The students enrolled at Automotive Training Centre’s Toronto campus took part in an exciting project this year: They restored a 1989 Terra-Jet all-terrain vehicle! Using the skills they gained in class and in the shop, students turned an old and out-of-order Terra-Jet into one that both looks great and runs well. The leader and genius behind the disassembly, diagnosing and restoring the vehicle was our very own Automotive Technology graduate—Bill Campbell.
Terra-Jets have been used both recreationally and in industry by farmers, hunters, and sportsmen since 1969. Originally manufactured in Quebec, they are unique vehicles that offer four-wheel drive and the ability to handle vigorous terrain. The Terra-Jet has always been designed for exploring wooded and rugged areas, no matter the season. In fact, the Terra-Jet is semi-amphibious, meaning it can function both on land and when driven into water. The chance to work on and restore a vehicle like the Terra-Jet was the chance of a lifetime for students at ATC!
Want to find out more? Check out the steps ATC students took to bring their Terra-Jet project into the 21st century.
Students in ATC’s Mechanic Courses in Toronto Began by Disassembling the Vehicle
Students up for the challenge started the project by using their skills to uncover the true state of the vehicle. In order to properly diagnose the extent of the damage, they began by removing the vehicle’s body so they could get a good look under the hood. Once they did, it quickly became apparent that the vehicle had seen its fair share of rough and tumble. The tub, the part of the vehicle that holds the seats and passengers, was badly damaged from years of mucking through swamps and racing though forests.
ATC Students Created a New Tub for the Terra-Jet
Students put the skills they learned at automotive school in Toronto to good use as they began working on the tub of the Terra-Jet. They started by welding a new skin for the tub, which required extensive metal inert gas (MIG) welding. In MIG welding, an electric arc is stimulated between the metal (in this case, the new skin for the vehicle’s tub) and a consumable wire electrode. This process heats the material and causes it to melt and join, attaching the new skin to the vehicle’s tub.
After the welding was complete, ATC students coated the tub in three coats of bed liner in order to seal out any moisture and prevent corrosion. With three generous coats to protect it, the tub was now safe to return to its soggy adventures!
Students in ATC’s Mechanic Courses in Toronto Repaired Parts of the Old Engine
After repairing the tub, students focussed their attention onto the Terra-Jet’s old Briggs and Stratton V-Twin 18.0 Horsepower engine. During the engine’s better days, it had boasted two forward speeds plus one reverse, four cycles, and an average of 30 mpg. However, due to the engine’s age, the carburetor, fuel delivery system, air intake system, and electrical components all had to be replaced.
Once the faulty parts were replaced, students tested the engine to check that everything was in proper working order. The results were fantastic and the engine functioned exceptionally well. Pretty impressive for an engine built in 1989!
Students at ATC’s Automotive School in Toronto Repaired the Terra-Jet’s Drive Train
Due to a lifetime of jostling through mountainous and rugged terrain, all systems in the Terra-Jet’s drive train had to be rebuilt including the brakes, steering, axles, gears, and chain system. In addition, the transmission and torch converter were both taken apart by students enrolled in ATC’s mechanic courses in Toronto to ensure they were running properly.
After all the parts were deemed functional, the drive train was precisely reassembled, setting the vehicle back on track.
ATC Students Reassembled the Vehicle on a Refurbished Body
The body of the vehicle also received some much-needed updates. ATC students applied three coats of bed liner to the frame to help protect it from any future wear and tear.
After all the repairs, students got to work reassembling the vehicle so they could see the fruits of their labour. The result was a highly-functioning refurbished 1989 Terra-Jet, ready to take on a swamp, forest, or muddy field! Special thanks goes to our ATC graduate—Bill Campbell for his outstanding contribution to this big project.
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