Troopy vs Offroad Vans (4motion T5 vs Merc Sprinter 4x4)

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 11:53
ThreadID: 142276 Views:2713 Replies:12 FollowUps:50
Hi Guys and Gals.

Reaching out to anyone who's owned a troopy and a capable van like the 4motion transporter or sprinter 4x4.

I'm saving for a vehicle to do a trip around Australia with my GF. We are curious explorers that will do some remote offroading, but I windsurf and my GF does mountain biking so we need a bigger vehicle to store equipment. I currently own a highly modified AWD vehicle (look up Ignition Offroad for a reference) which gets me to 90% the spots I need to go on 29in tyres, only let down over rock crawling or deep water crossings.

I'm torn between the capability of the troopy and the larger size of the vans and would love to hear from someone who's owned both to know what they thought of the capability of the 4motion or sprinter 4x4. The L400 LWB Delica is also on the list for consideration, but they're getting pretty old now.

Most of YouTube is filled with sprinters or 4motions doing pretty soft tracks, I get the feeling they're a lot more capable in the right hands and figured ExploreOz is where I might find those people. Any advice appreciated.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 12:49

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 12:49
Never owned either, but seen a few in "action".
In general terms, the vans are made to keep the local deliveries going in Europe when there is snow on the (bitumen) roads. Corrugations and "tracks" are a totally different question.
Buy a Troopy.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:06

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:06
ps......
Just looked at one of your vids.
A Troopy will have substantially better capabilities than your Subaru in every respect, but you need to learn some better driving techniques.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: James 88 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:35

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:35
Agreed. Though the Sprinter 4x4 is developing quite a big offroad scene in the USA and suspension kits are coming out to suit.

FYI Those aren't my vids but just a vehicle for reference. I actually have a highly modified Holden Adventra but nobody really knows about the capability of those cars so I just tell people its a Subaru so they know roughly what I drive and the places it'll probably get to. :)
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:01

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:01
Hi James,
I hope you get some responses from people with more recent experiences with those vehicles. We have experience with the troopy but a much older model that what you'd choose now (leaf springs). Our first major long trip around Australia was in the late 1990s in a troopy which we converted for camping and towed an offroad custom built trailer to carry our scuba diving gear (5 tanks) and 2 windsurfers. We spent 2 years with this setup and did everywhere - occassionally we left the trailer and gear behind (eg. Cape York, Simpson) but mostly it came with us. We didn't have any major mechanical issue with the trooopy but without front coil spoils its a harsh ride now we can compare to our newer vehicles we've had since. Ours was the 75 series. All the sleeping and cooking gear was in the troopy and all the toys in the trailer. However, we ended up rarely sleeping in the troopy (too hot) and chose to sleep on the ground on thermarests didn't even have swags. After baby no 1 came along we switched the vehicle for an 80 series, put kayak racks on top, and MTB on bike rack on the back, ditched the trailer and have used swags for the past 20 years (sometimes take an Oztent). Now we have an Ultimate offroad camper trailer and carry our MTB's on the roof using suction clamps Seasucker type. Hope you find the right setup for your trip. Lots to think about!
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Follow Up By: James 88 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:42

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:42
Hi Michelle! Great reply. Sounds like a fantastic adventure. Yes I'd be looking at a vdj or hzj78r model with front coils.

Did you find the trailer annoying with the troopy? I'm also considering this. But we have a tendency to want to know "whats around the riverbend" which can lead us down some pretty narrow tracks that'd be a mongrel to reverse out of. The obvious solution is to disconnect the trailer beforehand, but I get the feeling this would be quite a hinderance for us as we rarely setup basecamp and then explore. If we did the trailer I'd think that would be our accommodation, and we'd use the troopy with our bikes/kit to free us up to explore day-trip style with all of our gear, without the hinderance of the trailer.

