Modern petrol 4WDs in the outback

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:10
ThreadID: 142491 Views:7037 Replies:11 FollowUps:15
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Hi All,

We're looking to buy a late model 4WD in the next couple of years and are interested in going to petrol again to avoid DPF and EGR issues as we do a lot more city driving than long distance touring.

We're looking at a wagon and are investigating the newer crop of petrol 4WDs. I know people will have strong opinions on the Chinese made ones, but I'm interested enough to give it a couple of years to see how longevity looks on the earlier models.

Most of them seem to specify 92+RON fuel be used. Is this an issue if we head to outback NSW or out to Alice Springs and Uluru? Most of the driving would be blacktop, but I'm keen to see the West MacDonnell Ranges and drive the Oodnadatta track on the way home. On paper the distance would be ok, but want to make sure the odd tank of 91 RON won't kill the engine.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:33

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:33
I used to carry a bottle of the additive that boosts the octane rating when I was in areas that only had limited fuel supplies. I forget what it was but you can get it at most auto shops.
AnswerID: 637727

Reply By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:42

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:42
Do not get the idea that it is only Diesels that have issues with EGR systems, as Petrol vehicles also have them fitted and do give trouble, and Petrol also have Cat Convertors that have issues when fuel quality (not talking RON) is not up to scratch.

As for the 91/92RON fuel the fuel that is supplied in Australia has a RON minimum rating of 91 and can go to 93, and if your new vehicle is fitted with knock sensors (most petrol vehicles these days) then it will happily run on a slightly lower fuel grade, so long as you are not driving a Supercar under track conditions.

AnswerID: 637729

Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:48

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 14:48
I wasn't aware that Petrol vehicles had EGRs as well. I am definitely aware the have positive crank case ventilation (PCV) systems and have had them for probably longer than I've been alive.

There certainly don't seem to be as many documented cases of issues with EGRs on Petrol vehicles though.

The bigger concern is the DPF, we've had a few instances of the light coming on with our 2014 Captiva, but have driven it enough for it not to be a huge issue, but it was concerning the first time it happened.

I've owned a mix of petrol and diesel 4WDs over the years and had some reliability issues with both.

I know all about cat converters though, and I can recommend not denting one like I did in my old Jeep. Didn't make for a cheap day trip.....
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Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:08

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:08
EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) systems were first introduced in Petrol engine vehiclesby most manufacturers from 01/07/1976 to meet the requirements of ADR27A, and gave trouble from that day on.

ALL vehicles fitted with EGR systems suffer from soot related build up in the inlet manifold, some worse than others and turbo engine vehicles worse than naturally aspired engines, due to the extra heat in the air coming from the turbo, even with intercoolers fitted.

This build up is caused by the hot exhaust gas mixing with the intake air that contains some oil vapor from the PCV (Positive Crankcase Vent) system. Eliminate the oil vapor, and/or the hot exhaust gas and you have eliminated the build up in the manifold.

Vehicles fitted with DPF (DPD/ call it what you like) that give the least trouble all have the DPF as close to the turbo as possible, so it gets maximum heat in a short amount of time. This also applies to the Cat convertors.

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Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:13

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:13
Thanks Athol,

Good information to know. I've never heard about it before.

It is possible that the petrol EGR may be much further through its development lifecycle with how early it was introduced. You certainly don't hear about it issues with petrol EGR anywhere near as often.

Is a catch can still worthwhile for to stop intake build-up from the PCV and EGR interaction with a petrol in your opinion?
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Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:26

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:26
In a word YES, it can not do any harm and may just prevent the dreaded rubbery sludgy/ hard to remove build up/ formation.

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Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:27

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 15:27
Thanks, will keep that in mind regardless of what we end up buying.
FollowupID: 915858

Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 18:17

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 18:17
The Chinese vehicles should be the longest lasting, the highest quality and technically the best in all respects seeing they have stolen all the info, secrets and knowhow from the rest of the world.
AnswerID: 637730

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 18:31

Wednesday, Sep 01, 2021 at 18:31

Well that's how Toyota started :)
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:25

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:25
And they have been pretty good haven't they? So it follows.
FollowupID: 915871

Reply By: Jackolux - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 06:14

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 06:14
I have a Y62 Patrol have done the Oodnadatta Tk , Googs tk , Maralinga and a track from Maralinga to Cook and then to Eucla had to use some 91 fuel at times the Patrol ran fine .
I do know some that only ever use 91 in their Patrols and even e10 but I will only use 91 when I have to .
AnswerID: 637741

Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:31

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:31
Thanks for this info. Always nice to have some 1st hand info. Would love a y62 but I think it will be a bit out of the price range this time
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 06:19

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 06:19
I think you should have a rethink what you are trying to achieve.

