New Rangers and cruisers at work

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 21:22
ThreadID: 97984 Views:3237 Replies:9 FollowUps:16
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I said I would start telling it as it is with no fluffy bits or keeping one eye closed.

We have a few new bottom of the line 2012 Rangers at work now and this week I drove one. Not for long and these are not allowed underground at the moment.

First impression is not good but that may change because they are new.

These are 2.2l diesels base models so here goes.

Engine was sluggish but before anyone jumps on that I am sure they have a program in the ECM to limit the output until they reach certain hours or kilometers.

The 6 speed manual gearbox was ok although others say they are hard to select gears. Well they need to be retrained on driving a manual gearbox that has more than 5 forward gears. It seemed fine to me.

Clutch. Worst clutch I have used in 30 years unless you want it in a boat as a dog clutch. It was either disengaged or engaged.

Vehicle was empty so no comment on the suspension. Finish is pretty good but that won't stay very long in a mine.

New cruiser utes have kevlar floors over the top of steel floor pan. This was developed by the people I work for and installed to stop the penetration of split sets and rock bolts coming up through the floors and giving you a free prostrate check. There have been a few close calls and my old ute had one through the running board.

I will give a bit more as I get more info as to how these vehicles are going.


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Reply By: Rockape - Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 21:28

Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 21:28
Sorry, I should have also said they are in talks with Japan as how to bring back the old 1HZ engined cruisers or an equivalent . How that goes I don't know we will find out I guess.

AnswerID: 494781

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 00:18

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 00:18
Hi RA,

I have heard that the venerable old 1HZ is still used in countries that do not have as stringent emission controls as we do. I would think that if they were not to be licensed for use on public roads then there might be a chance to bring them to Oz. As they reach the end of their useful lives they would have to be scrapped and as most of them are little more than scrap value after underground service this probably wouldn't matter.
I guess it depends what financial costs are involved and what other maybe cheaper alternatives are available.

FollowupID: 770446

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 05:54

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 05:54
Hi Pop,

yes they can be bought in and not registered, as you say and all of our utes never go off site.

In reality is if they are sold off the companies get very little for them in the real scheme of things.

I like the new Kevlar floors though. Very easy to hose them out so you don't have to breath lead dust.

FollowupID: 770449

Follow Up By: Jack - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 10:38

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 10:38
Yep - the 1HZ is still the engine sold in current Landcruisers in South Africa, and other countries that don't have strict emission regulations.
FollowupID: 770458

Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 20:36

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 20:36
I have gone from a 1hz to td v8 ute twice now and consider i have an informed opinion

for underground use to 1hz isa betterdonk

it has more ultra low down grunt from no revs and is more drivable, the highr compression donk means it will hold in gear and no handbrake on a decline unlike the v8
for a private vhicle id have the v8 in a heartbeat but as a work vehilce - not as good
FollowupID: 770504

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 18:18

Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 18:18
I have been told before that the 1HZ's have already been brought in by mining companies, not registered of course
FollowupID: 770559

Reply By: Road Warrior - Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 22:08

Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 22:08
Interesting insight, the 3.2 diesel seems to be the pick over anything else the Ranger has. Certainly everyone I've spoken to with a new one (with the 3.2 of course) has raved about them. Apart from the towbar mounting arrangement.

I also heard a rumour about 3 months ago that there was a "mine spec" Ranger being worked on that was due in December but I have yet to get any concrete info on it.
AnswerID: 494783

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 06:01

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 06:01
Yep we are supposed to be getting some, so time will tell if they stand up to the hammering. Ford seem to think so which if always a positive thing.

As you said the 3.2l engine is a beauty. Very smooth and develops good torque lower down and through the rev range.

It will be interesting to see them opened up with a 3 inch dump pipe and free flow exhaust.

FollowupID: 770451

Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 13:22

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 13:22
Most people in Australia in the 4wd sector will be looking at buying the Big engined BT50 in 4wd configuration, not a 2.2 and with the Cruisers, most people won't be in a situation where someone or something is firing metal through the floor at the family jewels.
So I can't really work out the relevance of your comments to real life 4wding folk in Australia.
If it is directed at mine staff, yes. The outback traveller or long distance towing brigade, no.

