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General Info Pros and cons of different makes and models (incl. international)

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  #1  
Old 19-11-18
amason2308 amason2308 is offline
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Default Gen 2 Pajero for a round Australia tour?

Hi all,

I’m new here, and new to 4x4 in general. I've been a part of other forums but nothing 4x4. I've found them to be an amazing resource for those passionate about what they love to do. I hope you don't mind helping out a newb start off in the right direction.



I want to do a round Australia trip with my family (wife and 2 boys, aged 6 and 4). In the next 6 months my general plan is to:

1) Buy a vehicle – looking at Gen 2 Pajero’s, but maybe I should go newer? Also, everyone talks Landcruiser.
2) Join a local club and learn some 4x4 technique – seems there’s a really good club associated with this forum.
3) Do some local touring to get the hang of things.
4) Hit the road from June through Oct-Nov 2019! Looking to go through the centre, across the gulf, and down the east coast back to Melbourne. But all of this is negotiable. GOAL #1 – don’t feel under pressure to be driving all the time. I’d prefer to do a shorter trip than be constantly on edge thinking about the next checkpoint.

QUESTIONS
1) Is a Gen 2 Pajero a good choice for such a trip? I’m focusing in on 1999-2000 NL’s, with petrol V6 and auto transmission, preferably already kitted out as a touring/off-road hybrid. I personally like older cars – the fewer bells and whistles the better as far as I’m concerned – but I don’t want to go old and cheap and get my family stuck somewhere.
2) How is parts availability for Gen 2 Pajero’s up north? People talk about how everyone in the bush has a Landcruiser. Does that mean parts availability is an issue for an old Mitsubishi?
3) What do I really need on my vehicle? I’d like to go as minimal as possible. I don’t want to tow a van or have a rooftop tent. Just load up the back and a roof tray. Dual battery with a Waeco fridge and some solar panels seems to be the go. I’ve got a good spacious tent and one of those pop-up accordion-style marquees (with flyscreen panels) for shade and meals. I’m sure there’s a bunch of other stuff I’ll need for actual 4x4 but hope to narrow in on specific tools and equipment once in a club.

I really just want a no frills but mechanically sound vehicle that will reliably take us to some beautiful off-the-beaten-track places. Will listen to any and all advice.

Cheers,
Al

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Old 20-11-18
nj swb's Avatar
nj swb nj swb is offline
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Hello Al, welcome to the forum.

Yes, our host club is a great club - you could do worse.

Gen 2 Pajeros are a comfortable and capable tourer, much more capable than many Land Cruiser proponents realise. I have no doubt that the fundamentals of a Gen 2 tick all the boxes for your intended trip, but there is no denying that they are getting old. If you are comfortable taking on the unknowns that come with a vehicle of that age, go for it.

People are undoubtedly correct when they point out that remote areas contain many more Land Cruisers than anything else, but that doesn't bother me, so I can't say it should bother you.

I think your biggest issue will be managing weight. With 4 in the vehicle a roof rack is all but inevitable, but don't get sucked in to the trap of "throwing it in" (on?) just because you can - too much weight will cause more trouble than anything else. You don't mention what sort of tent you have, but those concertina style gazebos aren't light - I want one, but I already carry too much weight.

Tools and spares are another potential weight trap - yes, you'll need them, but how much? Years ago I read a story that has forever stuck with me - about a man who used to do extensive remote area touring in an old Landrover. Every trip, he carried an entire spare axle, from drum to drum, and every trip, he needed it. The argument was that if he didn't carry the spare, perhaps he wouldn't have overloaded the one that broke.
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  #3  
Old 20-11-18
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Agree 100% with NJ, weight is your enemy.
We extensively traveled Australia (2 adults and 2 kids) in the mid to late 1990's with a 10 year old LWB Jackaroo. So we didn't travel above our axle limits and roof load limits, everything was weighed and had to be compact otherwise it was not taken. This was ok for trips up to 3 weeks in length but I am not sure how the family would have gone for 3 months with limited resources, especially in bad weather.


