OKA 413 - The Force Awakens

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12 May 2017 17:56 #1 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells created the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Enough of this 'Dark Side' stuff Oka 413 has recently been transformed into a 'fire breathing dragon' with the replacement of its factory installed 4 cylinder Perkins Phaser engine with a 6 cylinder Cummins 6BT engine. Both old and new engines are 'old style' non intercooled turbo diesels of 110 BHP and 160/180 (real)HP respectively. The motivation for this upgrade was to make our Oka a more pleasant and easy vehicle to drive. More power/torque = less gear changes = less Panadiene at the end of the day (my knees are knackered) with an easier, more pleasant drive.

History

Oka 413 started life as a Telecom 'service vehicle' working out of the Balcatta fleet maintenance depot in Perth, it had a multi-cab body, 8.25R16 tyres, the usual dual tanks/batterys and 12000lb warn winch. Unusually it has one of the 'prototype' HD150 transfer cases as fitted to the NT Oka. My understanding is that this was fitted 'under warranty' after some trouble with its original Rockwell transfer case.

Telecoms fleet maintenance was 'privatised' in the early 2000's and #413 was sold to 'Australian Industrial Rope Access', a NSW company that specialised in abseiling down buildings and transmission towers doing maintenance who used it as a lock up mobile shed. Kaye and I purchased it in Sydney 'Grand Final Day' (AFL not handball) in 2009.



With a 'fistfull of dollars' and a fair bit of effort #413 was transformed into a viable tourer with many happy hours spent 'on (and off) the road'.



Further updates and enhancements saw the replacement of the multi cab body with a full bus body (thanks to Ian Jones) and updates to the drive line with reset springs, LSD's front and rear and finally a pop top and awning.



Over this period of seven years or so we have traveled approx. 60,000 Km or so with a couple of 'laps of Australia', the CSR, Kimberley, Gunbarrell, Old Gunbarrell, Anne Beadell and many other memorable journeys including our 'epic' trip through the Great Sandy Desert with Janet and David Ribbans and Dave and Pauline Gray.

Kayes Great Sandy Desert Journal

With my deteriorating knees and general softening with age and the prospect of more time on the road as Kaye approaches retirement I decided it was appropriate to spoil us with a few extra HP.

The original plan was to install Martyn's 'Swift' turbo upgrade which delivers a great 'bang for buck' improvement but ultimately I was lured to 'The Dark Side' with 'an offer too good to refuse' on a 6bt Cummins and the rest, as they say, is history. :)

To be continued ............................


Deano :)
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12 May 2017 19:53 #2 by mort
mort replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Hey Deano I have been waiting for this result for some months and was even going to ring to see what the hold up was and now you find the time to release this fire breathing dragon onto the OKA community but at the critical time you leave us hanging with
To be continued.......................
Martyn (keeping the DARK SIDE at bay)
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12 May 2017 21:12 #3 by Ralley
Ralley replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Martin I think my you might need more than a few extra ponies to keep the many more draft horses at bay on the dark side.

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13 May 2017 07:11 #4 by Outback Jack
Outback Jack replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
It is possible I worked on 413....

I worked for Telstra in the 90`s and fitted the HF Radio etc to them. I was in a section called Radio Lines, and this section built towers, installed antennas etc.

Good to see your having a good run in with the Cummins. It does change the vehicle and with a dicky knee or two, you not changing gears as much.

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14 May 2017 15:45 #5 by DarrenWebster303
DarrenWebster303 replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Welcome to the Dark side Lord Deano. You are now a member of the Flat Earth Society. (No more hills)
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16 May 2017 19:04 - 16 May 2017 19:15 #6 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
The next exciting installment .....................

The Engine.

I first considered upgrading the Oka engine to a Cummins 6BT several years ago but gave it a miss because I thought spending $30K on a 20 year old vehicle that cost us less than $30K to buy initially was a classic example of 'over capitalisation'.