AnswerID: 494805

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:07

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:07
Agree with you Ross M.
Cant see the relevance of a test underground in conditions that nobody will ever experience in even the harshest off road scenario for vehicles that are being utlisied as outback tourers.
FollowupID: 770474

Follow Up By: Andrew - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:18

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:18

It's always interesting to hear about mods and developments even if the direct relevance isn't there.

Laminating floor pans is an old rally trick to add strength and protect the underside. The idea might develop into something for more general use, perhaps laminating the roof so you can load it up without fitting a roof rack. You never know where things might lead.

It's also interesting to hear what extreme use really is as it puts our own travails into some sort of perspective.


FollowupID: 770475

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:31

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:31
People say the manufactures never extended test vehicles in real live conditions and rely on jigs to simulate conditions of many kilometres of driving.

Well that is what mining does. All the faults and every vehicle has them show up early. Later on down the track is when the general user finds out what goes wrong with them.

So I was just going to give a running report as things came up and how they are coping.

As for the 2.2l sorry everybody that was going to buy one or look at one. It looks like everyone is buying the 3.2 and you won't need to know anything about it including clutches, gearboxes and running gear.

No one is firing anything at all, the wheels kick them up and the bolts have a bad habit of coming up through the floor. Bit of an off hand comment but it just shows how far they will go to protect the operators.

Don't think I will bother anymore. Was just going to give a independent view but I guess you don't need it.

You can just go and buy one of those motoring mags that use the vehicles between 1 day and a week. They will tell you all.

FollowupID: 770476

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:56

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 14:56
Hey Rockape, keep it coming.

I for one am following your comments because I am in the market for a new 4wd diesel ute. I think it's very relevent that the mines are testing vehicle. Anything that stands up to the abuse for a decent amount of the time in a mine has got to reflect it's longliivety in the outback.

I guess people who have not worked in the mining industry don't understand.

FollowupID: 770478

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:16

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:16
Well, bushranger 1, you wont need Rockape to tell you that the only vehicle that will somewhere near stand up to the rigours of undergroud conditions will be the Landcruiser. They have been the favoured choice of mining companies for years. So if you use this criteria as an assessment to buy your Diesel 4WD ute, the only vehicle you will buy, will be a Landcruiser. (or an Army tank!)
FollowupID: 770481

Follow Up By: Andrew - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:27

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:27
Hi Rockape

We need info from people like yourself to give us another view of the world.
The advantage of this site is the range of experiences and knowledge posted on all subjects.

Sometimes its stuff you already know, sometimes it fills a gap and sometimes its what the? I didn't know that.

There always will be those who don't quite see the point but for some the comments will just add to the store of knowledge that might be useful one day.

And sometimes it just feels like a friendly campfire chat.

keep posting


FollowupID: 770482

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:38

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:38
No harm having an open mind & testing other vehicles rather than assuming that the cruiser is the only vehicle of choice.

I am long term Toyota user but there's no point burying your head in the sand & not looking at other options.
FollowupID: 770484

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 16:03

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 16:03
Don't give up so easily Rockape. It's interesting reading and we can each make up our own minds as to the relevance. I'm sure we all understand that it's just one man's observations. It would be good to see other forumites giving reports about their own drives - especially the newer vehicles on the block.
FollowupID: 770488

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 16:19

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 16:19
Thats exactly what it is an Opinion, just like Rockape's.
I am not even a Toyota owner as you probably assumed by my screen name, although I have owned a Landcruiser in the past, so I do have an open mind.
However, by my own addmission, I cant see that the Ranger is going to cut the mustard in the mines, just like all the Hilux's and others they have tried. The only outcome i can see here is negative comment giving people the wrong impression on a vehicle that is clearly not built for the mines.

FollowupID: 770492

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:20

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:20
Hi Rockape,

I for one appreciate your comments and effort in placing a post. Nothing like a real-world test to see if the vehicle will last the distance.