OJ.
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Old 20-11-18
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I think rule number one should be to keep it simple, don't get bogged down with all the stuff you think you need. I've done the same trip (up East coast to Cook town, Karumba & down through the center) in a Commodore Sportwagon with a basic tent. I'd focus on buying a reliable vehicle in as good as condition as you can get. Do some short camping trips in whatever car you buy and then see what else you need. We've had an 80 series Landcruiser and now have a Gen 3 Paj. For touring we loved the space of the Landcruiser but the Pajero is more comfortable and powerful and much cheaper to buy.
The 4WD training might not be needed (but it's still an okay idea) unless you plan on seeking out the rough tracks. If it's just Touring then you really only need normal driving skills and some common sense.
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Old 20-11-18
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You can tour in a 4wd wagon but, as others have said – weight is a real issue. Wagons, regardless of whether they have a Toyota, Nissan or Mitsubishi badge, typically only have a load capacity around 600 - 700 kg, with newer models even lower as manufacturers load them up with gizmos. If you subtract the weight of your family, and allow another 150 kg for fuel and water, you will have very little left for anything else.

Do consider a dual cab ute with a canopy. Load capacity is typically closer to 1000 kg, and the small back seat will be okay for your boys. This setup allows much more customization, with an extra 300 kg to carry ‘stuff’, before you start exceeding axle loads and breaking things.

If you are set on a wagon, many have done what you propose, but you have to carefully consider the weight of everything you plan to carry. Roof rack loads typically need to be kept below 80 kg, and you do need to include the weight of the rack. Reconsider the roof top tent – putting all your bulky but light bedding on the roof makes a lot of sense, freeing up space in the back of the wagon for heavier items, which are now carried lower, improving your centre of gravity. The boys can always use a small popup tent. If you are on the road for three months, you do need to make your camping setup quick and no fuss, otherwise it quickly becomes a chore. The aim after all, is to enjoy your travels.
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Old 20-11-18
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I'd take either of my Gen 2s around Aus tomorrow no hesitation. But I know them both very well compared to one that was say bought only a couple months ago.

A newer car may or may not be better. Just do the best inspection you can before buying and give it some test trips.

Parts aren't too hard to find, but they may not be in your location. True there's a higher chance of a Toyota spare being available where you are at the time, but it isn't guaranteed!

As mentioned, load/weight is the biggest concern. If you don't plan on doing much off-road, or just off-road trips from a base camp, you might get away with a basic or only slightly modified (new hubs to suit Paj wheels, minor lift, different hitch) 6x4 trailer to put a bunch of gear in.
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Last edited by Alex86; 20-11-18 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 20-11-18
erad erad is offline
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Two things come to mind:
1 Do you really need a 4WD? What you need most is ground clearance. A 4WD normally has sufficient ground clearance to go most anywhere without leaving bits of it on the ground. I have been around the block 3 times now (with a 4WD), and I only needed 4WD probably 3 times. We have been into some fairly rough stuff as well, and yes we needed the ground clearance. But a regular large station wagon will have nearly as much room as a Gen 2 Pajero, and use a lot less fuel to cover the distance. For places like Jim Jim falls in Kakadu (I graded the track into the car park with my bash plate), Palm Valley near Alice Springs etc, you can get tours to go into these places. It is not as much fun as doing it yourself, but overall, it is probably a lot cheaper because 4WD's are not cheap to run.


Remember that a Subaru Forrester has as much ground clearance as a Pajero (but it isn't as big inside). The Subaru Outback has the clearance and a bit more room.



I'll go and put my tin hat on now and wait for everyone to jump on me...


2 As for spare parts, if you have a good working relationship with a mechanic or a parts suppler near where you live, a quick phonecall to him can have virtually anything you want on a courier/plane overnight in most places, a few days at worst. So if you should fail to proceed somewhere, presumably you will get the car taken to a mechanic somewhere and he will then tell you what he thinks you need. You can then either get the mechanic to call your mate or you can do it yourself. Parts do fail - yes - but a thorough check of the vehicle before you leave should pickup and rectify likely faults. You are not likely to get all the parts you want for a Toyota in Innaminca anyway - they would probably have to order them in for you. Pajero's are no more or less reliable than most any other 4WD on the market these days.
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Old 20-11-18
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These are a tough, capable, reliable, comfortable and safe 4wd wagon for the era, as long as you do not buy the diesel engine variant.
https://www.carsales.com.au/private/...5466368/?Cr=20


Asking price is $9K private sale but your could try an offer of $8K, looks to be in great condition and only 92,000kms on the clock!


OJ.
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Old 20-11-18
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We did a 5 week trip though central Aus in a 2.5TDI NH. Admittedly that was a few years ago (18 or so) so the 93 model wasn't all that old at the time. It did the job very well.

