4WDs too high-tech to survive in outback

Submitted: Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 14:48
ThreadID: 109437 Views:7690 Replies:21 FollowUps:44
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From the ABC


Four-wheel drive vehicles are becoming too dependent on high-tech software to be reliable out in the bush, according to an industry commentator.

The editor of 4x4 Australia magazine, Matt Raudonikis, believes that while the new technology is making the vehicles better to drive, there are growing concerns that if something goes wrong in a remote area, no one can fix them.

"In the old days, a bush mechanic could have a look at something and see what was wrong with it and hopefully get it fixed," he said.

"Now it's a matter of plugging in a computer to be able to diagnose what the problem is.

"So a lot of bush mechanics will just call a truck and get the vehicle to take it to the nearest capital city."

Mr Raudonikis said people driving in remote parts of the country need to be aware of the risk of getting stranded.

"If you're in a place where you can't get fixed, it could totally ruin your holiday," he said.

"Or it could even be life-threatening if you're in a remote enough place."

Mr Raudonikis said some drivers are opting to upgrade their older cars, rather than risk a high-tech breakdown in the bush.

"We're seeing a trend towards people keeping their cars that are 10 years old, or even older," he said.

"They're spending the money on updating them to keep them up to capability and refreshed, because they're something that might be able to be worked on out in the bush."

Bush breakdowns could spell peril for unwary

Bush mechanic Neville Hernon knows first-hand the perils of bush breakdowns.

For 15 years, he has run the only tyre repair business on the Gibb River Road, the kind of rocky bush track that four-wheel drives were originally designed to handle.
Video: Are 4WDs too high-tech for the bush? (7pm TV News WA)

The 700 kilometre red dirt road cuts through the central Kimberley, and features deep water crossings, roaming cattle and long stretches between fuel and supply stops.

While in recent years the road has been graded more frequently - leading some hardcore four-wheel drivers to turn up their noses - a bumper sticker proclaiming "I survived the Gibb River Road" remains a badge of honour.

Every day, a stream of hot and bedraggled travellers turn up at Mr Hernon's door.

They have often hitched a ride from their broken-down vehicle, or arrive in the hope of replacing torn up tyres.

"During the dry season months, I can see up to 10, 12 cars," he said.

"People often arrive pretty stressed or upset because they think their holiday might be ruined because of losing a tyre or whatever.

"But usually we can get them fixed up no problems and send them on their way happy."
Most improvements for the better, mechanic says

Over the years Mr Hernon has noticed the changes in car design.

The tyres have gotten bigger, and there is an increased reliance on computer technology to operate safety and steering systems.

"At first I was a bit worried, thinking 'does this mean I won't be able to fix up the cars'," he said.

But once a computer is playing up, you're in strife, I don't have the software or the computer to diagnose a lot of that stuff.

"Most of the time it's not a problem, it's just a matter of turn off the system, give it a few minutes and she's right.

"But once a computer is playing up, you're in strife. I don't have the software or the computer to diagnose a lot of that stuff."

Most of the improvements, he said, have been for the better.

"Most of the cars are actually really well designed," he said.

"They're safer and they're more comfortable.

"Usually it's the same old problems - a busted tyre, a battery - that I can get sorted no problem."

I can certainly see the appeal of the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid approach, especially with remote area travel.
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Reply By: garrycol - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:18

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:18
Part of the problem is owners not wanting to understand their modern vehicles - a code reader/resetter should be an integral part of any modern vehicle tool kit.

Also owners should know how to reboot the car's systems - fixes 99% of issues.

Also it is rare that the computers themselves fail. It is normally something else and it is the computer that relays the information to the driver - hence they think it is the computer.

Like in days gone by - if going into remote areas you need to know your vehicle and taking appropriate spares and that may include a spare ECU if the vehicle has a history of failure.

Likewise many city and outback mechanics seem reluctant to learn about new vehicles and are reluctant to change, but I do accept that they cannot be across every type of vehicle - and this is where a code reader comes into its own. If the owner has a box to read codes then the mechanic can go looking in the right area and fix the issue the good old fashion way. As I said it is rarely a computer failing - but we do want to blame and shoot the messenger.

I think as time goes on, the issue of dealing with modern vehicle systems will become less.

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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:42

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:42
The elephant wants to know where do I get a code reader?

Bill B

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:12

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:12

I assume you are looking for something for a Prado - I am not familiar with what is available for Toyota but for other makes, independent service agents and parts suppliers could point you in the right direction.

There are generic OBD2 readers on the net but they are very basic and not a lot of help. Even a basic Scangauge will read and clear codes but it only gives you a code number so you need a separate source to decode the code.

I use a Faultmate FCR for my Landrover would not leave home without it.

My Faultmate FCR tells you the code number and what it actually is. The full version of the Faultmate allows you to change settings within the vehicle systems.

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 21:55

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 21:55
You say many city and outback mechanics are reluctant to change well seriously how much time would it take up learning all the right and wrong things to do with these technological nightmares how much money do you expect it would cost them to purchase all the equipment to enable them to work on these vehicles not just one brand but all of them. The mechanics that work at some dealerships struggle sometimes to keep up with all the makes just from one company which they work at everyday quite often they just keep guessing what's wrong until they get it right if their lucky which we have personally experienced with 2 new cars we bought from different companies so how much time do you expect the average mechanic in his small workshop has to put into learning about all the technology from all the vehicle out there that may break down in his area. Just plugging it into a laptop doesn't always mean you'll get the perfect diagnosis every time I don't blame them for not wanting to work on vehicles that realistically should only be driven on tar roads in the city because man once again has outsmarted himself by filling vehicles full of crap that serves no purpose in the outback let alone on a tarred road because some people fool themselves by believing they'll be safer if they're surrounded by more technology. Gone are the days of the "kiss" principle.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:07

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:07
It would be nice if scan tools told you what was wrong, scan tools are like a street directory, they tell you the suburb, the street name but not the street number...... as you are well aware some streets are very long and have many numbers. This is what a scan to is like.

