Which 4WD? Advice please.

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 13:16
ThreadID: 136284 Views:1724 Replies:10 FollowUps:18
Hi, newbie here. I looked through recent posts and couldn't find anything too recent on this topic, but apologies if it's been covered already.

I'm looking to buy a vehicle to tow an offroad camper trailer and there will only be a max of two people. I don't intend to do any extreme offroad stuff, just to be able to explore any interesting byways we might come across.

I'd prefer a diesel over a petrol engine. Research so far has suggested that some vehicles e.g. Jeeps might be limited in availability of spares in remote locations so I've narrowed things down a little and really I suppose it comes down to a Landcruiser variant, maybe a Patrol (GU/Y61 model-and no interest in a 4800 petrol thanks), and I have also read some good opinions of Pajeros, although I think maybe Mitsubishi spares availability in the outback might be limited like that for Jeeps etc.

Previous experience is limited to hire vehicles due to the fact that as we live and work in south Tassie it hasn't been practical to own a 4WD and use it for the trips we have done so far, but that will change when we retire. For our first few trips we hired a hitop campervan conversion which looked to be based on a LC Troopy: this type of vehicle easily took us up and down the Birdsville track, second trip was up the Strez to Innamincka and back, another trip took us up the Oodnadatta track, and lastly the Gibb River road. In the last couple of years we haven't had as much free time but we squeezed in a couple of trips to the Flinders, both times we hired a Pajero. I have to say though that driving the Pajero felt more like driving a big heavy car (which I suppose is what it is!) as opposed to the capabilities of the LC.

I'd very grateful for any thoughts you may have, including Prado vs. 70 series etc.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 13:45

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 13:45
.
Well we drive a Troopy and do not tow. It will go anywhere and has been to most.
But if towing a camper you do not really need a vehicle the size of a Troopy although any of the Landcruiser 70 series are both very capable and serviceable.

But I have observed many Prado's outback in some pretty serious locations and have never had a Prado owner express a bad word about them. Some of them double as the "town car" at home. Comfortable, capable and reliable. If I wanted to tow, a Prado would be my choice.
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:07

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:07
A few questions need to be answered before purchasing any 4wd and camper.
Vehicle fuel capacity. They vary a lot
Do you like to or want to carry extra fuel cans and if yes how and where.
Camper ball weight. Also varies a lot.
Camper GTM and ATM. Varies alot
Camper payload. Varies alot
Vehicle payload. Varies a lot.
Vehicle GVM. Varies a lot.
You may want to do a bit of kg math and L/100 math prior to selecting any 4wd and off road camper.
Im bias to any 4.2 TD diesel Landcruisers with the 4.2 TD Patrol coming in 2nd. The others don't even get a look in.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:16

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:16
.........................
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:17

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:17
Hi Kingstontas, I have owned a Mitsubishi, Nissan Patrol/Ford Maverick, Landcruiser 100 Series, 76 Series, and now a 200 Series. As a truely Off Road Vehicle, the 70 Series (76, 79, Troopy), is the most capable straight off the showroom floor. However, from what you describe, you are looking for a comfortable touring tow vehicle that has off road capability. Something a little different from the 70 Series which is more "truck" like than the rest.

Nissan Patrol Y61 only comes in a Petrol V8, so this knocks this out of your list. Pajero's, while comfortable & capable, lack the longevity and spares availability in the bush.

IMHO, you can't go past Landcruiser for reliability, longevity, resale value, and in the worst case, availability of spares. The LC Prado sounds like will do what you require, it is more "car" like than the 70 Series. However, for my money, I would buy a 200 Series Landcruiser, better resale, more load carrying & towing weight. You may find that you want to upgrade from a camper trailer to a caravan, and the Prado will limit the size of van you can buy.

Either way, as for accessorising, I would definitely look at a long range fuel tank, Winch compatible Bull bar, (if choosing a winch, then 12,000 lbs, but this can be added at a latter date), good set of driving lights, & UHF Radio. I would also consider an after market suspension system. Whilst all of these accessories are not actually necessary if you stick to the bitumen, they will certainly enhance the vehicles ability to handle rough outback roads including the ones you have mentioned. The long range fuel tank enables you to take advantage of big city fuel prices while touring.

There will be many who will disagree with me, but this is MHO.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: kingstontas - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 16:33

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 16:33
Thanks for your reply, but I thought it was the Y62 that was petrol only? I'm thinking that the LC is the best bet looking at the secondhand sales sites recenrly.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:27

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:27
Kingstontas, Yes you are correct, I misread your original post. However, be careful with the 3 Ltr Turbo Nissan, the early ones have a tendency to detonate with relatively low mileage.

