Petrol or Diesel?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 10:32
ThreadID: 4401 Views:2621 Replies:12 FollowUps:11
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I am about to purchase a stationwagon to go touring, and have weekends away. However, I am stuck on the Petrol vs. Diesel decision. I intend to go around the Simpson, but not across it. The obvious choices are the Cruiser or the Partol, or maybe Jackaroo, Jeep, Pajero or Prado. I will probably keep away from the lighter, smaller vehicles as I intend to do some camping, but I cannot get past the fuel thing. I have been in the outback before.
Any advice on relative economy and convenience would be appreciated.
Thanks. Brockie
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Reply By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 10:58

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 10:58
not jeep_____________________________________________
Countin the days till July 5th. *Cape York Trip*
AnswerID: 17647

Follow Up By: Wooders - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:40

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:40
Care to elaborate on why not the Jeep?

I agree on the diesel - but the new CRD Jeeps are a nice bit of kit.
FollowupID: 11085

Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:56

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:56
because out of 6 jeep owners which i know,, 5 of them have had problems which have cost them large $.........
out of the jap 4x4 owners i know,, they have the usual costs,, fuel, tune ups, etc,,, the odd water pump but nothing over serious..

so if there happens to be a minority of happy jeep owners,,, good on you..

but as brockie has stated he wants to go to some pretty remote places...

taking a jeep through remote places is like taking the same chance as taking a jap 4x4 through the csr without taking a spare._____________________________________________
Countin the days till July 5th. *Cape York Trip*
FollowupID: 11097

Reply By: crfan - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:11

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:11
I agree Diesel and Landcruiser or patrol .
AnswerID: 17649

Reply By: jonny dontknowmuch - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:27

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:27
i was stuck in the same argument with myself the way my dad explained it me was by the time you fork out the money for the extra fuel and the parts for a diesel youve evened up the fact that petrols breakdown slightly more but cost less for the fuel in sydney right now its 83c for ulp and for diesel still a buck big difference. so your going to have to weight it up. as for economy and power and stuff like that as you can tell by the name dontknowmuch but i hope ive help a little and give something else to think about.
AnswerID: 17650

Follow Up By: Michael - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:58

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 11:58
Hi Jonny, There is a little more to the arguement than just the fuel price, Diesel is more reliable, more economical and you can get diesel at ANY fuel stop or farm, Petrol is more dangerous to carry inside a vehicle.
Some outback fuel stops now dont carry petrol because of the Aboriginal kids sniffing problems so you need to carry even more dangerous fuel. You can park diesels in long grass without fear of igniting the car(no cat converter), Diesel is the way to go and you get a vehicle with SOUL!!!

Best regards Michael
FollowupID: 11087

Follow Up By: jonny dontknowmuch - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 16:44

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 16:44
i thought there would be more to it than that but as my dad new more of my situation thats all he advised me. i wish i knew of this forum 2 or so months ago as i would of found out more info and may have gone the diesel but have a petrol and have learnt a lesson to research the subject a bit more.
FollowupID: 11105

Reply By: simon - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 12:05

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 12:05
Hi Brockie

I have just been through the same debate i took the diesel option.
I was looking at petrol/gas or diesel nissans GU i worked out there is not a hell of a lot of difference between running costs of gas or diesel (servicing was not taken into account as i do it myself )
This was based on the fact that a
petrol will use around 20l per 100km
gas will use around 25l per 100k
diesel will use around 14l per 100km
(holester your guns folks these are just figures i have based on my own and freinds nissans)
so here goes
gas $0.50 x 25L= 12.50
petrol $0.90 x 20L= 18.00
diesel $0.95 x 14L= 13.30

The reason i went diesel is
Off road better performance
Fuel eccon does not change much off road
Can get diesel anywhere
Vechile range of a gas nissan only has a range around 600 km including the petrol sub tank this is on road.

etc etc

I prev had a GQ patrol petrol with 35" it used around 23L/100km on road and around 30L/100km sand

Just my 2 cents
AnswerID: 17656

Follow Up By: Michael - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:00

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:00
Hi Simon, I dissagree with you on the ,, ofroad no difference on fuel economy, thats where the real difference is. In a diesel at low speed, up hill and down dale, you can drive all day on tracks and trails and hardly use any fuel. My petrol friends dont do anywhere near as well as the diesels. My experience only. regards Michael
FollowupID: 11092

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 12:45

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 12:45
Diesel the only way to go.

