Our 4WD

We sold our Patrol quite a while ago and some of you may notice we have been using our sons Isuzu Dmax to tow our camper.

This wasnt a long term solution so after waiting a very long time for the right 4WD to come up at a price we were happy to pay we finally bought an Isuzu MUX.

Its first outing.....a little 4wd test ;)



Why sell a tough as nails Nissan Patrol with the bullet proof 4.2TD engine you may ask........well it was getting a lot of kays on it and we made the decision to sell it while they were still getting good resale value and we also felt it was time to update.

So we sold it for more than we paid for it (the market dictated the price not us) and went on the look out for a suitable replacement.

Why an Isuzu MUX? Good question as it is not your main stream 4WD.

I think when you spend a lot of money (well a lot for us) on a vehicle you need to own it and keep it for a long period of time to get the value or minimise your losses.

This is not always the case with a lot of vehicles purely because they depreciate so much it makes it impossible to keep them for a long time and not loose a lot of money. So that is why some people like to lease or trade cars in when they are still new and update on a yearly basis, but thats not us.

So you need to choose wisely if you are the type of people who hang onto their cars.  If there is one thing I have been gifted with in life, it is knowing a thing or two about cars and in particular which ones are reliable, which ones give what problems and importantly what they are really worth now and what they will be worth as they depreciate.

Lets look at some examples.
A 4.2TD Nissan Patrol in 2002 new was $50k-$55k depending on a few options.
If you jump on carsales and have a look, the 2002 models are selling from $25k-$35k still today in 2017. 
So a 15 year old car even though yes is has depreciated it has only depreciated around 45-50% of its original value. Or the owner has lost around $1500 per year of owning it the raw cost when new versus value when sold 15 years later. I think thats great value and I can assure you they are a very reliable vehicle.
However if you look at the same vehicle but in a petrol 4.8ltr, they still cost around $50k-$55k new but they are only worth around $12k-$20k second hand today and if it was the very unreliable 3ltr DI diesel engine then they are only worth anything from $5k-$12k if you were unfortunate enough to buy one!
So it is very important to know a bit more than just what brand tends to hold its value.

Lets look at something that may be on the other end of the scale like a Toyota Prado. In 2002 a Diesel Prado cost $55k-70k new and on carsales today they sell for around $10K. 
 So thats around $3300 per year. I wont comment on the reliability of them because to be honest I am not a student of them but I am pretty sure they had some rather expensive injector problems.

Now that we have established my logic of how I judge motor vehicles in regards to value lets look back to the original question of why an Isuzu MUX.

Some may say it is too early to tell what an Isuzu MUX will be worth in 15 years time but I disagree. If we work on the theory that anything under $1500 a year depreciation is great if the vehicle is reliable and anything over that is starting to be costly especially if you are spending money fixing things Im very confident the Isuzu range of vehicles will be outstanding for long term owners.

Isuzu have been making reliable vehicles in the way of Holden Rodeo's for years but more importantly they have a fearsome reputation in the truck industry for outstanding reliability.
Why are trucks relevant, well the new Isuzu Ute Range of vehicles (Dmax Ute and MUX) use the 4JJ1 truck engine that has been around for years. This engine is B10 rated, which in short means you will easily get 500,000 klm's from it before its showing signs of wearing out. Yes, half a million kilometres. Its a truck engine remember and not only that it is very low stressed in the Ute configuration. They only need to produce around 130kw of power and 400Nm of torque when in the Dmax's or MUX's so even though they are capable of so much more (like they do in the trucks) they are not running anywhere near their capacity....hence such a long life.

So we know the engine is a leader. So is the transmission. They use Aisin transmissions which again are world leaders in reliability.
The Dmax ute and MUX share the same FULL Chassis. No monocoque body here. They are built tough. The use a proper transfer case to deliver the 4WD not a centre diff or any other pretend 4WD function, they are a real 4WD just like your Nissan Patrols...albeit with IFS not a solid axle front end :(
If there is an area that the Isuzu falls short it is on fancy features. Yes they have leather trim, sat nav, all the safety features, full climate control, video and audio for all 7 passengers and of course their beauty can only be in the eye of the beholder but they dont have heated steering wheels or automatic wipers and they use a lot of hard plastics in their interiors.
So they have everything you need but nothing thats not totally necessary, perfect for a 4WD that gets used as 4WD if you ask me and they are priced accordingly which is important.

Yes being priced accordingly is very important because it brings me back to the initial discussion of why one of these will be great value in 15 years time.

They will hold their value because of what I just outlined. That is a fact. That is why vehicles hold value...its all about long term reliability, function and initial purchase price.

I will go out on a limb and say that in 15 years time you will be hard pressed to find an MUX under $20k that was purchased new for $50k. And if you were clever like some and bought a top fo the range run out model to save on those silly new car costs and only paid around $45k then your on a winner if you buy one of these. Phew Im glad I got all that out. And if course I am not biased or anything but I do own www.ozisuzu.com.au ;)

We straight away started to add things to it to make it a more practical vehicle for us.

Dual Battery is important for us as we use a fridge on occasions and like to power other items when we dont have our camper with us.



We added various style 12v sockets to run off the second battery in convenient locations.


An oil catch can is a must for any diesel engine if you dont want to soot up your engine due to the pollution laws on new cars these days. What you cant see is that we also use an EGR restricting plate as well to work in conjunction with the catch can.

The catch can is the cylinder with the two hoses going to it.



We like to transport our Kayaks and some other long items such as our 30 second tent so a roof rack was important to us.

And of course if you have a roof rack you may as well have an awning for those rare occasions you use them. And if your roof rack makes a wind noise that annoys you then an easy solution is a light bar in front of it....all this of course comes at a small fuel usage cost for all that extra drag.





They come with privacy glass all round from the factory except for the two front side windows so window tinting finishes it off.



We built a storage system for the back to hold our fridge and give us some drawers for other items when we are touring or camping without the camper.




And of course we like to use our 4WD for towing our camper so we installed a quality brake controller for the campers electric brakes.



And here it is being used.


I deliberately left the Patrol build below for prosperity.
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Here is our Mighty Patrol :)

She is a 1999 4.2 Factory Turbo Diesel with quarter of a million kilometres on the clock and still as tough and reliable as the day she rolled of the assembly line.

When I bought it, it was a one owner, never been off road and being used as a soccer mums car so it was in very good condition. Poor old got a shock when I got a hold of her!

The day I bought it.


Not long later the highway tyres were replaced with BFG Muddys and a set of Lightforce 240's were installed.



I then painted the flares black, in hindsight I wish I left them red.


Installed a roof rack but not before cutting it down smaller to make it more of a roof top tent rack and fitted some front recovery points.



Installed a 12000lb winch and cradle


Put an extra 12v socket and USB plug in the front and made some shovel holders for the roof rack.


I then made some draws and a fridge slide.





 I then made a roof console to hold my UHF, DVD screen for the kids and the various switches.




 I put a second battery system in, some more 12v plugs in the rear and removed the door trims and replaced them with stainless so the draws didnt damage the originals.



 And just to show how she has served us over the years here are some pics of her being used as Nissan intended :)





 All packed up and ready for a top end adventure



Being used for its intended purpose :)


Reluctantly around the end of 2014 we decided to sell this old beast as she was getting a bit old in the tooth and the decision was made to sell while it still had some good value.

Over the next year or so we will be replacing it with a new 4WD but the one we have in mind will take quite a while to come onto the market second hand at the prices we are willing to pay.
So in the meantime we will make do with out a 4wd.


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