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Follow Up By: James H2 - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 15:53

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 15:53
You can't go wrong with Landcruiser. Highly reliable and capable. One buddy here got a Landcruiser and a Ford Ranger. We are waiting for the new suspension lift he ordered from 4WheelOnline and we will take both to the trail.
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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:24

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:24
Most 4WD's are pretty capable off road some may be better than others but suspension and type of tyres make a big difference to any vehicle also the driver

You will get a lot of different bias views I've owned Toyota's, Nissans a Triton and Disco so if you both liked the way the Pajero drove and it's comfort level, it's large enough and has the power your after I would say why not get one. They have been around since the early 1980's so they must be doing something right.
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Follow Up By: Robert E4 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 15:53

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 15:53
I totally agree, all brands are good but all have some down side, so go with the one that fits you.
I travelled around Aus. for 2 years full time with a 2010 Mitsubishi challenger towing an off road van, never had a problem never cost me a dollar more than services.
Cheers and good luck Rob.
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:39

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:39
Hi

Somebody said you see a lot of Prados out in the bush. I may be biased because I have one but I think the reason for that is they are well suited for the job with a good combination of reasonable comfort, off road ability and space for carrying gear.

How big is your camper? The Prado is no rocket ship and while it can tow big weights according to specs, it may make slow progress.

A factor many don't consider is will this be an everyday car for when you are not travelling? I know a guy with a kitted out 70 series dual cab that is great out in the bush but he says it is a real pain in everyday use.

Good luck with the search.


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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:50

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:50
Assuming you are buying 2nd hand, a well maintained vehicle would be my first selection criteria followed by the actual intended use. A highly capable off road vehicle is hardly likely to be a enjoyable daily drive in a city. Consider where and how you will be driving for 98% of the time
Spare part availability isn't as big an issue, not many places are more than 24 hours (courier or air freight) away from a capital city. The mechanic's experience in the particular vehicle is more crucial than whether you have to wait a day for a part, so Toyotas obvioulsy win there
Whilst over the past 15 years and 600 000km I've been very happy with the 3 Pajeros I've owned from new (yeah I'm obviously deaf) , if I was looking 2nd hand, I would be just as happy in a well maintained Prado over a Pajero with an ordinary service history

There's compromise in everything, LC & Patrols are easily the most bush capable, but also most cumbersome and thrirsty around town. Pajeros are coming to the end of their life, so they are much cheaper, but then their resale value when you sell will be well down (Prado will hold better)
Don't get too hung up on which specific vehicle to go hunting for unless you have a specific use (eg Prado has the longest driving range)
Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:33

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:33
Hi Mark, A mate of mine had to wait 5 days to get a rear window & electromagnetic rear door lock for a Landrover Discovery. Becomes expensive when you take into consideration accommodation as well as freight costs. Parts had to be freighted from either Melb. or Syd. can't remember which.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:55

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:55
Macca probably off topic but was that Diso problem above a parts supply or remote location issue?
My CT broke down 200kms from the top of Cape York yet i had the parts from a regional town (Ballina) to me in less than 36 hours?
A specialized part like that would always be a capital city centralised warehouse job, no dealer anywhere would ever carry something like that?
Mark
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:56

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:56
And you would have to do the same if you wanted the same part for a 200series - even in the big smoke - not exactly a commonly ordered part.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 14:10

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 14:10
Hi Mark & Garry, I am not sure exactly where they were at the time, they were on an outback road somewhere in the N.T. They made it back to either Alice Springs or Darwin before going to a dealer and ordering the parts. Yes, specialised part, the door lock jammed because of dust ingress, they had to break the window in order to get into the rear cargo space where their water & food supplies were. The vehicle was fitted with a cargo barrier, so only access into the cargo space was via the rear door. Yet to see a Landcruiser door lock jam up due to dust. I guess reliability is the main issue here.

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 16:36

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 16:36
I don't like cargo barriers I use to fit them but I wonder if modifying it now would be considered so it can be accessed from inside the vehicle it would apparently be illegal but cheaper and possibly safer for the occupants should it happen again.
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Follow Up By: mike39 - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 09:14

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 09:14
Macca.
Bit unfortunate your mate was not more familiar with his Disco.
And similar with mechanics, they all seem to have a set against the brand.

I have a Disco 1, but the rear door catches are all much the same.
When it jams like that, all one has to do is prise out the oval LR badge beside the key lock and spray the mechanism liberally with WD40 at the same time working the actuator back and forth.

Its a common problem and a bugger he had to bust the window to get in.
mike
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:16

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 13:16
We have a povo pak D-Max un modded except a front bar and winch. Done everything we have wanted to do and has far exceeded our initial expectations . You can pick one up brand new for $40,000. All those trips you have named can be done in a car.
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Follow Up By: kingstontas - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 18:56

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 18:56
What's your point?
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Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 19:23

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 19:23
Kingstontas
The point Ivan is showing is while you can do all in a car, a relatively priced Dmax can carry more and has potential to enable further exploration if required as you increase your horizons.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 13:14

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 13:14
Guys, need to check listed weights for the D-Max, Tare mass for ute body is not listed in their specs, only cab chassis without tray, but suspect something like 2,300/2,400 Kgs. GVM is 2,950 Kgs. therefore load carrying capacity is only around 500/600 kgs. Once you add all fluids and a few accessories, doesn't leave much load carrying capacity. If you decide to upgrade to a larger van, Plus it is a harsher ride than a Prado or 200 Series LC.

