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I always like to hear and see how others have their vehicles set up. So I thought I would show what we have done to mine.

Why pick a Nissan……I love ‘em. My last one travelled over 500,000km and went for some time after this, but I believe it has now died. That Nissan has been stuck on logs, bogged so badly that it had to be rescued, driven in some very remote areas, hit numerous kangaroos, done the Nullarbor nearly 150 times, had radiator damage on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, and clocked up  huge distances. It has helped re-open some extremely overgrown tracks and carried me and the camper trailer through all of it. What it achieved has surprised other 4WDrivers. It was a great vehicle and a joy to drive. The money spent buying that car was well worth it. The car has always got me home, even with a serious head problem I still managed to drive 400km to Perth and then return 800km to Norseman.

Possibly my only beef with the new Nissans is the small motor, 3l is just too small for a 2.5 tonne vehicle. I think I would prefer the tough simplicity of a turboed 4.2l straight 6. These days all the fancy electronics don't seem to add any benefit to fuel economy and when they fail, the car stops dead not to move again without technical assistance.

Once again this vehicle  has taken us to some remote places and through some nasty scrub, I think it is about as comfortable as you can get without compromising its off road ability. Maybe a military humvee might be better off road, but I would imagine them to be pretty uncomfortable for cruising the Australian bush!

Special Link

I always planned to put a "how to" page together to show how to do some basic electrical and radio connections, but never got around to it.

A mate of mine, Jason, has done it and you can visit his website and learn some interesting info from solar panels to current draw and his camping setup.

Good one Jason!

Navigation.

I use OziExplorer for navigation. I have tried a few options with laptops, and found all the new ones have screens that are far too big. We tried a small 8in LCD, but whilst it was good, it failed. We had a lot of leads running around and it was difficult to set up.

We used  an ASUS EEE PC and this worked very well. It runs from 12V, which means no inverters, and the leads are much simplified. The screen is just the right size at 7in and the whole lot is easy to use and move between passenger and driver. However, there was still the issue of mounting it.

We tried an AVNC 3000 2 DIN combined stereo and GPS navigator in the dash. We removed the in built "memory map" and put in OziExplorer CE. This device has since been removed and discarded as too un-reliable. Getting help was next to impossible and for the money spent, not worth it.

I have since replaced this with a much cheaper "Chinese" unit which runs WIN CE 5. I did this because the of the un-reliability of the AVNC. The unit I bought cost about $480 and was 25% of the AVNC price.

The only problem with any of these units is the relatively slow processor speed and having too many maps causes them to be slow when Oziexplorer indexes the maps.

I have also got a Nexus 7 with the Android version of Oziexplorer, so now I have at least two instances running in the car when we are in remote areas. This means I can run different maps without having to swap over. I still carry the EEEPC as a backup, and this has been useful when I have mucked up a map file on the SD cards. 

So with all the above, I now use the Android tablet almost exclusively witha windscrren suction mount. This works very well for use, and is far cheaper than anything else we have used, with a superb screen definition.

I learnt to read maps in the Army Reserve. Oziexplorer is absolutely brilliant, but if all the technology fails make sure you can get yourself out of the shit manually. Either carry the paper maps or ensure you can retrace your own route.

Communications

 

CB
The CB is a GME with a remote head mounted on the over head console. The transceiver is mounted behind the driver's kick panel. I have made an extension lead for the microphone to allow it to be mounted on the dash.

There are a couple of Uniden handheld radios for when walking away from the vehicle.

With the change to 80 channels I have bought a couple of Oricom handhelds and also installed a Motorola radio which I programmed with the new channels.


HF I have a Barrett 530 12 channel HF radio with the RFDS and VKS737 channels installed. The main transceiver unit is mounted on the back of the cargo barrier, the head is mounted on the floor console behind the gear selector. I made a bracket for the spare wheel carrier to hold the autotune antenna, this has the added advantage of giving a bit more space between the spare wheel and the car door so that small stones don't get stuck.

Tools etc


rear

I have drawers fitted where the rear seats were. They contain nearly all the stuff I need to take everywhere.

In one drawer are the tools and recovery equipment, including: two snatch straps, winch extension straps, a selection of shackles, socket set, spanners, miscellaneous tools, tyre repair kit, compressor, bead breaker, tyre levers,  outback first aid kit, wheel chocks, rope, 12V fluoro lamp.

