Dan from Alexandra Hills in Queensland has been 4-wheel-driving with his own vehicle since about 2008. Starting with a Grandpa spec GQ then upgrading to another bog stock Patrol, this time a 2000 GU. Dan has been slowly building up the Patrol since then. Here’s what Dan said about his Adventure Rig.
Why did you choose this make/model & what do you use it for?
I had a GQ patrol which was a tank and went anywhere so I knew a GU would be just as capable. I was also getting a bit over the lack of power from the NA TD42, the rattles and uncomfortable seats so felt it was time for an upgrade. The GU had been in the family from new so I knew its history and how it has been treated. I use it as my daily and I’ve set it up for tough touring.
Where has it taken you/planned to take you?
I’ve ticked off most of the National Parks around southeast Queensland, Moreton and Fraser Island a couple of times. I have a few longer trips I want to knock over and of course the usual well-known trips are on the bucket list too, Simpson, High Country, Kimberly, Cape.
Do you have a favourite experience with the car?
Sundown national park was probably one of my favourite trips so far. There seems very few “real” off-roading destinations around SEQ so it was a great to be out in such a nice area with some actual 4-wheeling and have some fun getting to a campsite rather than just driving a graded dirt road.
What exterior mods have you done? Bar work/protection gear and what’s connected to it?
Up front is an ARB winch bar with a Runva 11XP winch, Narva 225 spotties and UHF antenna. There’s 2 small LED lights mounted under the bullbar, used as rock lights. Custom rocksliders and I’ve added alloy tread plate on top of for looks and a bit of stone protection. On the rear I have knocked up a bracket to hold a LED work light and to space the tire away from hitting the door. On the roof is a flat steel roof rack, I went the flat to keep height down & fit in the garage. The rack holds a 2x3m awning, 43” lightbar and high-lift jack.
Can you explain your suspension and driveline mods?
The car has about a 3” lift with Dobinson coils and EFS XTR shocks. Superior panhards, solid drag link, sway bar disconnect links and adjustable upper trailing arms. I’m currently running 305/70R16 KM2’s on the Dynamic Soft 8 rims.
What engine mods have you done?
The engine is mostly pretty standard, i’ve not been wanting to invest too much into the 3ltr as there isn’t much return on it. It has manual turbo control with dawes and needle valve, 3” exhaust and a Denco waterscan unit. I had a thermo fan on the intercooler but didn’t feel it did anything so I ditched that.
Tell us about the interior mods you have done?
I’ve got canvas covers on the front seats. There’s a boost and EGT gauge in a dual pillar pod and a phone cradle just below that. Below the air-con controls I’ve removed the 12v socket to make way for my switch panel. I replaced the 12v socket with a dual 12v and USB unit on the center console. The switch panel holds 6 carling switches and a dual battery monitor. The turbo timer sits just below that so all my switches are all in the one area and tidy. The standard double din stereo was replace with a pioneer single din unit and a Uniden 80ch UHF sits under that. I’ve also added a small LED strip to the top of the windscreen to light up the front interior instead of those useless standard map lights.
Tell us about your rear setup?
In the rear I have built everything custom so that it takes up the least amount of room and makes use of any available space. A slim drawer unit holds all my recovery gear, a few tools and spares on one side. On the other side is just random camping gear like pegs, ropes, 12v shower, first aid kit, lights. I removed my air compressor from the engine bay to make room for some other things so it is now mounted between the drawer unit and rear seats. On top of the drawers is the fridge slide, which also has a slide out bench underneath. Behind and beside the fridge used to be a bit of wasted space so I worked through a few ideas to make use of it. Behind the fridge I have squeezed in a dual jerry can holder, it can hold 2x 20L water containers or a 10L fits as well. It took me a while to figure out what to do with the space beside the fridge. After looking at a few electrical setups I thought I could use the space to mount switches and some other bits. I made a sort of small cargo barrier, which gives me a flat wall to work with and the mesh allows for a bit more versatility rather then using wood. At the moment it holds a 4-switch panel, anderson plug for the fridge, dual 12v plugs, fire extinguisher and cargo barrier bag. I’m looking for some clamps to mount a torch and future plans are for a small inverter and battery monitor to go on it. In the rear I also have an LED strip on the roof to light up the cargo area and there is a strip on the top of each barn door to light up around the rear of the car and inside the drawers when they’re open.
What electrical setup do you have?
There’s a dual battery system with the auxiliary deep cycle in the engine bay. The main battery powers the essentials, starting, winch and spotties. The second battery handles the fridge and all other plugs/lights/etc. I setup 2 distribution outlets for the aux battery. The front block is tucked away in the dash above the glove box, it supplies all the power for the interior accessories and relays for the switches. The rear block is in the side compartment of the drawers, it supplies the power for the rear lights, plugs, fridge and air compressor.
What is your favorite thing about your rig and what would you change if you could do it again?
My favorite thing would probably be the rear drawers. When I had my GQ I used to use a toolbox for all my recovery gear, which I would have to move in and out every time I was going somewhere and I had to strap it down. I ended up building drawers for the GQ and loved it, being able to leave everything in there and always having everything with me if I wanted to go somewhere at anytime. So I knocked up another set pretty soon after getting the GU.
Mostly I’m pretty happy with how the setup of the car has come together. If I could go back and start again with the knowledge I have now I would really only change a few things with the way the suspension is setup.
Do you have any future plans for the rig?
There’s lots! I’m just slowly working towards getting it setup to whats working best. Next on the cards is to finish replacing the last couple of stock suspension arms to heavy-duty arms, just for a bit of added peace of mind and safety that I’m not going to break anything when I’m in the middle of nowhere. Some scrub bars and a front diff lock are also on the list.