OKA, Australian Treasure or To Hard Basket?

Submitted: Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:14
ThreadID: 20425 Views:18981 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
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I am looking for answers to these questions...

Who makes their engines?
Where do I get spare parts?
What are they modelled on?
Who can work on them?
Any poor histories?
Are they really a GREAT choice?

I just kind-of fell into my Coaster without any research. It was cheap. But now I'm looking at parting with $50,000, so the stakes are a bit higher. It just does not make any sense to not 'post' something up here.

If you have any feedback, I'd be grateful for it.

iMusty
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Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:23

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:23
Engines were made by Perkins. A mate of mine was the Sales Manger for them in Perth in the mid 90's and they did make some with 350 Chev V8's, to try to break into the USA. His company vehicle was Jet Black with a V8 Twin Stack Pipes and LH Drive.

I did go for several drives in them and they are excellent offroad, they were made to be maintained.

They are not made in AUst any more as they were sold of to Malaysia, so the ones around are getting a bit old now, and as i suppose most were sold to mining industry those still around may be a bit battered.
AnswerID: 98288

Follow Up By: iMusty - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 17:38

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 17:38
Thanks
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Reply By: Dazmit - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:25

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:25
Hi iMusty

I'm fairly sure that 4WD monthly did a article on buying 2nd hand OKA's last year some time.
I can recall them saying they use a Perkins diesel engine & there was some national database on them which showed previous owners etc.

Might pay to get a copy from 4wd monthly.

Cheers

Darryl
AnswerID: 98289

Reply By: paulpp - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:56

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 13:56
Greetings

Go here http://www.oka.com.au/ they are still alive an kicking. Great off road. Reliable 4 cyclinder perkins diesel. Check for rust, steel bodies.

Regards

Paul
AnswerID: 98295

Reply By: Wombat - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:10

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:10
Hi iMusty,

Collyn Rivers is an ExplorOz member from Broome and he has a 1994 OKA which has been christened Bertha (from memory, I think). it has . . . "Detroit Locker at rear, Air Locker at front. 12,000 lb winch, twin spares, 3000 km fuel range. Knows its own way around Australia." He hasn't been active on the forum for a while so I assume he is travelling at the moment, but if you sent him an email via his web site I'm sure he is the sort of gentleman who would happily answer any questions you may have about the OKA.
AnswerID: 98296

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:49

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 14:49
We had one in the NSW Rural Fire service. We had THE only one in the RFS. It was a twin cab.

Handled like a boat, but only had single shocks not the normal twins.
We had the Perkins in ours, it was not too bad, but thankfully we were only usually driving up to 1 hr at a time...

There are much better 4wds out there for $50k than an Oka, that would want to be new with 0 klms onit, fully kitted.
AnswerID: 98301

Reply By: Grumpybum - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 15:23

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 15:23
I ran a maintenance workshop for a Mine fleet of 17 of these beasts in the late nineties. Good concept, good perkins motors and drive chain. The rest was CRAP.

The maintenace costs at at $2.43 per km rated their performance - and thats only maintenance costs. Eventual I contacted the Perth factory and demanded two on-site mechanics at their cost to rectify the ongoing problems or I would scrap the fleet and write an article for the trade press "XXX Mine Dumps Oka Fleet" They were on-site there for six months.

My suggestion is to keep looking elsewhere

Good luck
AnswerID: 98307

Follow Up By: iMusty - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 17:52

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 17:52
Any suggestions.
I own a 1975 Coaster and have re-built most of it. I don't mind admitting that it is beyond a nessesasity to spend so many hours with it. It's an obsession I know.

I was not overly surprised by your general comments but the "to the kilometer costings" is an eye opener.

Maybe a much newer Coaster 4by would be more sensible, seeing as I am very familiar with the basics of it already.

I do want a big 4by as we like to stand up in it, but not nessesarily a motor home as all my gear is in 65 litre crates and can be loaded and unloaded in 15 minutes. That's pretty good considering I have accomadation to house 16.

It WAS a bus but now has 2 seats only. It is regestered as a van.

I would'nt knok back 4 seats but would use them rarely.

Any suggestions??

Thankyou.

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Reply By: V8Diesel - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 15:24

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 15:24
The one I drove for a couple of thousand k's in 1995 had a ridiculously underpowered poxy 4 cylinder donk in it (and switchgear from a Leyland Terrier truck by the looks of it which concerned me too). Frustratingly feeble.

Sounds like there may have been differerent options available on powerplants so this may have just been a poverty pack, but my experience of the OKA was simply a disappointing, expensive slug.