Reading live data streams is in most cases better then that a fault code, you still have to have a good understanding of how associated sub systems work and interacts with each other and you have to be good at diagnosing and testing with other forms of test gear like a multi meter and a scope.

The other problem is if you clear a fault code and your vehicle is still under warranty; then the dealer will not accept it under warranty.

Most fault codes don't stop a vehicle from running plus you have to have a good understanding of how the fault code is generated, logged and what it means.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:13

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:13
My son's VW currently has an engine light on that scans as unknown error. Has Microsoft started doing car computers?
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 11:37

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 11:37
"Has Microsoft started doing car computers?"
This has been around for years, but probably even more relevant today.

Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release

If General Motors had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason at all, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you would have to reinstall the engine.

4. When your car died on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought 'Car95' or 'CarNT', and then added more seats.

6. Apple would make a car powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads.

7. Oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single 'general car default' warning light.

8. New seats would force every-one to have the same size butt.

9. The airbag would say 'Are you sure?' before going off.

10. Occasionally, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna.

11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of road maps from Rand-McNally (a subsidiary of GM), even though they neither need them nor want them. Trying to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 per cent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

13. You would press the 'start' button to shut off the engine.
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/humor/jokes/autos.asp#GpJGJ1DTZMAZIel0.99
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:51

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 15:51
Good to see others believe that to , its been a driver behind why I have stuck with a GU Patrol and in petrol , its one of few cars that has both performance and is relatively simple - however its less efficent as a result , so you don't win both ways.

On the other side of the arguement it is a lot less hassle than it was to walk away from a car , communicate with salvage operators or rescue services , and get back home and I have now known several people who have done this and whole experience hasn't been that bad.

So cars becoming more complex has been offset by the lowering of the consequences, and while this isn't my preferred option I do see it as a valid option for many travellers.

I think everyone out there should be in something like racv Total care and accident insured .
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 18:14

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 18:14
Hail the 4.2TD !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter G20 - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:24

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:24
Nissan 1998 GU Patrol 2.8 diesel turbo inter cooled! 351,000 ks and just finishing a 55'000 k trip around Austrlia this weekend!
It loves it!
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Follow Up By: Geoff N (NSW) - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:57

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:57
RACV Total Care is useless in remote areas. They will not assist even on such well-used 2WD roads as the Gary Junction Road. You've no hope in places such as the Simpson Desert or anywhere else vaguely interesting.

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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 21:22

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 21:22
I have a scangauge, , it's my normal human faculties, listen , look , and feel, never had a problem, if every outback garage carried the comp program and codes, the poor bloke wouldn't have the arse left in his pants, lot to be said for pre computer toyos and nissans.
Tony F8.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:13

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:13
Good ol 4x4 Australia publicity as part of it's new relaunched website this week is working.

Even the ABC buys into rehashing press releases these days.

It's sad that press releases, twitter and facebook is the major source of news these days.

Say something contentious, and away you go with mass press coverage. Simple formula.

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:15

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 16:15
We had to call on Neville's tyre repairing services during our last trip on the GRR a couple of months back. We punched holes in 2 tyres going to and from some of the gorges. I did have the equipment to fix but couldn't be bothered, too lazy...lol.
Neville soon had the tyres off the rims with his machine and patched them no worries.
Nice bloke too.

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Follow Up By: slave - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:59

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:59
We spent a pleasant time talking to Nev while he did our oil change in July. We supplied the parts but paid him to do the work and dispose of the oil.
A very nice guy who provides a great service on the GRR.

Mrs S
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:33

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:33

I have to say I am a bit puzzled by this story.

Surely it in the interests of the editor of a 4WD magazine to be promoting outback travel, not scaring the pants of everybody with anything newer than an 80 series Landcruiser from taking it off the bitumen.

Blind Freddy knows that cars are more complicated but there are probably thousands of travellers who head off every year and never have a problem.

I wonder how many people read all the way to the end of the story where our man Neville says:

Most of the improvements, he said, have been for the better.

"Most of the cars are actually really well designed," he said. "They're safer and they're more comfortable.

"Usually it's the same old problems - a busted tyre, a battery - that I can get sorted no problem."

Get out there, I reckon there's nothing like the outback.


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Reply By: mikehzz - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:56

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 17:56
I suppose space travel is totally out of the question then if we are talking about high tech reliability? I'll take the reliability of my current cars over anything I had in the 70's. Sure I could fix them back then with hotch potch bits and pieces but then again my cars in the 70's were always breaking down so I had to. Totally happy with my current cars, a Jeep and a Land Rover (Gasp!). Both are teched up, neither has left me stranded anywhere in a combined 400,000 kms. Both have been remote into the deserts numerous times. Let's talk about how bad CRD's now..... :-)
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 18:22

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 18:22
I agree Mike, our 2010 Defender has taken us everywhere so far without a hitch. We have a Nanocom but haven't used it at all and the vehicle hasn't faultered over the 124K she's now done.
Just done the Gibb and Mereenie Loop and saw several vewhicles with tyre probs.
Stopped to ask one bloke who'd overtaken us twice at warp speed and he'd shredded a tyre if he was OK ...."I've got 2 more he said" so we carried on and let him burn past us yet again!
12K trip and no punctures and no other probs either.
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Reply By: cookie1 - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:14

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 19:14
I have a 2011 GX Landcruiser and have had several Patrols, 2 x GU series, never had any issues with the computers but had issues with Nissan services.

I look after all my vehicles having them serviced regularly and don't redesign the things with modifications that affect the engine such as bigger exhausts and chips etc etc - just the way the very smart engineers intended the car to run.

Been through the Kimberley earlier this year and back across the Talawana Track, Gunbarrel etc etc without any issues - picked up a tek screw at King Edward River Campground which got fixed in Derby, it only went down once we were there.

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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 21:22

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 21:22
Aeroplanes are too high-tech to fly.

Give me a break, these sort of suggestions are getting sillier!

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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 11:45

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 11:45
Yes, but aeroplanes are designed with multiple backup systems. If one fails, there are two more to take over. Aeroplanes don't go into "limp home mode" for a reason.