We were carrying gear for 2 adults and 3 kids, so a full length alloy roof rack was part of the equation. I had an extra spare up there but the rest of the stuff was fairly light. A couple of dome tents and the clothes bags in a roof rack bag.

Between cruising on the bitumen to gravel roads and a few tracks, the NH handled everything with ease. (I still miss that car).
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Old 20-11-18
amason2308 amason2308 is offline
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Big thank you everyone for all the responses, I really appreciate it.

I realise I’ve given quite a broad topic and consequently you’ve given me a lot of different points to consider. I’m going to pull a few quotes that stand out to me and try to wrap my head around things that way…..

VEHICLE
Quote:
Originally Posted by nj swb View Post
Gen 2 tick all the boxes for your intended trip, but there is no denying that they are getting old. If you are comfortable taking on the unknowns that come with a vehicle of that age, go for it…. People are undoubtedly correct when they point out that remote areas contain many more Land Cruisers than anything else, but that doesn't bother me, so I can't say it should bother you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by erad View Post
Pajero's are no more or less reliable than most any other 4WD on the market these days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex86 View Post
I'd take either of my Gen 2s around Aus tomorrow no hesitation. But I know them both very well compared to one that was say bought only a couple months ago.
Quote:
Originally Posted by old Jack View Post
We extensively traveled Australia (2 adults and 2 kids) in the mid to late 1990's with a 10 year old LWB Jackaroo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by erad View Post
Do you really need a 4WD?
This all sounds like a Gen 2 Pajero will do the job, as well as other vehicles of a similar vintage. I think I’m a little more worried about the age than you guys, mostly because I don’t consider myself very good at troubleshooting car trouble. But it seems money might be better spent going older but having it thoroughly gone over by a trusted mechanic before we leave. What are the things to look for when buying an aging Gen 2?



Also, I actually like the idea of being different and not having a Landcruiser, I just don’t want it to hurt me when we’re on the road if/when we have mechanical trouble. Would like to go 4x4 just to have as many options available to us as possible. Want to be prepared to go about anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
Wagons, regardless of whether they have a Toyota, Nissan or Mitsubishi badge, typically only have a load capacity around 600 - 700 kg…. Do consider a dual cab ute with a canopy. Load capacity is typically closer to 1000 kg
I wasn’t aware how much more the utes were designed to carry. I will have to look into those. Given this is a Mitsubishi forum, are older Triton’s a good choice?




PARTS
Quote:
Originally Posted by nj swb View Post
Tools and spares are another potential weight trap - yes, you'll need them, but how much?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex86 View Post
Parts aren't too hard to find, but they may not be in your location.
So spare parts should definitely be packed, but given the weight issue, what are common parts that wear out on Gen 2’s? Maybe I can narrow in on what parts are/aren’t worth carrying with me. I was going to go with just 1 spare.





WEIGHT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
…putting all your bulky but light bedding on the roof makes a lot of sense, freeing up space in the back of the wagon for heavier items, which are now carried lower, improving your centre of gravity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
If you are on the road for three months, you do need to make your camping setup quick and no fuss, otherwise it quickly becomes a chore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merts View Post
A couple of dome tents and the clothes bags in a roof rack bag.
Off the top of my head, our combined body weight can’t be more than 200kg, so that leaves me with 400-500kg of packing weight right? I want to pack minimal and our current style of camping reflects that (we all went to Paradise Beach last summer for 6-7 days in a Mazda 2 – no wasted space).

I would still prefer to go without the roof tent – like I said, I really don’t want to be on the road every day anyway. And, you’ve probably heard this one before, but I actually like setting up camp.

I think we can get away without the marquee, though it would have been nice. Will probably go bigger with the tent to compensate, something like this: https://www.tentworld.com.au/buy-sal...tude-dome-tent

Bedding will be a couple of double 4wd mattresses plus pillows/blankets.

Kitchen will be a plastic foldout table, 4 foldout chairs, 2 burner stove with small bottle, plus plates/utensils.

In terms of fridge, I was thinking 50L, but is that going to be too heavy? Would be happy go smaller if it makes a big difference. Plus second battery and solar panels.

Would really like to pack bikes for the boys somehow…




OTHER
Quote:
Originally Posted by nj swb View Post
Yes, our host club is a great club - you could do worse. [IMG]file:///C:/Users/amason/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.png[/IMG]
Is it worth joining the club and then buying a vehicle through club connections?


It’s getting late and that’s all I got. Thank you again o everyone who chimed in. Really just want to get this right.


Cheers,

Al
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