Do you think it'd be doable to have baby no1 in the troopy (thinking we could install a side door), or would you suggest we'd look at a trailer and 5 door 4wd from the outset? I'm doing this research to avoid having to swap vehicles in future if a bub joins us. I'm sure you can relate knowing windsurfing that there's quite a bit of work that goes into making a storage solution for all that kit!
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:32

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:32
Hi James, yes truth be told that we vowed after that 2 year trip to never tow again - and we didn't for 20 years for exactly the reason you anticipate. We are towing again now but have a V8 turbo 200 series Landcruiser and it would have been a totally difference experience if we had this vehicle back then. The HZJ75 troopy is not a good tow vehicle in comparison. With the front coils of the 78 you'd be fine though. Get one with a turbo if you're thinking of towing. If there's any chance of wanting to take a baby - get a ute cab or 5 door. Consider kite surfers instead of the windsurfers to reduce board size to carry (storage, security, and damage all big factors). A full size 5 door Landscruiser is ideal - you can load up the roof rock, rear storage bays, and add a bike rack all without need to tow.
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:14

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:14
If you are wanting to do the more remote and less traveled routes you need a proper 4WD like a Troopy etc
Your other options would be nicer vehicles to travel in and have more room but you would have to be prepared to forgo some areas
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Follow Up By: James 88 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:45

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:45
Yes that's it. I'd likely have a winch installed to whatever vehicle we use. Just curious to know how the vans go offroad with a bit of weight. Most of our travel would be coastal, not "Livin 4x4" type hillclimbs.
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Reply By: Paul W43 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:43

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 13:43
Looking forward to see what you come up with. Thought of the 4motion myself, but they are expensive once decked out and even more so if something goes wrong and needs major repair.
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Follow Up By: James 88 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:52

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:52
I've heard about turbo issues on some. Having done a bit of research into Troopy maint, most of it seems just as expensive. Though the vans are generally a lot more fuel efficient which can save some money towards servicing.

The sprinter does have low-range, but no diff locks from factory unless its the Austrian model. Whereas the 4motion has rear diff lock as a factory option. Looking at the Falcon RTVs on Mundaring Powerlines track, the transporter could probably be sent up some decent tracks with the rear locker. Not that I probably would do that to my travel van!
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 18:05

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 18:05
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Hi James, I don't consider the absence of diff locks to be an issue. My 4WD Sprinter has excellent automatic traction control on all wheels which provides identical effect as would diff locks. In simple terms they apply braking force to a spinning wheel to prevent the diff from losing torque. Furthermore, the auto transmission apportions power 40% to front, 60% to rear so that there is no wind-up issue if you venture onto a sealed road in 4WD.

I had diff locks in the Troopy for the rare rock-hopping or washout situation but they are of no advantage in soft sand....... but neither would the Sprinter transmission be.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:25

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:25
Allan.
The Sprinter might have traction control but it is not the same as a locked diff and never will be. The traction control has the detect proportional slip on one wheel to begin braking it so power goes elsewhere. When that slips, that is braked and the power goes back to the original slipping wheel. Diff lock same all the time.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 22:19

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 22:19
RMD,

Of course traction control is not the same as a locked diff but that in itself does not mean that it is inferior.
Your explanation is flawed. Neither traction control nor locked diff "controls power". Both merely prevent dissipation of revolutions on loss of traction. Power transmission is only achieved when traction is present.
If a slipping wheel is braked, torque is still provided via the diff to the other wheel. Should that wheel now slip then the rev proportion is restored , braking is eased and drive is applied to both wheels. The second wheel is not braked to match the first. If both wheels are slipping then you have lost traction on that axle which is also what happens with a locked diff.
The process differs but the result is pretty much the same. The performance of traction control is dependent on the finesse of the control system and can be as effective as a locked diff. Both systems prevent the diff from dissipating torque to a free spinning wheel but the traction control retains the benefit of not having locked wheels when performing a turning manoeuvre.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Christian E - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 13:51

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 13:51
Allan B, disagree that diff locks do not help in soft sand, have experienced first hand they do launching tinnies from sand bars on the Murray.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 14:59

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 14:59
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Christian, I have no experience with "sand bars on a river" but suspect that they may behave more like wet mud than dry desert sand.

The thing with soft dry sand is that its consistency is usually constant across the distance of a wheel track, thus if one wheel loses traction it is a fair bet that the other is very close to also losing traction whereupon there will be loss of drive from that axle.

In a specific case of travel such as the Simpson dunes, a locked diff can actually be a disadvantage when needing to perform a sharp turn manoeuvre at the crest as the lack of differential action resists the change of direction. Automatic proportional traction control provides an advantage in that situation.

