is a 4x4 truck wise or not?

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:20
ThreadID: 67191 Views:2874 Replies:12 FollowUps:6
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Thinking of buying an old 4x4 truck and wandering with the family. Was wondering how it would go access wise.
How many places would the extra height/width/weight stop it going? I guess if it would go %90 of places I would be happy. but if it would be restrictive (say%70 of places OK) then I would have to reconsider.
Anyone with any experience of this?
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:39

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:39

No experience with a truck but there are lots of others wandering around out there, in trucks. Some are tour vehicles, some are mining vehicles and some are travellers like you aim to be.

A 20,000lb capacity winch would be a good idea as a 'must' accessory. For the rest you can just plod along and go where you want to. I have a mate who converted a Toyota Coaster bus to 4x4 and goes some hard places with it.

So yes its doable. Just watch out for the wet

AnswerID: 356140

Reply By: Member - Axle - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:41

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:41
How old Frank?, and what make, Some of the oldies were certainley capable,

Cheers Axle.
AnswerID: 356143

Follow Up By: franken - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:57

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 18:57
the truck that prompted this question is an Isuzu, ex Bush Fire tanker, fairly rusty, 6BD1 engine with 150,000 km on it. seems to breathe a bit, service log records the last entry in 2003 (6,000 kms ago). any idea of km/l to expect?
FollowupID: 624162

Follow Up By: Member - Axle - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:28

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:28
Frank, i would amazed if a 6BDI Isuzu motor was to ever let you down!, They are one of the most reliable motors ever built. I have had them in Excavators and it has been common knowledge that the the motor will be fine after the rest of the machine is totally stuffed!. The only thing to watch is the intervals the coolant has been changed, they can suffer from corrosion very easily. Mate had one in a 6T tabletop, and put rings and bearings in it at 750,000ks. The heavy breathing is normal for Isuzu , the 4BDI looks like a old locomotive at

Cheers Axle.
FollowupID: 624166

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:03

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:03
How suitable some trucks are is really dependent on suspension and wheels.
Single wheels are much preferred to duals in soft stuff.
Some have suspension that is so hard as to shake your fillings out, not to mention destroying all your gear.
Provided you don't go overboard and don't object to some 'easing' through the bush, size is not usually a serious limitation.
Our OKA body is 2160mm wide x 3050 high and rarely, if ever stops us, but windows are polycarbonate and all bits that stick out get worked pretty hard sometimes.

OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 356145

Reply By: Member - Marco T (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:29

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:29


I saw a 4 toner or there abouts, dual cab with custom canopy set up for a family of 5. He drove the telegraph track. Pretty good effort or silly? He travelled with an OKA huge thing bigger than the 4 toner, he also did the track. I would hate to get stuck in a bog with it though.

The good thing was the river crossings did not worry them. Where it was on my bonnet it was just washing over his wheels.

AnswerID: 356152

Follow Up By: balko - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 19:00

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 19:00
Was that july 08 Marco if so that was me i did it with a canter and met the guy with the oka in cooktown who tagged along Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 627300

Follow Up By: Member - Marco T (VIC) - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:25

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009 at 22:25

Yes. I spoke to you at one of the falls camping areas on the track. Can't remember whitch one though. I saw you in Weipa also. Terrific set up you have.

How did you go no the second half of the track? I saw the OKA in Bamaga but did not catch you there.

Did the family have fun?
What is your next adventure?


FollowupID: 627546

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:30

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:30
The problem with this sort of set up is "What happens when something goes wrong?" No one can answer this. It depends on where you happen to be when its busts. You don't wwant a 4WD do you unles you intend going to some seriously out of the way spots. The bigger and rarer the vehicle, the more the problems there will be in trying to get it fixed. It cost a friend with an OKA a small fortune when his packed up on the way to a Simpson crossing. For mine, if you are going bush, do it in something that gives you the best possible chance of being able to find spares as you go. Or do it in something you are happy to walk away from if that becomes necessary.
AnswerID: 356153

Follow Up By: ross - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:51

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 19:51
An OKA shouldnt be all that bad for prices. They are built from off the shelf components from Perkins,Dana etc
FollowupID: 624175

Follow Up By: Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 21:31

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 21:31
I get parts for my 2 OKA's, sent to me in Jabiru by express post by Robin from OKA Coolgardie 3 to 4 days, I have waited longer for parts for my Toyota's sent from Darwin.

