Sorry - this will cause a debate but need help - which 4WD

Submitted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 13:56
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Hi,

We have decided on a 5 month trip around oz next year.

We are not experienced 4WD'ers at all but want to get out and learn, see OZ etc.

We currently have a Mazda Tribute which I realise is probably not the right car for the trip we want to do (wish it was as we don't really have the money to upgrade).

I guess we are looking at spending no more than $20K on a 4WD and once we return it will have to be my day to day car plus for the other school holiday trips.

We are looking at getting a Tambo Cooper so that is what it will have to tow.

In your opinion, for $15K to $20k what should we aim for - model, age, number of kms etc.

Sorry these probably sound very novice questions however I am a novice but trying to learn as much as poss.

Thanks all in advance.
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Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:18

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:18
Hi,
You question wont cause a debate. You say that you cant afford to upgrade .. simple, don't! Your Tribute will tow a Tambo camper, and if you stick to the tar or solid dirt & gravel roads, you wont have a problem. Save your $20K and spend it on your holiday. Have a great trip.
Capt.
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:21

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:21
Or read thread 85891
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:52

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 14:52
As you are inexperience, go do a course, the more you know about how to 4WD, the easier it gets to chose a 4WD for what you want to do with it.

Always worries me when I see, 'inexperience', 'first trip', '5 months'..

Your skills will be more important than the vehicle you choice, if you know your limitation, you are half way there.

One bad choice will blow away the whole experience.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:12

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:12
I agree with the above comments. You have a vehicle already that will give you access to a great deal of Australia so get your initial experience with what you have and then decide what you need. Much better to reach your own decisions that ask forum members. Talk to fellow travellers about their 4WDs and hear what they say while face to face. You will come home an expert and will probably be fairly well decided about your next vehicle.
My experience is similar to yours. I did my first trip to west and north towing an 18ft pop top with a V6 Commodore. No regrets. We had a great trip but came back knowing what we were missing by not being able to get off the beaten track. We moved into the smaller, and older, end of the genuine 4WD range but if we has owned a vehicle like yours we probably would not have changed.
Best wishes with your decision making.
Kevin
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 17:39

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 17:39
Hi,

I agree with the above comments as well. You can see a lot of wonderful places without going off the bitumen or good gravel roads eg around Alice Springs, Uluru and the Olgas, some of the Kimberley and Pilbara, SW WA, much of Victoria and the east coast and Tasmania. That alone could fill up a year or two. If the road from Coober Pedy to William Creek is in good condition you could do that too and do flight over Lake Eyre.

Certainly you wont be able to get into the more out of the way places but by your own admission you are novices so you should be building your experience up before you attempt to do that anyway. eg as a novice you would not want to be attempting to do the Canning Stock Route.

Get your new trailer and do some appropriate training in the vehicle that you are familiar with. That way you will get to know your vehicles capabilities and limitations, and some of the do's and dont's for the kind of travel that you want to do. Also perhaps get some training in towing as well.

Then do a few trial runs before you set out on your big trip so that you have a chance to correct any problems that arise - as they inevitably will. It is much easier to do this based at home than when you are on the road, possibly miles from anywhere.

That way you will have the skill and confidence to have a great time, and some $$$ in reserve for when something unexpected (either good or not so good) pops up.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 09:05

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 09:05
Tony V

That is probably some of the best information for ‘newbies’ I have read and so succinctly put.

Cheers, The Landy
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Reply By: SIF4X4 - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:29

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:29
I agree, your Mazda Tribute is not the car for exploring. Bitumen roads and soft graded gravel roads maybe otherwise it will fall apart on outback roads.

Being new at exploring you will want to venture further afield than just the blacktop or some side roads.

Buy yourself a 1990 to 1997 Nissan Patrol diesel for around $10k or a Toyota LC diesel of same years for around $15K. These are virtually unbreakable vehicles. 300 to 400,000 on the speedo is OK as these engines can go for a long time. Anything with less mileage is a bonus. These 4bies are good as a daily driver as well.



