Advice and opinions - First 4x4 + equipment

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 24, 2005 at 20:54
ThreadID: 22337 Views:2910 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Hiya, I've been lurking in the forums for a while now. Been doing penance in the UK for the last 6 years and for my sins am bringing a pommie missus back down under to live.

We're gonna need a vehicle.
I'm looking for advice.

Primarily used by 2 people + all camping/touring equipment.
Able to carry at least 4 on occasion.
Ability to tow a 15 foot runabout (future wish list) on rarer occasions (unlikely to be doing long distance touring with it).
Capable 4wd, but it will be our primary vehicle, mainly urban driving so it needs to be economical to run.
We're going to be landing in Perth initially (My family is there).

Diesel. Prefer Automatic but will sacrifice that want if needs be.
Air-conditioned. Power steering. Electric anything else an advantage.
Side steps would be a big advantage, the missus is a short-arse.
Bar work for protection.
Roof that’s capable of having a Roof top tent on it.

Other needs.
Fridge/Freezer (Was thinking of the Waeco drawer fridge to make good use of space - http://www.fridgeshop.com/Default.asp?id=278&category=1).
Lighting/fan/charging camera batteries/phones/laptop. (thinking dual battery setup at first, and maybe invest in solar backup for the longer trips when we’re feeling flush again after buying this lot ;-) Will need a big inverter for my laptop but that’s worth a separate post.

Compressor, winch, strap, other tools.
Emergency communications (HF I’m thinking).

I’ve got GPS already (PDA based, bloody essential here in the UK)

Camping/touring is likely to usually be long weekends away regularly (say 10 times a year) and 1-3 long trips a year (2-4 weeks at a time). We’re going to be doing the “big one” sooner rather than later so it should be capable of that.

Total budget for vehicle and equipment is about $30,000.
Vehicle should be under 10 years old. It should be good for another 10 years.

Personal stuff and cooking equipment etc is separate to this budget. Figuring another few $K on that lot. That will include 4x4 recovery and technique courses for the missus and me.

On the list are Pajero's (not seen an Auto for sale in Oz but they are everywhere here in the UK). Landcruiser, Patrol, Toyota Surf (more economical I'm thinking). No make/model's are being ruled out yet.
We've yet to go and drive any yet as we're flying from London tonight so the looking will start in earnest next week. I don't mind flying east to find the right vehicle but would need to do some setup before driving it back West to complete kitting it out.

So, whadya reackon?
What else should I be thinking about?
Should be back online early in the week to check out the responses.
Cheers guys. Looking forward to reading your responses.
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Reply By: Scubaroo - Sunday, Apr 24, 2005 at 21:06

Sunday, Apr 24, 2005 at 21:06
We're going through exactly the same thing right now - except my souvenir is US in origin :)

We're pretty much set on a petrol NM Pajero - going with the Exceed, because my wife is also short (about 16" height difference!), and she needs to be able to raise the seat to drive - the 4WD we had in the states was a Jeep Cherokee which had this feature, and we couldn't get a car without it now. The price difference in the used market between a diesel and petrol in the same year model is often around the $10k mark (or even more!) from our research, so based on the estimated number of k's we will be doing, we're happy to go with a petrol and make the savings up front.

If you're looking at fitting it out for camping/offroading etc, do a spreadsheet of all of the goodies you want and price it out - it adds up bloody quickly. We're up to about $7k of add-on stuff that we want to put on the vehicle before it goes away for it's first weekend, and IMO the only "luxury" included in that is an Engel fridge. So factor that after-market cost into your buying equation, and search for a suitable vehicle at that price point. One of the 4WD rags just did a story on a Landcruiser they kitted out - base vehicle was $27k used, they put $26k of accessories into it! Still works out cheaper than a new car though with nothing added.
AnswerID: 108037

Follow Up By: Nudenut - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:54

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:54
your gonna raise the seat so she can drive? who's gunna operate the the pedals.........
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FollowupID: 364894

Reply By: muzzgit (WA) - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 00:08

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 00:08
No need to go east for a vehicle, anything you want, we have here.

Looking at your budget, you should spend about 18 to 25 grand on a vehicle so under 10 years shouldn't be a drama.

You have obviously done your home work, the only thing to do is shop around for a car and the rest will fall into place.

