Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….


Home away from home

Our car and van

We had a 3.0L Nissan Patrol but knew that we would have to get a vehicle that had a larger towing capacity as we had just bought a 2nd hand 2008 25′ Jayco Sterling caravan.  We bought our van from the most loveliest family (Hi Steve and Mandy) who had done their tour of Oz and were looking to return to Victoria minus their van, which was very lucky for us!:)

Even though we loved our Patrol, we knew it would struggle to tow (legally) our van so we looked out for a 2006/2007 100 series L/C.  We finally found it but it needed a few more accessories to be able to offroad safely, like we wanted to.  Currently we live in Karratha, WA, so we went to the 4WD and Camping show in Perth and met up with Marcus and Glen from Ultimate 4WD Equipment and before you know it we had signed over many pennies and significantly upgraded the vehicle.  We had wanted to get the work done before we left Perth (in a week’s time, from the show) and the guys managed to fit us in.  All the guys were very friendly, knowledgeable and their work has been outstanding. We have since returned for further ‘upgrades’ and we would highly recommend them. I know this is normally a male thing but I was just as excited as Joel to get all this work done to the vehicle as we share the driving and my dad was a mechanic so i was used to ‘car-talk’.

We ended up doing the following to the vehicle:

  • Steel ARB winch bullbar
  • Dual Wheel carrier(with Hi-lift jack, shovel hldr and aerial mount)
  • Dual Battery system
  • 170L long range tank fitted
  • Rocktamers
  • Blue Max 2″ Coil and Shocks Suspension Upgrade
  • Safari Snorkel
  • Airbags to rear coils (‘cos the van is quite heavy and we found we needed the bags)
  • Lightforce HID Spotties
  • Ironman winch
  • DP Chip
  • UHF radio and antenna
  • Cargo barrier and drawers
  • 60L Engel and drop slide

We also had an ARB airlocker, compressor and overhead console fitted by the team at ARB Canningvale.  We had chatted to John at the 4WD show as well and found him to be very pleasant and helpful.

Our van is not an offroad van so we had the axles underslung at Care-a-van, another very friendly and helpful team.

We have made shelving to fit inside the cupboards of the caravan, for both the kids and us as the hanging space in the wardrobes is such a waste of space – now we have lots more storage space.

We also plan to 4WD to places like the Gibb River Rd and Cape York, which means we could not take our van.  We wanted a tent that would be easy to put up and take down and still fit the four of us comfortably.  We decided on a Black Wolf Turbo Lite 300 tent.  Got a great deal at Ranger Camping in Cockburn, as we also bought a few more camping items there as well and we lucked being in Perth when there was a 20% off sale on at the time!

Well our house in Perth finally settled so Joel has been able to give his notice at work so now it’s time for final packing of the van and house, sorting bills, paperwork, etc.  It seems never ending at times but we are all getting very excited:)

Joel has been busily organising a few more additions to the vehicle; an extra water tank for the car for when we are 4WDriving, a travelling pack for the roof rack, new tyres and installation of an in-dash GPS. 

The caravan is getting an engineered bumper put on it, that has a reece hitch in it so we can put our bike rack on the rear of the van and take our 4 bikes.  I know a lot of people will be concerned but there are handles on the rear of the van to help tie down the bikes so they don’t ‘bounce’ and fall off.  We won’t be doing any speed laps so shouldn’t be a problem, and will add some photos when the van gets back tomorrow.

Joel has bought 2 x solar panels which he will fit onto the van in the next week or so.  He has already re-wired the van as he wanted another battery and to change where they sat so now he just needs to finish installing the panels on the van. Will add photos of them when he’s done.


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