The main point of this article should be that, if you are going travelling into remote areas in a modern vehicle, be prepared so that you can:
1. Pay the required towing fee to get your vehicle recovered (many thousands in some circumstances). And don't forget to allow for the fee for the camper trailer or caravan.
2. Have an effective means of communication so you can actually call the tow truck or get other help.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 16:33

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 16:33
Aeroplanes high tech ??? You do know that most of the little Cessna's flying still use a magneto for spark …..
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 16:48

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 16:48
The point is electronics are not new and have been integrated into virtually every part of our lives.
Hundreds of thousands of aircraft fly every day without fail, millions of cars drive everyday without fail.
No doubt tens of thousands of vehicles are driving the outback without fail.
The risk of a failure is so small it's almost impossible to calculate.
The world isn't going to change back so get used to it.

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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 17:13

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 17:13
"The risk of a failure is so small it's almost impossible to calculate."
Actually, the risk is a damn sight higher than that and can be calculated. See below for examples. Most data comes from overseas. I know the RACV used to release reliability ratings based on their callouts, but I can't find any.



"The world isn't going to change back so get used to it."
The proliferation of electronic and computer control of vehicles is partly driven by the need to meet emission standards. However, this shouldn't mean that the vehicle has to stop when the slightest thing goes pear shaped. I've had my diesel Hilux go into limp mode and the cause was too much diesel being let into the engine by a faulty injector. If that had happened when I'm out woop-woop I'd be seriously p*ssed off.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 22:52

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 22:52
Your Hilux would of went into limp mode due the the detection of a "major fuel leak". The vehicle would of not known what caused the fuel leak so to play it safe and alert the driver they go into limp mode plus also being classed as an emission based fault it is a high priority.

By the way aeroplane run a very basic system.
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 at 08:02

Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 at 08:02
The complexity of an aeroplane's systems depends on the plane. A little Cessna will be simple, large passenger aircraft much more complex, modern jet fighters are stretching the boundaries.
The problem I have with the modern vehicle control systems is that they are programmed to play it safe for a limited set of circumastances. Unfortunately, I think they assumed that communication is always available, the tow truck only 5 minutes away and the dealer just down the road a bit. This "safe" programming for the city environment is not safe for remote areas, but we don't have the choice of selecting a "remote area" mode. Hell, maybe they should put a GPS chip into every vehicle and have alternative responses depending on your distance from a dealer?
Can it be changed with aftermarket chips?
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 14:38

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 14:38
Hilux fan you should be thankful that your vehicle has the capability to go into limp mode like it did, had it not the repair bill should you have been able to keep driving would have been considerably more than a outback tabletop recovery

You can focus on the negatives of technology but what about all the positives of better drive trains, fuel economy,traction aids, passenger comfort, passenger safety etc etc etc
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 15:15

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 15:15
Hey, I love the positives of new technology. The power and economy of my 2006 Hilux makes my old 1993 Hilux seem like a slug.

But, when things go wrong, I don't like the fact that my range of choices has been taken out of my hands by some programming engineer in a cubicle in Japan. If things go wrong in the engine, I want to know about it straight away. But if I'm in a remote area, I don't want my options (keep driving and risk damage, stop and call or wait for help) being restricted. What's the higher risk: driving with a slightly dodgy injector or being stuck way out back and hoping you can call someone?
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 17:20

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 17:20
That option is available to you if you get a code reader and a code reference and then you can make your own call if you want to reset computer and keep driving
I have done that with mine before
I know what you are saying about the simplicity of the old motors but you can't have your cake and eat it too
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 19:24

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 19:24
"I know what you are saying about the simplicity of the old motors but you can't have your cake and eat it too"
True, but unfortunately I can't even choose what flavour cake I get. If I want a modern diesel 4WD I'm stuck with the computer problem.
What are these code readers you're talking about and how much are they? Could be a useful addition to the toolkit.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 21:51

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 21:51
A scanguage is under $200 and it will read a lot of the fault codes plus you can clear the faults yourself
There are other more sophisticated ones that will give you injector feedback values etc but I have no experience with that sort of stuff
I am sure there are others here could recommend some of the other options
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 18:00

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 18:00
Or a BU 327 on ebay for $25 and the Torque app on android if you want much more like graphs, torque, engine light reset, and any parameter by GPS location.

great app.
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 18:29

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 18:29
Boobook, thank for that. Actually it's called an ELM 327. Looks like you might have to be careful where you purchase the ELM unit from as there are a lot of clones out there. I'll investigate further when I get my download speed back after going over my monthly limit (again!). The ScanGuage is $189, but I'll have to see if the Torque app can do what I'd like it to do.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 22:38

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 22:38
What a load of rubbish, since the early 90's vehicles have become hi-tech and the systems they use today are not much different to the systems the use today.

This article has been written by someone with very little knowledge of modern vehicle electronics and anything post 1990.

Electronic fuel injection, electronic gearboxes and body control modules have all been around for over 20 years and any vehicle can have a failure that will make it non driveable.

So an 80 series petrol Landcruiser, a VN Commodre or a EA Falcon is not hi-tech, if anything it was more hi-tech in it's day then many of the modern vehicles on the road today.

Sure they have more processing power and more modules and more electronically controlled gadgets but the reliability has also increased.

QUOTE "But once a computer is playing up, you're in strife. I don't have the software or the computer to diagnose a lot of that stuff."

Maybe it's time he went and did some schooling on modern vehicles and spent some coin on diagnostic gear as the horse and cart vanished years ago.

They way some talk it makes one thing every modern vehicle breaks down as soon as it leave the bitumen...... funny thing is I see more older vehicles stranded on the side of the road than newer ones.

Good to see Matt Raudonikis still using a typewriter, a reel to reel, a public phone box and a teletext for his daily activities....... can't trust this modern stuff ya know!
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 16:49

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 16:49
Hey ! That's very funny, but true ! Michael
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:17

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:17
Recently in Cooktown. A three month old Pajero on a tilt tray outside the local RAC repair garage. It was recovery from Cape York with an engine warning light alarm.

Garage not allowed to touch it as it is under warranty had to go back to a dealership - what a lovely holiday this family must have had! Thanks to modern technology.