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Follow Up By: Rob! - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:39

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:39
Surely you are kidding that 400k on the speedo is OK. There may be SOME around that are OK but they won't be the ones for sale.
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Follow Up By: SIF4X4 - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:54

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:54
As with any vehicle........Caveat Emptor = Buyer beware

No, not kidding. Well maintained vehicles such as mentioned above can be found and will go for a lot longer. Both Nissan and Toyota diesels are well capable of mileage in excess of 700,000km. Chances are you can pick one up around the 250km mark.
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Follow Up By: Capt. Wrongway - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:00

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:00
Rob is spot on. I dont think someone who is just getting into the touring bit needs anything more than his "know history" Tribute. He certainly doesnt need to start off with a big mileage vehicle with unknow history. After he gets back he'll know if he into it and needs something bigger.
Capt.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:05

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:05
There are some 80 series out there with much less mileage than 350 K.

I have seen several on ebay and other online sale points which had around 250 K.
They are about.
Cheers Bruce.
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Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:11

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 16:11
I find it amazing that on most touring or 4wd forums people think that everyone needs the biggest and best vehicle to get about this country. Prior to todays modern vehicles, this country was travelled in all manner of vehicles, from horse drawn carts, Model T fords, and english & Australian vehicles of all descriptions.
It all depends on where you want to go and how extreame you want to be. Given the previous rational , I would need a 4WD to drive down Parramatta Road ... hang on?
Capt.
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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 00:02

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 00:02
Yep, the first vehicle to drive to the tip of Cape York was a 1927? Austin seven.
But glad I wasn't driving it!

Cheers
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Reply By: snoopyone - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 17:09

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 17:09
Just be aware that Tributes and Ford Escapes have a reputation for cutting oout brake rotors and travel on gravel roads may accelerate this.
Get them checked for wear before you go.
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Follow Up By: Member - John B2 (VIC) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 19:19

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 19:19
Just be aware that the respondent owns a Toyota, so do I !!!!

Handle is correct SNOOPYONE has no credence likes to stir!!!

Just enjoy sort the wheat from the chaff (SNOOPYONE)

Go for it have a great trip may see you on the road? :-)

Cheers,
John
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:13

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:13
I severely resent that inference as I am not stirring.
It has been well documented about the brakes on these and in a 4WD Monthly test Roothy commented on them as well

I also own a VW so am not totally brand one eyed

This from a Ford Escape Forum

I own a 2005 Ford Escape here in Ontario, Canada. I bought it as a lease return with 11,000 kilometres on it(Aug. 16/2005). I have had nothing but problems with the brakes pretty much a year from the exact date of purchase. At 32,000 kilometres, the front brake pads, both rotors because they are corroded, and brake calipers all seized and needed to be replaced(Aug. 15/2006). Since the replacement was under warranty, I had the Ford dealership replace the entire front end brake system. However, they tried to stick with the bill for the brake pads, but I argued it and won! They paid for everything!

Jan 2007- the rear braking system let go. I had to have the brakes replaced as well!

April 24, 2008- I am now just over 56, 500 kilometres, and again the front brakes have seized yet again! I am now out of warranty!!! I have to have the front left caliper replaced, brake pads on both front sides, and the rotors are corroded again!!!! I have gone into Ford with many complaints about the brakes when I brought this SUV in for service and while under warranty I was always told THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR BRAKES!!! Funny how now that I am out of warranty, all of these brake problems have once again surfaced after my many attempts to have them replaced while still under warranty. I had to meet with the service manager at the Ford dealership and express my outmost frustration with their services up to now! They were making me pay for the entire brake system replacement! I have now gone to Ford Canada, who only covers their brakes until 20, 000 kilometres... I am at a lost for words now!!!!!!

If there is anyone else out there, that is having the same poor luck with theirs.. I would appreciate some input... thanks again

Jill
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada


Reply

#20 of 100 Re: brake noise [markiesmark45] by jrobblee

Apr 24, 2008 (9:33 pm)

Replying to: markiesmark45 (Jul 21, 2007 2:35 pm)

Hi Mark,

I had the same problem with my 2005 Ford Escape Limited 4x4.... I was told by the dealership that this was totally normal.. haha.. I have had nothing but problems with my brakes. They squeal, pulsate and grind when I begin to start braking! Obviously, there is something wrong with the service tehnicians when they tell me this!!!

