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Dealer Insider - Orange Spring and Suspension Repairs

Orange Springs Logo

In 1921 Robert Wescott Edge established Edges Coachworks attached to Collins Foundry situated where Woolworths now stands in Anson street. The business, which as a stage coach building business, moved with technology and with the introduction of motor cars, branched onto repairing springs in trucks and coaches while using the old fashioned wood furnace and sledge hammer method. Robert Wescott Edge learnt the coach building trade at Neville in the early 1900's before moving to Orange to work with Charles Collier and Co (where Best & Less stands today), Collier and Co manufactured 35 sulkies a week. Most of the years Mr Edge spent with Colliers, he was foreman of the company.

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Robert's son Jack Edge joined the business around 1939, prior to the second world war as a carpenter. Jack took over the business shortly after the war and moved to the laneway off Sale Street, behind Summer Street in Orange. Jack Edge had a very interesting history of experience...there's a whole book he wrote on it actually, of his inventions and experiments during the war and the many mechanical advancements he was able to make in the middle of unknown countries with very little to work with!

Jack's brother Carl Edge also came to work with the family after he was injured in a rugby match. He suffered from his injuries and was unable to complete his studies to become a priest. He worked for Jack for many years until his health got the better of him and he was admitted to a nursing home in Cowra. He loved to sing and was greatly admired by the staff of the nursing home.

John Johnson and his son Ray took over the lease of the sheds and eventually the business during a transition period from around 1985. John Johnson had experience with spring repairs in modern coaches and trucks for many years and worked with the Ford Company in England. He assisted in building Thames trucks in Britain. John also has a very interesting history but he refuses to ever put it in writing!

Jack and John were also singers and both members of the Orpheus Choir. John married his wife Barbara in 1956 and didn't have anywhere to live. Jack had lost his first wife and had a flat that was vacant and needed finishing (paint, fireplace etc.). Jack gave the flat to John and Barbara rent free until it was finished, he gave the newlyweds quite a bit of help to get on their feet and in return John helped out in the workshop and worked weekends and weeknights after his truck run. Jack Edge was diagnosed with cancer and his health and business were suffering so John said he would give up his truck run and come and work for Jack full time. Jack asked that John come and take it over instead and as they say the rest is history!

It is hard to put the closeness of these two families on paper, really there is no blood relation. As a small child growing up I always thought of the Edge's as extended family. I knew Ray and his sister were close with Jack's kids growing up and that John and Jack had a friendship that extended many years and many hardships. Their family was always at my grandparents' house on Easter and Christmas morning. I think the connection is one that is not easily understood in today's society a true gentleman's friendship of old.

Johns and Ray Johnson gave the business another huge transition in 1994, moving the business to the new Leewood Industrial Estate and renaming the business Orange Spring & Suspension Repairs. This move saw huge expansion in technology and warehousing, they moved from a wood to a gas furnace, friction screw press to reset leaf springs rather than various sledge hammers, hoists in place of a pit, and in a few years saw the move also into laser wheel alignment.

In 1996 John moved to retirement, leaving Ray to operate the business on his own with a couple of employees. During this time, Ray did an impressive job of running the office and workshop with only a few hands for help.

In 2008 Chad Brindley, Ray's soon to be son in law joined the business as an employee bringing a new modern twist to the vast knowledge of the business. Chad had an extensive list of experience working for a local dealership in various roles, working on modern cars, 4wd's and heavy commercial vehicles. Chad also has a tremendous passion for 4WDS, having spent most of his life travelling the country with his family in various Landover's. Chad's father is also a blacksmith so Chad also has various skills in both sides of the business.

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In 2009 Angie Johnson-Brindley, Ray's daughter, also came to join the team. She also had a passion for cars and business growing up but Ray told her to 'go out and learn what you can from others before you could come and join the business'. Angie is a qualified spare parts interpreter, having worked in retail outlets, truck dealership, and forklift dealership.

In July 2013, Chad and Angie joined Ray as partners in the business to start to transition for Ray to retire over the coming years.

In recent years we have spent some time and money updating our tools, building, offices and equipment. We have re-branded and moved our workshop and offices into the modern technological age of computers. We have purchased a state of the art 3D wheel alignment system, upgraded hoists and built up the workshop to be usually booked out for 2-4 weeks and with substantial parts sales outside of the workshop. Allicia (Ray's niece) and Angie are happy to use their skills to source any hard to find parts not limited to suspension and steering products.

