The ‘Welcome Strangers’ and the 10th Annual Shitbox Rally

A convoy of 275 cars and 550 participants left Perth on Wednesday May 8, 2019 to start the 10th Anniversary Shitbox Rally. The 10-day rally travelled via Uluru and finished up in Sydney on Friday May 17th.

The Rally challenges teams to drive cars worth less than $1,000 across some of Australia’s most formidable roads, all in the name of charity.

Like other teams, Aaron Barnes and the ‘Welcome Strangers’ took on the challenge in a VS Commodore Ute, spending countless hours sourcing and decorating their shitboxes, furiously fundraising and preparing for the epic Aussie adventure.

“The rally went really well for our first attempt.  The Ute made it through in one piece although looking a little worse for wear now.” Aaron Barnes

“We travelled over the Nullabor first travelling the best part of 4,000km before the rally begun and then once the rally started we travelled 5,500km over the middle of remote WA, ULURU in NT, Camerons Corner on the QLD/SA/ NSW border, then on to Sydney to cross the finish line.”

“The Ute performed pretty much floorlessly over the 10,000km with only 2 punctured tyres and an ignition issue based on using Opel fuel in the Northern Territory. The Opel fuel has less Octane, so it can foul up the injectors and fuel filters etc creating ignition and fuel issues.”

Rare Spares are proud to have sponsored Aaron and the team for such a worthy cause and great adventure. 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare Spares sponsors the "Welcome Strangers” team in the Autumn Shitbox Rally, 8th – 17th May 2019

Rare Spares are proud to announce that they are sponsoring Aaron Barnes’, a long time Rare Spares customer, team the “Welcome Strangers” in the Autumn Shitbox Rally, Perth to Sydney via Uluru – May 8th – 17th.

The Shitbox Rally challenges teams to drive cars worth less than $1,000 across some of Australia’s most formidable roads, all in the name of charity. Aaron and the ‘Welcome Strangers’ will be tackling these formidable roads in a VS Commodore Ute.

Aaron Barnes provided us with an update on the build and everything that needed to be completed to get a RWC (road worthy certificate) for the upcoming rally.

“It’s been one hell of an undertaking to get this ute going. So far we have completed the following to get it RWC and ready for the long journey ahead -

  • New Tie Rods Ends
  • New Castor Bushes
  • New Front struts
  • New front rotors and brake pads
  • New rear rotors and brake pads
  • New rear shockers
  • New engine mounts
  • New Radiator
  • New water pipes
  • New LHS Rear tail light
  • New side indicator lens
  • New Tyre
  • New Spark Plugs and Leads
  • New Pinion bearing in the axle
  • Replaced Rocker cover gaskets
  • Replaced inlet Manifold Gaskets
  • New Oil Temp Sensor
  • New Air Filter
  • New Cat back Exhaust
  • New headlight globe
  • New RHS Bumperette
  • New rear reflectors
  • New Oil Filter New oil
  • New Coolant
  • New Fuel Filter
  • Added a Nudge Bar
  • Added a Tonneau Cover

 

Still to go are the flood lights on Nudge Bar and the Custom Roll bar to hold spare wheels and Jerry Cans.”

“I am sure there may be a couple of small things I have missed as well, but that is the majority of what has been done and is still to go. I completed all these myself with the guidance of a local retired mechanic called Neil Boyle. I call him "The Mechanical Yoda" as he knows everything and has saved 1000's in getting it done by a workshop.” 

“We had completed all the issues pointed out by the RWC report and completed them only to have it drop a cylinder, overheat and have coolant pissing out as we arrived to get it finalised. We managed to get a pass and came back to find the inlet manifold was stuffed and needed to be replaced. 7 Hours later we had it fixed and started it up and it purrs like a kitten now, the ECU has levelled out the missing cylinder and it's all going well.” 

“The day arrives to go to ViCROADS on Monday and we are driving along thinking we are home and hosed and all of a sudden the revs jump up to 4000 and we slow down. The transmission has just dropped 4th gear and is stuck in 3rd... I could not believe it, after all the work we had done it's just been one thing after the other with this ute. So we arrive at Vicroads having Transmission fluid pissing out on the inspection bay mixed with coolant and I am thinking "this is not good."

“Luckily the VICROADS guy was a top bloke and once he knew we were on the Rally he was happy to give the car a quick sighting and hand over the plates. So we are officially Road Worthy but have a potential time bomb transmission on our hands...”

“So hopefully everything is fixed now, if not, we may not make it across the Nullabor to start the Rally.” 

“We have raised $5,500 so far so we made our target of 5k and we are officially in the rally and the pressure is on to get this machine rally ready.”

Check out Aaron’s youtube channel “Barnesy’s Builds for further updates on the build - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN816jozxyemfTzXYNIM68g