Good luck
AnswerID: 108047

Follow Up By: tome - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 22:26

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 22:26
I reackon you're right. Its a bloody hard decision though. We've just got to go out and drive a few and see what they feel like. That will give us a short list. The big question for us though is to go for one of the "big" ones (Landcruiser or patrol) or one of the smaller ones (Surf, pathfinder and the like) and why.
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FollowupID: 364967

Follow Up By: muzzgit (WA) - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:25

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:25
Ive had a couple of different styles of forby, dual cabs, wagons etc;
60 series Lancruiser wagon and GU patrol the two most recent and I like the bigger seating room (not sitting on top of each other), longer in the back for all the gear plus can sleep in em'.

Also I like the slightly longer wheel base of a full size wagon but I will admit I havn't driven a smurf/forerunner. They are very popular, lots of people got em.

When you go up north or out back you see less of the smaller forby's.
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FollowupID: 364982

Reply By: Member - Graham C (WA) - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 00:44

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 00:44
Agree with previous reply - you should be able to pickup a decent vehicle around $20K+. However, add-ons and extras may push you well past $30K.
Try private sales first - before going through a dealer (save some dollars on commissions etc). If you hunt around you can get a good deal with bits and pieces already fitted.
Costs soon mount up - roof top tent new (3K - 4K); HF Radio (3.8K - 4.5K; although there are second hand units out there - I picked up a Codan NGT for just over $3K); Tirfor style winch ($500 ish); Compressor - some reasonable ones around ($100 - $400); mmmm Solar system - am just in the process of doing that; so far $900 for 2 x 42W panels + mounted under roof rack and slides forward on nylon runners ($600) - the sliding out draw style system was just designed and built as a first time effort from someone at ARB, and am about to get wiring / electrics done with 2 x 80amp sealed batteries (guesstimate another $1200).

If you want to see the Solar system - give me a yell; it is not quite finished yet but would anticipate another 6+ weeks.

Cheers

Graham
Whiskey 6678
AnswerID: 108052

Follow Up By: tome - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 21:55

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 21:55
Nice 1 Graham, I'd definately like to check out your solar setup. Sounds like a great setup. The roof tent is out of the current equations as is solar (future wish list).
Looking good so far, I just wish I knew more about 4x's for when I go looking. Knowing my limits there I reackon I'll have to go to a dealer so I have at least a warranty to fall back on. A dealer vehicle is unlikely to have the bits left on it me thinks.
As far the extra bits go. I guess that will require a separate post once we've short listed the vehicle choice further. I'm hoping there will be some comments from people about the Surf vs the Lancrusier type choice. I've seen the Surf as a 3L 4 and the Cruiser as a 3L 6. Gonna show the depth of my ignorance here I'm guessing but if they are both 3L then wouldn't they both have similar economy, but wouldnt the 4 have worked harder in its life and therefore have the shorter engine life? They are both big enough (guessing so far, haven't driven either yet) for our needs. The Surf would be lighter I guess so probably better on the sand.

Any recommendations on 4x4 clubs in WA I can go and hang around with to learn more?
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FollowupID: 364956

Reply By: muzzgit (WA) - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:17

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:17
the surf 3.0 is I think a turbo diesel and the cruiser (do you mean prado?) is a 3.0 V6.

The REAL cruiser, six cylinder petrol or diesel is good for towing (petrol very thirsty) and you can sleep in the back if out for one night. Can't do that in a prado or surf unless you a shorty.
AnswerID: 108157

Reply By: Member - Graham C (WA) - Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:26

Monday, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:26
Saw some 2nd hand 4WD in weekend paper that would be in your price range - from dealers - some with basics like bullbar, side steps and the odd roof rack. You may have to do some leg work - would recommend having it checked out before purchase; some of the ex mine vehicles may look good but the conditions they work in a very unkind to the vehicle (hidden corrosion issues). Same can be said for some other 4WD - the beach can be pretty unkind as well unless you look after the car. Go to a reputable place to get the vehicle inspected - would even go so far as to suggest you go to a specialist 4WD centre / workshop as they know what to look for.

For some info, try this link. http://www.4wdlinks.com.au/
If you go to 4WD Community; then to Clubs and Associations, you will get a breakdown of clubs in each state.

For WA specific try http://www.wa4wda.com.au/
which has links to quite a few Clubs in WA.

Here is a link to the Perth Hilux Surf Club
http://www.clubsurfwa.8m.com

Here is a link the Toyota Landcruiser Club of WA
http://www.geocities.com/tlccwa/

The links may or may not work - cut and paste if they don't.

Email me if you want to discuss off forum

Cheers

Graham
AnswerID: 108158

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