As for what car, go and test drive all of them... Take your family with you put them all in the car, and see how much space you have.

A Jackaroo may be big enough, or Prado, but you may want the extra size of a GU...

Good luck
AnswerID: 17659

Reply By: herkman - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:27

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:27
If you really want the best, go diesel.

However there are diesels and diesels, the best is the CRD engine, which at the moment Toyota will not sell here because of the fuel quality.

We have just finished over 40,000 kms in a ML270, whilst it may not be every ones choice, as a tow vechicle it is without equal.

The new CRD Grande Cherokee, now comes with the ML270 engine and transmission, but from the transfer case onwards is Jeep. They are a very good car, and are well priced and equiped.

You will get 30 mpg around town, and we just returned from a trip, where we averaged 38 mpg.


Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 17663

Reply By: tristjo - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:44

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 13:44
For longer trips and outback travel, a diesel is the only way to go. In my oppinion, though, steer clear of the modern, high tech diesels, and stick something simple, ie 4.2ltr GU Patrol, 4.2ltr Std Cruiser, or perhaps even the Jackaroo diesels. I know alot of people will disagree with me here, but the new breed of diesel motors that are being produced, with efi, and computer controlled everything are a just asking for trouble when they travel the outback. Stick with something provn and reliable, and you will have no trouble. If an older diesel Patrol or Cruiser broke down in the sticks, which, granted, happens very infrequently, anybody, and i repeat ANYBODY in an outback servo would be able to fix it. However, you hand them, say, a new Pajero or Jeep which may be having troubles, and they will turn around and go straight to the phone to book your truck a place on the next train home. The reason they stuck with the old simple diesel for so long was because it worked, and was extremely reliable, but with all these new environmental pollution laws, they have been forced to step into relitivly unknown territory, and chuck a computer on every bloody thing!!! Just my thoughts, but i hope not to see you stranded by a broken down mother board chip ram megabyte thingo in the sticks!!
AnswerID: 17668

Follow Up By: Michael - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 14:06

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 14:06
Hi Tristjo, I agree, even the new Patrol 4.2 intercooled has no computer. I know the magazines said that it had a computer controlled mechanical pump but its not true, It has only an EGR valve thats controlled , thats all. same old pump, it even has the hand throttle still and thats the first thing that goes when the electronics come on board. Cheers Michael
FollowupID: 11099

Follow Up By: StephenF - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 17:28

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 17:28
Bloody hell, Tristjo, how long does technology have to be around before you accept it as reliable? Computer engine management systems have been around for 15-20 years. My '89 Commodore has been the most efficient and reliable car I have ever owned, thanks largely to its EMS, and it's not a patch on the new systems.

Do you still carry a crank handle in case that new-fangled electric starter motor breaks down "in the bush"?

FollowupID: 11108

Follow Up By: tristjo - Thursday, Apr 17, 2003 at 01:17

Thursday, Apr 17, 2003 at 01:17
StephenF, mate, you say you drive an 89 Commo, so do you have a fourby aswell?? Do you regularly travel to the scrub?? If so, you must have been blindfolded every time you've passed a servo, cause if you opened your eyes, youd see that computer sytems are not all that reliable. You say that, quote: "computer engine management systems have been around for 15-20 years". Now, i'm not doubting the fact that they have been around for years, but that does not automaticaly make them reliable! One of my cars is an 83' Nissan Bluebird, and it has been bloody reliable, except for the bloody computer managed electronic ignition! It has been a bastard! I have seen to many holidays ruined by computer controlled engine failure, and am just adding my 2 cents, so if your happy driving a computer insted of a car, thats fine, but if it stuffs up in the bush, dont expect the average jo blow like me to be able to help you, because the only thing we will be able to do for you is BOOK A PLACE FOR YOUR CAR ON THE NEXT TRAIN HOME. Tristjo.
FollowupID: 11172

Reply By: relaxed (Fraser Coas - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 14:58

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 14:58
Tristjo probably has a good point there. But it comes to a point where old is just too old and too unreliable. I reckon that a good statement I just made coming from a bloke with a 2000 Patrol 3lt TD. Yep diesel,s the go. With my wife's driving (highway) she gets every bit of 9-10lt/100ks. Me driving around 11lt/100ks. Must be that blokes have heavier feet.
AnswerID: 17674

Reply By: Phil G - Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 21:29

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003 at 21:29
I'm a diesel Prado owner and its a great vehicle for what you want to do. But I have friends with V6 Prados and they impress me. While I'll get 11-12 l/100km on a trip, they are close behind with 13-14 l/100k. The Prado has 159 litre tanks, so the V6 will do Oodnadatta to Birdsville easily without jerries. As far as costs go, the fuel savings of the diesel are countered by the cheaper unleaded fuel and reduced servicing (10,000k) of the V6.

