AFTER a month spent touring the highways we figured it was about time we took the Patrol off-road, and there’s no better place to do that than the Victorian High Country. But first we figured it needed a better set of tyres and some other extras. In an alignment of the planets, our search for off-road rubber coincided with Toyo Tyres launching its new Open Country R/T range of tyres. Toyo’s Open Country R/T combines the best attributes of mud- and allterrain tyres to deliver the best of both worlds. It has the aggressive looks, tough three-ply carcass and tractive ability of Toyo’s Open Country M/T, and the quiet ride and on-road braking performance of the Open Country A/T; just the thing for our mix of on- and off-road usage. Five new Toyo R/Ts in a 285/65R18 size were fitted to the Patrol’s standard 18-inch alloy wheels by the guys at Tyrepower Reservoir in Victoria, and the fitters were impressed with the balance of the Toyos straight off the bat. Tyrepower’s clever balancing machine measures lateral pull of the tyre and wheel, so the four wheels were optimally positioned on the vehicle to suit the camber of our roads. It’s clever stuff that we haven’t seen before, and it’s valuable for four-wheel drives that use heavy wheel-and-tyre combinations. The Toyo Open Country R/T tyres should be available for purchase in Australia, in a range of popular sizes, by the time you’re reading this. We hoped to fit a bullbar to the Patrol before the trip, but minor changes to the late-2017 model’s front-end meant none of the major 4x4 outlets had updated their bars to suit. From what we could tell the only real problem is with the parking sensors of the Ti-L, but a bullbar will have to wait for this Patrol. With nowhere to mount auxiliary lights on the front of the car – and with the good folks from Lightforce supporting our High Country adventure – we elected to go for a light bar on the roof. The crew at Ironman 4x4 used our car to develop rack mounts for the Y62, and they supplied a 1.8m alloy rack. We also got Ironman to mount one of its updated 2.0 x 2.5m Instant Awnings to the rack, to keep the dew off the swag while camped in the mountains. The lighter weight of an alloy rack increases the capacity for more cargo, even if it was only used to carry swags, camp chairs and firewood on this trip. The ease of set-up and protection afforded against rain, sleet and dew by the Instant Awning was greatly appreciated as we toured the mountains. Stay tuned for a full review on these. The Lightforce light bar is a singlerow 40-inch unit which was fitted at Ironman 4x4 and wired up by our good mate Phil Cochrane from On Track Automotive in Ferntree Gully. Phil recommends, sells and installs Lightforce gear to his customers every day, so getting this light bar working was a cinch for him. How did the Patrol and its new accessories fare in the High Country? That full report is coming soon, but the miles spent running around town getting the gear fitted – in addition to the heavy-duty tyres and the gear mounted on the roof – did nothing for the Patrol’s fuel economy. It averaged 17.89L/100km for the month.
TOYO'S OPEN COUNTRY R/T COMBINES THE BEST OF MUD- AND ALL-TERRAIN TYRES
LIGHTFORCE.COM 40-inch single-row light bar: $899.80 + fitting. ONTRACK4X4.COM.AU Light bar wiring, general 4x4 accessories and servicing. IRONMAN4X4.COM 1.8m Cage-Style Alloy rack: $880 + mounts & fitting. Instant Awning 2m by 2.5m: $270. TOYOTIRES.COM.AU Open Country R/T tyres: Price TBC. TYREPOWERRESERVOIR. COM.AU Tyre fitting and balancing.