2012 we also had Allicia Richards join the team as a trainee spare parts interpreter, she gained her full qualification 2016 and now oversees most of the day to day operations, booking workshop appointments, ordering and organising parts etc. Allicia is our new 'Officer in charge of first impressions' while Angie is working part time or from home raising a new family.

As one of very few workshops left in Australia to still successfully reset leaf springs, we try to hold dearly our manufacturing history. This style of blacksmithing is an old art that is becoming endangered. We also try to keep the business busy but small to maintain our personal approach to our customers. We like to customise each vehicle to each application and provide a face to face personal service in each and everything we do.

Day to day we offer a huge range of parts available in stock or quickly procured as the need arises. In house we manufacture u-bolts, reset leaf springs, offer full workshop fitting and repairs services along with thorough wheel alignment and balancing technology services. We also complete GVM upgrades on various vehicles before and after registration (in consultation with an outsourced engineer as required). We offer full consultation services and free inspections where required before bookings or quotes are finalised to make sure the customer is well aware of their options before making any decisions. Above all else we love what we do and we love to make your car into your dream car!

Your Budget 4wd (Part 2) - Can it be done with $5000

budget4wd

Welcome back for the 2nd part of Your Budget 4wd - Can it be done with $5000?

Owning a 4wd as your daily driver is sometimes tough, as you are conscious of not damaging it going off-road. Plus not being able to do too many modifications as you may commute to work with it, so you need it to be reliable and comfortable. Imagine if you had around $5000 dollars to spend on a second hand 4wd and a budget of $5000 dollars to buy a few accessories and make your 4wd an awesome weekend off-road Beast.

What 4wd would you buy and what accessories would be necessary for your 4wd dreams?

I've handpicked some 4wd's from around Australia to give you an idea what you can buy and what modifications can be done on a tight budget. All 4wds have many pros and cons that you will have to weigh up and decide if it's going to suit your needs and budget. After trawling through many pages of Gumtree and dreaming of many different scenarios I have finally worked the list down to two final contenders.

My second choice for the off road beast category would be a 45 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

toyotalandcruiser45

This is another Iconic 4wd with heaps of aftermarket accessories and parts available for them. Whilst I would not normally choose an old 45 series Land Cruiser due to the leaf suspension and its age, this beast caught my attention as it has a 350 chev V8 in it!!!!!! This compromise will definitely be understandable because of the smile on my face every time I give it a bit of right foot!!!

Whilst this vehicle is a bit more than the budgeted 5000 dollars, I think we'll save a few pennies on the accessories.

This particular beast has a few extras to get you ahead of your spend, with big tyres, a great power plant and an exhaust system (these three items have helped it straight away).

I would firstly renew the complete suspension with an EFS Elite 50mm lift kit with anti-inversion shackles and EFS Elite long travel shocks. I'll have to work out the weight of the 350 chev and make sure I accommodate for this in the front spring rate. Now this will definitely bring the beast out of the 45 series. Then I would cut a bit off the tray to so it doesn't get hung up as well.

I would put the remainder of my budget into updating all of the fluids, belts etc to keep it reliable.

Overall, between the 1990 Nissan Patrol Wagon Manual and the 45 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, they both have many different attributes that make them great off road beasts.

There is no denying that the Nissan Patrols live axle, coil sprung suspension (that was so advanced for its time) enables easy traversing of any off road situation. Paired with the Nissan LSD rear diff and comfortable seats and interior, it's a great choice.

But an iconic Land Cruiser with a 350 chev just pips over the line with plenty of 4wd off road beast inside of it. I understand you may be a bit limited in cabin space in the single cab but you make up for it with a massive tray that you can put all your camping gear into. And with an old 45, you're not too worried about the paint job or getting it scratched or even bumping into a few things as this vehicle is purely for off-roading.

I hope after you have read this that it has inspired you to consider a second "fun car" on a budget and get out there and do a bit of 4wding. Cheers!!!

Ontrack Automotive 4x4 Australia Hilux Fit Out

Phil from Ontrack Automotive started out in business in 1992, but began his time as a Mechanic when he was only 15 years old.  
Now he has 35 years' experience working in the Automotive Industry.

Over the years he has specialised in LP Gas conversions and automotive repairs to all makes and models of vehicles. In the year
2000 he changed his business name to Ontrack Automotive to attract the 4wd customers.