I think they are designed so that only dealership can service and fix them. My 2000 model Toyota never goes to a dealership. Their labour and other costs are outrageous due to dealerships massive premises located in the high end of town. Have you ever walked into a service centre and seen the number of 'suits' wandering around the spacious premises trying to look busy. You then get charged ridiculous prices for parts while often an unsupervised apprentice works on your vehicle.


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Reply By: Top End Az - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 09:14

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 09:14
Tend to agree with Nev. The vast majority of problems people face in the outback (or anywhere) are the usual suspects: batteries, tyres, or unnecessary damage caused from people driving like twits and not to the conditions. Also, it amazes me some people don't get a service done on their car prior to leaving on long trips or do daily checks on their vehicles whilst outback to identify and prevent problems before they happen. I've met stuck travellers whom haven't been able to llift the bonnet or find the jack.

With good preparation, and common sense (which I'm told isn't all that common), the vast majority of problems can be avoided. If you aren't sure about your battery condition (ie been a bit hard to start, or getting a bit long in the tooth); change it before you head off. Easier to do it in town, than out on the GRR.

All that said. I was at the Darwin 4WD, Boating & Outback Camping expo a few months back. One of the demonstrations was a snatch strap recovery. Do you think they could start the new 200 Series Cruiser being used as part of the demonstration? I'm not bagging out Cruisers as I do like them but they had all the industry experts standing around under the bonnet, trying to get the thing started.

Not sure what the problem was in the end, but a couple of hours later it was still not going anywhere. I didn't want to butt in, but my thoughts were initially to disconnect the battery for a few minutes and let the thing do a reset, which was mentioned earlier in this thread. Better for the owner to have this problem on this occasion at the Darwin showgrounds than out on the Canning Stock Route.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 17:00

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 17:00
Good post! You only have to watch You tube to see the Tossers with a camper trailer in tow and a family of five, take risks driving through terrain that has the potential to damage their vehicle and camper and ruin their families, month long holiday! Apparently taking the so called "chicken track" is a "no way" for some and they are prepared to risk everything to say, "I did it!". regards Michael
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Reply By: get outmore - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 17:17

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 17:17
From the issues ive seen traveeling through the kimberly over the last few months
the biggest issues have been basic mechanical
batteries, tyres, wheel carriers, radiators, and the biggest of all -------- busted camper trailers

all of which can be fixed or patched up by a basic mechanic/bush mechanic with a 1/2 decent workshop and a few supplies

I didnt see any wizz bang computer operated failures
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Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 22:53

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 22:53
In all seriousness, the complexity and more significanly the poor quality of some electronics packages is most definitely an issue.

Now...some have tried to make paralells with aviation and space travel.....a complete and utter irrelivency.

In small aviation a great many of the aircraft are very simple and have very little in the way of electronic controlls.......almost all modern light aircraft ( about the size of a car or truck) still have wire running from the controll surfaces back to the controlls.......what electronics there is, is very reliable and in a different league to that you will find in motorcars.....and to work on aircraft at all, you have to be specifically trained and licenced.

Move in to large aviation and aerospace......that is the top rung you can get on as far as the electronics business is concerned....systems in large aircraft have multiple redundancies and an electronic build quality not seen in normal civilian life..........and it's not like they are contracting out the assemby of aviation electronics the the cheapest bidder in china or india.

Sure there are heaps of people who travel remote with no issues........but there are heaps of people out there that seem happy and have no problems with some of the dodgiest products on earth.

But face facts, modern vehicles while in generaly very reliable and efficent...are intolerant of abuse and things like bad fuel.

There is no shortage of cases where "modern vehicles" have to be towed where an older vehicle either would not have had the problem or the vehicle could have been fixed by the roadside and driven out.

And some for realy silly little problems.

Another fact that some will try to argue....some manufacturers make better or more reliable systems than others......GMH and Ford have had some pretty poor electronics packages in their vehicles......where the japanese manufacturers tend to build better electronics packarges.....most of the time.

The other issue with these modern cars is that when they do fail they tend to be very much more expensive to repair.

Even getting a vehicle fit for purpose is an issue.....a modern vehicle with ABS, airbags and electronic stability controll...you are very much restricted as to what modifications you can legally or practically do without getting on the wrong side of the electronics.

A good old fashon mechanically injected diesel, will run completely submersed indefinitely as long as you keep water out of the sump and air intake.....not many moder engines will manage that.

Even the matter of carpet and trim on the modern cumfy vehices makes them unsuitable if you are interested playing sully buggers with deep water crossings.

The older vehicles had most of the things that mattered mounted fairly high in the dash......the modern vehicles may have radios and such mounted lower in the vehicle like in the centre console and even relays and electronics packages in the cavities, like kick pannels, low to the floor.

Then there are some of the things that are done to get bigger engines in older designs like the 70 series or the lower the bonnet line.
The result is making fairly mundane things very hard to work on or replace.

Is it the new 70 series that something as simple as changing a starter motor is an epic endevour.
A mate of mine had a V6..can't remember the brand...but it came fitted with 3 normal spark plugs and 3 platinum spark plugs.....because to change the three expensive plugs required removing the inlet manafold.

Forget the special electronic test equipment required...many of the modern vehicles need special spanners or other tools to do relativly simple tasks like tighten a fan belt.

Yeh I know some of you folk are enamoured wth your latest spec vehicles.....sorry but some of just are not impressed.

AnswerID: 538877

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 22:33

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 22:33
Your mate had a V6 Magna....... To swap the rear plugs added about 40 minutes to the job , you had the remove the inlet track and the rear plugs only got replaced a 90,000k.
FollowupID: 823514

Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 13:34

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 13:34
The Bantam said:
Another fact that some will try to argue....some manufacturers make better or more reliable systems than others......GMH and Ford have had some pretty poor electronics packages in their vehicles......where the japanese manufacturers tend to build better electronics packarges.....most of the time.

You just have no idea how conceited, arrogant, foolish and simply wrong that statement is do you.

Mind you... at least that makes it consistent with many of your others posts.

