What was your first 4wd, and how did you gain experience?

Submitted: Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 15:47
ThreadID: 54115 Views:4938 Replies:24 FollowUps:5
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I was having a quite drink with my two adult sons, and the
conversation was about our first 4wd, a Short Wheelbase Toyota
it was a 1980 model. we purchased it when it was Two years old.
I had absolutely no experience in four wheel driving, when we were invited to go camping on Moreton Island. I still remember when we were going across on the vehicle ferry, and could hear this hissing sound,
When I investigated where the noise was comming from, it was
the other drivers letting the air out of their tyres, But hey I had
4wd tyres and nothing was going to stop me I dont to have air out, WRONG, as soon as I drove off the ferry ramp onto the soft
sand I buried it to the diffs. Ok I learnt the hard way. in the two weeks we were their I gained experience in sand driving,after that
I was working for the government, inspecting pipe line easements
in the bush ect, and wore out several 4wd-s, over the years.
that was twenty years ago, and you still pick up new tricks now,
you are never to old to learn.


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Reply By: Scoof - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:07

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:07
Good one Daza ,
Mine was a LWB landrover Series 1 with a holden red motor rev like hell and flat out at 80k.

Took a few work mates to the offroad buggy races and drove over a lump in the road on a diagonal and lifted LH front and RH back off the ground and went no where.Both LH front and RH back spinning around but that was that.Had to get a push .

Scoof .. :-o
AnswerID: 284939

Reply By: Notso - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:14

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:14
Wasn't exactly mine but it was a 6WD Studebaker 6cyl side valve, and a landrover, 2.2 litre 4 Cyl petrol
AnswerID: 284941

Follow Up By: splits - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:58

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:58
Yours may well have had the samer owner as mine.

What did you think of the Studie? I loved driving those things and thought they were the best of the lot from that era. The Diamond Ts and the M543 s were not bad either.

That was my introduction to four wheel driving

FollowupID: 549739

Follow Up By: Notso - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:10

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:10
Most likely,

I reckon the Studebaker was great, Far better than the Mark 3s and 5s they introduced later on.

I never went beyond the two mentioned above but the Diamond Ts certainly got attention wherever they went didn't they.

Are well, just have to make do with what they serve up now EH a much more comfortable era today. Actually I probaly wouldn't have the strength to turn the steering wheel on the Stude now

FollowupID: 549752

Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 01:56

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 01:56
The Diamond Ts were certainly in a class on their own as far as looks went. It is not every day you see a jazzy looking two door, soft top ,five on the floor, left hand drive sports model running around town.

You just ignore the 529 cubic inch side valve six cylinder petrol engine, the non synchro gearbox and the 11 1/2 tons weight.

I reckon even if I ended up in a nursing home one day I could still find the strength to steer a Studie. They were the greatest.

Did you ever try an Austin Champ? We had two of the bloody things at Bandiana. Their design was a great example of how to find a complicated way of doing a simple job but geez accelerating through the gears in reverse was good fun.

FollowupID: 549849

Follow Up By: Notso - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:31

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:31
Had a mate who was a bit of a military vehicle collector who had a Champ. Never got to drive it. Just recently, and I can't remember where, I saw one slowly disintegrating in a yard up in QLD.

FollowupID: 549858

Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:39

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:39
88 LS Jackaroo. First real off road with experienced friends on the trails around Harrietville, scared me to death, but gained a great respect for the capabilities of the 4wd.

The friends had always had Hiluxes and were surprised at how good the Jack was.

Next one was the 98 Monterey which I still have today.
AnswerID: 284944

Reply By: EaglePatrol - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:50

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:50
My 1st 4wd trip was in my Son's 4Runner on a training run we bought him as a gift.

I was hooked.

Soon bought a 2nd Series v6 Pajero with Super Select changer, hit the Powerline Trek and Beaches to gain experience. Then travelled Pilbara & Kimberley, had a ball.