Phil and his family spent a lot of time touring the Western Australia back in 1990 and worked their way up the WA coast, living and
working in Port Hedland. This is where he had to repair a lot of things instead of changing out parts. This gave him a great knowledge
of how mechanical parts worked and how to get out of a tight situation.

“4wds are my passion, I have worked for Nissan dealers in WA and NT, returning to Vic and starting out on my own business. Over the last
8 years we have been a distributor for EFS Suspension building our business up into a large supplier & fitment of EFS components.” Phil from Ontrack Automotive

Phil keeps in stock most suspension parts to suit late model 4wd vehicles and he also specialises in GVM upgrades and 4wd accessories.

So if you’re ever in the Ferntree Gully area, drop in and see Phil and the team at Ontrack Automotive - your EFS 4wd Suspension specialist.

Read the full write up of Ontrack Automotives suspension upgrade of the 4x4 Australia magazines "Loaded Lux" here

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Weekend Escape - Moreton Island

Moreton island: a perfect 4wd weekend getaway

James from EFS heads to Moreton Island for a weekend escape

With picture perfect weather, it was time to head off to Moreton Island for the weekend! A slight westerly made the barge ride on the MICAT a little rough, but luckily I remembered to take my seasick tablets and before long I was enjoying one of Moreton Island Adventures' famous smilie-faced pies and a lovely warm cuppa. Now before disembarking the MICAT onto the sand, I made sure I remembered to let the tyres down on the Isuzu MUX (don't really want to get bogged straight off the ferry!). Now there is a bit of an argument between fellow 4wders regarding the pressures you should run but to be honest, I've always found 18psi work for me! I know some run lower than that (particularly if the sand is really soft) but 18 has served me well over many trips. And as I have been wisely informed by my mates at Exclusive Tyres, it also depends on the construction of the tyre, or more precisely on how hard the side wall is due to the layers of ply.

So, after a short journey across the bay, it's time to disembark the MICAT and cruise straight onto the sand tracks of Moreton (no bitumen here!), which the MUX does with ease, as I have already remembered to engage 4wd. Arriving at the island always brings a smile to my face, as the amazing colour of the water contrasting with the white sands is something you really need to take a moment to appreciate. With that moment over, let's get 4wding!!!

It was only a short 45min drive up the beach to a sandy little town call Bulwer where we find Castaways, a convenience store/restaurant with everything you forgot to bring, and that also serves an awesome REAL Coffee as well. But that's not all you can get here: gourmet meals including, breakfast, lunch and dinner (don't forget to try the homemade brownies!), all capably served by an extremely friendly team led by Nathan, the Island chief, and Lea the amazing head Chef, who in my experience tailored all my food to my 'special' eating needs (damn dairy intolerance).

Time to pick up the keys to the glamping tent and check in to this wonderful accommodation with all the creature comforts required while camping; a warm bed, a toilet and of course a hot shower! So while all the other campers in the group pitched their tents at the nearby campground and prepared their bedding and cooking etc, I snuck in a quick nap...

Refreshed and ready for action, we spent the next few days exploring the island, including sand tobogganing down the inland dunes at the Desert, which was great fun despite the mouth full of sand on the way down. I guess that's probably how they named the sandwich (sorry - dad joke!)...
Fishing has always been one of my many passions, so we wet a line on the surf side in one of the many gutters along the beach and waited for the fish to bite. We also took the short walk up to the top of Cape Moreton (oldest lighthouse in Queensland), where you can see miles down the beach and as far as the eye can see out to the ocean - what an amazing view! It was a bit early for the whales, but we spotted a few turtles and a school of fish in the clear blue waters below.

Moreton Island offers so many things to see and do for both the novice and the more experienced 4wder, and with the MICAT leaving just over the Gateway at the Port of Brisbane, is very convenient for Brisbane locals.

Overall, Moreton Island is a perfect weekend getaway from the city, and if you don't wish to camp and take everything bar the kitchen sink, a nice little weekend stay in the Glamping tents at Castaways is just enough luxury while "roughing it" on an island (what? a Princess, did I hear you say?).

If you want to find out more about Moreton Island follow the link to www.moretonislandadventures.com.au

Why does All 4 Adventure use EFS 4wd Suspension

Watch the video and find out why
All 4 Adventure have been running
EFS Suspension for over 7 years.