But if you find a locked diff useful in your activity then keep it up.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Christian E - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 22:41

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 22:41
Allan, sand bars are course river sand and bear no resemblance to mud.

Have experienced soft dry sand in the Simpson and more and agree in tight turns diff locks particularly front can be a disadvantage.

However also seen on rutted dunes the diagonal opposing front and rear wheels will lose traction, in this scenario locked does make a difference.

Most manufacturers (dual cab utes) now offer a rear diff lock even when they have traction control.

As you said if it works for you keep it up.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:11

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:11
Hi Christian E,

A lot of river sand bars do contain a certain amount of mud mixed in with the sand. Particularly those on the Murray River and it’s tributaries.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:45

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:45
The traction control in the Land Rovers takes them anywhere a Toyota can go with its diff locks. I don't see why the 4motion would be much different.
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Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:04

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:04
Peter, not all traction control systems are equal...

Cheers,
Mark
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:54

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 14:54
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Hi James,

I have a similar interest, hopefully soon to be put to the test.

We have been travelling extensively and remotely in a 2002 Troopy for some years. Mostly at the concerns of our adult children that their superannuated parents were at physical risk in an ageing Troopy with no safety airbags and venturing on lone remote travels, we considered alternatives. Not wishing to drag a caravan or camper trailer we considered a motor-home based on the MB Sprinter, 4WD, medium wheelbase and high roof. Hopefully that will appease the kids!

A lot of time spent on the internet forums etc. revealed that there are people using this same vehicle on unsealed tracks successfully. There was even a proposal on one forum to mount a group trek across The Simpson but I don't think it has gone ahead. So we ordered a 419 VS30 Sprinter, medium wheelbase, V6 engine, 4WD, and impatiently waited 9 months for it to arrive. It is now here and being fitted out.

Now, we don't expect to do all the tracks as before. Certainly not The Simpson although it does have the clearance and power for it, neither the Anne Beadell with its corrugations and tight scrub clearance, but I expect it will cope with such tracks as the Great Central Road, Gary Highway and the like but maybe doubtful of some of the side-tracks. We certainly do not intend to constrain ourselves to the Winnebago Circuit around the coastline. We will be pushing to discover its limits but it will be some weeks yet before we can provide the answers you seek.

It may well be a 'courier van' but it is a well constructed vehicle with good weight-carrying specifications and the V6 engine delivers well. The 4WD version increases the clearance with excellent approach and reasonable departure angles. Peter may scorn it as an "European delivery van" but it was he who peddled a Morris Mini all over the place successfully for some years with astonishing disdain. Having owned a Mini I am most impressed Peter.

The vehicle drives like a dream with plenty of response and traction assistance etc and has a turning circle much better than the Troopy. So I am looking forward to putting to the test 'out there' and bragging on here. But if you hear no more from me on the subject then you may draw the obvious conclusion. lol

p.s. The biggest challenge at the moment is getting the damn thing into the garage. But I am determined and currently raising the doorway portal a few cm's. I will succeed!
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 16:03

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 16:03
Allan, my limited defence of the "scorn" is to point out a big difference in "using what you have" and choosing to purchase something for a specific purpose. :)

I started a new project a year ago. We are "getting on a bit" but are no where near ready to give up the bush travel, even if we loose our Light Rigid drivers licenses, so after researching the options for another vehicle we eventually bought another OKA. At 1993, it is a year older than the current one.
I will spend a couple of years reducing the weight of the cab chassis and then another 3+ building a light weight camper on it. It will eventually be on the road as a fully equipped (like the current one), extremely capable 4WD motorhome and be under 4.5T GVM.
Mechanicals are simple and reliable. It has one wire that makes the engine go or stop and I know where it is :)

If I was in the OPs shoes, I would buy a pre emissions Troopy long before anything modern, just for the ability to fix it on the side of the road. But everyone makes their choices for different reasons.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: James 88 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 16:03

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 16:03
Hi Allan! Thanks for your detailed message. Very curious to follow your journey along. Good luck with the build. Sounds like an exciting year ahead!

And yes, the track width is something I think is of most concern with the sprinter. Given the right tyres my feeling is that the sprinters offroad performance will surprise, however given most tracks are suited to narrower 4wd I think the sprinter will physically not fit down many side tracks. That said, with space enough you could probably fit a TW125 in the back that would get you that last stretch!

