Medium size 4WD's in the Kimberley region

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 15:47
ThreadID: 3764 Views:2334 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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I currently live in Perth and at the end of the year intend to move to the northwest of the state, 12 months stay for a start. Before I move I want to purchase a capable medium size 4wd to explore the region once I am up there. First time 4WD purchase, not really interested in hard core 4wdriving, just touring and something that will get me to the sites of the northwest, Gibb river road and the like. Landcruiser/Patrol too big for my misses, too expensive, for the moment anyway. Have done quite a bit of research, extensive search of the archives of this forum. At the moment at the top of the list would be a 2nd hand Challenger/Pathfinder, maybe jackaroo, maybe pajero, don’t want to spend more than 25-30 grand, want something 2-3 years old. I guess the main part of my question is, has anyone seen or had experience with any of these vehicles in the north west of the state. A lot different environment from the suburban grind and the weekend 4wd excursion. Most interested in reliability, serviceability and general toughness more than performance. From what I’ve read the pathfinder does everything a little bit better than the challenger, except is pretty thirsty, would probably be my choice if staying in suburbia. The challenger seems good all round, old technology which I see as a good thing for my purpose, proven engine and running gear which after almost 10 years of subtle variation should have most of the bugs ironed out. Am I kidding myself that these suburban 4wd’s drives will cut it in the northwest and should I be looking a more “serious” 4wd’s?
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Reply By: Savvas - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 17:14

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 17:14
Cookie ...

You will be pretty safe with any of the vehicles you mention above.

Each brand have their group of followers and detractors. I'm partial to the Jackaroo, but only because it suits my purpose and at the right price. However, I'd have no hesitation in buying a Pathfinder if I was after a 5 seater.

AnswerID: 14852

Reply By: Coops - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 18:02

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 18:02
I live in the Pilbara and have travelled Kimberley extensively. All 4 of your choices are going to do the job considering you're not hard core. My choice would be Pajero but that's personal. The only thing you'll miss with not having one of the bigger two is ground clearance. What you need to remember is that when it rains up there it's like nothing you've ever seen anywhere and floodways, river crossings etc definitely come into play. I would go diesel and make sure you've got bar work at front, snorkel and diff breathers as a minimum. If you're gonna live somewhere like Broome then a petrol will be fine as it's readily available.
AnswerID: 14853

Follow Up By: cookie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 13:06

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 13:06
Coops, thanks, great info! With regards to servicing and parts have looked at the turbo deisel jackaroo as the engine seems well regarded and in my price range, have read though the new direct injection deisels require specialised knowledge to fix, and wondering how available this would be in the north-west. Sounds like big bucks for repairs in metro locations. Would I be better off with a lower tech deisel which is more common up there? What level of servicing and parts do you have for the major brands up there? I imagine toyota parts are quite available.
FollowupID: 9036

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 18:37

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 18:37
Hi Cookie,

We had an NH Pajero during the 12 months we lived in the Darwin. During this time we used it to explore much of the Top End and never found it wanting other than perhaps a little more front-end clearance. We had a 50mm suspension lift to the back end which was great, but not much you can do with the front end other than winding up the torsion bars. We found that this caused the vehicle to wallow around so we had it lowered again almost to the original level.

We also travelled across the Kimberely on the Great Northern Highway with side excursions around the Victoria River region, Kunnanurra and explored the Dampier Peninsular.

Other trips included the Pilbara towing an off-road camper trailer. Travelled from Perth on the inland route (NW Hwy) exploring around Newman, Karrajini, Tom Price and Millstream via the HI Railway line. Then back down the coast from Karratha, staying off the bitumen and camping out wherever possible.

The Paj was a fantastic 4WD, extremely capable and I would highly recommend it.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 14855

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 19:01

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 19:01
Hi Melissa, This has nothing to do with this thread but did you read my message PostID 3623 Page 5. Cheers, Willem
FollowupID: 8987

Follow Up By: cookie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 12:51

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 12:51
Melissa, thanks for the info. Was that the 3L V6? How many k's can you expect to get out of a NH or equivalent age pajero? Have heard mitsubisi motors aren't the most long lasting, although I still see a lot of 3L V6's on the road around perth. Have considered buying an older model 4wd and spending the money I save on mods, also won't be so worried about scratching it, little concerned a 10 year 4wd drive may turn into a bucket of worms though, expensive repairs?
FollowupID: 9031

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 13:40

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 13:40
Hi Cookie,

Yep, it was the 3L V6. We sold it at about 200,000 k's having done 110,000 km's in 3 and a half years. Most of this was trouble free motoring, although we had some minor repairs when we first bought it. Things like wheel bearings, a new solenoid (something to do with the super select 4WD tranny). Original suspension had sagged so we had the lift done to correct this and give us a bit more clearance. There was another repair done at about 180K but I can't remember what for. I do remember it cost about $800. Nothing serious ever went wrong and I think we had a pretty fair run out of it.

Can't speak for other Paj's but I will say that the Paj has been well established in the Aussie market place for nearly 20 years now and has certainly earned its place as a leading mid-size 4WD. I think this says something about their reliability.

In truth, I think if you are looking at any 10 year old 4WD you could expect something with anywhere from 2-300,000km's on the clock, so certain components will be tired and you would have to expect some repairs. Expensive??? Guess it depends but I know one thing for sure, the newer the car the more it will cost if something needs repairing. My advice is to make sure whatever you are looking at, get it well checked out by an experienced 4WD service centre before you part with your hard earned $.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol & Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 9041

Reply By: Jol Fleming - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 12:19

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003 at 12:19
What about a Hilux 3L or Courier twincab, parts are available and people in the area use them, plenty of room.
Cheers Jol
AnswerID: 14941

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