Have just bought 4.2 Gu Dx Patrol with trademate canopy on back. Kitting it out and am hanging out for our next trip.
AnswerID: 284947

Reply By: _gmd_pps - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 17:10

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 17:10
My first 4WD was a 20T MAN Diesel (well did not own it personally - but had to look after it for 12 months) when I did my compulsory military service in the early 70s. Had at least 30000 k's dirt and terrain when left the service. Was the driver/member of an 8 person radio communication unit and we did go "everywhere" with a 5T Generator on a 4 wheel trailer. Over improvised bridges, through rivers. mud and sand. Over hills and through tight tracks and behind a tank if we needed a few trees flattened to go where we needed to go. In most cases we never aired down and if we really got stuck there was a truck in front or behind to pull or push .. in really bad cases we had the Leopards to pull us out, but that usually resulted in an additional weekend watch for incompetent driving, and that included the other people of the unit too ... so you had enough pressure to do things right :)) ... the key was: Never loose momentum and have the 7 people walking if need be .. pushing was pretty useless with that sort of weight. in deeper sand we layed sand ladders and if it was really bad we aired down .. from 75 psi to about 45-50 ps. Ripping a tyre off the rim was a no no. And by the way ... the truck at the time did not have power steering; that saved the gym money (well we didn't need it at the time anyway :)) ..
have fun

AnswerID: 284951

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:23

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:23
My first was a short wheel base MQ Patrol it had the SD33 Diesel and 10R15 wheels and tyres. It was fitted with a chassis mounted roof rack because the resin top over the rear section was not strong enough to carry anything. It certainly carried some stuff in the time I had it and yes it was overloaded.

I bought it from a yard less than a kilometre from my home but still managed to bog it before I turned in the driveway. I had taken the scenic route.

I laughed when it happened. Some time before getting the MQ I had picked up a book on 4wdriving. Inside the front cover was a quote ""The reason you buy a 4wd is so you can go to a worse place to get bogged." Thing is I keep finding them, worse and worse and worse places to get bogged. I love it.

AnswerID: 284964

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:25

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:25

A 1988 Red two door Nissan Pathfinder 2.4 Petrol, 4 cyl, 8 spark plugs. That vehicle went places that Hiluxes were going and some times further. Greatest track was the "face" at Wirriba Ridge off the Putty road 100km north of Windsor. NSW.
The Pathfinder was a good vehicle to learn how to 4wd. Wheel placement was very important. A good vehicle to serve an apprenticeship in.
I had that vehicle for 4 years until the lease ran out and then my wife went an bought a 1992 Toyota GXL Turbo Diesel 80 Series and I was stuck with that vehicle. Travelled all over Australia in the 80 Series.
Since then 1x 75 Series Troopie and 1x 78 Series Troopie, and still travelling all over Australia.

AnswerID: 284965

Reply By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:35

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:35
I suppose my first 4wd was an 83 subaru. Had high and low range. A great little car but I gained much experience driving a John Deere 4wd Back hoe on the olympic site.
Had that in some precarious situations. Also bobcats and excavators. But I reckon the biggest lesson was when I tipped a roller on its side trying to get it over a 200mm windrow
AnswerID: 284969

Reply By: disco driver - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:51

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 18:51
Going from way back to now:-
1st Drivers, not mine, belonged to the Fed Govt
LHD Jeep
Austin Champ
Series 2 Landrover 88
Dodge Power Wagon
Studebaker 6x6.

My own over the years, 1973--2008
1971 Landrover S/2A LWB
a gap of a few years with young kids and "normal" cars
1978 Toyota FJ55 (the only bloodyToyota I bought, more fool me)
1981Subaru S/wagon AWD # owned at same time
1962 Landrover S/2 SWB # *
1979 Landrover S/3 LWB 6 Cyl * owned at same time
1978 Range Rover
1989 Range Rover
1977 Lada Niva ** owned at same time
2003 Subaru Forester AWD **
1999Discovery TD5 -- current family vehicle
1996 Ford Courier Dual cab 4WD diesel -- just sold
1981 Landrover S/3 LWB Trayback -- current "play" ute.

I also worked for the State govt for 22 years and drove various Hilux/Navara/Rodeo/Triton/Daihatsu and Suzuki's while there.

Wonder if there are others with similar experiences on this site?
There must be!


AnswerID: 284972

Reply By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 19:19

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 19:19

Can't recall which came first. It was either the Case tractor or the Essex truck.