Look at my post above..and you will see the problems I have had! Apparently, FORD will not do anything for this!

And here for the Mazda


http://www.lemonlawclaims.com/mazda_tribute_brake_and_steering.htm
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Follow Up By: Member - John B2 (VIC) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:27

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:27
i live in Australia not Canada

Cheers,
John

PS: I can go on the internet and find faults with any vehicle including our Toyotas worldwide and I suppose if ROOTHY said it is TRUE boy are you gullible he is a journalist!!!
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:35

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:35
I was trying to warn the OP of a potential problem which may affect them on their trip.

At least I was making a contribution to the thread unlike you who seems to just bag someone for what they say.

I am well aware what Roothy is and take what is in that mag with a grain of salt.
If you have nothing to contribute dont criticize me thank you.

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Follow Up By: Member - John B2 (VIC) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:49

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:49
Snoopyone,


"At least I was making a contribution to the thread unlike you who seems to just bag someone for what they say".

This is a Losers reply. LOL

Cheers,
John

PS Why don't you become a member and be game enough not to hide.
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:51

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:51
Why bother, to get bagged some more and pay for the privilege
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Follow Up By: Member - John B2 (VIC) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:58

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 20:58
What a cop out can give for it free but cannot take it

I have nothing to hide if you become a member you can see my profile

lots of love

Cheers,
John
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 22:28

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 22:28
Snoopy just ignore John I think he may be baiting you
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 11:33

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 11:33
Yep I realise that and thats the very reason one would not bother to become a member if some members have this attitude.
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Follow Up By: ben_gv3 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 15:46

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 15:46
Snoopy - just adding a bit of an observation here.

In Canada and the US as well they salt the roads to stop ice formation. This has lead to a lot of corrosion issues, things such as entire cross members corroding through.

I'm not saying this is the case in your example but it's food for thought which could lead to those brake rotor issues.


As others have said, you can't take overseas problems and make blanket statements without some context.
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Follow Up By: snoopyone - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 16:33

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 16:33
They were the only ones I could find at the time but it has been mentioned about Australian versions as well that they cut them out early.

I dont care really I was trying to offer some advice so as to help the OP if they didnt know.

Better to find out before they go rather than in the middle of nowhere.

That was all, nothing malicious or derogatory in that was there?????.

If theirs are fine all well and good but a heads up doesnt hurt.

I dont think I deserved the rubbishing I got for just mentioning that.

So here is a link to an Australian Ford Forum with exaxtly what I was posting about

Ford and Mazda rotor problems

Hopefully that will satisfy the doubters
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Reply By: four-and-the-great-outdoors - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 18:27

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 18:27
Thank you everyone for your very sound and appreciated advice.

This will show what novices we are - I sort of thought that alot of the roads would be unsealed and that we would have to get a big 4WD to see some of the known sights. (Must be the NZ'er in me). I didn't quite realise that to see Uluru, and other places mentioned, that we could do that on sealed roads.

We will do exactly what you have advised - the 4wd and towing courses and get out with the camper during the next few hols and practise, learn etc etc.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to help me out without making me feel like such a girlie idiot.

One thing I do know, this is one of the places to come for advice!!
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 23:29

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 23:29
A good set of all terrain tyres on the Mazda would be a good idea. If you do any of the dirt roads you can easily damage highway tyres and thats no fun. It's a good idea to carry an extra spare tyre (use one of your current tyres) without the rim and don't forget the trailer as well. Cheers Mike
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 08:57

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 08:57
Another good investment and essential bit of planning and travelling kit is a good roads atlas and individual maps (eg Hema) for particular areas. Learn how to use them by using the key/legend and you will soon know what roads are sealed, major minor roads etc. We are currently using the Australia Road and 4WD Atlas available from the EO shop.

