From June 1999 till early November 2017 we had a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Snowy (90 series). In November 2017 we purchased a 2016 Land Cruiser Sahara 200 series which had only 14,000 kilometres on the clock. The following will detail how we have set it up for towing our dive boat and for off-road expeditions.
MORE TO COME
The Sahara has a V8 diesel engine of 4.5 litres. This has 200 kw and an enormous 650 Nm of torque. The fuel economy is stated to be 9.5 litres/100 kilometres, but everyone says it is nowhere near that. I will update once we have done enough kilometres to work it out.
The only gearbox available is a 6 speed automatic with permanent four wheel drive. This is fantastic. It also has some amazing features, traction control, stability control, crawl control, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, active (radar) cruise control and much more. There are even four cameras giving views forward, to the rear and on both sides. This is amazing for off-road work in tight sections of tracks.
The car inside is also brilliant, with leather seats (heated), climate control air conditioning, a fantastic sound system, electric seats and so much more I cannot list it all. Lots of its features are not even mentioned on the Toyota website or brochure.
Wheels and Tyres
The standard Sahara comes with 18 inch alloy wheels (285 60/18) but only road tyres (Dunlops). We will leave these on for the time being but later will replace with BF Goodrich All Terrains.
We will update once we have done enough kilometres to work it out.
As mentioned above, the Sahara has Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. This apparently gives more movement to the suspension in off-road situations. More about this once I have used it a bit more.
We will put an aftermarket engine and gearbox protection on soon.
We have purchased a Falcon Premium bull bar and also installed an Ironman 9500lb winch with synthetic rope.
Rear Storage System
We will be getting a Drifta rear drawer system built. This will have a slide for the fridge on the left side at floor level and two drawers on the right side. The fridge will be totally enclosed so that we can put things on the top and sides. We will not get it till January 2018 as it has to be made to order.
We installed a second battery together with a new solar panel (110 watt folding blanket by Kings). This is all connected through a battery isolator (Kings), a solar regulator and a panel which has outlets for two cigarette lighters and a Hella (also called Merit) connector and a voltage meter. We also have a separate Anderson outlet to the rear for running our boats trailer winch.
We also have lights in the tent, the rear compartment and side awning.
We have VMS Touring 700HDX GPS which has on-road and off-road applications. More about the off-road part once we have used more.
We have an Oricom UHF 380 two way radio. This has the controls all on the hand piece. We also have three portable UHF radios for use near the campsite.
Camping Gear - Tent
We used to use a touring tent (the pyramid type C.O.I. Leisure Lightning) but we purchased a ShippShape roof top tent in December 2006. This was after many trips since 1997 with friends who had one and after a trip to Western NSW where we used a borrowed one. The one we purchased was second hand from ShippShape. It is an old tent but with brand new base, mattress and frame and almost new cover. It is the top of the range model with all side curtains.
|Our old Prado and ShippShape at Krambach||A rear shot showing the Prado's storage system and the shelter|
The tent consists of a sleeping section which is over the car. This is a full sized double bed and has heaps of room. I have slept in many smaller beds in hotels and resorts! We use normal double bed sheets (cotton in summer and flannelette when cooler) with a wool blanket. In colder climates we also put a sleeping bag (open out) over the blanket.
You get up and down via a very easy to climb ladder. Our one has windows on the driver's side as well as windows on the passenger's side that open into the covered awning area. Newer versions have windows at the front and back as well.
Kelly made up a small trampoline out of a stretchy material and cord. This hangs from one side to the other under the roof near our feet. We put our day clothes in here after we change into our sleeping clothes. There is also a small space between the mattress and base section near our head where we put things like water, battery, torch, radio etc. The battery powers a small fluorescent light which we hang from the roof so we can see and read.
|Coming up from the Lower Portland Ferry in the Prado|
after crossing the Hawkesbury River
|A photo taken at the Strzelecki Crossing from inside the ShippShape |
Upon arriving at a camp site you park as flat as you can. We have two plastic wedges that we can use to balance the car correctly. Once flat, you unclip a bungy cord on each side from a number of knobs, put the ladder on the passenger side, climb the ladder and pull on the roof. It opens up very easily. You then take two cords from the outer edge of the awning section and attached them to suitable points on your car and tighten. These hold the awning rigid and stops the tent closing up.