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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 20:34

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 20:34
Mate. You need to check you weights!
Dmax crew cab ute
Tare 1945
GVM 2950
GCM 5950
max towing 3500

Prado
Tare 2115
GVM 2990
GCM 5990
Max towing 3000

Both from their web sites
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 14:10

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 14:10
Ivan, Copy & Paste from D-Max website using 4x4 LS-M Crew Cab:
Tare Mass~ (MT/AT) (cab chassis models: final mass depends on body fitted) 1,945/1,945
Gross Vehicle Mass (kg) 2,950
As I stated in my post the Tare Mass for "ute" body is not listed, what is listed is the Cab Chassis Tare Weight, and that does not include the tray. It also does not include fuel, oil, water etc. (curb weight). I suspect the Tare weight of a "ute" body will be around 2,300/2,400 kgs. not including fluids.
With a GVM of 2,950 kgs this does not leave much you can load in/on the vehicle, approx. 500 kgs. and this includes the fuel, oil, water you have to add. Remember 76 Ltrs of Diesel weighs approx 61 kgs so you have probably got around 70 Kgs of fluids when you include oil & water. So this brings your load capacity back to 430 kgs. Add to that 350 kgs ball weight if you choose to tow a 3,500 kgs van, you now have 80 kgs left for driver & passengers and their gear. Even using the 2,300 kgs as a tare weight using the same calcs, you only have 180 kgs for driver & passengers and their gear.
Copy & Paste from Prado website using GX Manual:
Approximate kerb weight* (kg) 2240 (includes all fluids)
Gross vehicle mass * (kg) 2990
This means you have 750 Kgs that can legally be loaded into the vehicle. 300 kgs ball weight for a 3,000 kgs van comes back to 450 kgs for driver & passengers and their gear.
D-Max has a 76 Ltr. fuel tank, Prado 150 Ltr combined.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 19:48

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 19:48
Considering the Isuzu crew cab ute Tare is 1970 and the crew cab chassis is 1830 I would assume they are including a basic tub in the ute's weight. Kerb weight listed by Isuzu for Crew cab ute is SX 2001 to LS-U 2026. Slightly different to your guess at 2400
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Reply By: Siringo - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:43

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:43
You can go just about any way. You have a massive range of more than powerful 4WD dual cab utes to choose from.

Prados are pretty capable and there is a long list of older models now to choose from. The Y61 Patrol is a good vehicle, more refined inside than a 70 series, yes the motors did used to explode, but that bug is pretty much sorted out now & if you purchase one of the newer ones post 2010 you should be pretty OK.

Toyotas you pay a bit more for the badge, I would have bought a 'cruiser on my last purchase, but couldn't afford the badge and went with the Y61 which I am very happy with.

If you're not going to do any extreme stuff and just look up & down byways then there's a good chance you'll never end up in any remore location, so I wouldn't worry about parts for anything unless you buy a Lada, Proton, Mercedes etc.


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Reply By: Billion Star Camper - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 15:10

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 15:10
Hi Kingstontas. Our search for a vehicle is an interesting challenge. We usually have a bent for a model or type which simplifies the search. I wouldn't be too convinced that all common 4 x 4's have plenty of parts available in the bush. It is not uncommon to have to wait for a fairly common part to be flown in. Often the dealer wont even order the part ahead until he has seen the vehicle and got the vehicle specs off the plate prior to ordering. Such is the complexity of parts these days.
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Reply By: Billion Star Camper - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 15:23

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 15:23
I am glad to see the debate got down to utes. When I travel what I see is more than 50% of tow rigs are dual cab utes with a canopy. Price is an important consideration. Most cost around $50k plus a few extras. But I have a mate who bought a 200 series and spent $10k on it with drawers, suspension, fridge wiring 2nd battery etc. Over $100k. I am often amused to see these rigs with a van doing maybe 85Kph to save $10 or $20 per day on fuel. When you consider they have $200 grand plus tied up, what is $10 to $20 saved on fuel while upsetting 80% of the rest on the road.
One other consideration with dual cabs is, measure your garage before going to a dealer. Then measure a dual cab with a bull bar, lights and tow hitch. They are long buggers. May not fit inside some garages.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 17:55

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 17:55
I'd rather they tow at a speed they feel comfortable at, better to be cautious with 6 tonne all up. i think most motorists would rather them drive slower anyway, at least you can get around them, it's much harder when they are doing 95 to 100ks. I think truckies would prefer the slower speeds for the same reason. Michael
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