SINCE the last report we’ve bashed the mighty Hilux over the Simpson a couple of times, blasted through outback Queensland and the Victorian High Country, and then took it on a beach holiday to Fraser Island. Some of the time it’s driven by other people (hence Hire-lux) and it’s more often than not leading the convoy across steep dunes and through creeks. It’s a hard life for most of the kilometres it does, and when its back home it’s relegated to resting in the backyard or spending time at Outback 4WD in Bayswater, for a health and spa retreat.
For the latest forays we’ve added a few things including a 145-litre Frontier long-range fuel tank; we’ve got a similar one in the 79 Land Cruiser and have been bloody impressed with it. These ARB Frontier tanks are made from an impact-resistant crosslink polymer material which is tough and will not rust or corrode, and it features a one-piece body construction with a wall thickness of 7 to 9mm. While they all come with a three-year warranty, one of their big advantages over a steel tank (which we have in our long-serving Patrol) is the considerable weight savings.
To protect the underbody from scrapes and hits we have also fitted ARB underbody protection, which directly bolts onto the chassis from the ARB bullbar back to the transfer case. While we were at it, we added ARB-rated recovery points and side-steps.
As luck would have it we conned a 10,000lb second-hand winch off a mate and, like most winches, we’ve yet to use it in anger. Likewise, we got a 60-litre water tank which fits over the wheel-arch between the tub wall and the Ironman single-drawer system we’ve fitted to the tub. Why only a single drawer? We wanted to be able to carry a trailbike in the tub, and with the tailgate down we can still easily do that.
We’ve also given the engine better breathing capability by fitting an Ironman three-inch exhaust system, and to improve wading ability and protect the diffs from water ingress we added Ironman diff breathers.
Sick and tired of worrying about the vehicle’s starter battery running flat because of a fridge being left to run overnight, we finally fitted a dualbattery system to the Tojo. Mounted on an ARB tray (because of the weight of the battery, you need a good battery mounting system) we backed it up with a Redarc BCDC1225D charger. This 25A in-vehicle DC to DC battery charger features the next generation in charging technology, charging from solar and DC inputs simultaneously. They’re a cracker of a setup.
We replaced the roof rack bars with a set of heavier duty Rhino-Rack trackmounted roof bars, as the previous set was too light for the weights we wanted to carry. Fitted to the roof bars is an XTray basket and a handy, easy-to-use shovel holder.
We’ve now clocked up 69,000km on the set of Cooper ST tyres, but, as we speak, a set of Mickey Thompson ATZ P3s are being fitted at Outback 4WD. With their big shoulder blocks and wide lateral offset grooves they look the business, provide good off-road traction, and expel water to improve on-road grip. We’ll let you know how they go after we’ve clocked up more than 10,000km.