My opposition have a Canter, it did 30 days work last year, my OKA did 90 days straight.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 627315

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:14

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:14
Yes, but try to get those components outback. Also, something as big and heavy as a truck, is a major undertaking to move when/if it breaks down. The older and rarer the vehicle, the more problems you will have. While initially it might look cheaper to buy, in my opinion, in the long run it could be an expensive option. You never can tell on this sort of deal. You might get away with it or you might be left with huge headaches. In my opinion, you can only go with the odds, and in my opinion, a big old 4WD truck is stacking the deck against you.
AnswerID: 356167

Reply By: Lotzi - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:56

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:56
G'day Franken

Mate if the truck is low k's and looks serviceable, has to be a consideration.
I know a lot on this site will try and get you to do different things to your vehicle but .... in my experience which reaches 38 years in heavy vehicles, trucks, coaches and 4wd trucks, I just haven't had a problem, in 90 + % of Aust.
My rules have always been, look after your tyres, don't go faster than the conditions allow and put a heavy return spring on the accelerator... ))
In the end my philosophy is that most 4wd's when they leave home are overloaded, further stressing the drive line, most Oka style camper vehicles wouldn't pass a weighbridge test and are unstable without dual wheels on the back, hence an insurance issue.. yep I have driven driven them.
The only other issue that you must consider is the insurance, rego and fuel costs.

All the best, this'll start some comments..

AnswerID: 356182

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:59

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 20:59
Would depend a lot on type of country your in Frank , in many places not an issue but it doesn't work to well in Vic forrests.

Put it this way - the best argument for having 33 inch wheels is because the majority have 32.

Same with 4wds and many other things in life, the system caters for the mass average and if your 1 point better you won't be constantly banging your head against the proverbial brick wall.

A good old truck that fits the bill is a 60 series.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 356184

Reply By: Eric Experience - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 21:19

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 21:19
A lot depends on what you have to carry, if the truck is almost empty it will give you a rough ride. as far as breaking down is concerned if you grease the drive shafts and check you lubrication it will be very reliable. Most breakdowns in the bush are due to overloaded vehicles. The only limitation on where you can go is your turning circle, you may have to do a 10 point turn on some high country tracks. If you are a determined you could shorten the wheel base, that will make it a lot more manageable in the bush. Personally I would recommend the Canter, a lot easier to drive. Eric
AnswerID: 356194

Reply By: get outmore - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 21:33

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 21:33
having used an oversize 4wd camper i can tell you extra size will severly restrict places you can go.

Also after seeing 4wd trucks getting bogged it seems they bog alot easier because of the weight and are far harder to extract
AnswerID: 356202

Reply By: franken - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 00:01

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 00:01
Wow, thanks for all the replies, much food to chew on.
It appears to be not a totally stupid thought, though likely to create some difficulties.

AnswerID: 356484

Reply By: Member - Rod M (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 at 21:37

Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 at 21:37
G'day Frank, speaking from an owner point of view, there are pro's & con's to everything, yep some places are harder to get into, or out of for that matter, our 10 tonne Hino has yet to be bogged with super singles on it, we don't feel the corrugations that smaller 4wd's suffer through, we carry fuel, water & supplies for extended free camping & get better views, but we get passed by everyone on hills, we're happy at 95 K's, why rush if ya on hol's.
It's horses for courses, if ya have the need, do it, if ya don't then a normal 4wd will do the job.
Best of luck with ya plans.
AnswerID: 359883

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