Most importantly is the big thanks to Peter Mitchley. The vehicle purchase and modifications were done with the great support and assistance of Peter. We could not have done it without him.
Mind you, I am not sure what he will do with his weekends now I am not there to take all his time.
We purchased a 2006 Toyota Landcruiser, HDJ 79R, from the South Australian government auctions.
We decided on the 4.2 Turbo diesel model as reports on the newer V8 were not encouraging. Also, the new model required higher specification diesel, which will probably not be available in some parts of Africa.
With assistance from Enzo at Northpoint Toyota in Adelaide, we set about making appropriate additions and modifications.
1. Suspension: stronger springs and shock absorbers from Old man Emu. Vehicle upgraded to 3, 500 kg. Firestone airbags to assist the rear springs.
2. ARB Diff Lockers; both front and rear. Fitted by ARB in Regency Park. Thanks to Craig and all the blokes there, nothing was ever too much trouble.
3. Diff and gear box breather extensions.
4. The vehicle came with winch.
5. Vehicle electrics: Ctek D250S battery isolater and charger. 2nd (Optima) battery fitted. Hella driving lights.
6. General electrics; all by fitted by Torsten and the great people at Mobiletek in Adelaide. Kenwood GPS and general entertainment system. They also installed rear parking sensors and a reversing camera (integrated into the Kenwood unit) and a permanently wired tyre pressure monitoring system
7. Internal fittings: bonnet & head light protectors, side window windshields. Internal roof console; this includes hard wiring of multiple cigarette lighter points to keep GPS devices, phones etc charged. Seat covers. Window tinting.
8. Long-range fuel tank 150 l.
9. ARB roof rack
10. The aluminium tray which came with the vehicle was replaced with a custom made steel tray and was built to include a large cabinet behind the driver’s cabin. This was done by Dekkers in Adelaide. Michael was fantastic –a true professional. Even the smallest change was not too much trouble. The cabinet, which is dust proof, holds 2 spare tyres, Honda generator (in an easy slide draw on the driver’s side), 2 draws for odds & ends (on the passenger side) and a water treatment system.
11. 4 x underslung tool boxes. One holds 2 permanently wired ARB compressors. The others have recovery gear, spare parts and tools.
12. Trayon camping unit (www.trayon.com). We chose this unit as it allows for internal seating (in case of rain, privacy etc). There were many modification to this including:
· removal of the LPG system in favour of electrics (Ctek M300 battery charger, 1,000 W inverter, marine quality circuit breaker panel, 120 amp hr deep cycle battery, many additional 12 v outlets).
· Installation of draws in the cupboards etc.
· On the commissioning run through the Australian outback we found that the Trayon unit with its long bolt down threads could slide about on the tray, so we installed stoppers to maintain a minimum distance from the cabinet and also ties to provide additional security.
· Sound system with iPod, radio, speakers etc
· Secure compartment with safe
We are looking for a name of our expedition transportation i.e. what do we call the vehicle. Suggestions welcomed.