I'd looked at several other engine upgrade options and had discarded them for various reasons. The final 'contenders' were 6 cylinder Perkins Phaser which was probably the best 'bang for buck' option but IMO a dated and quite crude design though a good, honest 'draft horse' and comparatively easy to install. These engines are quite common from old International trucks etc. but usually heavily used before being wrecked so the problem was finding a 'good' one.
Another option was fitting a complete 'fan to drive shafts' engine, gearbox and maybe transfer case from an Isuzu NPR/NKR truck. I'd seen one done (can't remember whose it is) and was quite impressed with the result. I discard this option as being a lot of work for a comparatively modest gain in power/torque and again finding a 'lightly used' donor vehicle.

This left the Cummins 6BT which is an extremely common (globally) 'modern' old style diesel engine and renowned for its reliability. Engines could be sourced from old trucks and service vehicles like street sweepers, aeroplane tugs and the like which I discarded for the same reason as the others, finding a 'lightly used' one.
I considered importing a complete 6BT/Turner-Spicer gearbox from a Leyland/DAF truck from England which were very cheap at the time but again by the time the truck was wrecked the engine/drivetrain would probably be worn out and it's a bit hard to complain from the other side of the world.
Another 6BT option was to buy an ex railway genset motor as a number of people on this forum have done and convert it to vehicle use. Again an 'unknown' motor but with a 'warranty' but a lot of parts to source to make it viable. Definitely high levels of International eBay skill and confidence required.
Another and IMO the best option was to go for a 6BT Dodge Ram ute engine from North America. A comparatively lightly used application for this engine and millions of them made over many years, most unfortunately on the other side of the world but at least they don't require automotive conversion. A number of people import these engines into Australia but the trick was to find a reliable and honest importer who sources his engines from an equally reliable and honest supplier in North America.

Fortunately our own Paul Nott from East Coast OKA knows such people and through him I was able to purchase an 'excess to requirements' engine that his importer had just bought in. The die was cast .....................

I am writing this series of posts with Pauls encouragement but am very conscious of the 'commercial in confidence' respect that is due to his and Ian Jones' businesses. Both people have been crucial to this conversion and there is 'no way' I could have completed it to such a high standard without their support and assistance.

The before images are NOT the engine I purchased (as I didn't take photos) but a more 'weathered' example of an identical engine. The after images are of #413's new engine.



On this engine the alternator, air con compressor and belt tensioner are missing along with the fan pulley mounting.

The other side of the engine looks like this



Waving a magic wand, many hours of work and several thousands of dollars later it looks like this.



and this



The 64 dollar question is "How much does all this cost ?".

The answer is that it all depends on a number of factors.

1/. Purchase price of the motor and any fees and charges (customs, quarantine, GST etc.)

The going rate for a 6BT ex Dodge Ram engine such as this is around $6500 - $9000 depending on condition, ancillaries and mileage.

2/. The ancillary items that need to be obtained, ie. exhaust manifold, fan hub, fan, viscous hub, engine mounts, flywheel, engine adapter plate etc.

3/. The cost and quality of items that should be replaced, ie. alternator, lift pump, air con compressor. Quality items cost more than their aftermarket counterparts.

4/. Whether or not to rebuild/refurbish the injector pump and injectors. For a quality professional job around $1500 (plus parts) for the pump and $1000 (including new 'tips') for the injectors.

For this engine I chose to discard all original ancillary items as they were of dubious used quality and in the case of the air con compressor and alternator of obscure types not common in Australia.

The engine as shown in the 'after pics' cost around $18000 to build but could be done cheaper if a lower level of quality was acceptable.

This price does not include the new radiator and associated plumbing, fan shroud, any labour cost or any other work done in conjunction with the engine replacement.

More details to come .................

Deano :)
Last Edit: 16 May 2017 19:15 by Dean and Kaye Howells.
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17 May 2017 17:47 #7 by Outback Jack
Outback Jack replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Well done. Paul and Ian do know their stuff, however there are other options out their as well. I guess it depends on how much you have, how well you can source parts internationally etc. Not an easy task, but doable.

