|10-07-2019, 01:46 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2019
Member # 873712
Location: Pilbara region, West Australia
Tech Tradies 76 series out back expedition rig
So I am about to start a build of my new outback touring rig (expedition rig for you Americans). This is a project I have been planning for several years after selling my old bunky 4x4. Hopefully, this will be a bit of a showcase to Americans about how we do things in Australia.
To start I needed the right base vehicle, I definitely wanted to start with something new to avoid issues of previous neglect or abuse. I had a bit of a checklist, the requirements were;
- Reliable: You don't want to be halfway across the Simpson desert and have the thing die on you.
- Freely available parts: The vehicle needed to have a significant support network and easy parts availability, again, you don't want to be broken down 1000 miles from the nearest city and waiting for parts to be specially ordered from Europe
- Capable: I plan on travelling some pretty long distances and some pretty gnarly tracks over the next few years, the vehicle needs to be capable enough to do this.
- Legality: The vehicle needs to be able to me setup for extreme remote travel and some pretty difficult tracks without breaching the limits of road legality here in Australia (not too far to get police attention anyway).
- Self-sufficiency: the vehicle and the modifications available need to enable the vehicle and the driver to be 'off-grid- for several days if not weeks at a time.
These criteria really only left me with a few options, from two manufacturers, Nissan, and Toyota. I know some Americans will question why I didn't buy a Jeep, but the reality is they have proved woefully unreliable in Australian conditions.
- Nissan Patrol: The once legendary Nissan patrol, the only real rival to the Landcruisers of old. A few years ago this may well have been my choice. They were still solid axle front and rear, strong reliability, and with power to burn. But unfortunately, the patrol has recently been redesign to independent suspension all around and less than desirable options for modification. While one of the most powerful 4x4s on the market, it really is more a tow vehicle now than the offroad legend it once was.
-Nissan Navara: A large and powerful pickup. a strong contender but still has the IFS in the front. This isn't always a bad thing, but I would prefer Solid front axles if possible. These are one of the largest vehicles on the passenger class in Australia, while Americans love their big rigs, they can be hard to maneuver down windy bush and outback trails. More power for towing would also be appreciated.
- Toyota Hilux: Closely related to the American Tacoma, this Hilux is a very common vehicle for general use and offroad use. somewhat cheap and cheerful, they offer a great package at their price. A good size for most tracks, but a wagon-style vehicle would be prefered in one that fits the bill is available.
- Toyota Landcruiser 200 series: A full-size SUV with a monstrous 4.5L Turbodiesel V8. A very strong contender despite the IFS set up. Plenty of modifications are available from mild 2-inch lift kits to full 6x6 dual cab truck conversions. Very capable and a strong contender, but prices starting in the 6 figures is a bit of a turn-off.
- Toyota Landcruiser 70 series: The legendary 70 series, considered the toughest and most reliable 4x4 available in Australia, while the 200 series and the 70 series are both descendants of the mighty 40 series, the 200 series line (60 series, 80 series, 100 series, and 200 series) increasingly focused on comfort, the 70 series line up is pure no-nonsense tough and capable. powered by the same V8 turbo diesel monster as the 200 series, it retains its solid front axle. A massive amount of modifications are available, right up to the extreme of 6x6 conversion and purposed designed portal axles (all road engineered and road legal).
The final choice:
I decided to go with the 70 series, in particular, the 76 series wagon. This has the smallest wheelbase of the current 70 series land cruisers, and could technically be classed as a mid-size SUV. on a side note, the 70 series is also available in the 78 series (a large wagon referred to as a troop carrier, because it can seat 11) or the 79 series (single and dual cab utes, or trucks in American talk).
Currently sitting in my driveway is the new beast. So a bit more about the thing.
What you get for your $75,000 investment;
- legendary reliability, nothing can kill a 70 series new or old.
- A monster power plant, from the factory it put our 151kw and 430nm (202 hp and 317 ft-lb). Toyota did a good job strangling this thing to meet emissions regulations and avoid luxury car tax on high powered vehicle in Australia. An exhaust and intake upgrade and a simple tune can add 30% more power and almost 100% more torque.
-Traction control AND front and rear lockers, We all appreciate how handy that is.
-Provision for accessories and expansion, dedicated power attachment points and a fuse box under the hood just for adding to the vehicle.
-Stong as hell gearbox and a gear-driven transfer case.
-comes standard with 31.5-inch tyres so a small increase to a tyre suitable for touring is no problem.
-Huge options for modification; as previously mentioned right up to specially designed portal axles are available.
-Range: the 76 series comes with a 130l (34 gallons) fuel tank that can be upgraded to 180l (47.5 gallons)
What you don't get;
-Fancy controls, it still has the old "clunker" style of aircon controls
-Fancy entertainment, 4 paper cone speakers and a cd player from the early 2000s. It does have Bluetooth at least.
-Fancy instrument panel, all needle gauges here.
-luxurious interior, Fabric seats and grey carpet all around.
All modifications should be Legal and Australian Design rules compliant where ever possible. Don't want to be 3000 miles from home only to have the vehicle taken off the road. High-speed stability, safety, and comfort need to be maintained, I may do a hard track from time to time, but may need to travel for several days to get there.
I will update as parts arrive and things get fitted.
Last edited by TechTradie; 10-07-2019 at 01:59 AM.