Welcome to this forum, it will provide you with heaps of information. It is usually a pretty friendly place, despite the little tiff in your thread. Most people use a handle or name of some sort so those who respond can feel as though they are talking to a real person.

Be sure to check out the many blogs of places where you would like to go. They will give you some idea of the conditions that you are likely to encounter. There is much more to travelling than the vehicle you go in (though getting that right is pretty important) but you also need to be well prepared for camping, with the right clothes and footwear for the conditions, adequate water and so on - the list is very long. There are a couple of blogs that list all the gear that people take - worth a look.

Remember that you may be travelling long distances into remote and often harsh country that should never be taken for granted. Be well prepared and you will have a wonderful time.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Reply By: Pebble - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 18:52

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 18:52
What you think you want to do, and what you actually do in reality can be different as well. I'm sure we all have an extreme 4wder and explorer in us, but we don't always put that to practice. So my advice is to be realistic about the vehicle you're looking to buy, weather it's a like to have or a need to have.
As an example we have a Jeep Wrangler that mostly gets driven 300lkm on the highway to a major city and back home again, but we do plan to travel with it and go off road to some extent, we will be getting a camper trailer again very soon. It's just that we might not end up going extreme offroad to the extent that we tihnk we will in our minds!
We've pretty much had all sorts of Toyota's before now, we have been off road somewhat and done a fair few k's across Oz, for which of I reckon with enough fuel and towing capacity we didn't really need a fully capable 4x4 most of the time.... maybe the question is how much the rest of the time counts for???

Basically anything Toyota should be good if purchased wisely but it will cost you a premium over other makes and models, you need to decide how much you need that really capable 4x4 and weather it's worth paying a premium for certain makes or not.....depends if you're loyal to any particular brands or not (my Husband for one would probably never own a Nissan due to being one eyed in that regard :D)

Since it's going to be your day to day car you will want to take fuel consumption into consideration also.
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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 22:06

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 22:06
Mate good choice with the Tambo. If you'd like an idea of what to expect, I towed one around Oz for 12 months in 2006 using a 3 litre Nissan Navara ute. I think your tribute will be easily up to the task but just be aware of load. Spend some money on new shocks and tyres and maybe some accessories like a tyre pressure monitoring system and a good road atlas.

The great escape begins - 2006

Follow it all from here.

Cheers and enjoy it. You'll have a ball.


Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 07:52

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 07:52
My 2c... The Mazda will do what you want for the first trip. A good set of AT tyres and probably some Polyairs to level the load and you'll be fine.

If you DID decide to upgrade then there's plenty of good 4Bs around in the $15K range that will do what you want, plus be a good daily driver afterwords, Pajero for starters. You could pick up a good 2001-2004 model with less than 150Ks on it that will go anywhere in the outback. Prado is another but these are typically Toyota overpriced, Kia also make good 4bs.

No way would I contemplate a Cruiser or Patrol for your stated aims.
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Reply By: four-and-the-great-outdoors - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 09:50

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 09:50
Thank you everyone for your great advice.

When I said inexperienced, I meant to the 4WD side of things. We have camped a bit over the years plus backpacked for about 4 years across Asia, Middle East etc so we are certainly not "precious" type of people.

It's just that we really don't know much about towing and 4wds.

I constantly read all the forums and I am therefore learning a lot. We will take it slow, get out there and stick to the roads/tracks that we know we and the vehicle is capable of and learn from the people we meet.

We are happy to say we are novices and not "gung ho". Just want to have lovely family times and all of us see parts of Australia we haven't seen before.

Thanks again..Kathy
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 12:48

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 12:48
Congratulations Kathy,

Your approach should be commended and I personally wish you and yours, the best experience you can wish for.

This first big one will tease you and you will start to plan for all the places you will want to visit next time.

Good luck and run a blog on here....
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 16:44

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 16:44
And then you'll want a 'Landy' ...

Enjoy your trip...

Cheers, The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 17:07

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 17:07
Hi Katie,

With your camping experience to build on you have a head start. Have a great trip and many more to follow. Hope to see you around on this forum.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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