Engine looks great, the 18k does that include the adapter to the gearbox, clutch etc?? Or did you go auto?

I am in same boar, have I over capitalized on a 20 year plus vehicle?

But once you drive it with the engine, well it just makes you want to drive it more, travel more etc.

Well done.

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18 May 2017 13:23 - 18 May 2017 13:36 #8 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Hi OBJ. The engine build cost does include the new adapter plate and flywheel with new Perkins ring gear, spigot bearing and Unbrako mounting bolts for the flywheel and pressure plate.



The adapter plate and flywheel are of very high quality and CNC machined from single 'billets' of steel. Very easy to fit and align perfectly with the Cummins engine and Oka clutch assembly and bell housing. A tip here, make sure to remove the bell housing location dowels from the Perkins adapter plate before on selling the old engine :)

Using Pauls 6BT adapter 'kit' allows the use of the original equipment Oka clutch plate, pressure plate, thrust bearing, fork assembly and slave cylinder as well as starter motor and bell housing; all items that I would otherwise have needed to acquire if I'd used an alternative Leyland/DAF 'kit'.
It also gives a very clear 'demarcation line' between Oka and Cummins without other third party components in between and AFAIK the only option for an XT Cummins manual transmission conversion . Oka 413 is an LT so this wasn't an issue.

IMO the biggest benefit of using this conversion kit is that by being the 22nd Oka to be 'converted' using it the conversion wrinkles have been well and truly sorted out and items such as engine mounts, side covers, turbo crossover pipe, radiator piping and hoses, fan, fan hub, viscous coupling, shroud, thermostat housing, inlet and exhaust plumbing, hydraulic pump, alternator and air conditioning compressor to name some, which all need to be altered or replaced has been well and truly sorted out.
Ian Jones has made templates and jigs for some of the above items and with Paul has chased down sources for others and both gave freely of their time and expertise in helping me 'sort it all out' using items which I either sourced through them or on their advice.
The time and money saved in not having to 're-invent the wheel' more than paid for the adapter kit with the benefit of being able to achieve a polished and professional result.

For my $18000 I got the following

6BT ex Dodge Ram engine
Paul Nott adapter plate and flywheel with new ring gear, spigot bearing and Unbrako bolts
Fan hub, pulley, bearing, bolts, viscous coupling, fan and new fan shroud
New OE water pump, belt tensioner and 2 serpentine belts
New Bosch alternator, drive pulley and genuine Sanden air con compressor, both of a common Australian type
Modified mounting bracket to suit alternator and air con compressor
Modified thermostat housing and genuine Cummins thermostat ($135)
New radiator hoses and stainless steel radiator 'cross over' pipe from rhs of engine to lhs bottom of radiator
New OE turbo drain tube, oil filter, turbo crossover pipe and fittings/hoses, new turbo inlet pipe and fittings/hoses
New turbo exhaust pipe, bends, gasket, seals and fittings to fit existing Oka exhaust
Complete top and bottom gasket set kits and injector o ring seals (not in kit)
New (old stock) genuine Ford F650 6BT hydraulic pump with drive gear, fittings, reservoir and high and low pressure hoses
Rebuild genuine Bosch VE pump with new body and shaft and rebuilt injectors with new nozzles ($3500)
New fuel filter with modified mounting and new OE Delphi lift pump
Modified engine mounts (change over)
New clutch plate, thrust bearing and rebuilt pressure plate
New OE Oka temp sensor/sender and oil pressure gauge and lamp senders
Misc brass plugs and heater pipe fittings, paint etc.

I think that just about covers it though there's bound to be something I've forgotten.

I did set out to build a top of the line engine and have used the highest quality parts available. Kaye and I sometimes travel very remotely and reliability is everything, hence the 'take no prisoners' approach to the build. Yes it's a lot of money but I don't care if it's 'over capitalisation' or not it's what we want to do. :)

Peering through the engine bay and thinking ............ "I hope the bloody thing starts after all this effort"



Photo courtesy of Oka Pete.