"When you’re off the beaten track and it starts to get serious, the last thing you want to be thinking about is your suspension. That’s why since series 1 I’ve only ever used EFS 4wd suspension".
Jase Andrews, All 4 Adventure

 

Your Budget 4wd - Can it be done with $5000

Owning a 4wd as your daily driver is sometimes tough, as you are conscious of not damaging it going off-road. Plus not being able to do too many modifications as you may commute to work with it, so you need it to be reliable and comfortable. Imagine if you had around $5000 dollars to spend on a second hand 4wd and a budget of $5000 dollars to buy a few accessories and make your 4wd an awesome weekend off-road Beast.

What 4wd would you buy and what accessories would be necessary for your 4wd dreams?

I've handpicked some 4wd's from around Australia to give you an idea what you can buy and what modifications can be done on a tight budget. All 4wds have many pros and cons that you will have to weigh up and decide if it's going to suit your needs and budget. After trawling through many pages of Gumtree and dreaming of many different scenarios I have finally worked the list down to two final contenders.

My First choice for the off road beast category would be a 1990 Nissan Patrol Wagon Manual.

 

This is one of those Iconic 4wds that has a plethora of aftermarket accessories and parts available for them.
When it comes to off-road on a budget you can't go past the Nissan GQ Patrol LWB as it has a fantastic coil sprung suspension that can flex for days and a super tough diff that withstands most 4wding duties. Also did I mention live axle!

Now the compromise for this particular vehicle is that it's not the 4.2ltr diesel with a snail hanging off it. But I'm ok with that as it's not for touring and has under the bonnet a very thirsty straight 6 TB42. But as a dedicated off road beast I'm not too concerned as the distances on road will be minimal compared to off-road. And the power the TB42 makes is enough to have a fun time off-roading. Now with the luxury of a LWB and oodles of room for you and a friend, you can quite easily fit all your weekend camping gear in the back as well.

The GQ Patrol has every imaginable accessory ready to bolt on from many different companies and with $5000 to spend on accessories for off-road duties, the first and foremost would be to upgrade the current suspension with an EFS Extreme 5-inch lift kit.

This kit includes EFS Xtreme 45mm big bore shocks, 5-inch coils, adjustable panhard rods, draglinks, extended brake lines, castor correction etc. This will make it more fun off road and looks pretty cool as well.

This particular vehicle has got a few extras to begin with (exhaust system, big tyres, snorkel, long range tank and recaro seats) so I feel I'm ahead by a long shot.

With all these extras already included, I would tip some money into making it reliable. With the additional $1500 dollars i would renew all oils, fluids, filters, belts, radiator hoses, battery, brake pads and discs, as this will generally make my off-road experience more enjoyable.

Tune in next month for my 2nd vehicle choice for Your Budget 4wd.

This vehicle sold before this article was published. Check out carsales.com.au and gumtree.com.au to find your dream 4wd

 

Top 10 vehicle safety tips for Easter

You can’t put a price on you and your family’s safety when you’re heading off to your Easter destination

All 4 Adventure Best Bogs

 1. Mechanical

 mechanical

  Whether you do it yourself or book it into a mechanic, a service and a check over of your vehicle is always paramount before heading off on a big trip.

2. Storage

storage 

Do you have enough room for the kids bikes, clothes, food, kitchen sink etc and is everything secured?

3. Towing

towing 

 Does your vehicle confidently tow the caravan/camper trailer/boat etc and when was the last time you had the brakes checked and the bearings serviced?  Don't be that person stuck on the side of the road waiting for the spare parts shop to open.

4. Accessories

accesories 

 Are your accessories up to scratch? Does your winch work, is your wiring to the fridge working? Most importantly, is your suspension going to be able to carry the load and passengers safely?

5. Weight

 weight

How loaded is your vehicle, do you know your vehicles GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)?

6. Tyres

 wheels

 Are your tyres roadworthy or require replacing and most importantly, do you have a spare tyres and is it up to scratch?

7.  Fuel

fuel 

Can you store enough fuel to get you where you're going? Is a long range tank a good idea or jerry cans of fuel.

 8.  Spares and “just in case items”

tools 

Always bring some tools, spanners, socket set, screw drivers, a fist full of zip ties, spare fan belts, hose clamps and recovery equipment if you plan for a bit of off road adventure.  Also joining a breakdown service can be a money and time saver in the long run.

 9. Driver Fatigue

 rest

Don’t forget to swap drivers, have a break every few hours and plan to change over drivers at certain towns/landmarks.  Getting there safely is better than not getting there at all.

10. Fun

 fun

Have a happy Easter!!!!

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