Keep us posted on the build! ??
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:46

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:46
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Peter, your defence is very valid. If I were not an octogenarian I would be doing much as you propose but it can be wise to face one's limitations before they face you. The Troopy went everywhere I asked of it and I looked upon it affectionally. We survived a couple of stress related breakdowns with more luck than we deserved but it was beginning to get somewhat tedious dragging clothes on whilst laying on one's back on the confines of the bed when in the presence of company. And like your OKA, it was a "one-wire" engine. I could fix most things with fence wire an gaffer tape --- literally. Engine performance and fuel consumption was another thing though.

Your 5 year project is a marathon but then I guess that you will not be giving up your leisure travelling to work full time on it. I am much more impatient and available.... the Troopy has gone despite my failure to upgrade my logo. I would agree with your recommendation for James but was confining my reply to his specific question. And as you say "everyone makes their choices for different reasons".

However, I think you underestimate the Sprinter a bit. Having done many hours of internet investigation and ticking options that enhance its performance for off-road use, then driving it around a bit, I think it will surprise some with its capability. I will however be swapping the tyres for All-Terrain.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Aug 16, 2021 at 13:08

Monday, Aug 16, 2021 at 13:08
For the OP: as noted in another reply here, whatever you choose will be a tradeoff. A Troopy has the amazing fuel capacity, and is small enough and otherwise properly prepared to go on tracks the Sprinter couldn't do. But the Sprinter is larger so you can live inside it much more easily, or use the extra space for toys, etc. And then there's that annoying manual transmission in the Troopy. :)

Read on for more comments about my Sprinter experience...

Allan wrote: "Certainly not The Simpson although it does have the clearance and power for it, neither the Anne Beadell with its corrugations and tight scrub clearance..."

FWIW, I took a hire Sprinter from Coober Pedy to Emu and back. Good thing I had the extra cover (insurance) as there was plenty of "bush pinstriping" on it after that jaunt. :) But no other damage was incurred.



The biggest problem during that particular trip was the limited fuel capacity. Only 75L IIRC. On the return trip to CP, the low fuel light appeared when I was crossing Mabel Creek Station. Does your new Sprinter have more fuel capacity?

I also had some trouble in deep, soft sand near Coongie Lake. Fortunately the Britz branch manager in Darwin had taken personal interest in my trip, and equipped me with extras. Which included a set of Tred recovery boards and a full-size spade. I got a workout that afternoon, lol.





While I haven't researched them, I'd imagine there are different 4WD systems available on Sprinters. I just looked at a few Youtube videos about engaging 4WD on a Sprinter. And parts of the process they demonstrate don't look familiar to me. Plus, they don't mention engaging low range, and I know my hire van had that.

And yes, that vehicle has excellent ground clearance. To the point that it was a big step up or down for me to get in or out of it. I'd imagine it would be tough to fit it into a typical garage.

The biggest "problem" I remember was that there were a lot of cold mornings during my travels. And the Sprinter engine seemed to take forever to warm up and start providing me some heat!

When I first picked up the vehicle in Darwin, it still had Continental street tyres on it. I had to stop off in Alice on my way south, where Britz had arranged for all five tyres to be replaced with Bridgestone Dueler AT's. Which performed well during my travels.

Hopefully you'll be updating us as your Sprinter adventure continues.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Aug 16, 2021 at 14:31

Monday, Aug 16, 2021 at 14:31
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Hi there Candace,

Most interesting that you took a Sprinter over the Coober Pedy to Emu track. I don't recall 'tight' scrub along that stretch but certainly recall the corrugations. Further west the Anne Beadell Hwy gets very tight with scrub. How did your Sprinter handle those corrugations?

If your Sprinter had "low-range" then it certainly had "4WD" but I find the 4WD somewhat uncertain to select..... it is not like pulling a lever into position, so I wonder if just maybe you were not actually engaging it at Coongie Lakes. Then again, that is perhaps impertinent of me considering your experience.

