pieces of rope and net, and all sorts of other generic rubbish. We spent a good 4 hours of hard work cleaning our area and eventually met up with all of the others back at the rubbish bins to get rid of the collected waste.

It seemed like it took forever to unload the bags from the ute (they just kept coming) and much to our surprise our little group had collected around 25 large black rubbish bags full of litter. In total, the club collected at least 55 bags from a reasonably small (even thought it didn’t feel small on the day) stretch of beach – which illustrates just how much littering people are doing on the island and throwing off boats “out there.”



After the clean up

tineapedis’s offer of a coffee back at the house was appreciated but, passed up in favour of lunch and then a drive. Mrs Vlad and I led the trip (well, we drove at the front anyway). Along for the ride were the macfamily (they had never been to Fraser Island before), Ranga, Gavin, and John Ellis and Anne.

The plan was to visit the attractions of Eli Creek and the Maheno but, the trip didn’t get off to a great start. As we were driving along (on relatively hard sand) Mrs Vlad said she heard the noise of a flat tyre and on stopping, sure enough the front left tyre was very flat (but only at the bottom!). Obviously a tyre change was in order but it didn’t look as if John’s hydraulic jack would have enough clearance so I decided to use the “exhaust jack” I have to raise the vehicle enough to pop in the hydraulic jack to support the vehicle for the tyre change.

All was going relatively well, until the exhaust bag was about 2/3 of the way to the height I wanted then suddenly it failed. This was no slow leak but the actual seams of the bag “let go” dropping the vehicle. The tyre caught my foot (luckily I wasn’t silly enough to be under the vehicle or it would have been a lot worse) and luckily the tyre was still on the rim. I could have accepted if the bag had melted or got pierced because of my own “user error” but, in this case it seems the bag itself was not sound. (Since then, I have written to the manufacturer and they are looking into it. I’ll keep you informed). Anyway in due course we did manage to get the wheel changed and set off once again.



First stop was Eli Creek which, true to form was both crowded and cold. Despite the cold, Ranga, Gav and I jumped in and “floated” down the creek. It was certainly refreshing, and helped numb my injured foot which was helpful. It’s such a great place Eli Creek, and we could have spent a long time there but, there were other things to be done today.


Next we visited the wreck of the Maheno for the obligatory photos, before we returned to camp for a freshen up prior to the evenings activities.



The “after party”

Toyota is the major sponsor (and possibly the only sponsor?) of the annual Fraser Island clean-up, and as a thank you to the volunteers they host a bit of a party for us. This kicked off around 5pm so we car pooled as much as possible down to the function held near Cornwell’s Break Road. (John and Anne hitched a ride in the 130, which would have been quite different after their smooth Rangie, probably evoking memories (nightmarish ones perhaps?) of the series 3 they once owned.


The event includes a “sausage sizzle” – although that hardly describes it fairly. There is a large gazebo in which several 4WD clubs (thanks guys and girls) were slaving away over hot BBQ plates cooking burgers and sausages. There was also coleslaw, potato salad and bread on offer. The only thing they ran out of was plates… but slices of bread do the job adequately! The other main component of the evening is a concert, and again the performer was Tanya Kernigan… who (allegedly) arrived in a brand spanking new Toyota Prado “Kakadu”. (If anyone fancies spending $90,000 on a Prado there is now a way!) Also throughout the evening there were Toyota related quiz questions with prizes awarded… most of which went to members of the Nissan Patrol club! A raffle was also held. While some bloke from our club won an esky last time around, none of us was fortunate enough on this occasion. The concert was shorter than usual on account of some ongoing problems with the power generator, but a good time was had nonetheless. In due course we returned to our vehicles and headed back to camp, before the incoming tide made the trip too difficult. A rum or two on return to camp saw us out.


Monday saw a parting of ways as some people elected to try their hand at fishing, and others headed home early for various reasons (Ranga went all the way to Hervey Bay in pursuit of a roof rack he didn’t end up buying!). Mrs Vlad and I took the macfamily for a drive to a few more places they hadn’t seen and we thought they’d enjoy.

We had originally planned to visit Lake McKenzie (it’s a “must see” for visitors to Fraser Island) however the powers-that-be had closed the blue lakes for the duration of the weekend, perhaps concerned about the effect a massive influx of vehicles might have. In any event, we elected to stay further north, visiting some of the less known attractions.


We drove up the beach to Happy Valley, where we turned inland and drove to Lake Garawongera. The water was certainly refreshing (that is, cold) but once in and used to it, the swim was quite pleasant. Also there weren’t many other people at the lake so it was that much more peaceful as well.


After our swim it was back to the Landies for a drive up to Lake Allom. This lake is known for the little freshwater turtles which congregate there. The shore is mostly surrounded by reeds and vegetation, with a small break where the access to the lake is. Once upon a time you could just walk down to the edge but now they have constructed a wooden “grandstand” (for want of a better description). Fortunately it is still possible to get very close to the turtles, and the kids were able to see them up close. There is even a gap in the railing and it is possible to go in for a swim, however there were quite a few hungry looking turtles there, and I didn’t fancy being nipped anywhere important. Or anywhere at all, for that matter.

We returned to the vehicles and drove along the same road that tineapedis and his group would have taken on Saturday morning, past the Boomerang lakes and Knifeblade Sandblow. At one point we met a Jeep coming the other way, and he had to back up for a considerable distance before he was able to find somewhere he could pull in to allow us to pass. It’s lucky this road isn’t too busy as there are not too many passing places along it, and it’s a long stretch! Once back on the beach we turned south and returned to our camp at Poyungan, seeing a few healthy male dingos on the way.


Meanwhile John had been trying his hand at fishing, with little success, but he and Anne had seen a sea-snake on the beach, somewhat disoriented.


Apparently a lady came with a snake-wrangling stick and attempted to put it back in the ocean, but the snake was determined to head up the beach. Anyway by the time we had got there the snake had gone.

After a quick lunchtime snack we broke camp, just beating an ominous looking weather front, and while we didn’t get any heavy rain afterwards it was touch and go for a while!

A Big Thank You

A big thank you goes out to bigmac for organising the trip, distributing the attendance packs, and so on. There’s more work involved there than you might realise. Thanks also to John Ellis for taking care of the club registration on Fraser Island.

Naturally a great big thanks and congratulations to all who attended (including our guests who attended at short notice) for your commendable efforts in the clean up.

Last of all, I’d like to thank Toyota Australia and Four Wheel Drive Queensland for their support and organisation of the annual Fraser Island Clean Up. Not only is it a great weekend away, but also a chance to showcase the real work that four wheel drivers do in a practical sense to preserve and improve the environment that we all enjoy.


Next time a “greenie” tries to lecture you on the evils of four wheel drives, ask them when was the last time they actually did something practical to improve the environment? There were (judging by the vehicle numbers being read out at the “after party”) over 300 vehicles on Fraser Island for the clean up so the amount of rubbish collected in total would have been huge.


Photos are courtesy of Ranga, John Ellis. macfamily and tineapedis.