Jimmy picked up a cheap secondhand Hilux, and he’ll keep us updated on the trials and tribulations of building a 4×4 tourer on a budget.
While the guys down in the Melbourne office have been playing around with their shiny new Ford Ranger, throwing every accessory possible at it to build the ultimate tourer, I thought it would be a bit of fun to see what could be achieved with a bit more of a budget-conscious build.
I’ve started with a tried and true Aussie favourite in the form of a KUN26 Toyota Hilux 3.0-litre turbo-diesel manual dual cab. To keep costs down, the vehicle was purchased sight-unseen from an ex-fleet auction for $10K. Admittedly, this was a bit of a risk, but fortunately once the car arrived and we gave it the once over it turned out to be a solid purchase, with a good service history and only minor cosmetic wear and tear.
With 150,000km showing on the odometer, the Hilux’s engine required a timing belt change, and the wheels and tyres have definitely seen better days. The Hilux ticked all the boxes when it came to starting with a good platform to build a solid tourer on, and I reckon it will give Matt’s Ranger a run for its money at a fraction of the price.
APAC 4×4 on the Sunshine Coast has graciously offered its workshop and will be helping with all the fitment and advice throughout the build, and they’ll also build a custom tray for the Hilux. The team at APAC 4×4 offer complete vehicle fit-outs, custom fabrication services and have been manufacturing high-tech systems for the defence, energy and telecommunications sectors for many years.
There’s a shedload of accessories available for the popular KUN26 Hilux, and we kicked things off by fitting a heap of EFS equipment including an Adventure Stockman bullbar, a 10,000lb Recon R10 winch, nine-inch Vividmax LED driving lights, and a 19-inch Vividmax LED light bar.
4×4 history: 50 years of the Hilux
With a quick trip up to the Glasshouse Mountains to give the Hilux an off-road shakedown, it soon became clear why this model has been a staple for off-road enthusiasts for many years. The engine provides decent performance and the Hilux offers a great combination of off-road capability and on-road ride comfort.
On our example, braking performance is questionable, ground clearance is on the low side and the suspension has seen better days, and after driving a few rutted-out hills it became evident a rear locker would greatly aid off-road capability. And despite the reasonable performance on offer, the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel could always use a power upgrade.
There are plenty of other upgrades for the Hilux on the agenda, including a TJM suspension kit, the aforementioned APAC 4×4 custom tray, a TJM Pro Locker, a Yakima LockNLoad roof rack system, new wheels and tyres, and a performance upgrade.
The complete ownership adventure on 4×4 Shed
4×4 Shed Log: Toyota Hilux budget-build
Current mileage: 150,000km
Date acquired: August 2019
Mileage since last update: N/A
Average fuel consumption: N/A