Finally, once we got back home and with a few bob in our pocket, we started to source some aftermarket gear for it. Then we headed to Outback 4WD in Bayswater, Victoria, who do all our service work, to get the first lot of goodies fitted.
First up was a bullbar to protect us from wayward animal strikes. We opted for an ARB Summit bar, which not only delivers airbag compatibility but also has a 60mm top tube, LED indicators and fog lights.
We also added a set of side rails and steps for extra protection; the OE alloy ones getting the flick for something that will give a lot more protection. The build quality and finish on this bar work is exceptional.
Tucked in behind the bar is a Warn XD9000-S winch with Warn Spydura synthetic rope. I thought long and hard about this as the Warn range of winches don’t come cheap, but their reputation is as big as the hills they help you climb, so reliability and durability won the day over any savings I could have made.
The synthetic Warn winch rope has a special braided-type construction, and it has a temperature resistant coating on the first few metres of the rope (which is the section that wraps around the drum of the winch) to set it apart from many other synthetic ropes. This helps protect the rope from the detrimental effects of the heat generated from when the winch is working under load. The synthetic winch rope has a few more advantages in the field: it’s lighter, safer to use (especially if it breaks under load), and if it breaks it can easily be joined together in the scrub.
Helping light the way is a pair of Lightforce DL230 HTX hybrid driving lights featuring a ring of 20 LEDs and a 70-watt HID light within a 170mm reflector. The LEDs provide an instant flood of wide-beam light, while the HID bulbs produce a far-reaching light that punches down the track ahead. It combines the best of both worlds in LED and HID technology, and they’re a dream to drive behind.
Combine that with Lightforce’s effective and sturdy mounting brackets and you’ve got a great light ideal for long outback drives. If there are any downsides to this light it’s that the size is too big in many situations – they just managed to tuck in behind the leading edge of the Summit bar.
Wanting to tow our camper and/or van we fitted a Hayman Reese towbar to the backend of the Cruiser. Again, these are a well-engineered and Aussie-manufactured product that sit at the very top end of design and build quality. We completed the installation with a seven-pin trailer connection and an Anderson plug to bring 12-volt power to the trailer.
A Redarc Tow-Pro trailer brake controller was also wired into the system; we’ve had one of these on our Patrol for a few years now and I wouldn’t have any other electric brake controller, simple as that!
Before we do any more work to the Cruiser, the bank account will need replenishing and the old wallet will need to be refurbished. I’m sure all who have built up a vehicle know what that is like!
DATE ACQUIRED: April 2016
KM THIS MONTH: 1100km
AV FUEL: 15.4L/100km