FollowupID: 823620

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 14:20

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 14:20
So you would rather mount a personal attack than actually contribute to the discussion.

I offer a considered opinion.....you offer nothing but abuse.

You must have no idea how totally pointless and unhelpfull your comment is.

FollowupID: 823622

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 23:29

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2014 at 23:29
The vehicles with hi-tech controls and engine management systems have only been produced in more recent times. Their wiring and electrical connectors are still in good condition.
Wait until they are 10 or 15 years old and the connectors experience corrosion and bad contacts.

Anyone with a 10-15yo vehicle and a few creek dunkings, knows that bad connections are not unusual but are at least near the item that is not operating so you have some chance of identifying the culprit and repairing it. With complex vehicle control systems, the vehicle may fail due to the connection to an unidentified and inconspicuous sensor or control device and be very difficult to identify and repair in the field, even for someone mechanically skilled.

So maybe this discussion will be a little different in a few years from now?

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AnswerID: 538881

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 08:41

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 08:41
Like everything else that is sold today, the manufacturer wants you to buy a new one every 3-4 years. Why design it to last 10? The amount of perfectly good stuff that is thrown out because it doesn't have the latest features is mind boggling. Toyota doesn't make money on 20 year old cars. There is a subtle emphasis on getting consumers to turn over their gear. It's economics and we are the chumps.
FollowupID: 823453

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:42

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:42
The gist of this article is around the risk of “modern” cars failing in the outback due to the high-tech nature of them, with consequence of leaving travellers stranded and at risk.

It is a proposition I don’t necessarily agree with, but putting that aside the writer states that…

"Or it could even be life-threatening if you're in a remote enough place."

The failure of the article is not highlighting that any trip to a remote area needs to be fully considered. Vehicles should be well prepared and a plan in place for contingencies that may arise.

And regardless of the breed or age of the vehicle…

Prior preparation of any vehicle gives a much better chance of a successful trip.

Mind you, perhaps I will be able to offer an informed view at some stage in the future on this very topic. We entirely rebuilt a 1995 Landrover Defender 130, which gave us plenty of grief on short hauls to the point that we weren’t willing to take it “remote” and in the end we lost confidence in it…

In principal we thought this was a reasonable way to go to avoid “a computer malfunction”.

It wasn’t.

In contrast the 79 Series has done around 25,000 kilometres of remote outback travel over the past 9-months without a problem.

And yes, it was a Landrover, and perhaps the jury is still out on the 79 Series given it is only a young’en – but so far the choice of “modern” versus “overhauled old” has the “new” winning hands down.

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 538900

Reply By: Slow one - Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 15:05

Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 15:05
For Baz in the post above. The 79 series is well proven by now with very few having any problems at all, also there are many other makes out there that are in the same boat and also have had very few problems.

I feel comfortable driving a late model 4x4 remote and have driven many kilometres on both blacktop and dirt, corrugated and smooth, wet and dry in computer controlled trucks with out any electronic problems whatsoever.

Many of the computer controlled company vehicles that have been used in some very difficult conditions and terrain have survived.

Recently a vehicle stopped right in front of me at Mckinlay and was a non electronic 4.2TD Patrol in excellent condition. It was an electrical fault in the fuel system that caused the problem and the owner had no warning at all. It just stopped dead. No electronics and basic vehicle.

I totally agree with you about preparation before a trip and covering all bases. Break some minor any major mechanical part on the vehicle and that is where you are going to stay.

Next time I go I am going in a TE 20 tractor with a 3 point linkage carryall for the gear LOL. I have already polished the crank handle ready for when the electronics die. The only thing that is worrying me is the electronic inverter air/con.


AnswerID: 538909

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 at 23:14

Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 at 23:14
Got a mate with tilt trays, and he says he absolutely LOVES all this new high-tech 4WD stuff!
Says it's Job Security for a couple of decades to come!
These things go bush, they break down, they stop - no-one can fix 'em with a couple of bits of fencing wire and some duct tape - they HAVE to be tilt-trayed back to the dealer in the Big Smoke!!

That bloke with the tyre biz on the Gibb River Rd won't even be able to change wheels on the next models!!
They'll be so loaded up with high-tech computerisation on the hubs, they'll need a dealer to change the wheels!

Got a radiator repair mate who is now BANNED from removing radiators from cars!
Not enough high-tech skills, tooling, and equipment!
So many cars today now need to have bumpers - and even HEADLIGHTS removed - to remove the radiator!
Bumpers have airbag sensors in them that can't be touched by unqualified radiator repairers!

So .. the most he does now, is replace the top tank, in situ!
Anything tougher - off to the dealer so they can produce all the high-tech tooling - at BIG $$$$'s!!

Pretty sad state of affairs really. The old fellas would weep at what a nanny society we have become.
Just wait until you see the new self-drive 4WD's, where you aren't even allowed to touch the driving controls!! LOL
AnswerID: 538990

Reply By: Hellman and co. - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 15:01

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 15:01
Hi All,

I work for a large OEM that supplies mining machinery to the mining industry and have had a fair bit of experience in controller driven systems. This includes electric drive, and lately hybrid driven systems on machinery that in reality gets flogged every day of its life and is still expected to achieve 20,000 hours with original components.

Our industry keeps very accurate data in regards to reliability of these new machines and i can assure you the availablity has increased from the introduction of "computers" in vehicles.

This may be because the machinery now has the capability of looking after itself better than the older technology, and it is from the engineering and design in the newer models.

The controllers themselves are almost bullet proof and are normally changed out from mis-diagnosis than failure. I have seen less than 10 failures in 17yrs of working with machines that have up to 8 controllers onboard.

I wonder if the apparent increase in vehicle failures in the bush may be because of the sheer volume of vehicles that can now reach it in air-conditioned comfort.
AnswerID: 539019

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 15:57

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 15:57
"The controllers themselves are almost bullet proof" ...

H-man, there's your answer right there. Your stuff is built with quality construction to do a job with 99.9999% reliability.
Caterpillar use a lot of electronics, and their electronics are built to perform much better, and last longer than road vehicles.

