G'day

Ron0z

Active Member
The last 4x4 I drove was a J40 Toyota. It was a company vehicle and in my job I would occasionally have need of it. It was mostly for being able to get in and out of building sites. That would have been in the early '70s I think. It was a diesel, smelly, and gutless. I also wasn't convinced it had much to offer in the way of a go anywhere vehicle. Let me explain.

I had a memorable experience where I had to take a drive down a county track. The ground was hard packed but wet because of some recent rain. The track was nearly perfectly horizontal, but there was this tiny spot where it dipped and a few puddles had formed. The car started to slip and pretty soon I was going nowhere. I was surprised. This was one of my first experiences in driving a 4x4 and I got stuck. It wasn't a big deal. I just rocked it back and forward (reverse/forward/reverse etc) until there was enough momentum to keep me going forward and I got on my way. But I was curious about what had happened.

I was a bit silly, but I was young.

I got out and walked around the vehicle. There was mud on the ground. It was soft and my shoes were sinking into it for all of about half an inch, but it was hard underneath. This was no deep bog. My initial thought was, that's nothing. Why is it stuck?

Before driving off, as noted above, I started the engine, put it into gear, and released the clutch, but I was going nowhere. I looked out the window and could see the back wheel turning, but I couldn't see the front. Here's the silly bit: I hopped out the car.

The engine is still running. It's still in gear. And I'm standing next to the thing watching the back wheel go around and round but not going anywhere. The front wheel is stationary. I'm wondering if it's actually in 4WD. So, I walk around to the other side (that's the silly part) and spot the other side front wheel rotating but the back wheel is stationary. So here we have the LHF and RHR wheels driving but slipping, and the LHR and RHF wheels stationary. I hopped back in and as mentioned got on my way again.

If one of the other wheels suddenly gripped I doubt there would have been any harm done. I was in the middle of a huge paddock and the track was not much different from the rest of the terrain, and there were no trees or rocks that I noticed. I wouldn't have got out, otherwise. I would probably have been able to run after the thing.

It made me think though. If there's no LSD then the best a 4WD vehicle has to offer is 2WD and of course the best a 2WD car has to offer is 1WD. This, of course, is a slight exaggeration, but the essence of it is true.

So, all these years later, here I am interested in buying a 4x4. A second hand car. I've been looking at country properties, and I might need a 4WD to gain access. But what kind? My neighbour said get the property then you'd know what kind of 4WD to get. True, but what if the property I'm bound to fall in love with is only accessible by 4WD. If I can't get to it to view the place I'm never going to know whether I want it or not.

So, I've been looking at the car ads. I've been reading up on the various opinions of people who publish on the web on 4x4s. And trying to understand some of the technical issues. I'll have a few questions that I hope you can help out with.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
The old completely open diff days are fairly far in the past now.
If I had a dollar for the number of times I dry bogged the 80 series on the thick grass at the farm at Connondale I’d be rich. My wife’s forester with all its traction aids would make that cruiser look silly on grass. Then we could go up the old logging tracks and the tables would turn.
If it’s just coming and going, a decent AWD is fine, but they are soon outclassed up in the back paddocks. How many farms have both A Subaru and a Tilly Ute? I think your mate might have been onto something.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
Welcome Ron, please let people know your budget and as much as possible about your intended use when asking questions.

Have fun.
 

Rusty Panels

Well-Known Member
I don't think much was known about 4wding back in the early days. The tyres weren't that great for starters "Roadtrack Majors or Roadtrack Majors" that was about all you could choose from.
The old 40 series were great vehicles and would go just about anywhere. I had an 80 model short wheel base diesel and it was a brilliant little truck.
Many modern vehicles use a combination of smoke and mirrors to do what they do. Using traction control and ABS to get grip where it's needed. Pretty clever really, but I still like the old technology. Less is more!

Welcome to the site, you're surrounded by friendly, helpful blokes. :)
 

Ron0z

Active Member
Thanks for being so welcoming.

It'll be a used vehicle I'll be buying, and probably under $6,000. I've owned a ute since about the 1980s and I'm inclined to consider a 4WD ute. I've got a camper that fits my Falcon ute that might go on a 4WD ute. I don't know as I haven't had a chance to measure anything yet. Thankfully, there's a good range of utes to chose from.

My thoughts, to date are as follows, which is really mostly what I've picked up from the web.

Fuel economy is important. I see that diesel does better than petrol in that regard, but I fancy an older diesel engine (particularly with turbo) could be asking for trouble. Expensive engine repairs. I feel okay about pulling spark plugs every now and again for maintenance, but diesel injectors and pumps are a job for a garage. Plus the fact you can't stop them leaking on your driveway.

I'd like a vehicle where all 4 wheels keep turning; my early experience I mentioned is firmly stuck in mind.

It would be good if it included high and low range.

I'm really, really disappointed so few of the older models don't have an air conditioner or cruise control as standard, and that will influence me.

I haven't looked any further than on the web. I've been gathering information on what each model has or hasn't from the Red Book. It seems to have some very useful information, but I don't know how accurate it is.

So, it's very early days for me. Not ranked in any way, my initial look has been taking in Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50 or Bravo, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, and Toyota Hilux. I would like to have considered Ford Ranger but they seem to be higher priced.

4-door utes seem a nice idea but cargo space is more important, so they're out. There are some 2-door utes that have extra space behind the seats. Good for storage or a place for the dogs to sit. My Falcon ute is like that and I love it. I see that both Mazdas have that too, as does the Ford Ranger. I don't know what else.