The mines really do test vehicles to the extreme, so I think it's very relevent to readers considering a new vehicle for long-term outback travel. The previous model BT50/Ranger didn't cut-it in the long term, so we'll see if the new one is any better.

Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 494811

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:43

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:43
Rockape, you can add me to the list that will continue to read with interest your take
on vehicles used underground. So the 2.2 donk mightnt be the popular choice but
the durability of every other component is important info IMHO. Ignore the negative
theorists & keep the opinion coming..cheers....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 494812

Follow Up By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:59

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 15:59
G'day Rockape

Please keep the info coming. Like many others I am interested as to how 4wd's perform under various conditions.

If I don't find a subject, or a Thread interesting then I don't finish reading it.

I don't see the need to tell the author I'm not interested in their topic.

If, however, I think they are factually wrong then I will say something in a constructive way.

FollowupID: 770487

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 17:13

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 17:13
Don't worry about the knockers, RA.

I'll be very interested to read further reports on how the Fords go. They do 2 years in the mine, then they'll last some EO member or similar, travelling around, at least 10 years.

Just imagine if Toyota(oh shit, did I mention the forbidden word??) still had the 30mm shackle bushes of 45 years ago, or the measly little king-pin studs, about 6mm in dia, that snapped off, if the king-pins weren't greased every oil change. Input from graziers, dealers and mining companies, back to Japan, over the early years helped them to gain a rep for reliability.

Stuff 'em, RA, keep 'em coming!!!


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AnswerID: 494814

Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 18:39

Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 at 18:39
I will keep the info coming and tell it as it is.

It just hit a nerve it did.

As Bob Y said. Cruisers did and do have problems, many have been rectified and some haven't.

I really don't want to hear about Toyota, Nissan, VW, Holden, Isuzu, Mitsi, or any other vehicle in this world or any other big place. This is because I am reporting on the new Rangers with no bias at all.

I own a cruiser and I am buying a Ranger but I will tell it as it is. I actually have reservations about buying a new model so time will tell.

I will turn this into a blog so those who wish to look at what is lasting and what isn't can have a look. This will take a while until problems start showing up.


AnswerID: 494818

Reply By: snow - Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 11:50

Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 11:50
Just with regards the relevance of the laminated floor alone, I have seen at least three separate instances of timber or star pickets (or remains thereof) going through the front floor pans of vehicles. Each narrowly missed the occupants but was sheer luck only. Not suggesting reinforced floors should be compulsory or anythin of the sort but simply that there is relevance.
AnswerID: 494859

Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 12:39

Friday, Sep 14, 2012 at 12:39
Interesting in what you had to say..... we have a new Ranger XLT 5 cylinder auto and love it, we upgrade vehicles every 2 to 3 years so I'm not making the "love it" statement because our last vehicle was 10 years old and anything modern would be good.

We were originally going to get the manual and by accident we drove an auto.... with in 10 minutes our minds we made up the auto was a better choice.

The manual we found to have a very rubbery feel especially going from second back first... and first gear was to short for general around town driving.... but would be great for towing or when loaded..... the Hilux and most others have a to longer first gear and when loaded or towing you have to be hard on the clutch to get it moving.

With the clutch I think Ford has taken the good approach to this by fitting a strong clutch but I may be wrong..... look at all the other crop of current 4x4 utes and the clutch problem they had.... our Hilux had a new clutch at 50k and one of our Hiace vans at 35k.. to lighter clutch for the intended work.

As for power... we drove a Amarok that has the 2lt engine and found it to be much as you described, it went well between 4350 - 5000rpm but below that it was sad..... I would think the 2.2lt in the Ranger would be much the same, you can't beat capacity.

I enjoy driving our Ranger more then our 200 series and the gearbox is better than the 200.... as for economy we did a trip last week up to the Flinders loaded with the dirt bike on a heavy bike trailers sitting on 115Kph we averaged 12.2lt per 100....

AnswerID: 494861

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