Note the extended side cover cutout and with the extended side covers a work of art by Ian Jones that looks completely original and gives unfettered access to the front of engine.

And yes, it did start and runs beautifully. :) :) :)

Deano :)

next .......................... fitting it all in
Last Edit: 18 May 2017 13:36 by Dean and Kaye Howells.
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18 May 2017 15:52 #9 by Outback Jack
Outback Jack replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Looking good Dean,

The person who makes the adapter is well versed in engineering and has the right equipment to do. You are right , the first few made where different to what is getting made.

Even Paul and Ian dont offer a kit a such. They offer the adapter plate etc as a sum of parts. Then rest you get as you go along.
The DAF combo has being proven in the thousands of trucks However being proven in an OKA is a different thing.

My engine mounts etc etc are line up same as others. Nothing has changed there.

I am running electric fans and time will tell if that is a success. The simplicity of a fan hub etc is a great option and well proven.

When doing an engine change over, doesnt matter if you go with PK and IJ or try to go on it your own, there are million things to look out for and consider.

Your conversion will out last you and the OKA........ Looks like a real neat install and engine


Now OKA Pete needs to get his going, Must be over 30 plus OKA`s with 6bt.

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18 May 2017 15:55 #10 by 210greg
210greg replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Sounds like you got value for money its not about the cost its all about what you want and if your venture to the DARK SIDE
floats your boat go for it I am sure you will enjoy it. Both Dean and I are still grinning after going to the Swift Side. Now look what we have DARK, SWIFT and GREY what next I think PINK would be good any takers.
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18 May 2017 17:30 - 18 May 2017 17:47 #11 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
Hi OBJ, the 'adapter kit' (my terminology) that I'm referring to is the adapter plate, flywheel, ring gear, spigot bearing and Unbrako's supplied in a single package by Paul which is all that is needed (assuming the existing Oka clutch/bell housing parts are OK) to connect the new Cummins 6BT engine to the existing Oka bell housing/gearbox and drive train.

It would IMO be very difficult to offer a single 'kit' for the engine conversion as there are too many variables. Differences in fan and fan mount between XT and LT, plumbing and radiator differences, alternator and hydraulic pump/air compressor options, LT hydraulic vs XT mechanical clutch and other differences mean that there would be dozens of kit variations. For a small market such as the Oka not a viable offering.

Yes Greg, I'd already bought one of Martyn's 'Swift' turbo's and was ready to install it when I was corrupted and lured to the 'Dark Side'. Actually it could be called the 'Light Side' as in Sweetness and Light or 'Seeing the Light' or better still the 'White Side' as in 'Knight in Shining Armour' purity and goodness but I see that Paul Scherek has already claimed this for the original Perkins which IMO should be better termed as the 'Beige Side' for its ordinaryness. ;)

The purchaser of my original Perkins got a 'smokin deal' with an engine 'Swift' turbo package and should have as big a smile as you, Dean and Rick Whitworth. Rick's got so much power now that I'm told he's blowing up diffs :woohoo: :P ;)

Deano :)
Last Edit: 18 May 2017 17:47 by Dean and Kaye Howells.
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19 May 2017 06:14 #12 by Paul Scherek
Paul Scherek replied the topic: OKA 413 - The Force Awakens
I am with you there Deano, the amount of fun available to Oka owners makes the cost of the upgrades a bargain. With all the upgrades to my Oka, plus building the motorhome body, plus building a 9 x 18 metre shed to build it in, plus buying a TIG welder, bandsaws etc, and a solar power system to run it all, I am still wayyyy cheaper than buying a shop-built off-road motorhome. And the Oka looks better, and other Oka owners are a better class of citizen.....

My Perkins conversion was put together by Tony at Uptech 4WD in Monbulk, Melbourne. Apart from his own Oka, he mostly works on Land Rovers, so his background is impeccable. And his work is first class. We Oka owners are sooo lucky to have so much expertise available to us, especially those of us in or near Melbourne. Three experts in one city!
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