The Kangas' new ride

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 20:42

Kanga1


The trusted HDJ78 we have had now for a number of years, and has taken us to many iconic and memorable places around the big brown land doesn't work quite so well with the new lifestyle in Tasmania. The reality that a ute platform of some description would work better as more of an "All-Rounder" than the beloved Troopy which is set up for 2 people only, and carting horse manure in it is completely out of the question. So an Ad was drafted and placed on carsales, while I contemplated a replacement vehicle.
A couple of weeks later the phone rang and a guy from the next Suburb to the South of us said he'd have it and would pick it up in 2014 ( it was April 2013 when he rang me!!!!) sounded a bit like Scam to me, but turned out completely legit. The next Suburb South of us is Antarctica, and the chap wanting the Troopy is a Doctor down there until the Sea thaws out. He picks the car up in March 2014! So we have it locked up in the top shed in caretaker mode until the new owner returns and starts his travels.

We bought a second hand 2WD Hilux ute from an Elvis impersonator for the interim. It apparently rains a bit in Tasmania and things get muddy and slippery. We soon got sick of being bogged on the grass and were never really sure how we would come out of a corner, pointing forwards, sideways or backwards. Hooroo Hilux.

After 6 months living in Tasmania I got diagnosed with RDW, ( red dust withdrawal ). A potentially dangerous condition that necessitates a fairly regular dose of anything from Desert sand to Bull dust for temporary relief. So a proper 4WD Touring vehicle would be the go, ( pretty much like the Troopy that had just been sold! )

The basic needs for us in a vehicle are:-
Suitable for extended trips throughout Australia.
Something that could cart stuff to and from our property in Australia's Southern most Municipality.
Able to move 4 people occasionally for shortish distances.

Over the years I have had a soft spot for Land Rovers having owned two Series 3 109 inch Wagons, one Series 2a 88 inch and one Range Rover. The Land Rover Defender 130 is a vehicle that always turns my head, and the Hobart Land Rover dealer had a new 130 Dual Cab available for a test drive, so up we went for a spin. These vehicles are constant 4WD for a very good reason, the turning circle is so big that a small paddock is needed to turn them around!! Looking around the Land Rover I found that drivers side bottom door seal was missing, also some kind of spacer under the bonnet was missing, Hmmmmm for Sixty grand odd you really would want to get the whole car, more research required on that one, and after some hours in Google and I had come to the conclusion that potential reliability issues would bother me and as a lot of our travels will be solo, a Defender probably wasn't going to be a good piece of mind long term buy.
Still the day wasn't wasted, Mrs Kanga needed a Safer car for our new environment and a new Diesel 4x4 Skoda Yeti was bought!!!!

We have been volunteer Course Marshalls for the Australasian Safari 2010, 11, and 12 and have watched the Isuzu D-Max utes perform in (and finish) those three gruelling events in Western Australia. So we wound up the Computer, summoned the Interweb Gods and began the Due-Diligence.
The Power and Torque numbers looked good, the 5 year 130,000km warranty looked good too, a variety of upgrades and accessories are available to morph the vehicle into something that will suit our needs. The theory part looked OK, the test drive went OK, all that remained was some basic options and what the cost would be.

The D-Max Space Cab tray back 4X4 manual, would be the platform and the Factory Options would include:-
Heavy Duty Aluminium Tray with drop sides.
Isuzu Snorkel.
Headlight and Bonnet protectors.
Drivers side weathershield.
Rubber floor mats.
Window tinting.
Second factory steel spare wheel and tyre.
Canvas seat covers.
3 Tonne towbar.

So the Salesman sharpened his pencil and lubed his Abacus, the numbers were thrashed and the papers signed, the Ute would be delivered in about three weeks, cool. That gave us a bit of time to do some shopping, with the Melbourne 4X4 and Fishing Show scheduled for a few days time and a list of immediate items to purchase scribbled on a piece of paper, off to Melbourne we went for two days of serious look-see.

Front and side protection was the first to strike off the list and after having a good look at the various manufacturers offerings, we ( Mrs Kanga really) decided the Opposite Lock Bull bar and side bars would be the go. The Bar is Airbag compatible and has the stippled powder coat finish in Black, looks to be fairly resilient and three mounting points for Antennas/ sand flags and has Hi-Lift jacking points etc. We got the in bar Fog lights included ( because apparently that's what they call it when the air is White and a bit wet, never seen it before in WA) to be fitted at Opposite Lock Hobart.

Next were Tyre pressure monitors, I had already decided that the ones that strap to the inside ot the rim would be the choice, for the type of trips we do the valve cap types would be unsuitable. The Sensatyre offering for six wheels is what we finished up with after Mick O's write up on them, and talking at length to Peter Spowart the head Sharang for Hannibal Safari gear and the Sensatyre TPMS.

Fuel filtration. The new diesel vehicles Common rail fuel systems scare the cr@p out of me, paranoia over getting a dose of dodgey fuel and being stranded with a huge repair/recovery bill. In order to thwart this I came up with a cunning plan to reduce the likelihood of this occuring, I'll get into that in another Blog later ( when I finish coming up with it ). So for now at the show we bought the Dieselcare Fuel Manager 2 micron secondary filter and water separator kit. The kit comes with all the necessaries to bolt it into the car, including a Stainless Steel bracket arrangement which I can also use to fit an auxiliary fuse box for in vehicle extras and Midi fuses for the Redarc isolator setup to keep the Battery in the Canopy ( yet to be built) powered up from the Utes Alternator.

In our Troopy I had fitted an Engine Watchdog to alert of coolant temperature increases beyond the set maximum temperature warning level, and wanted to install something similar in the D-Max to look after that while I look out for Reptiles and tyre stakes. The EngineSafe people were at the show, so I got in Tzars' ear about the Unit and bought one of those too. The unit is capable of alerting to Coolant loss, High temp, and monitors up to two batteries voltages high and low settings as well as Transmission fluid temp. EngineSafe are a member of EO, so for the Gospel according to Saint Tzar check their Blog out.

Drive line breather extensions are also very important for wading, Air Up make up a kit at a reasonable price to bring the Diffs, Gearbox and Transfer case breathers up to a high point away from any change of water ingress to those components.

The Show was well worth the trip over Bass Strait for, giving us a chance to see a number of other items on the shopping list for coming trips planned for the next few years. The Sax Suspension and tweaked EngineSafe should arrive this week, so I'd better clean up the shed. Here are a couple of pics of the Ute before I wave the Sonic Screwdriver at it.




Cheers for now, Kanga1.....
Tempus Fugit

Kanga.
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