Advise on buying a 4WD for camping

Submitted: Sunday, Oct 18, 2015 at 20:56
ThreadID: 130626 Views:1957 Replies:8 FollowUps:1
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I am Johannes from Germany and I stay in Melbourne at the moment. My dream is to travel trough australia with my own 4WD and I need some advide on finding the best car for my needs.

1. Please do not kil me, but I do not have much money. This will be the biggest issue on finding a good car, but I can not afford more than 5000$ - but with rego and a running car with RWC. I know this isn´t much money, but it is all I can afford atm. Another option would be to work in Melbourne and earn some extra money, but I really want to get out of here and start travelling as soon as possible...This is why I also need a car that is economical to drive. I know that 4WDs are not economical at all, but I just want the best price/performance ratio.

2. I have no experiences in driving offroad yet, but I still want a serious 4WD. I do not want a AWD Subaru Outback etc., it does not have the "4WD-feeling", you know? :lol:

3. It would be nice if I could sleep in the car. I am 1,88m large. I have no problem with removing the back seats as I am travelling alone anyways or build a wooden platform to put the bed on.

4. I am a fan of DIY, but I am limited: I have no workshop here, no hoist and not even tools at the moment. I will buy them when I have the car, but just some basic stuff. If there is something with the engine(transmission/drivetrain I probably wont be able to fix this on my own for now.

Hope you can recommend me some cars! I guess the best option would be to buy a car with Rego and RWC? As I said I am in Melbourne now...I have to stay here for the whole next week and maybe a few days more. In this time I want to get a car, I think looking for cars in Melbourne is better than leaving Melbourne and look in the smaller towns?

Thanks, Johannes
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Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Oct 18, 2015 at 22:46

Sunday, Oct 18, 2015 at 22:46
Where are you planning on going in the next couple of months or so. The wet is due to start in the north anytime soon and you could be stuck in Darwin or similar for several months in extreme heat and humidity. Wiser to stay in the southern regions till March at least.

Personally I would be venturing far in a $5000 4WD but thats me.

Buy a Toyota if possible for the availability of spares in the outback.

Good Luck
AnswerID: 591717

Reply By: cruiser 3 - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 08:56

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 08:56
Hi Johannes
Wanting a 4wd at $5000 your options are very limited.
However a Toyota Landcruiser would certainly be a good choice. But at that price you could only get a well looked after petrol model of about 1996 vintage with a genuine 350 to 400,000 kms on the clock. You would use approx 16 l/100 ks of petrol though. Searching privately would be difficult for you but I think the best way especially if you could find a good one or two owner vehicle but time consuming. I think that is why most backpackers settle for an old 2wd van that usually sell for $5000.
Of course there are the smaller 4wd Utes but I am not familiar with those at that price
AnswerID: 591722

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 09:19

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 09:19
Hi Johannes,

I have just helped a 24 y.o. friend from Germany do just this. It took about a week of serious searching and test driving. Car Sales, Gumtree and so on were utilised. We also drove along the used car yard roads in the city and looked at a few there.They are often hard to see from the road because they are down the back of the car yard - that's where cheapies are!

Yes, looking is Melbourne is better than smaller towns. Better range and more choice.

Test driving eliminated all but one - clutch, transmission, very poor condition, poor tyres, suspect radiator & cooling, not registered, etc etc were the common faults.

She purchased a Ford Courier 4WD Dual cab with 400,000 km - but a new engine installed 130,000 ago. She paid $ 4,00 but this was one of those lucky opportunities where the seller was anxious to quit the car. Judging by that week's investigations I reckon it was worth $ 5-6,000 as it had nearly new tyres and 12 months registration.

We did see some good 2WD of Mazda, Ford etc variants in utes and in dual cabs. But they are all going to have high km and probably other issues like panel damage, rust, damaged seats, and so on.

Best wishes for a great stay in Australia. Please keep us posted on your travels, AND on your eventual car purchase
AnswerID: 591724

Reply By: Ozi M - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 09:30

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 09:30
Good advice so far, if you go to a back packers hostel or search online you will find jobs in the country and outback for NEXT winter.

If you buy a vehicle and stay in the cooler areas over summer then go and work in a few places in the outback over winter you will have fun and earn money as well.

Lots of back packers work at roadhouses, cafes, shops, tours etc during winter, much too hot over summer.
AnswerID: 591725

Reply By: Member - Gnomey - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 10:30

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 10:30
Hi Johannes
You asked not to be killed but I'm afraid I might have to lead the firing squad into position and order them to chamber a round. :^)

In the Australian way, mate, here it is directly. When I read your post I was left with an annoying sense of unreality. You want to go on a solo 4WD tour of Australia with a $5000 budget for the vehicle, with registration and RWC.

Money and vehicles aside for a moment, the problem I have is how seriously 4WD you are dreaming of. You have no experience in offroad driving or with the Australian bush or, presumably remote navigation etc.

I am a 62 year old native of this country. I have traveled around it a bit - inland, highlands, coastal. I am a reasonably competent bushman. I have done a bit of 4WD driving in a variety of places.

I would NOT contemplate remote 4WD driving, alone, in country I wasn't familiar with, even if I had all the comms gear to summon the cavalry. Doing something even vaguely like that in a cheap and cheerful 4WD (well somebody has to say it) would be just bloody silly.

Buy an old 4WD and tour around by all means but please don't go yielding to some heroic fantasy of offroad adventure. People die doing stuff like that. There is nothing romantic about perishing in the outback.

AnswerID: 591726

Reply By: Johannes A - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 10:47

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 10:47
Thank you for your answers. I browsed gumtree and carsales and I now think a 2nd gen Pajero would be the best choice for me. There are some decent looking ones available, and the high mileage should be ok if the car was serviced regulary?

@Gnomey: I understand you, but I just want to start easy for the beginning. Nobody is born as the perfect offroad driver...I have some expeience in offroading, but only on 2 wheels :D
I also do not want to trvel alone, there are enough people on the internet, looking for mates to team up with. And i will get a radio etc. ofcourse.
I know this is dangerous, but I am aware of that.
AnswerID: 591727

Follow Up By: Member - Gnomey - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 13:43

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 13:43
Ok Johannes. I sent the squad back to the barracks. Not my job to give you the stern lecture but ease into it and learn skills before your life depends on them. There are folks here with far greater skills and experience than me to get some advice from.

No one starts skiing on the olympic downhill course is all I'm saying especially not with a couple of floorboards for skis. :^)

FollowupID: 859776

Reply By: Jonty - Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 23:16

Monday, Oct 19, 2015 at 23:16
Have at ebay motors for sale,
page 3 Holden Jackaroo for sale.Its in your price range.
AnswerID: 591753

Reply By: Michaeljp - Tuesday, Oct 20, 2015 at 14:41

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2015 at 14:41
The best bet for $5000 is a toyota Hilux. Also there is a Facebook group for backpackers selling their cars they have used.
AnswerID: 591771

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