As far as I know, there is only one Sprinter "4WD" option and MB alternately name it "4WD" or "All Wheel Drive". In the Aussie convention it is actually AWD as the front & back axles are not solidly linked but with the MB automatic traction control it does approximate reasonably closely to conventional 4WD. Through the transmission system the drive power is automatically apportioned 60% to the back axle and 40% to the front so it does not have a geared differential between the front and back axles. I am impatient to get it out on sand to see how that performs. So far it did well on damp turf where the vehicle was going nowhere in 2-wheel rear axle drive until I engaged 4WD. (Standard street tyres)

My Sprinter has 93 litre fuel capacity which came standard with the 4WD option so again I wonder if you actually did have 4WD, although that may be determined by the year of manufacture.

Yes, it was tough to fit into my garage which actually had higher-than-standard doors. To the Sprinter high-roof option I added solar panels, roof ventilator and an awning so I needed to do some dramatic modifications to my garage door system, but can now get it in with 5mm of clearance! I will need to be very careful about the diameter of replacement tyres!

The build programme is at the stage of all wiring and roof gear installed and ready to go to the cabinet maker, hopefully within the next few weeks. Oh, and a pair of "running board" steps are on their way to be fitted by me, to ease the "big step" you encountered. I must say though that you do get a good view from "up there". lol

By the way Candace, are you in Australia at the present time?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Thursday, Aug 19, 2021 at 02:07

Thursday, Aug 19, 2021 at 02:07
Allan,

I was last in Oz in 2019. Left there in early October, and since then I haven't strayed beyond my neighboring states in the southwestern US.

I remember clearly that the Sprinter was quite a rough ride on the AB corrugations. But perhaps it had to do with the suspension on that particular vehicle? My notes mention I did have the air pressure down.

Oh, the Sprinter definitely had 4WD. I simply don't remember the engagement process being the same as shown in videos currently online.

However, I re-read my notes from the day I struggled on the sand hill. Here's what I wrote: "Made multiple attempts, with or without low gear, manually shifted to first gear, and with reduced tire pressure."

It's redundant to say low gear and also mention manually shifting to first, so did I mean to say low range instead of low gear? As was the case most evenings, I was probably already nodding off by the time I typed that on the laptop, lol.

Anyway, that slope I was trying to get back over was steeper than it looks in the pics. Plus it was directly facing the warm afternoon sun. So it was a lot harder to drive back up, than it was to drive down it . :)

As for the specs, I'm certain the vehicle was a 2018 model. I was there in May-June, and the vehicle had only arrived at the Britz depot a day or so before I picked it up! Thus why it was still on the "stock" street tires.

Here are a couple of archived pages from 2020 with info about the vehicle, dubbed the Scout. Sadly, Britz no longer has it in their lineup. I don't know if that's permanent, or if they simply scaled back until international tourism returns. The second link shows specs such as the 75L fuel tank:

Basic info about the Britz Scout

Spec table - see page 2

Here are a couple of pics I took on that stretch of the AB in 2018. The most overgrown spots had bypasses, but in some cases the encroaching bush was unavoidable. The Sprinter is a bit wider than most 4WD's seen on the AB, lol.

BTW, most of the bush pinstriping ultimately inflicted on the van was from elsewhere. Such as overgrown tracks in the Emu area and near Ooldea. :)




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Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:43

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:43
What about an Iveco Daily? They're big and capable.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:49

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 17:49
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Don't think that they measure up to the MB Sprinter Michael, but they are probably half the price.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 18:38

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 18:38
We owned a 4WD Iveco Daily motorhome in Europe for 3 years 2013-2015.
Not impressed with the torsion bar front suspension, but then again, it was 20 years old and it did take us everywhere we wanted to go. :)
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Peter
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:34

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:34
A 3 range transfer case, 37" tyres and triple diff locks makes it pretty hard core.
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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:11

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:11
James.
Neither the VW or the MB can have significant wheel articulation. The Oka or Iveco and even some of the Isuzu, Hino or Canter with large wheels must have more capability. Is ground clearance and "ramp over" important to you??? VW /MB, hmmmm. If ride quality is the issue then perhaps a vw or mb is for you. Any of these will be far different from a gungho adventra as it is very different concept. I agree with Peter, the driving style will alter dramatically. If any problems were ever to be encountered, a VW or M B may not be the ones to own as they rely on electronics and associated systems all to work ALL THE TIME to go anywhere. An expensive scan gauge and ability to read it may be essential just to begin finding trouble. Just the opinion of a automotive trained person.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:58

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:58
Hi RMD,

Sure, VW and MB rely upon electronics but so do virtually every current production vehicle. It is the Way of the World now and there is no alternative other than retaining the use of older model vehicles. So what is so different between a Sprinter and say a LC200 or similar in that respect? Even a current V8 Troopy for that matter?

