We had never owned a 4WD before purchasing a secondhand Toyota Land Cruiser. We owned a dual cab ute, but this wasn’t going to cut it when it came to towing a family caravan around Australia on a road trip.
They are typically light, and overlooking the marketing spiel, tend to be light on in their true legal towing capacity. We wanted something that could easily and safely tow a family sized caravan.
We bought the caravan before buying the car, intentionally. We didn’t want to compromise on our living space for a whole year, so got that right before we decided what could actually tow it. We would do it this way again in the future too.
We ended up having to go to the top of the pile, the Toyota Land Cruiser, and boy are we glad we did. We purchased a second hand 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Sahara, complete with a GVM and GCM upgrade taking it’s GCM up to a whopping 7.3 tonnes. From a GVM perspective we have 3.8 tonnes to play with. It all ended up being perfect for the job.
When looking for a tow vehicle there ended up being 2 available at that time in Australia on the second hand market (GVM & GCM Upgrade), a base model in South Australia, and the Sahara with all of the bells and whistles just down the road from us. It ended up costing $60K (well over our original $50K budget) but it has been the purchase that has really made this trip. At purchase it had just over 160,000kms on the clock.
Doing our research, the diesels are very good engines, ‘still running in’ right up to the 300K mark. The only real risk is the injectors needing replacement around that 200K mark, which will be a big expense but should give the car a new lease of life.
The car has 18 inch rims and the tyres were All Terrains in really good condition. It had spot lights out the front, a nudge bar and sidesteps. We got it weighed in before and after fitting it out for our road trip big lap of Australia.
We have tackled the Old Telegraph Track up at Cape York (North and South parts of the OTT), the CREB Track, we’ve done 4WD tracks in the Flinders Ranges, driven on the beach near Kalbarri and camped in some stunning locations like Cape Leveque without the van.
When we got the vehicle it was fairly empty and lacking a setup for full time travel around Austraila. We purchased second hand drawers, a second hand cage/barrier and fit a REDARC DCDC system complete with solar panel to manage a rear lithium auxiliary battery.
We fit a 60L Engel Fridge/Freezer in the back to enable us to store additional food and drinks beyond what the caravan could hold. It also meant we were set up to go camping, with our camping gear in the box on the roof, the fridge and one of the drawers as a pantry.
To the roof we added that solar panel mentioned earlier, a luggage cage to store our max tracks, firewood and camping gear in a waterproof box. We also have an awning fit to the side, allowing us to set up a bit of shade at the beach or basically anywhere we want to from a day stop or camping overnight.
We have a number of upgrades we are wanting to do or will do in the future. Travelling Australia and doing road trips is something we will do well into the future. On the cards next are more lighting to the rear of the car, and under the awning, a fitted air compressor and a full time water tank. All things I think we can do ourselves, fitting within the current confines and specs of the vehicle.