Landcruiser Smash Repair – Repaired In Record Time
From Off The Road To Back On Track
Ending up in an auto body repair shop was not on our travel itinerary, let alone having to travel across the country to find a panel beater that would repair such an unusual smash repair in record time, so we could be back on the road again.
This is what happened.
We knew where we wanted to be in life. We studied and worked hard to be able to come and explore this wonderful country of Australia. We had traveled for over a year exploring, blogging all our adventures until a dingo decided to change all that.
It was late in the afternoon when we decided to drive more towards the northwestern part of Karijini National Park. We went towards Weano Gorge as it seemed to be a good central campground with remote walking tracks and gorges. On the way, we saw a lookout for Kalamina Gorge and thought we would have a quick look before heading to the campground.
We never made it.
Travelling along a clay dirt track we saw many wild dingo’s enjoying a meal in the middle of the track. We tried not to disturb them with an avoidance maneuver and the car started to slip and slide over the wet gravel.
We crashed down a small embankment. You could hear glass smashing and the scrape of trees that we collected along the way.
The dingo pack did not even look up from their evening meal.
Well at least we were not going to be dinner tonight.
We climb out of the window and access the damage. The nearest campsite was 40km away and more than 100 km from the next town. We tried our phone – no reception, although we did have one valuable weapon in hand – duct tape. Never go on an outback trip without this duct tape. It is invaluable in times like this.
Within 20 minutes, a handful of real Aussie blokes with beer in hand came past in a minivan. The power minivan power was no match to the high-top Landcruiser.
Once again, luck paid us a visit and a 4WD passes by. With a tug here and there we were back on four wheels again.
Now back to the duct tape.
Three out of four windows were smashed. First we had to clear away all the broken glass and what was left were big gaping holes in our beloved Bumblebee. We went into damage control checking the chassis and engine for oil leaks and to our relief, Bumblebee started first time.
Time was against us, so we headed as fast as we could back to campsite. Given the smashed windows, we had to find another accommodation and decided to rent a cabin for the night. We picked out all the important belongings and were looking forward to sleeping in and sleeping in a real bed and to have a real shower. We will deal with the rest in daylight tomorrow.
The Smash Repair Insurance Claim
Then came the Insurance claim. The insurance company head office was in Sydney, and the operator advised us to go to Port Hedland to get a quote – a mere 600 km away. We decided to tackle this head on. Firstly, we had to get all the glass, dust, dead brie out of the van. Another shower and refreshed, ready for the road trip from Tom Price to Port Headland a 600km away.
We reached Port Headland and headed straight to the smash repair shop and caught the owner just in time before closing. The panel beater named ‘Dusty’ looked at us with a sympathy look and told us he had too much work on, and it would not be able to book the van in until four months later. He said it would take at least three months to repair this. He also stated that he was about to go on leave and could not help us. The Insurance Company also told is that without a quote from a panel repairer, you cannot drive a smashed van around. We thought our trip was over.
We stayed in Port Headland for five days and searched all the panel repair business in Port Headland. We came across a panel shop that had just started and were happy enough to write us a quote to our great relief. While in Port Headland, we went to a glass repair shop, and they fitted plastic perspex to replace the fluttering of tarps and duct tape.
Now we can have some life back in our camper as staying in Motels, Cabins and alike reminded me of the New York and just wanted to head back into nature.
We left the glass repairer and headed for the nearest caravan park Cooke Point Holiday Park. We took a powered site to test out the solar panels. The boards of the bed above no longer fitted into the rails provided since the high-top had a dent in it – so making the bed was difficult but manageable.
Morning arose, and we headed off for about one year of touring and headed to Melbourne to start working at Royal Children’s Hospital. Parking was an issue in North Melbourne as the van is 3 meters high. Finding an undercover park was difficult. As a result, the van’s locks were vandalized.
We decided not to repair the van, until this time, as we have a sponsor -Aussie Tours- who are going to monitor and blog our adventure for the next three years.
PJs To The Rescue
As we are strangers in a foreign country, our fear was to find an auto body repairer that will not take advantage of you. We do not know all the rules and cost involved in panel beating repairs and to trust them to do the repair in a time frame required. We found PJ’s Panels on Google and Paul the owner came across as a man who has been in the business many years, and I felt my beloved Bumblebee was in good hands.
The repair took just three weeks and looks even better than when we first bought her.
We would like to thank PJ’s Panels for the fast and professional manner in repairing our Landcruiser Van, and we look forward to many motoring adventures in the future.
We highly recommend PJ’s Panels.