As far as electronics go, Toyota has this well sorted.
AnswerID: 17722

Reply By: Bruce - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2003 at 11:56

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2003 at 11:56
Be thankfull that you have a choice between petrol/diesel here in the USA there are hardly any diesels sold now, certainly none in the typical 4WD range, in California they are even trying to outlaw diesel trucks.

VW is selling a few diesel cars but not many and in the truck range the smallest is the Ford F250 size.
AnswerID: 17760

Reply By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Wednesday, Apr 16, 2003 at 21:56

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2003 at 21:56
Another point to consider is in event of river crossings if you're unlucky enough for the engine to ingest water a diesel will suffer much more than a petrol eg. possible engine replacement whereas with a petrol you can pull the plugs out, crank a few times to eject the water out of the cylinders and more often than not be on your way within an hour or two.
The only problem I had with the electrics was water entering the dizzy cap which has since been waterproofed and have never had a problem since. As to petrol being more dangerous to carry of course it is but that's part of the parcel. I would'nt fork out money for a diesel just because it ignites less easily.
Diesel 4X4s will still ignite long grass too - to think it wouldn't you'd have to be a fool. It would be interesting to see the insurance claims for burnt out vehicles (diesel/petrol) due to the owner's irresponsiblility and lack of knowledge.
Never had a problem with range and despite claims that some areas don't have ULP that's the idea of planning your trip carefully and finding these things out. Mine has a maximum range of 1300kms so put a compass on a map of australia on a track or road and draw a circle indicating that range and try to find one place that doesn't sell ULP. You have to book for a fuel dump on the Canning Stock Route whether you have a diesel or petrol. I'd like to see a list of the towns where ULP is no longer served due to kids sniffing the stuff.Wiluna or Halls Creek, the start/finish of the Canning Stock Route - the most isolated trek in Oz both serve ULP.
Australia's tourism industry will only expand in the future and treks around australia will become more and more popular causing the demand for more services such as ULP outlets. I live in the country and there's a difference between farmers in south eastern australia and station owners in places like W.A., S.A. and QLD. Nearly all farmers where I live have an unleaded sedan as a 2nd vehicle so what's the deal with that previous comment, "Most farms only have diesel". If you're near a damn farm you'll be close to a ULP outlet. People won't want to admit it but like the developmental road in Cape York other projects will start up around Oz and maybe one day you'll find a Falcon or Commodore overtaking you on what was once a 'strictly 4x4 track'.
Sorry to get carried away Brockie, I was answering some of the other replys which ticked me off. I had my doubts about my petrol when I first bought it but after four years am still very happy with it's performance. Its done 283,000 and still purrs. Don't underestimate your purchase - make the most of it. If you only want weekend trips with the family why fork the extra for an expensive diesel? The range of the diesel is by far more impressive but in the end you're only bragging about how much further you can drive while your mates stop to fill up.

AnswerID: 17815

Follow Up By: Urs - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 16:25

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 16:25
Hi Chris, I just would like to share one of my past experiences with you in regards to damage to Petrol engines as a result of high water levels during river crossings. You mentionedremoving spark plugs and cranking the motor over a few times and of you go!
Well, consider yourself lucky if you get away with that, as for myself, I had a different experience with a petrol cruiser in the early seventies.
I got stuck in a river because the engine stalled after taking in water, however, it was not as simple as you are suggesting. The water which entered the cylinder, created a hydaulic lock-up, because as we all know water is not compressable, hence it bent one of the connecting rods and as a result the engine could not be turned over anymore, the cylinder head had to come off and the bent con-rod had to be replaced before the engine could be started again and this could happen to any motor, doesn't matter whether petrol or diesel!
At the moment I own a 2002 Jackaroo Diesel and couldn't be happier!

