WHEN I first looked at fitting a new canopy to the Cruiser, I was going to keep the original Toyota tray, but it looked shithouse. I was convinced a new tray would make the overall package better, so we bit the bullet and took the heavy galvanised steel tray off and fitted a brand-new custombuilt beauty from Boss Aluminium in Bayswater, Victoria.

This is more a work of art than anything else and Iím super impressed with the tray; its design, construction and quality of finish. The tray is 1800mm long by 1860mm wide. We decided not to have a headboard, which allows the canopy to be 100mm longer and, as I donít have any intention of removing the canopy when itís fitted, we didnít see the need for a headboard.

When we took the old tray off we found a few bent mounts, so all of them were replaced by heavy-duty 5mm-thick steel ones. Up front, a 57-litre water tank was fitted complete with filler hose, a 12-Volt SEAFLO diaphragm pump and a tap at the back end of the tray. Taking up the rest of the central under-tray area is a roller drawer complete with a handy sliding top that can double as a bench or table.

On each side of the tray is a pair of underbody boxes with a tapered shape to them to keep the departure angle where it should be. Like the under-tray drawer, the boxes are well-sealed from water and dust ingress by good rubber seals and effective lockable latches. Smart LED stop/tail-lights finish off the tray.

Its aluminium construction allows for a significant saving in weight from the previous steel tray, but some people may still be surprised at the weight of a good alloy tray. In the Boss case, the tray (which includes mounts, infill and guards) comes in at 105kg. Each of the underbody boxes weigh 15kg, the under-tray drawer weighs 40kg, and the 57-litre water tank (when empty) weighs 5kg. Total weight of the tray and attached componentry is just 180kg.

Wanting to increase the fuel range of the Cruiser, Iíve opted for a replacement 180-litre ARB Frontier tank fitted by the crew at Outback 4WD in Bayswater. These tanks from ARB are made from a resilient cross-linked polymer and UV-stable plastic material and have a wall thickness of 7-9mm, which is much thicker than any of the OE plastic tanks Iíve seen. Theyíve proved to be strong and rigid, having been tested by driving a 60-tonne Centurion tank over them. They are also significantly lighter than a steel tank and, depending on the model of tank for a 79 Series, weigh up to 22kg empty. The tank comes with all the fitting hardware required, as well as a fully machined filler neck made from aluminium, while the tank breather pipe is fitted with a one-way valve to stop any spillage in case of a rollover.

Weíre sure to get years of effective and trouble-free service from both the tray and the tank and, while 180 litres is about the same as what my Patrol carries, like the Patrol, if the occasion demands more fuel capacity, then weíll opt for a couple of plastic jerry cans.


Frontier fuel tank: www.arb.com.au/long-range-fueltanks/ frontier-long-range-fuel-tank Boss alloy tray: www.bossaluminium.com.au Outback 4WD: www.outback4wd.com.au