With an appropriate, and common, diesel engine like the Chev 6.5 turbo, the 5.9 Cummins or the International Navistar 7.3 V8 turbo (as in current F250) spinning an Alison auto they'd still be in business today.

IMHO they were on the right track (Dana's etc) and the OKA could (should?) have been a great vehicle if they just hadn't let Liberace choose the powerplant.
AnswerID: 98308

Follow Up By: 12HT75 - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 19:02

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 19:02
I spoke to an OKA salesman at the Perth 4WD show back in the early nineties when OKAs were still being built, and asked him about the engine - why not a 6 cyl diesel like the 5.9 Cummins and he said the 4 cyl had more torque??

Peter
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Follow Up By: Cabbage - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 21:53

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 21:53
These were made to do a specific job,not be a suburban racing car.
I own an Fseries with a 351 straight gas engine which theoretically has better than 400 hp but if you come across me on the road you would probably think it has a two cylinder engine.
If you are a bored millionaire get one of the 7.3 ltr engines,injectors are only $2750.00 each, bottom radiator hose @ $800.00 etc
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:45

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:45
Yea was talkin to dude at BJ Diesel about the injectors for them a while back... he told me that, I laughed, then he showed me the bill for a COMPLETE SET..
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FollowupID: 356855

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:48

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:48
Cabbage, the OKA when fully laden - and as a heavy duty commercial vehicle that was it's intended purpose - I found to be woefully underpowered. I once had to drive for ages in first crawler gear on sand east of Esperance because it did not have the grunt to snap second as the ratio's were too widely spaced for the available grunt. On road was not much better with hills becoming very, very boring indeed. I didn't even contemplate hooking a trailer up to the thing. Empty, they may be OK, but what's the point of that?

At the time (1995) when I drove the OKA my personal vehicle was a tired, stock standard, ex-mining HJ75 4.0l diesel with 300,000 hard km's on the clock so I was most certainly comparing apples with apples in the performance stakes.

Either way, the customers voted with their cheque books. This is a shame because the OKA could have been a good bit of gear. Just my opinion.
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Follow Up By: Cabbage - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 00:59

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 00:59
Truckster, I reckon thats bloody ridiculous but I think its called progress.

V8,
I can relate to that sort of thing, used to work for Kennelly Transport
way back, you want to try convincing an AB Inter with a 160 cummins that it doesn't take 2 weeks to get to Goldsworthy from Adelaide and that its not really 38 ton on the trailer
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:18

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:18
hey v8 you wouldnt know anything about the oka tourbus I would see around thomas river would you? or is there another tour operater with one that does the same area?
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 12:15

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 12:15
Davoe, not involved in the tour industry at all, just rented the OKA for a couple of weeks for a job in '95. BTW have a beer at the Feddy for me (now the Foundry's closed), I miss Kal - it's a fun place.

Cabbage, I know what you mean. I drove an ex army 6 x 6 Inter with a very heavy Detroit 12v71 compressor set up on the back at Telfer (45' plus every day). No power steer or A/C - a complete pig to drive but it looked cool. The most 'uninspiring truck' award goes to an overloaded Volvo F7 cement spreader I had the misfortune to pilot for a while.
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Reply By: Eric Experience. - Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:24

Monday, Feb 14, 2005 at 22:24
iMusty.
The Canter is nearest thing to a coaster in design and power, the mercedes sprinter is the performance vehicle in that class. The purchase price is about the same, the sprinter 4x4 is harder to find. The canter is better of road and unbrakable but is slow like the coaster, the sprinter is very fast and smooth on the highway but not a good ofroader because of its limited suspension travel. You can get a Canter already set up for $50k. Eric.
AnswerID: 98385

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:20

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 10:20
there was a FULLY kitted out canter that used to feature in western 4wd called mitsy. I believe it was for sale on the vks website?
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Reply By: signman - Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 14:00

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 at 14:00
G'day Musty,
How about a set up Coaster sitting on Unimog running gear.??There is one for sale up in Qld..and mate that thing would go anywhere. FRONT & BACK diff lockers ans all. Excellent ground clearance. All set up and reday to roll.
A mate here has a Dyna dual cab with camper on back sitting on Land cruiser 4WD gear...done the Canning twice, Simpson, Kimberleys etc and gets over the terrain better than some of the badly driven 'proper' fourbies.
I personnaly would steer clear of the OKA as they are trucky.. and kinda like LandRover you would have to be a purist to own one.
Oh,..and there is a Unimog 404 with camper body for sale at Rainbow Beach. Done 21000km..was a German Emergency Defence Radio truck...full papers and RHD..yes it is registered. I think it was $15000
Keep on keepin on...and don't let em put you down
Signman
AnswerID: 98494

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