Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Vehicle

This post is in response to a query from reader Ade regarding the Isuzu vehicle we are purchasing. 

I’ve have been researching vehicles for almost two years.   My criteria was:

4x4.  Off-road travel through the Australian outback is on my bucket list and a two wheel drive vehicle will not be able to cope with the conditions.

Cab-Ladder Chassis.  The vehicle will be travelling over thousands of kilometres of corrugated tracks and sand dunes.  The vehicle will go through a torture test and in my opinion a monocoque chassis is weaker in these conditions.

Reliability.  The engine and drive train must be strong and reliable.  The vehicle must have a proven track record.  Breakdowns hundreds or thousands of kilometres from a workshop are unacceptable and potentially life threatening.

Power.  The vehicle must have plenty of power (torque) to two a trailer loaded with fuel, water and other supplies.

Price.  The lowest price to met the above criteria

Initially, I started looking a dual cab diesel powered utility vehicles but after several months of research realised this type of vehicle was just as expensive as a 4x4 SUV.  Why pay for a utility when you can have a wagon for the same price? 

In the end I was left with three options.  The Mitsubishi Pajero Sports, Nissan Pathfinder and the Isuzu MU-X.  The Mitsubishi has a rear diff lock but it’s a monocoque chassis.  The Pathfinder only has a towing capacity of 2700kg.  The MU-X has a towing capacity of 3000kg and a cab-ladder chassis. 

The Isuzu comes in three variants.  The base model is; as you would expect; very basic.  The top model has fake chrome trim, keyless ignition, a 10 inch ceiling mounted TV for the rear passengers and only comes with a automatic transmission.  We don’t need the chrome, keyless ignition or the TV.  We also want a manual gearbox.  In my experience it’s easier to start and tow a manual vehicle.  We also won’t need to worry about the automatic transmission overheating out in the desert.  Finally, why pay an extra $2000 for something the brain, hand and foot can do when coordinated.

isuzu mu-xIsuzu MU-X in Titanium Grey 

The MU-X isn’t without it’s weaknesses.  Like most 4x4 SUV’s that are derivatives of dual-cab utes they have a small fuel tank.  The MU-X has a 65 litre tank which means I’ll need to carry plenty of extra fuel in the trailer.  It’s also possible to fit an after-market long-range tank however I can’t justify the cost.  Notwithstanding the exclusion of the tank modifications I have a number of other modifications to prepare the vehicle.  These include:

  • Heavy duty towbar
  • Front LED light bar (emergency only as I plan to only move in daylight)
  • 2nd Battery for the fridge
  • CB radio (to communicate with other vehicles haha)
  • Front wheel hub locks
  • Tyre pressure management system (TPMS)
  • Dashcam
  • Scangauge
  • Trailer brake controller
  • Diff and gearbox breather extenders
  • Set of outback (steel) rims and appropriate tyres,

The TPMS has already been ordered from China.  The remainder will only be purchased after I have had the opportunity to completed a detailed examination of the vehicle


Daykin said...

10-4 good buddy.

Catherine VK4GH said...

Interesting and informative post, as we will be looking at a similar vehicle in Australia when we finish boating. He had already earmarked the Isuzu as a good one, due to the towing capacity, which many people forget to take into account. Will keep it for future reference. Love the detailed research. We are hoping to acquire an Xtra Cab, rather than a dual cab or SUV.

Ade said...

Good stuff Tom thanks for that.