Having said that - nephew bought a new Cat 14M grader ($750,000 worth) about 3 yrs ago, and for the first 3 weeks, they couldn't get it to go over 9kmh.
Dealer spent a vast amount of time and effort into trying to find the problem - no joy.
Caterpillar eventually sent a factory engineer out from the U.S. to trace the fault. He found it - it was in the programming of the ECU'ss (there's more than one) and the ECU's wouldn't "talk" to each other.
He had to re-program the ECU's from a special factory program, and all was well. Just shows that even Cat have electronics problems. The grader has performed well since.

Most vehicle manufacturers in comparison, however, buy the cheapest component from the lowest bidding sub-contractor.
Not a lot of vehicle components are built in the manufacturers factory today, as it used to be.
The components are nearly all sourced from suppliers who supply the item to a specification.
If that specification is inadequate - or heaven help you - if the subcontract supplier lets his QC get out of control - you're stuffed.

In comparison, Cat do serious amounts of research and testing to check on whether the component will withstand every possible foreseeable situation.
Vehicle manufacturers do nothing of the kind. They put electronic components where they can overheat due to engine bay heat - they put them where they can be easily damaged - they put them where they can get seriously wet.
They install poor design connectors that let in dust and moisture, so electronic problems start once the vehicle is a couple of years old.

They don't care about 99.999% reliability - they like to sell parts. And if a part needs replacing often - hey, who's going to gain from that?
If a 4WD breaks down, it's an inconvenience.
If a crucial controller on a piece of mining equipment breaks, it's quite often, $50,000 a minute in losses, because the whole plant stops!

Bottom line is - vehicle manufacturers CAN build to 99.9999% reliability - but they never will. 97% is good enough for them.
There's no money in producing new vehicles, the profit is in the spare parts they sell for the vehicle over the 20 yrs after it leaves the factory.
FollowupID: 823595

Reply By: Slow one - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 17:20

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 17:20
which vehicles are having a problem with there ECM's. I can remember a bloke from the states going round and buying as many non electronic engined 773's that he could get his hands on as these new machines with computers would fail. Many of those same electronic 773's have been rebuilt numerous times and are still running.

Many of the light vehicles that came out with programmed control have now reached the end of their life and gone to vehicle heaven, just plain worn out or not loved.

Watch the fitter and the electrician when there is a fault. The electrician says it's mechanical and the fitter says it's electrical, then the electrician has to prove there is an actual fault in the system like over temp, blocked filter, u/s injector, no oil and so on.

AnswerID: 539023

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 01:13

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 01:13
Have a read of Product Review for problems with new vehicles.
Jeep top the list, and there's a lot of "leading names" getting some bad reviews, too.
These reviews are by actual owners of the vehicles relating their experiences.
I still see the same amount of broken-down vehicles by the roadside every day.
The tilt-trays and towies aren't going out of business anytime soon.
The old vehicles would break down with a different set of problems - overheating was common - drain plugs falling out of diffs (solved by removing drain plugs completely) - fuel blockages due to poor or non-existent filtration - fibre timing gears used to shear teeth - carburettors and distributors gave problems.
Today, its the "error code" light problem - or the ECU has died totally. Either that its the electronic fuel pump or the troublesome high pressure electronic injectors. Then there's common rail super-sensitivity to any contamination or variation in fuel viscosity.
In todays electronic car, a major electronic failure means the end of the vehicle if its high kms.
How many near-new 4WD's have you seen written off because floodwaters came over the floor??
An old farm mate years ago, had his 1 ton '42 Chev traytop roll back into a dam, into 4M deep water. He walked home, they got a rope and tractor, duck-dived and hooked the rope on the old Chev's bumper and hauled her out. They opened the doors and 2000 litres of water and mud and yabbies poured out.
They drained the fuel tank and all the oils, refilled them all, and cranked her up. I rode around the paddocks with him in that old Chev, fully 10 yrs later, and she ran like a top.
Fancy trying the same trick with your current model Nissan/Tojo/Rangie/Ford/Jeep?
FollowupID: 823612

Follow Up By: Slow one - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 06:28

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 06:28
My mum and Dad went on their honeymoon in his 33ft boat which was used as their only means of transport as his family had a cattle property on an island. Now the ronaldson tippett engine does a big end in the middle of the channel, so old fella pulls it down and fashions the leather off one of the dingy oars into a bearing. Fires her up and steams back home.

Now you couldn't do that in the later model new high tech 1942 chev, so maybe we should go back to the very basic old engines and get rid of anything that was produces after the 1920's. Then again the current model list of vehicles would probably have never done a big end in the first place. Then again you would't have to pull the head off the 1942 chev at 80,000K and de coke if it was a modern vehicle.

Yes, I read the product reviews and the owner forums and yes you see problems. It is only when I see the same problem happening over and over that alarm bells ring. They may sell 10,000 units and only get 5 problems.

I travel a fair bit of country and see the tilt trays with a very big range of vehicles on them. Why they are on the backs of those trucks I haven't got a clue but one thing I do see is old pre electronic and electronic vehicles on them.

I have never seen a 4wd written off because the water came over the floor but I know they will write them off if it reaches the electronic control modules. Guess we should change how we park vehicles so it doesn't run backwards into a dam or we don't drive it into a flooded creek.

Fuel problems yes, but they can be managed with extra filtration and a bit of care.