AnswerID: 284976

Reply By: Louie the fly - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 19:21

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 19:21
Series 2 LWB Landie with a Holden 202 and auto. Under the bonnet was like a spaghetti factory, wires everywhere. Blew the engine up at Parachilna. Acres of room in the back.
AnswerID: 284978

Reply By: Member - Tour Boy (springsure- Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 20:25

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 20:25
First one was a cyan blue FJ45 well back landcruiser with a 253 V8,
never missed even with water 6 inches up the windscreen and no blind or snorkel.

now I'm on my 35th cruiser,
3 gutluxes
and various cars since 1988
but the tojo's are great.
(driven too many nissans doing commercial 4wd tours to own one)

2010 Isuzu FTS800 Expedition camper
2015 Fortuner
Had 72 cruisers in my time

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AnswerID: 284985

Reply By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 21:23

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 21:23
It was a then 10 year old FJ 40 SWB cruiser, young and dumb I paid $3000 for it only to have people laugh at me!
Everyone (except me) knew that the dive boat operator, who used to own it and used it to launch/drag his boat in and out of salt water, after about 6 weeks (when my foot went thru the step)I then began to suspect that my baby had some dark, DARK secrets.
It got me to Sydney (from Moruya, 300 k south) tech on 22 occasions over 4 years, only failed me once when I put too much radiator anti leak in, thus blocking the whole thing, getting hot just out of town, as well as heaps of trips into Bendethera/Alpine and surrounding mountains, coupla trips into Melbourne. around 80-90000 ks in total, Different body/tub, different guards and bonnet, valve regrind(what 2F didn't burn valves), re cored radiator, over the course of 5 years.
When it did let go,It was doing the Tuross head to Batemans bay shuffle to work (103 kms round trip)6 times a week for nearly a year!, I was my fault, the combination of dimly lit gauges and 2 am starts, a quick look at the gauges, temp was low( still warming up) oil pressure was 3/4 scale, all good, Turned onto Princess Highway upto 95 Kph where it was most happy, and then started to get slower and slower, then it came good for about 3 ks then it went clunk, RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE, stopped, on the side of the Highway 2.20 in the morning, upon closer inspection of gauges I realised then that I had them back to front, that is to say The temp was 3/4 up and the oil pressure was nearly to the bottom of gauge.After a nice 12klm walk I was finally picked up by the only vehicle to come past,a greyhound bus, who got me to work
That was the end of it, couldn't justify spending the money on the trusty girl, the rust had taken hold of the chassis, just not worth the effort, mate bought it of me for $800, put a 318 valiant motor in it, welded both the diffs, and used it for bush basher for a few years, now is in some paddock, rusting away.
Gained a hell of a lot of experience, not only with 4 W driving, but also in knowing your vehicle, never did anyone else ever do anything to it, Changing the body/panels, servicing, I removed/ replaced the head (actual valve grind was done by the experts) giving me the know how/where things are and the ability to at least try and diagnose whatever situation may arise.
I have just recently bought a FJ 73 which is not that different, but has a 5 speed, power steering, aircon, drinks like a sailor(25l/100 on gas, not that much better on petrol)still cheaper to run, than the diesel, but bog simple!
My 105 series has the basic 1HZ but even it has "stuff" on it, It goes to Toyota for services (just out of warranty), It does the big trips (Simpson, central Oz, Vic High country) but the Middi, good for the local bush(Brisbane), Moreton Is ,Fraser Is, nothing too life dependant, it IS getting on abit, sooo much mechanical similarities that I learnt with, giving me the ability to do everything myself again.
I don't know how many people I have put to sleep reading this, but, this post triggered memory's of past times (not THAT long ago)thinking how good a vehicle was back then, when relatively speaking now, where not that flash at all, but SIMPLE, All it needs is spark and fuel!


AnswerID: 285002

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 22:52

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 22:52
Mine was a brand spanking 94 Pathfinder 3.0 lt petrol. 18 months I had it, 100 000km going to places like Cape York, Gulf Carpentaria, Alice and surrounds, Tanami, Breifly into the Kimberly's, Darwin, you name it, that thing took me there and back. Safe as a house and was only REALLY bogged 10 km's from home when I lived in Sydney hehehehe. Had a few since then though.

AnswerID: 285032

Reply By: Member - Royce- Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 23:27

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 23:27
Datun 1000 station wagon. Went bush, got bogged...squired my girlfriend [while going bush and getting bogged].