A scan gauge reader may be useful, and I have one. It is diagnostic but it won't necessarily fix the problem of a component failure. I have spent most of my life managing the maintenance of electronic systems. Their failures was what paid my salary, so I am very aware of their fragility and consequences. In motor vehicles they may well increase performance and comfort but they do add more components to the complement of critical devices. When driving my Troopy, I never felt apprehension of failure of some simple component which would bring me to a sudden halt, but I did feel every single corrugation. lol
Mind you, there were a couple of times when a more tangible component failure brought us to a stop and required more than a nylon cable tie to get moving again. But we survived.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:47

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 19:47
Our 20 year old son is now travelling around Oz in his van - he couldn't afford a 4WD one and sadly he is really limited. He has a Kia Pregio and its awesomely fitted out (because we helped him build the camper conversion) but he has really struggled with some of the access roads inside some national parks like Karijini, and had to skip the Gibb River Road which is a shame as he's very adventurous too. The 2WD van has restricted him for sure and its so busy with all the COVID travellers that he's most likely going to come home and work towards getting a 4WD van and going again in 22 or 23. He would've loved a Delica or a 4WD LiteAce (there's some lifted, modded ones around or we might do the mods with him). Don't discount the Delica.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 23:23

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 at 23:23
Surprised they never sold Delicas on Aus market (I am assuming they are all grey imports) would have sold like hot cakes.

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Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 14:47

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 14:47
I see quite a few Delicas around, so followed up on this.
Looks like there is talk of bringing the new model Delica into Australia soon - New Delica for Australian market?

I also read somewhere that the Delica was first released in Australia in 1980 as the L300 Express following the official formation of MMAL and continued to be sold up until the fourth generation was superseded in 2007.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 15:29

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 15:29
Years ago I went with a group of 4wd'ers to Grampians and mountains around there, A 4wd Delica L300 variant also went. We spent most of the time, about 15 times, pulling it out of every sticky spot which other vehicles breezed through. I thought then the Delica isn't much and haven't changed that view.
Perhaps something terrific has changed.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 15:30

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 15:30
Oh righto - never knew that.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 17:42

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 17:42
We had a Series 2 Delica (1998) for a number of years. Lifted, rear locker, hd suspension and rear airbags. It went wonderfully on many surprisingly difficult tracks. Took most of the Tele track with ease (only did the first half as the trip was more important than the 4wding and time was important). Billy Goat Track and many others in Victoria were no problem. Not a hard core rock hopper but a capable vehicle, nonetheless. Brilliant in soft sand.

However they are getting on a bit and the newer models are not as capable off road. Also not as many modification options available here in OZ. I'd certainly look elsewhere now...

Cheers,

Marl
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 17:50

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 17:50
Silkwood.
How did it go before changing it's suspension , ride height and traction characteristcs? Competition vehicles also do far more than the stock ones.
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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 21:52

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 21:52
Probably went "Broom Broom" when new and "Vroom Vroom" after the modifications.
Think I'll go and tidy the shed up again.
Dave.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 05:45

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 05:45
Perhaps some may remember "Wolfman", or Wolfie, as he was affectionally known, on this site back in thearly 2000's?

Wolfie had a stable of Delicias, well, maybe 2, and used to sing their praises on the forum regularly. If you've got a spare hour or more, delve back into the the archives, say 2003-2005?

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:21

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:21
Getting away from the original OP’ question, but we had an L300 4x4 back in the 80’s. It was basically a Mitsubishi Pajero chassis and power train, with an L300 body. Very capable, went everywhere with it along with Patrols & Landcruisers. The only thing it did not like was deep water, as it tended to want to float. After warranty had run out we did modify it by adding 15” wheels to replace the factory 14”. This required the mudguards to be cut and reshaped. This also meant that we very rarely got into top gear given the larger wheels and tyres, and of course the speedo was actually much closer to actual than original. Had the vehicle for ten years.