While Toyota had some major issues with the 2.8l engine a few years back. But that is largely fixed. DPF's are a much bigger issue in forums than they are in reality IMHO.

To forsake a reliable diesel, for a Chinese petrol to use for the outback in the interests of reliability is folly

Do some more research on your chosen brand. Petrol is not user friendly to store and carry.

On the other hand if outback travel will be rare, and most use in the city then get a petrol.
AnswerID: 637742

Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:30

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:30
Hi Tony,

I absolutely agree that if the vehicle was to be a dedicated tourer I wouldn't be looking at a petrol ideally. Unfortunately most of the driving will be city based with the occasional long distance trip towing our light camper trailer . When we head out 4wding it's mostly day trips or over night trips unfortunately.

That's what has fed the interest in petrol again. I've generally had no issues with petrol 4wds and I've had a few. For a dedicated outback tourer they wouldn't be my first choice though.

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Reply By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:16

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:16
There’s nowhere you’ll go that there aren’t petrol motors. When you get to the ‘outback’ in Alice, all the loaded tourists fly in and rent petrol RAV4’s to do the Meereenie loop. They are everywhere out there.
As stated above, you can carry an octane booster if you have a high compression petrol engine - I had a twin turbo Subaru that absolutely needed decent octane fuel. We now have a forester that we have done some decent touring in and will drink dam water. It gets better mileage and is more comfy than my new BT50. I’d happily take it anywhere that low range isn’t an absolute necessity. West Macs and Oodnadatta track - no issue at all.
As for country of origin, I’ll leave that for another argument. I had one of the first series Kia Ceres 4x4 light trucks out of Korea - I swore I’d never look at them again. Look at Kia/Hyundai now. If the Chinese are picking their game up as quickly they will own the car market in a few years.
AnswerID: 637744

Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:34

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:34
Thanks gbc..

Nice to know that petrol is an option. We wouldn't be more than a few hundred km's between fuel stops with the route I'm planning. All my old petrol 4wds sound a bit like the Forester and would run on anything resembling unleaded
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:59

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 07:59
We also have a petrol 80 series 1fz that I owned in the 90’s 2000’s, and dad still has it. It has been pretty much everywhere you can think of apart from W.A. And Tassie. It’s almost 500k and all original.
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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 08:23

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 08:23
What about a petrol Pajero ? Comfortable and capable. I know they are being phased out, but they are excellent vehicles. Perhaps not new enough.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is also pretty good, good value, and close to what you are looking for.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." A fisherman.

"No road is long with good company." Traditional

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Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:33

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:33
Thanks Jim,

I am a big fan of the Paj having owned an NH in the past. It was the 3l petrol and was super capable and comfortable.

I think to keep my wife happy the petrol Pajeros are staring to get a bit long in the tooth as they discontinued them a while ago the 3.2 diesel is a great motor though and it is high on the list if we go for a diesel 7 seater.

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Reply By: Member - Soft-Trailer - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:35

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:35
Wow, you've done or are about to do exactly what I have done.... in a 2018 Nissan Y62 V8 Patrol. I bought it after swearing off DPFs for life when my 2016 Prado's third DPF was about to fail again - so I couldn't trust it.

Petrol is excellent, and I'll never by choice go back to diesel. Yes, you pay more in fuel economy (not as much as many people without first hand experience would suggest) but you get a lot more power for it. There's plenty of torque too - that's not only mostly fixed with gearing (you don't need to) but remember when 90kW and 180Nm was sufficient?).

For me, having a naturally aspirated engine with no DPF or turbo's was an added bonus. Unfortunately, I've had to buy a ute, and there are no petrol powered 4x4 utes on the market at the moment, so back into slug land with a diesel.

For what it's worth, the car I owned prior to the Prado was a 2012 LC200 diesel TTDV8.