I've been looking on Carsales but some of the prices people want are so stupid. I haven't checked the Trading Post yet. I've also been looking at auction houses. There's a local one in Canberra (Allbids), then there's Grays, and Pickles. The prices at the auction houses are more realistic, but as you don't get to test drive them you could end up buying a lemon. To say nothing of having to pick it up from interstate. Some of the descriptions are unhelpful too. Gray's are not too great (eg. Engine turns over: Yes) informative but not informative; Pickles points out where the paint chips are, but little about mechanicals; Allbids reports things like 'runs and drives well' or 'engine light on' or 'smoke from exhaust' which is okay but no notion of whether that smoke is steam, a rich mixture, or burning oil.

There are some technical issues I need to understand, but that can come later. I'm just happy I found a good spot where I can ask some questions.
 

linuxfan66

Active Member
if you want to pay only 6k you might as well quit now. the age of paying that for a good one especially a good older diesel is dead
 

duncan_m

New Member
It made me think though. If there's no LSD then the best a 4WD vehicle has to offer is 2WD and of course the best a 2WD car has to offer is 1WD. This, of course, is a slight exaggeration, but the essence of it is true.

Lol.. here's me finishing the Canning in 2019 in my 2WD "J40". No lockers, no LSD and no interest in either. The Canning was one of 100s I've done in 40s including many that featured the muddy tracks you seem to think its not capable of including (recently) the Vic High Country in winter and the Holland Track after significant rain.

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linuxfan66

Active Member
Lol.. here's me finishing the Canning in 2019 in my 2WD "J40". No lockers, no LSD and no interest in either. The Canning was one of 100s I've done in 40s including many that featured the muddy tracks you seem to think its not capable of including (recently) the Vic High Country in winter and the Holland Track after significant rain.

View attachment 73015
how many kangaros has that survived
 

Ron0z

Active Member
An interesting idea Todd, but what do you mean by a locker? Do you mean a LSD or something else?
 

itlldoo

Well-Known Member
do a search on diff locks and view down the rabbit hole, plenty of data to analyse there !
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
So, all these years later, here I am interested in buying a 4x4. A second hand car. I've been looking at country properties, and I might need a 4WD to gain access. But what kind? My neighbour said get the property then you'd know what kind of 4WD to get. True, but what if the property I'm bound to fall in love with is only accessible by 4WD. If I can't get to it to view the place I'm never going to know whether I want it or not.
I live in a rural mountain area. My neighbour has a 30 or so years old stock standard single cab non turbo diesel Triton 4wd that still runs very well. He drives it all over his property, into town and occasionally to a large city about two hours away.

At any time in our nearby town, you will see many 4wd utes of all makes and ages that are doing the same thing.

I have a 2003 and a 1991 Hilux. The 03 has 206,000 ks on it and the 91 434,000. Both are still going very well. Both are diesel with no turbo.

Any of the popular utes will do what you want to do, you just have to find one that is still running well.

As for modifications: I would only alter the design of a car on a needs basis.

The first time I drove the 03 was in the Blue Mountains near Lithgow. It stopped a couple of times on steep hills with the front wheels spinning and the rear with its LSD doing the same. I installed an automatic locking diff in the front only, high diff, gear box and transfer case breathers, a snorkle with a pre cleaner, HF and UHF radio and have never looked back.

It has taken us over many of the popular Victorian High Country tracks plus dozens of very remote desert tracks that rarely, if ever, get any maintenance without any problems.

When you find one that suits you, don't start installing any aftermarket parts unless they are absolutely necessary.

With every alteration, you gain something and you loose something. Everyone knows what they have gained but few know what they have lost. That loss could have an adverse effect on anything from vehicle reliability to dangerous street handling in emergency situations.

I may have left you wondering what a auto locking diff is. It is a diff that can be installed front or rear. It is operated by engine torque and road applied torque.

It is rare for two wheels on the same axle to turn exactly together, even on a freeway. If you are going around a corner for example on a bush track, the inside wheel will be driven by the engine. The outside wheel will have a longer distance to travel so it rolls ahead of the other one driven by its contact with the ground.That is road applied torque.

If the engine driven wheel looses traction, the diff will.lock both wheels together instantly. As soon as one rolls ahead again be it something like a corner, down a hole or up over a rock, the diff will unlock and let the that wheel roll ahead again.

With this type of diff, the steering will feel slightly heavier. With a fully locked diff, both wheels will be locked together all the time and the steering will be much heavy and the car may want to.keep going in a straight line.

There are a few good 10 to 15 minute videos on U Tube on installing a front auto locking diff that also explain why you should have one at the front. They are available for the rear as well.
 

Ron0z

Active Member
non turbo diesel Triton 4wd that still runs very well
I used to have a Nissan EXA with turbo. Small car. Went like a rocket. You could actually feel yourself being pushed into the seat when the turbo kicked in. Then the turbo stuffed itself. The repair cost near as much as the car was worth. So buying an old vehicle with a turbo worries me. Nice to hear your neighbour's diesel runs well.

It stopped a couple of times on steep hills with the front wheels spinning and the rear with its LSD doing the same.
It must have been a really steep hill if the LSD wasn't helping. I had read something somewhere that suggested LSDs do slip. I always had the impression they locked up completely when one wheel starts to spin.

I installed an automatic locking diff in the front only
Is that the modern version of locking hubs - the things where people used to have to get out and engage each front hub manually to engage or disengage?

With every alteration, you gain something and you loose something.
I don't doubt it. Sounds like good advice.

Much obliged to you.
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
I had read something somewhere that suggested LSDs do slip.

They do slip, that is why they are called Limited Slip Diffs.


I always had the impression they locked up completely when one wheel starts to spin.

No, that is what a locked diff does


Is that the modern version of locking hubs - the things where people used to have to get out and engage each front hub manually to engage or disengage?


I don't doubt it. Sounds like good advice.

Much obliged to you.
 
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