As to the OP’s original question, IMHO, a troopy would be a much more capable off road vehicle than the Sprinter, however as a camper, the Sprinter would be more suitable.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:02

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:02
RMD, the stock vehicle was quite capable, the only real traction addition I made was the rear locker. Problems were: clearance (I modified the front for clearance, as well as the 40mm lift), the suspension was a little on the non-progressive side, so went very soft when loaded up and the stock wheels and tyres didn't help clearance. I really like the "super select" transmission .

I've met and communicated with many Delica owners here and overseas. You'd be hard pressed to find many disappointed with them. The Delica Forum (delicaclub) is a treasure trove of information, tips and advice.

There are two heights available in the series 2/3 and two lengths, as well as petrol or diesel options. Throw in around four "variants" of features in the models and you can get quite confused comparing specific vehicles. The long wheelbase version does have some ramp-over issues and while the high-roof version adds welcome interior room, these things feel a bit top-heavy already (mostly psychological, but I've had a few worrying moments when sideways on some inclines!).

Overall a great vehicle. If the newer version were more off-road capable I could see them being a huge draw for the "van-life" market.

Cheers,
Mark (who's Marl???)
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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 16:20

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 16:20
Silkwood
Marl is a good mate of Freud. Not sure if he has a 4wd but he slips sometimes!
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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 08:54

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 08:54
Very interesting subject, and some good info here.
Every vehicle is a compromise in some way , hard core 4x4 not so good on the tarred highways and vise versa.
Remember years ago , when 2wd fords , Holden’s etc went nearly everywhere.
Certainly tracks like the Strez, Birdsville etc.
my dad and a mate took one of the first Toyota crowns (4 cyl. Imagine the power!) up around Ayers Rock , Finke etc in the early 70’s , don’t remember any stories of major problems!
Nowadays the main thinking is you can only travel those tracks in a 4x4 . And the roads are a whole lot better than they used to be.
Cheers all
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:07

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 09:07
.
You are dead right Robbo.
In 1949 my father, with his brother and their wives drove a Vauxhall Velox from Adelaide to Perth and back.
It astonishes me how they managed without significant incident other than a dislodged roof rack.
Even fuel management must have been momentous.
Pity they didn't make a video of the trip. lol
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: axle - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 13:15

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 13:15
Hi Allan... Shane,

Some Amazing stories out there in regard to VW Beetle out back trips as well.

My father was as mad as a cut snake in his!..lol.


Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 17:07

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 17:07
Another one for Toyotas, we had the first Corona imported into the country. Eighty-two horses under the bonnet, 1500cc, three on the tree, would go anywhere, the old man managed to wind it up to ninety-five mph, or so the speedo said, just not very good if you wanted to stop in a straight line. Did the Cooktown road in 1966, when the dirt started just north of Mareeba plus lots of 4wd tracks in the Chillagoe , Silver Valley, Almaden area.
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Reply By: Member - peter g28 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 17:56

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 17:56
If you are going to do remote adventure camping...
TheTroopy is the best option by far...
I had a bit to do with Troopies in East Arnhemland, yes, they are agricultural when compared to its competitors in the camper van market..noit as refines..yadda yada yada..but has it over them in many ways.
-Simple to repair (V8 model is the acceptation)..with the diesel inline 6..it is virtually bullet proof..if you find it a bit lacking in the "go".. department..aftermarket turbo mods are available.
The one I had around East Arnhemland was one such type..ex mine vehicle..10yo..with an aftermarket turbo..(3 to 5k professionally done)..very mild boost...but the performance was smooth and reliable.
-The biggy...getting spares..simple as..any wreckers, motor parts suppliers or indigenous community would have parts...plus..you can do DIY panel beating if necessary..the panels on the older versions are thicker and can take a solid knock..termit mounds included.
- The rental companies..for decent off road campers...they all have used troopies in one form or another and if you are fortunate and in the right place at the right time..some of the online auctions have ex-hire troopy campers going.
- They have a decent basic ladder chassis..you can bolt any thing on the front or rear..within manufactures weight restrictions..and you don't have to start pulling half the vehicle apart to get the accessories on.
- The roof weight limit is pretty generous from memory..about 150kg (static)..
- I have found the 6 cylinder even though it is a snail when compared to its V8 brother..tracked better down the rough roads...especially through corrugations
- tyres and rims..you can fit the old one piece steelies with the cheese cutter tyres..they aren't the "bees knees" in the bling department..but the beauty is..I've had them down to 6psi for over 50km and the rims never got bent whilst travelling over the rough gibber and with a pretty heavy load on.
- they do suck the juice..13 to 15ltr per 100km..the engine is not as refined as the European makes..my work one had the old mechanical injector pump..sounded horrid when compared to the v8..but fixing it when compared to the v8....different world...crack the injectors...fix the issue, blow the lines and bleed it ..and it would fire up..no problem..no bloody electronics..no sensors.
AnswerID: 637321

Reply By: James 88 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 21:45

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 21:45
Hi everyone. Some great discussion! Keep it coming.