Bad points? It's harder to find a safe storage area for the more volatile fuel. Your mate's that you travel will will likely have diesel filled jerry cans too. Overall range per tank is less - like for like. My Patrol fitted with the exact same set-up I had in my LC200 would get around 800km out of a tank (to a level where I was comfortable with it) whereas my LC200 would get closer to 1000km from a tank (again, not empty, but to the same comfort level). But then - where do you need a 500km range between servo's in most places now? There are a few, but not too many - and that's where you will need a jerry can for your car as your mate won't have one.

Oh - EDIT, sorry, onto RON. The Patrol takes 98. But read the manual and most will take 91 and will reduce performance (8kW in the Patrol). I never did use 91, but carried 2 x bottles of the fuel additive you can get at most SuperCheap or similar. I guess that's another negative. And with the tank being 140L, you need at least two per tank (they are bottles for 60L tanks).

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Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:42

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 18:42
I am old enough to remember old style n/a diesel engines, i had one in my 84 4Runner. Struggled really badly especially once I put 33's on it

I still haven't driven any of the contenders to see what they are like but they probably will be similar to my last couple of 4wds, a 1998 Nissan pathfinder 3.3l petrol followed by 2004 3.7l petrol Kj Cherokee.

I imagine any of the small petrol turbo engines will feel a bit down on power compared to the modern diesels. I've gotten used to the one in the Captiva which has been suprisingly reliable for the most part, well the engine has at least the gearbox not so much...

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Sep 03, 2021 at 09:15

Friday, Sep 03, 2021 at 09:15
My thoughts on this subject. The biggest drawback to having a petrol engined 4x4 for remote travel is the availability of suitable fuel in remote areas. In some locations, the only petrol available is “Opal”, this is certainly not recommended for the modern high performance petrol engine.

Also, petrol being a more “volatile” fuel can lose some of its volatility in high ambient conditions if not stored appropriately. Diesel is a more stable fuel, and affected by ambient conditions as much. Of course, diesel can and does have issues with water condensing in the bottom of storage tanks which can pose a problem.


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Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Friday, Sep 03, 2021 at 10:06

Friday, Sep 03, 2021 at 10:06
Thanks Macca,

Diesel is 100% the better fuel for outback travel, I'll never argue that. My big issue is the more common issues we're seeing with vehicles more commonly driven in the city. As most of my driving is city based I need to balance up the likelihood of issues with a diesel mostly driven over short distances against range, potential fire risk and economy for when we do go away.

I saw a YouTube video recently comparing the 200 Series and y62 Patrol for cost of ownership with the massive price difference to buy. According to their research it would take 200,000km ( i think that's the right figure) to break even as the 200 is so much more expensive.

You could conduct a similar exercise for the petrol 7 sear wagins against the mai contenders and I imagine it would cone up to a similar value proposition. Noting for us that 200,000km for us is over 10 years of ownership woth how often we do long distances it evens the playing field a little.

Most things I've read so far say Opal should he fine with an octane booster but it is something I need to consider.

Cheers Andrew
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Reply By: Alan H11 - Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 02:54

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 02:54
Modern vehicles with petrol engines are capable of adjusting themselves to a fair range of fuel octane rating. We drove around Australia for ten months with our petrol 2016 Montero 3.8 L V6 and had no problems (or evidence thereof). Now, we didn't go way out into the most remote areas for many days/tank refills, however did explore many areas which are considered "outback" including outback NSW, Alice Springs, Uluru, the West McDonnell Ranges, the Oodnadata Track (or at least some of it), as well as GRR and the Simpson.

At home we run the Montero on 91 octane (RON) all the time and have done this since new.
AnswerID: 637912

Follow Up By: a-frame81 - Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 06:34

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 06:34
Thanks Allan,

Good to know there are still a few people running petrol and heading to the outback. I'm grtting pretty comfortable with the idea, it will just depend on what is around 2nd hand when it's time to buy.

The Montero is another name for the Pajero right? My brother had an earlier model 3.8 v6 Pajero and while it was a bit thirsty it was reliable and comfortable. I didn't know they went as late as 2016. Might be worth looking into further as a non-turbo petrol is more likely to handle to lower octane fuel better.

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Reply By: Alan H11 - Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 07:26

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 07:26
Yes a Montero is a Pajero (or a Shogun); you’d finf it difficult to sell a Pajero in a Spanish-speaking country : )

Ours has been excellent - very capable and comfortable. It is indeed a bit thirsty, but no worse than the equivalent LC.
AnswerID: 637914

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