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Which car to buy for the pilgrimage North??

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Which car to buy for the pilgrimage North??

Old 21st Apr 2010, 12:58
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Which car to buy for the pilgrimage North??

Hi everyone

I've recently finished my CPL and MECIR and currently in the throes of ATPL fun.. but soon I will be packing my bags and heading all over Oz to find that first job. I was wondering which car would be suitable for the thousands of miles to be traveled? Should I go for a Diesel type tonka truck? or more of an Commondoor or Falcon Wagon? Or should I get a prius or a barina? Should I ride the motorbike? I'd be keen to hear from those that did lots of miles and what vehicle stories/advice people may have! Max 10k to spend. Cheers.


Last edited by ramp_boy; 21st Apr 2010 at 13:15. Reason: Budget!!!
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 13:05
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$10,000 will buy you a crappy diesel that has probably done 400,000 kms.

You might find a decent Falcon Wagon (which are cheap to maintain and easy to fix) or for something more economical maybe a Toyota Camry. A late model Hyundai Elantra is another option for something reliable and more near new - if you can find a 3 year old one it will still have 2 years warranty left on it

Last edited by 1a sound asleep; 21st Apr 2010 at 13:58.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 13:08
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For sheer reliablility, I reckon an old Toyota Corolla or Subaru station wagon. Something around mid to late 80s. My 84 Subaru just keeps going and going and in the unlikely event I get onto some rough or sandy ground, they are pretty good in 4wd due to their comparative light weight. A bike might be ok but doesn't offer much shelter from sun, rain etc.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 13:26
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a station wagon would be cheaper and allow you to fit the most crap in

aviod small cars like that plague, the long distances you'll cover especially when you begin to head west, will make them a nightmare.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 13:34
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Can't beat an old 4WD wagon or troopy. So long as you find one in good nick, it'll provide you with plenty of room to drag along some of your personal's, be reliable and provide you with some offroad recreation at the other end.

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Old 21st Apr 2010, 14:37
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Personally I paid $6,000 for a 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer with approximately 150,000km at the time over 2 years ago and since then have done almost 60,000km with no problems, it runs at about 6-7Litres to the 100km making it great on fuel economy and on a full tank of BP Ultimate i'll get about 650km out of it!

Thats what i've done my trekking in, its a bit tight but usually I can fit all my stuff into the back seat with a rather large Subwoofer in the trunk!!!
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 14:44
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If you can't get your hands on a Daewoo Espero, the manuals especially are pretty much bulletproof. I know of several that have done well over 250k with all original bits. It's basically a Holden Camira so the parts aren't that hard to source-any Holden dealership can get them.

At 100km/h you can get them down to 6.5L/100km with air con on if you're really good
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 20:54
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Falcon wagon - you can sleep in the back.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 21:11
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Any yous pilots own the black Ferrari F430 cruising Darwhines streets?
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 21:40
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Old "Palcon" Cheap,easy to resell up north and thousands of free spare parts just lying around up there.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 22:39
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I would stick with generic cars, toyota corolla and the like.

Go to the car auctions, "pickles" or "manheim-fowles".

You'll pick up a good value car for considerably less than in a car yard, if you do not know much about cars, take someone with you who does.

Take the car to your trusted mechanic and have it serviced, news tyres etc etc and off you go.

I took a 1982 mitsubishi Sigma four door, cost me $1200, spend $300 on the initial service, flogged it for a year then sold it to some indigenious folks in Kununurra for $1500.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 23:06
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Admittedly it's many years ago now but a friend who was planning a similar trip traded in his late model Japanese car for an HQ Holden. His rationale was that you could get parts off any tip anywhere in Australia!
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 23:15
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Datsun 120Y or if you want to go a bit upmarket maybe a 200B.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 23:30
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Have a look and think about what the backpackers use for their travel, they seem to just be Australian stuff like a Falcon Wagon possibly dual fuel for extended range. Lots of room for your crap and you could put a mattress in there for when you are desperate. Easy to get parts for too and you are buying Australian :-)
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 23:31
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Used to drive an old 6cyl XW Fairmont that the family had had since new. Could sleep in it with the reclining seats, and it towed a trailer to Darwin and back on near bald tyres, and did Adelaide and Cairns several times. Took the cancer out of it at 20 years, but parts got harder to source as time went on. Got to the stage, that I couldn't pass a wreckers in case they might have had something I might need later. Then that source dried up as the old shells were crushed. When away overseas it rusted gracefully, finally sold it to someone who would restore it again last year.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 23:33
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I took the trusty VL dragging a caravan (so I had somewhere to live) cost me a fortune on petrol. Well back then anything over 80c a litre was just crazy. I tried my best to kill it but they just don't die.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 00:40
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The cheapest most fuel efficient and reliable car you can afford. Fuel is not cheap up north, running a thirsty landcruiser or Patrol size engine is not for the lowly paid single engine GA Pilot. You will never be able to afford to go anywhere and it will cost you $2000 to drive it from the southern capitals to the proven northern locations at todays fuel prices.

A Suzuki Sierra/Vitara would not be a bad idea if it is a hard top with Aircon. Otherwise get yourself a Corolla/Echo/Yaris or a Pulsar. Stay away from Astras/Vectras. Airconditioning is essential for your own sanity.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 00:42
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Just to clarify, dual fuel will not always give you extended range.

Engines chew more gas than petrol, and depending on your vehicle, you sometimes have to swap out the standard petrol tank for a smaller one so that you can fit the gas tank.
Or you will lose a lot of boot space in other cases.

Gas isn't available everywhere either.

Best things to look for are utes (dual cab if you want to carry extra people from time to time!) and a canopy over the tub is handy, proper 4wds (Pajeros, Cruisers, Patrols etc- heaps of mods can be done to them and you can have fun with these along the way or at the destination by exploring off the black top), typical AWD softroaders and station wagons.
Storage space is what you need, as you might have to pack your life into the car and move around more than once!

Diesel probably is the way to go. I've seen it cheaper than petrol in a lot of places outside the city. For the equivalent petrol engine in the same model, diesels consume less per 100/km.

Whatever you get, a proper, major service before making the trek is an absolute must. Replace the timing belt/chain, the fan belts, water pump, plugs, flush the coolant and get any radiator problems sorted, new tyres if the current ones look a bit old. New battery. And obviously change all your other fluids and oils.
Frontal protection and driving lights are also beneficial items in case you find yourself on a remote road getting dark- be wary of animals!!

Spending a bit of money before going may save you more in the long run- do you know how much it costs to get a tow in the middle of nowhere? Heaps.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 00:59
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A 2wd ute would also be handy for a pilot. You might need to carry fuel drums or some freight etc, would be handy for the operator too if you had your own.

Ps a rello recently drove a dedicated factory gas falcon ute to Darwin and Broome up the centre with no major issues except broken bowser at Halls Creek so gas / dual fuel is still a good option.

Maybe a small diesel hilux 2.8 would be good.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 01:39
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A small Japanese wagon of some sort, so you can sleep in the back if required.
Make sure to carry jumper leads as well, because the inconsiderate b'tards that build airports always do it on flat ground so it's very hard to roll-start a tired car.
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