FollowupID: 823614

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 21:14

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 21:14
O.K., so maybe I was a little extreme in my '42 Chev comparison.
But lets go back to where 4WD's were simple and straightforward and were designed to "go bush" in the true sense of the word.
I wonder how far Len Beadell would have got in a current model electronic 4WD when he pushed through the Gunbarrel, Connie Sue and Gary "highways"?
I wonder if the current models would have provided sterling service like his old Landrover?
How would they go in 50C deg heat, and in sandstorms that covered everything in deep dust, including the interior?
How would all those sensors, electronic modules, wiring harnesses and connectors, and ECU's cope with the scrub-bashing, pioneering the roads course?? Sticks and stakes poking through everything? Salty dust?
I can recall when we did gridding for nickel exploration in the early 1970's - we were required to cut dead straight lines in grids through heavy scrub, through timbered country, through salt lakes, through everything.
I had dozers, but there were blokes using 4WD's for gridding.
They started off using Landrovers, then went over to 3 speed petrol 'Cruisers (because diesel 'Cruisers hadn't even been designed yet!)
Those old Landrovers and 'Cruisers put up with bush-bashing on a scale half you blokes have never seen.
They would run bald tyres all round to prevent stakes - otherwise they'd be getting 10-15 staked tyres a day.
In those days, all 2WD's were used on dirt and gravel roads - but 4WD's were for proper off-road.
Nowadays we have more bitumen than gravel and 98% of 4WD's never even see a gravel road.
The vast majority are bought for towing caravans on bitumen highways, than anything else.
To even suggest they get taken into the "bush", would elicit screams of horror - "I might scratch the paint!"
So today, 4WD's are produced to meet the RV and "urban cruiser" market - i.e. - the bloke who fits 22" mags and a 4" lift and who blocks your view at every intersection.
He never goes into the "real bush", he's just out to impress gawking passersby on the street.
The manufacturers are now producing 4WD's with more electronics inside the cabin for entertainment and communication than you get in a home theatre.
The trend is towards more and more electronics that "dumb down" driving skills and perform everything for you - from crash stops, to prevent swerving and rollovers, to stopping trailer sway, to prevent runaway on downhill stretches, through to warning you of every hazard within 500M.
The manufacturers have clearly stated their intention to make driverless vehicles.
They no longer consider that 4WD's have any "pioneering ability". That's all been done - every place is easily accessible by good roads now - and besides, if you want to go straight through the bush, you're told you shouldn't risk an $80,000 high-tech vehicle - you go get a bulldozer.
The whole scenario has changed from using a 4WD as a pioneering basic bush machine - and it's not necessarily for the better.
FollowupID: 823639

Follow Up By: The Landy - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 10:07

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 10:07
If man was to ever stand still we'd go backwards...

I mean, up until Henry Ford (and others) came along the "modern day" horse was a perfectly good way of getting bush...

If we listened to the naysayers of that era we we would not have had '42 Chevies!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy

FollowupID: 823651

Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 11:56

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 11:56
The thing about this is I do remember (and I have owned all the vehicles you mention), but I don’t quite remember it that way.

Yep, they started off using Landrovers and then found the cruisers were a far better machine. You couldn’t go anywhere in a those old series 1 and 2 Landrovers without at least one spare axle and maybe a gearbox + you never had to worry about brakes as they only worked for a little while or not very well at all. Then the cruisers and Nissans came along. Nissan Patrol 60 great vehicle but boy could it use fuel and it was heavy.

Those old 4wds had it all over the new ones when it came to rust. They could rust just looking at them and used fuel like everyone owned an oil field. By the way I also pushed seismic roads for oil/ gas and mining so I do know a wee bit. Those old smooth tyres were great in sand but I didn’t find them any better when it came to stakes, maybe it was my driving or the fact I hate split rims and rag tyres.

You mention 50C heat and I can also remember that well, put load on the following vehicles the 45/47 and 75 series cruisers with the limited space for a radiator and they overheat in those temps. I can remember them overheating and the 4.2 Patrols that had too small a radiator as well.
Do the new electronic vehicles overheat in 50 degrees I don’t know but mine doesn’t and that is towing in high temps with me watching a scangauge. I haven’t seen much about any generic overheating problems with modern 4wds. Guess we could also go back to the old soluble oil in the radiator and start replacing radiator hoses over and over again, I haven’t replaced a radiator hose for years. I remember many old time vehicles beside the road overheated because they were sitting idling for to long.

Now we come to power. Those old jiggers were just a wee bit underpowered. I remember escorting 3 oversize in a HJ45 with the filling rattling H motor. That trip was 2500K and I received heaps on the cb because I couldn’t get much over 90kph with the sign up or maybe it was the extra load on the alternator from the flashing beacons. I also had to go to the dentist because that old motor rattled my filings out.

As for going off road I meet plenty of new electronic vehicles on tracks and remember when the first 60 series came out, people would say not many will take those off road as they may get them dirty or scratched, those words were repeated as the 80/ 100 and 200 series came out.

I will agree with that 4wds that come out with large wheels because of the brake disc size are not fit for hard country because of the low profile tyres and limited range of tyres.

As you know all those machines that work in hard going are now electronic from Farm tractors, off road trucks, cranes through the range of earthmoving equipment.

The new vehicle I drive is the most capable 4wd I have ever owned. The only aftermarket mods regarding offroad performance from standard is a 50mm lift and tyres.

Yes, there will be problems for some but in my belief no more than days gone by. I think you couldn’t jackhammer Len Beadell out of a modern graders air-con cab and finger tip control.

Another thing I don't miss about those old 4wds is the engine bay with anti rust engine oil coming out of many gaskets and seals.
FollowupID: 823654

Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 12:04

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 12:04
I think Ron needs to get rid of his 4wd and get his horse and cart out.
FollowupID: 823655

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 14:54

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 14:54
Garrycol - Nah, it's not so much that the horse and cart was just fine - it's just that every new model of 4WD today departs further and further from being a practical, simple vehicle - and comes with all the electronic entertainment and dumbing-down accoutrements, that any serious urban 4WD'er wouldn't be seen dead without.
How many times have you heard people say? - "I'd like to buy it, but I don't need all those fancy 'extras' that are factory fitted"?
You're struggling to buy a basic 4WD today. They all HAVE to have a list of mind-deadening stuff that adds serious complexity and which takes control away from you at every turn.
It's interesting that people complain about the early 'Cruisers and Landrovers - but they pioneered this country. I'd like to see where the current stuff is doing serious pioneering work.
You might laugh, but the Amish also seem to survive quite nicely, using horses and carts, and no radios, no TV, no personal telephones, and no electricity!

Slow one - Had to laugh at your story about the old 'Cruiser not going fast enough with the oversize sign up.
I can recall our Series 2 Landrover struggling to get serious speed up with a big "Overwidth Following" sign, above the headboard!
However, it didn't matter too much back then - trucks were limited to 80kmh, and the old petrol Inters were struggling to keep up a steady 80kmh when loaded, anyway!

