Better the Devil?…

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When I bought my current Landcruiser just over 12 months ago I hadn’t noticed how gutless it was. I took it for a short test drive, but didn’t give it a real workout. It went well, was in amazing condition, with very low kms (180K for a 1985!), not a skerick of rust and was a huge bargain. So I jumped in… and it has been a very reliable and comfortable car. A real classic in fact!

It just isn’t fast, nor does it have any kind of punch. Sadly I no longer have the ability to spin my wheels at the lights. Even in gravel it just slowly cruises away…And when we go on holidays our chances of ever overtaking anyone are minimal.

The problem(s)

a) a 3F motor – translated ‘tractor’. Bulletproof, indestructible, but not pokey

b) automatic gear box – further slows it down

c) LPG – drops the power by another 10%. We would change to petrol if we thought we had a chance of overtaking someone while on holidays!

This is all kinda acceptable when most of your driving is around the local area, but imagine 25000kms around Oz towing some kind of campertrailer / caravan…

Ok, so the speed limit is 100km/hr, which would be us on a downhill run with everyone leaning forwards. But hit a few hills and the old girl will grind to a 60-70km crawl. Having towed a heavy boat for a few years I know its capacity.

So the question that arises again is whether we should upgrade. We have a very reliable old beast that I reckon would make the trip around Oz without batting an eyelid. It’d just be a tad slow.

Or we could get something a bit more powerful… (like a Daihatsu Charade…)

One of the reasons I like driving cheap cars is because – well – they are cheap! And secondly you don’t need to insure them comprehensively. A huge saving each year… So long as you get a good old beast and keep it looked after you can do ok.

But I’m wondering if we will go crazy travelling around Oz in the old funbus?…

Just thinking out loud…

Is it worth another 10K to get a car that might be more enjoyable to drive?… Or should we just suck it up and chug around the country in a tractor with side panels?

So what would you do?…

21 thoughts on “Better the Devil?…

  1. Can your pocketbook afford the purchase? Or, would you move from b*****d to busted? I’d shop around until close to departure time and make the decision then…..but that’s just me.

  2. Considering I did Cairns to Brisbane in a 1980s Falcon I’m probably not the best person to advise on car purchases – especially as the AC didn’t work in the old beast. Personally, I’d go for ride, comfort and reliability over speed on the long haul.

  3. Ah – all good ideas…

    I think I am realising that $$$ is a key issue for me in all of this. I simply don’t believe in spending huge $$ on cars.

    Then again – you definitely get what you pay for and I may need to pay a little more to get something a little more enjoyable to drive.

    Picture yourself in the Adelaide hills towing a caravan – driving at 50km per hr for most of it.

    Then again… nice way to see the hills ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mate,

    a lot of your recent posts seem to revolve around a sense of powerlessness – a shift in your sense of call/vocation in your local community, young punks who won’t listen to you and now a car that is just too slow.

    I wonder if they are not all connected in some way? Not meaning to psychoanalyse just something that i thought was interesting.

    If none of it is linked I still reckon go with the slow car – why spend extra money to get yourself somewhere extra quick only to have to drive on by because you don’t have the money to enjoy yourself??? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    peace, matt

  5. Tough Question.

    Most of me says stick with the current car, why spend more money and everything else people above have said.

    But the other part of me remembers how nearly EVERY DAY on my way to work(i drive 50km’s in the South West of WA) I get stuck behind slow camper vans/caravan drivers and it annoys the BUGGERY out of me, so in that sense I say get the slightly more powerful car for other peoples benefit…

    Tough one.

  6. some of you guys way overthink things…I’m looking in your direction o-endup!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Buy some extractors for it, and a 2.5 inch sports exhaust (specify you want ‘cherry bombs’ mufflers…or something quiet, you dont want ‘booming’ all the way round OZ)

    You should get back the power you lost through the gas conversion (about 5-10%)

    If you have the extra cash you could also get a better inlet manifold and a decent carbie. If it is the fuel injected model, get the injection serviced…it will make a big difference.

    Also those ones had issus with the coil, and it may have the original one, so you should replace the coil with a brand newie, preferably a performance one, but even a new standard one will help. (This is not expensive at all) and I would shell out on some excellent spark plugs as well. If you are serious get “golden lodges” which will set you back about $12 each, if they do them for the Cruisers…I have heard of some guys fitting them.

    Make sure the cooling system is serviced, particularly if you do get a bit more power.

    Now…if you do indeed have the Freudian issues that Mat is alluding too….you could always fit a supercharger. Probably blow them thing up just out of Darwin…but it will be fun while it lasts.

  7. What Mark said – keep the reliable but spend up on it – serious work in re-empowering – or re-powering your engine.

    All the little things you add into your existing solid workhorse add the power.

    There, I did I cover both physical and metaphysical?

    And go the high performance add-ons, do it ASAP as well so that you’ll know if you have the extra grunt you need.

  8. You did say you wanted to see Oz. at least it wont be a blur!

    If you want to get rid of the old beast I’ll take it.

  9. hmmmm…

    Or you could just bail on the trip around Oz, keep the old cruiser, save some extra $$$, hours on the road and lotsa carbon emissions… Just to play the devil’s advocate.

  10. Reliability is the key mate. At 100km/hr (towing speed)you won’t get to pass anything anyway. The Toyota will be heaps better for parts as well. I had to wait 3 days in Parraburdoo for a brake caliper last year and 2 days in Karratha for a tyre to suit my Jackaroo. Have just spent the last 2 w/ends camping with an old camper and the family, great times.

  11. Yeah – there’s a lot to be said for the ole girl.

    I’m not sure I can eke enough power out to make her fun to drive, but it realy is the low cost option!

  12. Not sure what the gas prices are where you are – but, at almost $4.00 a gallon – you would not be able to unload a Landcruiser here in Texas(unless you gave it away).

    With our son now driving (a 4WD Tahoe that we bought last year before gas went crazy) – I had to ask my husband if Chevron had taken over our mortgage payment. With 3 of us driving, the monthly gas bill was almost equal to my monthly mortgage on our 2400 sq ft house!

  13. Kelly, gas here literally means gas – LPG to be precise. What you call gas we call petrol. LPG is about 1/3 the price of petrol, here.

    Hamo, there’d be places I’d be out of my skin only being able to do low speed, other places I’d be happy to have the pocket money instead of a shiny car. Regardless, I hate buying cars. I’d probably opt for trying to make the slow trip more comfortable probably – DVD players for the kids, Sound system, GPS so I don’t get lost across the nullabor ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck deciding.

  14. Kelly our price of Petrol (Gas) is $5.80 per gallon.

    The LPG works out about $2.66/Gall.

    Hamo just the trip around OZ is at least 20000Km therefore you will be looking at $5000 just in Gas assuming an average price of 1.00/l and the old beast using 20L/100km. Petrol would easily double this amount if not tripple it.

  15. David:

    Yes we have budgeted on 25000km at $1.00/l on average for lpg.

    Its a lot of $$$ but then we’d probbaly do that amount back here anyway!

  16. anti-clockwise is shorter, save you some money that way….but i would hate to be stuck behind an old landy trying to tow, top speed about 80km in the 110km zones? I would actually feel bad for the people behind me too, but then as you have previously stated, your a bit of a bastard so you would probably live with it eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. i fluctuate…

    I’m still looking and if the right car pops up then maybe I’ll jump…

    As much as I’dbe the bastard driving the slug on wheels I’d still rather be in something a little more grunty!

  18. Hamo – pulled up at the petrol station and the attendant said – could you please turn your engine off you’re gainning on me!!!

    Patrols still have heavier running gear.

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