The next thing to do is to secure the awning. If it is unlikely to rain, we normally just hammer some tent pegs into the ground and attach an ocky strap to each. If it is likely to rain, we put the awning out horizontal to the ground and use two poles on the far corners to make a larger protected area. We then attach the sides to provide more protection from driving rain. We also have a medium sized tarp which attaches to the back of the tent and using four poles, provides cover over the rear door of the car (which is of course where all our food, beer and gear is located). The four tent poles are carried in a section of PVC pipe under the right side of the ShippShape.
The basic tent can be erected in about two minutes and it takes about four minutes to put away. We can be sitting having a beer before others have even pulled their tent out of the bag.
In mid-2007 I waterproofed the canvas as when we used it over Easter, water seeped through a small section. It did not wet us, but it made the inside damp. We used Thomsons Water Seal which is primarily for waterproofing concrete. It is also suitable for canvas and cotton. It is available from Bunnings Warehouse and costs about A$25 for one litre. I was originally only going to do the small section that was affected, but I used all the container and purchased another litre. I ended up doing all the front and rear as well as the driver side and the top part immediately over the bed.
Over the Xmas/New Year period of 2009 we struck a lot of rain. The awning leaked a lot after it had rained for a few days. I then waterproofed all this with Thomsons.
We now have a second Shippshape which is of the same vintage as our first one. It has better canvas but the cover is in poorer condition. As of December 2013 I am repairing the cover (and waterproofing it). This one will be used by Kelly's Dad, Tomas, as he has purchased a Toyota LandCruiser 80 series.
Camping Gear - Cooking
The majority of our cooking is done on a collapsible barbecue plate. This is shaped like a plough disc and has legs and a handle that folds away. In 2009 we purchased a fold up wok that is made by the same company. This replaced our frying pan. For heating water and cooking things like pasta, toast etc, we have a cheap gas stove that uses disposable canisters. These are relatively economical and much better than a LPG gas system. I used to use petrol-powered Coleman burners but they end up being unreliable.
We have a camp oven for roasts, damper and desserts. As well as a pot and a whistling kettle we have a bowl for mixing and salads etc. We normally only have enough plates for two people with plastic wine glasses, beer coolers, barbecue and cooking utensils as well as knives and forks etc but we can carry more.
Camping Gear - Other
We carry two collapsible chairs and a collapsible table which fit on one side of the storage system. On the other we have a barbecue plate, a shower tent, and other bits. I also carry a small chainsaw (needed many times in remote locations to clear tracks as well as to cut firewood). We also have a wedge, small axe and a spare chain as well as extra chainsaw fuel and tools to repair and sharpen the saw. We also sometimes carry a small 12 volt generator to supply emergency power.
Spares carried include new hoses and belts as well as tyre repair kit and if needed, a small compressor. If we are diving we do not take the compressor as we can fill tyres from our dive cylinders.
Carrying Clothes etc
Kelly and I each have a plastic bin with a lid in which we put our clothes. These are very handy as the clothes are easily visible through the sides and the construction means we can put lighter things on top if needed. We put these bins on the back seat.
For the Prado I also created a trampoline out of a dog bed (using bungy cords and rope) which hung under the roof over the rear station wagon section. On this we put things like hats, raincoats and jumpers. It made them easily accessible as well as using up space that is normally not doing anything. We may implement something like this in the new car.
We also carry two bags Kelly sewed up in which we put our dirty clothes so that they are separate from our clean clothes.
Recovery and Emergency Gear
Under the seats we carry two ramps for levelling the car when we camp, first aid kit, jumper leads and an extensive socket set. There are also spanners and screw-drivers under the passenger seat and a full car manual for repairs. We carry a tyre repair kit as well as a full recovery pack of winch extensions, tree protector, snatch straps, snatch block and more.
On the ladder for the ShippShape tent, we carry a large shovel for recovery and fire purposes.
How does the Cruiser Perform?
Well, we have not yet really used it in proper 4WD conditions, only some easy dirt roads. We have used it to tow our boat and can say that its towing ability is awesome. Without a doubt, it is the best 4WD we have ever driven. More later.