Okay.. not 4wd, but I treated it like one.... and dreamt of having one with 4wd... AND THEN along came the first SUBARUS!!!

I saved up and bought a 1600. Kept it until it rusted out. It was a cream colour, but as the rust started up, I hand painted it Killrust brown to match the rust colour. Not low range, just Go range... fantastic fun. I've had four more since.

Then three landcruisers, and two 4 runners and a Hilux.

Still got one GIANT landcruiser Supa trupa and a F360 tray.

Hmmmm the Kobota tractor is 4wd too!
AnswerID: 285037

Reply By: Member - MUZBRY (VIC) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 10:51

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 10:51
My first was an austin champ that my bosses brother owned. I had to do the servicing and all thirteen uni joints. Then part time for the big company, i learnt to drive a 6x6 GMC of which i had to teach servicing.Then land rovers, Ferret scout cars and The Saracen troop carrier, 6wd .
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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AnswerID: 285085

Reply By: Mogul - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:49

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:49
Daihatsu Rocky LWB
2.8L Diesel

How good were they.
AnswerID: 285098

Reply By: Izey76 - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 15:12

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 15:12
Hi guys mine was a 89 Troopy ambo was a fantastic car, most of my experience came from trial and error with a few mates tagging along out the at Kurnell and trying to bog the cars and the trying to get them back out.
Always plenty of fun.


AnswerID: 285132

Reply By: Member - jjt98 (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 17:50

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 17:50
First 4x4 was a Daihatsu Rocky (Short wheel base). That thing went anywhere (also for a swim in the ocean that the previous owner neglected to tell me about).
First experience was getting 'sort of' lost off the Gibb River Rd & coming up out of a river & missing the exit ramp. Lost the plot & gassed it only to launch the vehicle onto a hump (still axle high in water) & bottomed it out.
I could run my hand under all 4 wheels. Had to radio for help. A kind bloke found us & attempted to tow us (no good) so had to wait for a vehicle with a winch.
Now-a-day I won't go anywhere without a winch.
Cheers (from a now more experienced traveller)
AnswerID: 285164

Reply By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 20:17

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 20:17
My first and still is my belovered Paj 91 NH model,Me and the son went up to the Flinder's and did the Skytrek,what an eye opener.cheer's GREENDOG
AnswerID: 285196

Reply By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 21:04

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 21:04
Not a 4wd, but a Morris Isis was the first car we had, and drove it to Cooktown in around the early sixties. That car went everywhere. Our first 4wd was a swb Landrover series 11A, I loved that vehicle. Original motor, slow when pulling an 18ft tandem Glendale.
AnswerID: 285205

Reply By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 21:06

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 21:06
Not a 4wd, but a Morris Isis was the first car we had, and drove it to Cooktown in around the early sixties. That car went everywhere. Our first 4wd was a swb Landrover series 11A, I loved that vehicle. Original motor, slow when pulling an 18ft tandem Glendale.
AnswerID: 285206

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 23:16

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 23:16
First 4by was a Landcruiser vintage about 1966 bought I think in 1974. That saw good life and had to be hot wired a few times when a junior Nick R threw the key away three kms from home. Little bugger. Three speed box and long stroke six cylinder. PTO shaft to the front but no winch.

Three Hiluxes and a Rodeo before Moses and an 86 manual Rangie too before a 320ML. Countless 2by vehicles, including Falcon utes, Comodores, two Tickford modded Ghias.

Back in the early 70s though before the LC ute, there were things like a 1600 Capri with the Weber carb, and then 142 Volvo. Went like a train even over our local potholed gravel roads. No radar guns of course. Had an earlier Mazda 1800 and Falcon Super Roo that really could empty a fuel tank. Guess I learnt to drive in a Falcon ute.

Tractors by Ford, International Harvester, Deutz, John Deere and Clarke for an industrial
AnswerID: 285231

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 09:29

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 09:29
Heather reminded me that LC cost $900 and we drove it the hours from Bairnsdale to home. Had been ownerd by the Orbost Water Trust so a lot of offroad driving before we owned it.
FollowupID: 550071

Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 09:18

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 09:18
Subaru Brumby for me. I spent many a night with the swag in the back. Loved that thing. Best sand vehicle.
AnswerID: 285256

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