Cheers Urs
FollowupID: 11359

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 22:00

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 22:00
As I said, "more often then not" you'll drive away - not every time. In the 1991 Shell Borneo safari the ozzie team who were driving a petrol V6 forerunner took a load of water down the snorkel because they failed to face it backwards when going at high speed through a deep crossing. Watching that one, they were lucky it was a petrol.
I was merely making a statement that a diesel has a higher chance of suffering more damage than a petrol when it comes to ingesting water. It's a fairly well known fact. A diesel relies upon a hell of a lot higher compression to generate the heat to ignite diesel hence a higher probability of bending a conrod when water enters. A petrol would need to be doing some pretty high rpms to do the same thing. Apart from that, when my petrol eventually sh*ts itself I'll probably get a diesel transplant but that won't be happening until I can afford the $$$$$ plus for the turbo to make it worthwile which means a big wait.
FollowupID: 11382

Reply By: Brockie - Thursday, Apr 17, 2003 at 13:03

Thursday, Apr 17, 2003 at 13:03
Thank you everyone. I did not expect to get so much positive feedback, and more than a few chuckles as well.
It seems that although some like their petrol vehicles the majority look at diesel as being the best choice for reliability, heavy loads and servicing in remote area. I wanted to get it right first time and all your advice has helped tremendously.
As a forum newbie I thank you all for your time, and hope that I might meet some of you out there sometime. Thanks heaps. Ian Brock
AnswerID: 17837

Follow Up By: Urs - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 18:55

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003 at 18:55
Hi Brockie,

I have been into fourbies for about 30 years now and wouldn't go past a Diesel, I started in PNG in the early seventies, in those days we had Toyotas and Nissan Patrols, they were all petrol powered in those days, Toyota was the first one to introduce a diesel, they were an instant success in PNG, Nissan followed a bit later.
I had a couple of naturally aspirated Troop carriers and HJ60 Station Wagons, while they were very reliable, I felt that they were underpowered. When I came to Australia in 1990, I bought one of the first Landcruisers from the 80 series (a Diesel of course), it was OK but when the turbo charged version was released 6 month later, I traded it in for one of them, it made a big difference, in 1993 I decided to give the 4.2 litre GQ Patrol a try and I loved it, it was much easier to drive than the 80 series Cruiser, it handled like it was on rails, I drove from Brisbane to Cairns in 22 hours, this includes a 2 hour nap at a rest place and I felt great when I got there, in comparison I drove the 80 series to Sydney and it was hard work, I found myself correcting the steering all the time and got to Sydney worn out.
In 1997 my wife thought ewe should give the new released Prado a try, they advertised that the Prado (3.4 litre petrol), if driven with a light foot it would use only 10 litres/100km, hence we traded our beloved Patrol for the Prado (VX Grande) but soon found out that we made mistake. The 10 litres/100km proved to be a lot of crap, even with a light foot, we could not get any better than 14.5 litres/ 100km and we didn't like the handling either and subsequently we sold it after only 10 months of ownership. Following that we stayed with 2 wheels until just recently when I got the itch to give the Jackaroo a go. The Jackaroo in my opinion, is a highly underrated car, probably due to lack of proper marketing by Holden. We bought a 2002 SE turbo diesel automatic and we love it to bits, it is economical, has plenty of power and it is easy to manoevre with a turning circle of 11.5 metres and the driving position is the best in it's class. We don't go rock climbing with it, therefore it doesn't matter to us that the transfercase is a bit lower than the chassis rails.
I don't know what your budget is but you could get a 2000 Jackaroo turbo diesel between 30-35 K's, there are plenty of ex-dealer owned cars sitting at Holden dealers, with low mileage and no off road work.
If your budget is limited, I would go for the GQ Patrol 4.2 litre diesel, forget about the petrol versions they are just too thirsty and that includes the 3 ltre model as well. On the one I owned, I had the cast iron exhaust manifold removed and had extractors and a bigger diameter exhaust fitted, it made a huge difference, the engine was able to breathe easier (reving freely without restriction) and stayed a lot cooler, also it would go up hills in 4th gear where before I would have to down shift to 3rd. I reckon the GQ Patrol was one of the best fourbies ever made but the choice is yours Brockie!
Whatever you finally decide, don't rush into it, there are plenty of second hand cars around, go for test drives and see what you like, I hope my pas experience can help you a bit,

Good luck!

Cheers Urs
FollowupID: 11369

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