Ultimate 4WD Touring - Vehicle Maintenance

Posted on: 05/11/2013

Aussie Overlanders

1989 HJ75RV Toyota LandCruiser Troop Carrier

Aussie Overlanders Gareth and Kirsty are true explorers, with their journey taking them through Australia, Africa and all the way to London in their faithful Troopy.

Vehicle with tent

To maintain their beloved 4WD, Gareth and Kirsty have built up their electrical and mechanical knowledge from the ground up, with their toolkit consisting of assorted spanners, ratchets, screw drivers, multimeter, tapes, sealants, hammer, hack saw, pliers, crumpets, soldering iron.

“We began with a simple vehicle, gutted it and did the majority of customisations ourselves. Doing this is the best advice we can give – as, if you don’t have the knowledge to start with, you build it as you go. If something goes wrong, you’ll be better placed to fix it because you installed it in the first place.” says Kirsty.

Lap of Australia

1993 Toyota LandCruiser HDJ80 GXL (4L Factory Turbo Diesel)

Lap of Australia couple Brendan and Elly Ingram are taking two years to do the full lap of Australia in their 80 Series LandCruiser.

Lap of Australia couple Brendan and Elly Ingram are taking two years to do the full lap of Australia in their 80 Series LandCruiser.

To look after their 80 Series Brendan and Elly have a full toolkit comprising metric open and ring spanners (no imperial bolts on the LandCruiser), screwdrivers, Allen keys, small and large shifter, and various miscellaneous tools like files, shifters, vice grips, small hacksaw, oil filter strap tool, and a critical tool for the LandCruiser, a 54mm socket for adjusting and replacing wheel bearings.

A range of Autometer gauges in the cabin make keeping an eye the engine simple, including Boost, EGT, Water Temperature and Oil Pressure.

“We also have a gas soldering iron, solder, spare cable, fuses, and multimeter for diagnosing any potential electrical problems. We built a custom fully fused sub-loom to power every non-factory accessory we added to the vehicle, and so far we have not had a single power issue,” says Brendan.

“We do all of the general maintenance ourselves, including engine oil and filter, fuel filter, gearbox, transfer and diff oils, brake pads, brake and clutch bleeding, wheel bearings, and other bits and pieces as required. We had All Four x 4 in Newcastle do the more major jobs on the LandCruiser before we left, and we have only had to carry out scheduled maintenance since then.”

Highway Dreams - Travelling Australia

2003 RA Holden Rodeo Dual Cab (3.0L Turbo Diesel)

The Hayden’s are a young family of five who have been on the road for the better part of the last four years, covering 70,000km in the process. 

The Hayden’s are a young family of five who have been on the road for two years, covering 70,000km in the process.

“We carry a basic toolbox of tools and assorted electrical plugs, fuses, relays and globes. Always carry spare fanbelts, radiator hose, spare clamps, cordless drill and drill bits, filter wrench for oil and fuel filters, soldering iron, multimeter, spare oils and usual fluids.” says Anthony, husband to Jane and father to Cooper, Leo and Isabella.

The Hayden's find their multimeter useful for monitoring electrics, and find the soldering iron handy for making electrical repairs or modifications during their travels. They also ensured they spent time getting to know their vehicle before leaving, and invested in a detailed workshop manual to reference in case repairs were needed.

No matter how prepared you think you are though, their is almost always an exception.

"Our worst trouble mechanically we could only blame on ourselves. We ran out of diesel around 100km from the nearest service station and had to borrow some diesel from a fellow traveller. Being a diesel vehicle it proved a little challenging to 'bleed' the air from the fuel lines and get it going again- there a is knack to doing it properly we have since found out.

"To make things worse, all the cranking we had to do trying to get it started ended up flattening our battery. We had to pull the solar panels out on the side of the road to charge the battery again. A fun day!"

No Boundaries

2011 Nissan Patrol (3.0L Turbo Diesel)

Kym Leech and Lyn Hutton form No Boundaries, a couple of grey nomads who have been living and working on the road continuously for the last two years.

Kym Leech and Lyn Hutton form No Boundaries, a couple of grey nomads who have been living and working on the road continuously for the last two years.

The two explorers stress that the mobile phs1 is always handy to be able to make contact with somes1 to help out with a problem that is beyond their capabilities. To make that process more widely available, the couple own an MGLSAT satellite phs1 so that no matter where they are, they have the capacity to raise an alert if they truly can’t handle a problem themselves.

On a more basic level, the every-day tools Kym and Lyn have on board include a socket set, spanners, screwdrivers, multimeter, a 12-volt air pump, and a 12-volt rattler.  Their emergency fixes for remote area driving include emergency tape, tyre puncture repair kit, soldering iron and a snap strap.   

“The every-day tools come out not quite every day, but have certainly had frequent and useful applications, while the tyre puncture kit has certainly seen a bit of use.” says Lyn.

Read the rest of the Ultimate 4WD Touring series: