Thought – Refinement – Time

This is the year to choose what 4wd will be our tourer. Right now… the 2021 Dmax is winning, either the LS-U or X-Terrain. What goes on sale, when, will be the deciding factor. I may not buy until Jan 2022, as July and January are the best months to buy a vehicle for buying power. I want to see what changes with Hilux and Ranger this year, just to be sure. Right now, they’re both inadequate compared to the Dmax, but that may change by end of year with any new builds, especially Ranger due for release late 2021 with a possible V6 diesel option.

Image by Isuzu


A few things I’ve figured out in past months since my original conceptualisation.

Wheel Size – The good thing about the new Dmax is that you can get close to a 33″ wheel legally on the LS-U and X-Terrain models, as they release with a 265/60/R18 (30.5″). That was all I wanted on the vehicle. One size up, reducing the rim one size, means a 285/70/17 (32.7″) is the next size available in a Mickey Thompson MT. The guards additionally have more room on the new version than the last.

Vehicle Height – Staying with a legal height change, I might just keep this under my needed 2.2m height. The vehicle height is 1790mm. Add 75mm to wheel and suspension lift, puts me at 1865mm. The canopy will be custom made to sit level with the roof, (maybe even 25mm below it) have a crossbar on it to hold the iKamper, which is then 323mm high. That puts me at 2188mm, an additional crossbar to hold the iKamper which is around 25mm, so I’m about bang on my 2200mm limit. This will ensure I can fit nicely into my carpark.

GVM / GCM – The good news is that with decisions made (below), the GCM won’t need an engineered increase. With a GCM of 5950kg, that squarely sits the GVM upgrade of 3500kg + 2800kg ATM (1400kg Tare) into the existing GCM. Planning to run the Dmax around 3 – 3.1 tonne fully loaded (us included), there is no way I would load 1.4 tonne onto the Expedition; even if I could achieve that, both items easily fit within the stock GCM. Yay!


In the months past from writing my initial thoughts here, my wife and I have continued discussing the realism of how we holiday / adventure, based on our lifestyle and daily commitments. These frank and honest discussions have allowed us to progressively refine future purchases. Many of our trips will be weekend (2 – 3 days). Our larger trips will be 7 – 14 days.

Neither want to be away at this stage for a month or more. That simple. That really rules out the need for a larger caravan, and instead places us squarely into the Zone RV Expedition 12 realm. On longer trips we both want a comfy bed, toilet and shower. That’s it.

Image by Zone RV

Expedition 12 from Zone RV

A solid choice that we can tow anywhere, as we’re now talking camper size, not caravan size. That allows us to sleep comfortably in most places we venture beyond a weekend. We can fully option at under $80k, for amazing comfort. Air suspension, outdoor kitchen, 3 x 80lt water tanks, 200ah lithium and solar, automatic everything, all weighing approximately 1400kg with an ATM of 2800kg. That’s an insane amount of storage for a camper. We would never use that storage. I would envisage us struggling to hit 2000kg fully loaded.

Power & Performance

The knowledge of what we will tow, I know that a stage 4 upgrade from Just Auto’s up in Qld will allow us to pull the Expedition with ease off-road. With their old Dmax results showing 300nm at the wheels stock, reaching 500nm with just stage one, stage 4 with the new DPF Dmax should achieve 700nm+ at the rear wheels. With both differentials re-geared to default ratios from the increased wheel size, and twin locked, this vehicle should have no issue with the Expedition off-road.

I expect no issues with our total weight, around the 5 to 5.3 tonne range, fluctuations catered.


There’s nothing out of the ordinary with the electrical setup, a Redarc Manager 30 kit (30 + TVMS) to manage everything from in the car or phone. Time has demonstrated that my wife needs in-car 240v, so not only do I need 2000w from the canopy lithium for our microwave, cooktop and charging gear, but from the main battery I will need a 350w inverter in the car for her to charge her notebook on the go. She tends to work when sitting in the car, so an essential.

Something I had not considered upgrading, is the alternator. The stock Dmax is only equipped with an 80amp alternator. Not sure that will do the job when needing to charge the main battery, canopy battery, and run the car at night with lights. Add my wife powered up inside the cab and/or I need the winch – that is something I need to look into.

I only plan on 1 spotlight, being either the 23″ (16 amp) or 28″ (25 amp) Stedi ST3303 light bar. Small, but powerful to light 50m either side of the vehicle and a few hundred meters of pure white light out front. Everything beyond that is just waste to me. I can’t see clearly at 1km. Can you?


Don’t get me wrong, there’s a bunch of stuff I’m not including here, from bullbar to towbar and everything in-between. I know what those products are going to be. I consider them the easy part of all this. Not much thought in adding a bullbar, winch, towbar, etc. The tricky stuff is usually the little things, and those that you can’t see, but rely upon more than you often know… like your battery – suddenly drained because all the crap added draws more than the car produces. The little stuff like that. :)

2 thoughts on “Thought – Refinement – Time”

  1. Mate gonna build a dmax later this year myself, do u mind sharing your build info? I want to do some similar stuff that you mentioned, and might get some ideas from you.


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