I just (finally) came across a half decent sprinter 4x4 build which I thought I'd share. This sums up the sort of capability I'd have in mind for such a Sprinter build. Though I'd ideally compliment this build with a rear locker to assist the fairly average low range gearing.

Sprinter on 35s! Check it out:
AnswerID: 637325

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 22:03

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 22:03
.
James, your bank account would need the same "sort of capability".
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: James 88 - Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 23:45

Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 23:45
True haha But have you seen the price of troopys lately! One can dream
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 00:09

Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 00:09
I would warn against touring with 35" tyres if you have the inclination. There's more stress on the drive components, gearing is badly affected and they're harder to source in woop woop. You'll find that 32" or 33" tyres are adequate in my opinion.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 10:19

Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 10:19
James
You may like to fit a locker in the rear, but your bank account would need an "unlocker". Dream on! Next fairy tale anyone?

Michael H9

No more stress on drive line as the driveline stress is only what the engine torque and gearing can apply to the driveline. Large earthmoving uses planetary geared geared hubs and quite small but higher speed driveline and transmissions.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:08

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:08
RMD, The larger diameter of the wheel creates a larger torque force on things like the CV's and axles due to the leverage effect. Usually evident when a spinning wheel drops on a tree root and comes to an abrupt halt. I've seen many axles and CV's break, more often on cars with 35" or larger tyres.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:27

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:27
Also - Larger tyres = (likely) larger un-sprung weight which can have a negative affect on handling (generally speaking). Pros and Cons I suppose. I think many people get bigger tyres because they look better (fair enough), but in reality have no real need for them. I just putt around on 245/70R17s.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:29

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:29
More wear on the brakes because the wheels are harder to stop because of the greater torque resistance from the road. There's engineering formulae on the web that can compute the extra forces at the wheel for a given force from the motor when the wheel diameter increases.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:58

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 19:58
.
I fail to see why there would be more brake wear with larger diameter wheels.
Certainly, torque is increased but at the same time rotational velocity is proportionally decreased. They possibly cancel.

The significant thing is that the energy dissipation to brake a given mass is the same for any size of wheel hence I expect brake wear to be unchanged.

I must search for the web publications that discuss the issues.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 20:14

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 20:14
I suspect you're right Allan. The energy required to be dissipated is the same - apart from the greater mass of the larger tyres which is probably insignificant compared to the overall mass of the vehicle. I suspect the wear on the brakes would be dependent more on the diameter of the friction surfaces of the brakes rather than the diameter of the tyres .
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 20:38

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 20:38
When you are braking, the force is the resistance of the road. The larger diameter allows the road resistance to be greater. It's mechanical advantage, like trying to undo a wheel nut with a 6" spanner as opposed to using a 1 metre bar. The same force gives different turning outcomes. When you're coasting down a road the momentum of the car applies a force at the point the wheel touches the road and the brakes are trying to stop the wheel from further inside the outside diameter because the tyre is larger, therefore the force they're applying will have less of an effect.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 21:56

Monday, Aug 02, 2021 at 21:56
.
Ah yes Michael, I see it all now.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Dean K3 - Monday, Aug 09, 2021 at 16:35

Monday, Aug 09, 2021 at 16:35
better off looking at the bus 4x4 conversions from qld. With toyota coaster and Hiace van.

The agents here in WA PMG (malaga) can't get enough conversion kits or vehicles for the mine spec requirements - be a lengthy wait lead time.

But id go more with this conversion than using a europen van.

Also aware that due to ANCAP 5 star requirement for all emergency vehicles its likely a contract will be signed off by St Johns Ambulance (WA) for constant 4wd van ambulances the current V8 cruiser cab chassis doesn't meet the 5 star safety rating for country stations (marble bar derby etc)
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