I don't have a problem with the improved driveability and better highway speeds of the current model stuff - but I do have a problem where driver control, maintenance, and repair of our vehicles are slowly and insidiously being taken from us.
The lack of repairability of modern vehicles can be revealed by a visit to the salvage section of your local big auction yard - where vehicles that appear to have little damage are deemed unrepairable write-offs.
FollowupID: 823660

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 17:32

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 17:32

I would have thought that the answer was as simple as the model line-up start with a bottom model which contains minimal complexity for those who did not desire such and proceed up the ladder from there.

Clearly, that does not suit the marketing of the motor companies so there is no escape from the complexity.

Perhaps there is a marketing opportunity to 'rebirth' earlier models having basic engineering complete with 3 year warranties to attract new-car buyers? Some competent and enterprising mechanics and body workers could make a good living and without having to equip themselves with all manner of expensive technology. I for one would seriously consider such a vehicle.

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FollowupID: 823670

Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 19:44

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 19:44
Ron - I currently own a couple of 4wds - the earliest was built in 1956 (a Landie) and the lastest is 2007 - also a Landie. Yes the latest does have a lot of nice stiff as I want that in a vehicle that is a daily drive. However it is also the most capable vehicle I have offroad, certainly if I wanted to ignore damage issues like I would with an older vehicle.

For sure the mechanical issues that may have stopped and older vehicle will stop the modern one but not the modern stuff like sensors, electronics etc. Yes systems might be degraded but it will still drive a move.

If the country was being opened up now as it was all those years ago - the explorers and surveyors would not be using old Nissans or Toyotas or Landies they would be using these modern vehicles like Defender, Landcruiser 75 series or even some of the popular utes. As the old timer were, the modern drivers would have spares and equipment that suit on the road repairs of these vehicles as they did in the past.

The same principles that applied in the good old days also apply these days but different tools apply. Also the recovery environment is different. These days if you do have an issue and are not prepared the just get on the sat phone and call the recovery vehicle - might be expensive but in the old days the vehicle would just get left.

Barring mechanical failure or battery failure I am reasonably satisfied that my modern 4wd would get back home albiet maybe a bit wounded.

FollowupID: 823682

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 19:59

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 19:59
My little Land Rover drove home to Sydney from 30kms in on the Warburton Crossing Track in the Simpson Desert because of a really bad mud incident that wrecked an ABS sensor and a new tyre. Even with the special traction programs off, ABS and stability disabled, warning lights all over the dashboard, it still drove out through the mud fine and then all the way back to Sydney. The only reason I turned around was because I was on my own. The cruise didn't work either which was a bugger....
FollowupID: 823685

Reply By: get outmore - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 18:49

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 18:49
when the 1hz replaced the 2h everyone said the wizz bang overhead cam would not be reliable
when the FTE came out everyone said the fuel pump would fail and cost 12k to fix
when the D4D came out everyone said it was too hi tech to go bush
AnswerID: 539026

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 23:48

Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 at 23:48
Well, I took a quick trip through Pickles salvage yard this week - and all these new high-tech vehicles seem to be turning up as Statutory Writeoffs a lot more than they ever used to ...
Remember, this sample lot is just ONE weeks offering in ONE yard ...

Statutory Writeoff? Why? - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-05-12--Toyota--Landcruiser--Single-Cab/1552166219

Water damage - Writeoff - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-05-09--Toyota--Landcruiser--Single-Cab/1552167356

Water damage - Writeoff - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-02-05--Toyota--Hilux--Dual-Cab/1552165777

Another one dunked, and a Writeoff - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-05-12--Nissan--Navara--Dual-Cab/1552166290

Cracked chassis - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-05-06--Toyota--Landcruiser--HZJ105R-RV--Dual-Cab/1002538162

Another Writeoff? - 66,000kms - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-12-10--Toyota--Hilux--Dual-Cab/1552167295

An "Economic Writeoff"? Don't know what that means, but I'd suspect another dunked vehicle? - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-02-08--Hummer--H3--Wagon/1002547611

I'm seeing lots more fire damaged vehicles with all these electronics - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-07-12--Toyota--Hilux--Dual-Cab-Utility/1002505082

One really hot F250! - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-04-05--Ford--F250--Dual-Cab/1552162504

??? - Maybe this one fell down a mineshaft? - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/NO-C-P--Toyota--Landcruiser--Wagon/1552149411

They don't corrode any more?? - http://www.pickles.com.au/damaged-salvage/item/-/details/CP-06-11--Toyota--Landcruiser--Single-Cab/1552167340
AnswerID: 539094

Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Sep 15, 2014 at 06:28

Monday, Sep 15, 2014 at 06:28
had a look at the vehicles and think it is just a wee bit unfair to compare the write offs against older style vehicles.

First thing is rust. Old vehicles rusted far worse than new vehicles with the advances in metal and metal protection this has been reduced significantly. That rusted cruiser would have spent all it's life underground in water that would have had a very high chemical content.

Off those vehicles 6 were mining, so to me they aren't even in the equation at all. Then again they may have only been driven by a lovely church going lady on sundays.

I am not sure about the blown up vehicle so I will have to say an old vehicle may have had it's wheels survive better than that new one.

The F truck. As long as I can remember vehicles burnt including naturally aspirated old diesels.

I have no idea about the water damaged units as that could have been many reasons for the write offs. Salt water, fresh water with engine damage no one knows unless the info is given.
If it is salt water insurance companies have written off vehicles for as long as I can remember. Many were just left where they sank. One of the advantages of new vehicles is they float longer before sinking.

So really of all the vehicles only 1 stands out to me and that is the Hummer. One thing I notice, it is unleaded.
FollowupID: 823702

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 at 22:01

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 at 22:01
Any vehicle that has been in the drink will get written off now...... It's the law to stop people selling water damaged vehicles.

And no insurance company will warrant there repairs after they have been in the drink for future mechanical failures and liability.

FollowupID: 823835

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