The other drawer has human needs like a kettle and pots and other cooking gear, as well as head lights (for human heads at night), matches and of course a reasonable first aid kit (not some junky one from Kmart)

The rear area has a shelf made over the drawers to help with stacking other gear for a trip such as food and clothng. Next to this is an Engel fridge.

There is a half sized roof rack fitted with a kangaroo jack and shovel along with the extra spare wheel. I chose the smaller rack to ensure that overloading does not occur.




Winch
winch A non branded winch has been installed in the bull bar. The car was ordered with a winch compatible bar. The winch was easy enough to install, but I had to rotate the gear box so the lever could be accessed (Undo all the screws and simply rotate to the right spot and rescrew). The control box mounting meant the control cable would be difficult to insert, so I made up a short tail using a trailer socket and wired that to the bull bar. The end of the control cable was modified accordingly.

Spotlights

I use standard round IPF 100W spotlights. I have used them for nearly 20 years and find them excellent. I only ever use the 100W elements because I have found anything more powerful usually overheats and burns out pretty quickly. These may not be the absolute best light, but I believe they are the best bang for the buck. And I think the adjustment/mounting method is better than any Hella I have used or seen.

I have recently changed the IPF lights for a couple of Lightforce 240mm XGT lights. And I am impressed!


Tyres

In only 19000km we had 8 irreparable punctures with the standard tyres fitted to the car. This was mainly on formed gravel roads (major routes of the Pilbara) and that was both inconvenient and risky. At Newman we changed all tyres to BF Goodrich MT. We have completed some pretty rough country and they have been ok so far.


I have now gone back to standard sized BF Goodrich AT (all terrain). The constant use with the MTs on the bitumen caused them to wear badly and chop out very quickly and become unbearable noisy.


Springs

The standard coils at the rear seem to be too soft and with the drawers in and any sort of load they did not hold the weight. The coils have been replaced with Tough Dog 2" lift heavy duty springs and what a difference!


Dual Battery System


engine We have a have a dual battery system fitted by the dealer. This allows the spare battery to charge after the starting battery. There is a switch to allow the spare battery to be put in parallel across the main battery if needed. All accessories are wired to the auxiliary battery. The problem with this design is that it is still possible to flatten the start battery (main), by leaving on a light (especially the interior lights) or even running the stereo too long. Put simply both batteries could easily end up flat. However, wiring to the main battery is an issue in some cars as the in built immobiliser may sense a draining of the battery and register it as an attempt at theft and immobilise the vehicle. Unless you know how to re-activate the vehicle you could be in trouble (some need to have the key turned to on for 20minutes before and attempt can be made to start, or there may be a sequence of things you can do, but that knowledge is usually not printed anywhere for obvious reasons).

I just make real sure before I go to sleep that all systems are off (including the fridge) and I start the car early in the morning to make sure all is go. This is the only way I know of to buy peace of mind.
bay fuse Power is distributed from the auxiliary battery via a fuse block and an 80A thermal circuit breaker. The fuse block feeds the GPS and CB radio. The circuit breaker feeds the rear fuse block via 18mm cable.
rear fuse

Power in the rear is distributed via the 80A thermal circuit breaker supplying power to a rear fuse block. Another circuit breaker feeds power to a heavy duty solenoid. The solenoid is used to switch power to the input of a 600W invertor. The solenoid can be controlled from the cab so that the invertor will not drain the power when it is not required. I have since removed the invertor as we simply didn't use it.


I have since removed this as we never used it and tidied the excess wiring up. Actually, the wiring is always being modified as new things are added and the old removed.



left At each side of the drawers I have made a power unit.

The left side has a switch for the fixed compressor. It also has a cigarette light socket and a merrit socket. The cigarette socket is controlled by another switch. Above the power unit can be seen a white extra low voltage power plug.


The right hand unit has a switch to control the fridge as well as a voltmeter to show the condition of the auxiliary battery.


Cigarette sockets are usually poor quality and do not provide a good connection for anything requiring a decent amount of current., this is why I use the extra low voltage plugs and merrit sockets. But this means that all accessories need to have their power cables modified to suit.
right
 

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