Any Problems with Limited Use 4WD?

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 08:44
ThreadID: 32696 Views:1859 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Our 04 Patrol GU3 (3L TD Auto) is used pretty much only for outback trips. Around town we use our other car.

Been busy with work during last year and only done 5000km (Patrol just under 2 years old and done 21000km). It sits in the garage for up to a month at a time.

I remember hearing of problems with cars that sit for long periods. Could anyone tell me what problems can occur (other than battery) and what I should do about it?

Any advice much appreciated.

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Reply By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:07

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:07
In other parts of the world it is commn to store cars for the entire winter. Though some of the advice may not apply, see this link

Storing Your Vehicle

AnswerID: 165907

Follow Up By: jdpatrol - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:24

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:24
Thanks but I can't get to link?
FollowupID: 420825

Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:39

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:39
Link to Storing Your Vehicle
FollowupID: 420827

Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:20

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:20
that's plently of use, a month is not a long time can't see any problems, just make sure it gets an oil change.
AnswerID: 165910

Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:40

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:40

You are aware of the battery issue. I assume a trickle charger (or similar) is used to maintain battery charge.

If you are a member of a motoring organisation (RACQ-RACV-NRMA etc) have a chat to them as they do this ( maintenance of unused vehicles) regularly for members and will probably be familiar with your vehicle type.

Having said that my thoughts are:-

Vehicle services by time rather than distance ( see your vehicle manual). Filters may collapse after lengthy periods of non-minimal use.

I would take it for a run at least once a month for at least 50-100ks just to keep things like seals moist and oil circulated ( lock the front hubs in so the front diff oil gets a churn). This will also reduce the chances of the exhaust system failing early. I would suggest that when times comes to replace you do so with a stainless system.

Diesel fuel can grow nasties and moisture can collect in tanks. Use anti fungal/moisture treatment in your fuel. Keep fuel in main and sub tanks.

Tyres go off over time. I would replace them at around 5 years of age. Tyres are often kept of the ground (the reason escapes me at the moment).

After storage/non - limited use, I would plan an early fuel filter change. (After about 2 tanks of fuel) Inspect filter and contents carefully for contaminants. Carry spare fuel filter and know how to change it.

I would be using full synthetic oils in diffs, gearbox and transfer case. Quality synthetics tend to leave a thin film of oil (better adhesive properties) over parts for longer than mineral oils (There is air in these areas and rust can form). Nissan have a semi synth for the 3.0ltre diesel. Use that at services

Items such as shock absorbers suspension springs and bushes will also deteriate when not used.

Keep the wildlife out. Ants as an example can do a lot of damage.

Cover your vehicle with a car cover. Use a good wax on the exterior paint work and wash/clean vehicle regularly.

After 2 years I would suspect you already do all or most of the above. I feel that from now on getting the storage right will be critical to your ability to have pleasant outback tripping.

My thoughts.


AnswerID: 165912

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:42

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:42
One issue that comes to mind is the Air Conditioner.
The unit needs to be run to lubricate the seals (once a week is good).
Without lubrication they deteriorate and leak.
The solution of cource is to get out camping more often :)-

A second issue is tyres.
When tyres sit for a long time (on a car or van), they develop a flat spot
where they sit on the concrete.
The steel belts crease at the point of the flat spot (hence 2 creases).
When you start driving, the heat and flex causes the steel belts to break
at the crease - blown tyre (x 4?).
One solution is to put the car up on blocks or stands.

A third issue is acid - not battery but engine.
Diesel fuel contains sulphur. The combustion process combines this sulphur with the humidity in the air to create sulphuric acid. Some of this gets into the engine oil. If the vehicle has done a trip, then sits without the oil being changed, this acid will attack the metal, especially bearing surfaces.
The reduced sulpher content in Aust diesel will help, but not eliminate this problem.

Thats about all I can think of
.................happy camping........Keith
AnswerID: 165913

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:35

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:35
I use Chemtech diesel treatment - contains a biocide so the diesel in the tank doesn't stagnate and grow bugs. Its very cheap, available in most auto shops and has been used for this purpose for years.

I trickle charge my battery with a 1amp 12 volt unregulated plugpack. I have a connector inside the cab, so I don't have to lift the bonnet, and so I don't drive off an forget to unhook it. I plan on hooking this up to one of those simple 240volt timers so it only runs for an hour a day when the vehicle is sitting idle like yours.

AnswerID: 165922

Reply By: jdpatrol - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 20:22

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 20:22
Thanks all

Much appreciated.

AnswerID: 166241

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