MY21 Dmax X-Terrain Build

From where I started my research and initial thinking, to where I’m at today with time to think about what I thought I wanted vs. what I needed, are very different places. Oh, and bouncing stuff of my lovely wife. The initial build with caravan exceeded $300k. The thought was mind boggling to spend that sort of money on something we want to use a couple times a month, with a week or two here and there. We want to go 4WDing and holiday in different places. We don’t want a new house on wheels.

Everything I learnt from my early years and Army 4WDing, lighter did better than heavier. Whether it was driving a Suzuki Swift on the mudflats or a LandRover 110, lighter did better from my experience. I remember switching between the LR110 4×4 to 6×6 ambulance build, the 6×6 was a heavy pig off-road. The 4×4 would drive through everything we put in its way. Simple, light, it didn’t bog down.

My initial logic based on current trends, I was heading towards building a pig of a vehicle. Way too complicated, we would be another mistake amongst the many, big engine, big GVM, big fuel cost. I watch people being proud that their LC79, 200 series or RAM, get 22 – 30lt per hundred off-road. WTF! I want an economical, reliable, capable vehicle, not a tank. As time passed, the best decision made was to not rush into this, and as such, the cost and requirement dropped significantly. The revised build looks very different. Honestly, even with the revised build, its scary how quickly the weight and cost adds up.

I modified the Dmax Build post, thinking I could repeat that process as decisions changed. Doing that once was annoying, so I’m taking a new approach. Listing the build with appropriate data I have in my excel sheet. There are some bits and pieces not listed here that will accompany the Patriot X3 and some camping stuff, but this is about the Dmax.

We ultimately chose the Dmax because its the only vehicle this year to meet current ANCAP, its loaded with safety tech, comfortable, Isuzu reliability, has great fuel economy and is quickly gaining available after-market parts.

Oh, I just found out yesterday that our X-Terrain will be here in July. A month or two earlier than initially predicted. Giddy Up!

Dmax X-Terrain

Dmax X-Terrain$53,500

Power & Performance

Uni-X ECU$2000
Heavy Duty Valve Body$1300
Transmission Cooler$520
3″ Torqit Exhaust$1400
Performance Intercooler$1600
Safari Snorkel$500
Fitting for some of the above$3000
Total Cost$10,320Approximate until fitted
Most of the above is about cooling air, oil and EGT, so a bit more power can be obtained from the Uni-X whilst staying away from flashing the vehicle ECU.

4WD Upgrade

2″ Suspension Lift + Diff Drop + GVM Upgrade$5500
ROH Octagon + Mickey ATZ P3$3550
Predator Bullbar$2500
Runva13000lb Winch$1200
Rear Protection Bar / Towbar$2000
Rock Sliders$1380
12 Pin Wiring Harness$359
Redarc Towpro Kit$540
Preline Filter / Provent Catchcan$825
Long-range Tank$1200
Winch Accessories$780
Recovery Kit$600
MaxTrax MkII$600
TrakRyder Rear Disc Upgrade & Braided Lines$3000
Diff Breather Kit$170
Clearview Towing Mirrors$1200
Stedi Lights$1000
Underbody Protection$650
Total Cost$27,054Approximate until fitted
A significant cost for what is really just bar work and protection, wheels, towing, recovery and lights. Ouch! My choices also reflect weight reduction.

Tub Bits & Pieces

Tailgate Assist$180
Tailgate Lock$250
Tailgate Seal$250
ARB Dual Aircompressor$750
Ute Slides$1400
Amptron 150ah Lithium$1420
Egon DC Hub$840
Redarc BCDC 40A Charger$720
Tubrack Roofrack System$1300
120W Flexible Solar$500
Floodlights for Rack$150
Cel-Fi Go Telstra 4WD$1300
120Lt Water Tank$400
2 x 40Lt Diesel Jerry Tanks$400
Total Cost$10,560Approximate until fitted
The tub has a lockable roller cover, and with a tailgate seal it should be fairly water and dust resistant to hold all the electrical along the side, arches, etc, out of the way. All accessories, except the winch and front light bar, will run from the second battery with interior switches for when not in use.

Random Stuff

GME Handheld UHF$250
Blackvue DR900X 2ch Dashcam$900
Wiring / Elec Bits & Pieces$1000
Bonnet Struts$70
UltraGauge Bluetooth$80
2 x FireStryker$340
200W Solar Blanket$780
NOCO GB70$400
400W Inverter$300
Total Cost$4120Approximate until fitted

Why No Roofrack?

Having a ute with roller cover, its easier to mount a tub rack, access it, than a roofrack. Adding a roofrack for the sake of it is silly IMO. People add a roofrack because they have no other space, ie. the tub is needed for loads, is a tray or canopy. People look at other 4wd’s and copy things, they “think” they need it too. Do you really need roof mounted lights? Do you really need more fixed solar panels?

I’m using a low profile tubrack which will hold my maxtrax, shovel, one solar panel for the lithium and mount my UHF and Cel-Fi aerials (both on fold down mounts), keeping everything at the rear, below roof-line, and aerodynamic for fuel economy. Oh, the bonus is that the vehicle height isn’t an issue either in any carpark.

For those solar nuts, you’re far better with a solar blanket which you can shift to be efficient than fixed panels will provide. This solves two problems, in that you can add it to your system as extra solar when camping, and you can add it to your main battery via a regulator to top it up if needed.


I think this is worth highlighting. I stumbled onto this ute slide after looking at the standard offering from others. Others tend to sit 100 – 130mm in base height when fitted. PodTrailer slides sit about 5 – 10mm from the deck. Why does this matter? Firstly, its space. Height space matters in a tub with roller cover closed. If you use a normal ute slide, the only fridge you can fit is a drawer style. Using PodTrailer slides, you can fit most Engel and Dometic models into the internal of the slide, depending which slide widths you fit.

That is a game changer in my eyes for longer trips, where I want to take more refrigerated / frozen goods into remote areas in combination with the 75lt Dometic fridge / freezer in the X3.

2 thoughts on “MY21 Dmax X-Terrain Build”

  1. Hey mate, interest in your DMAX build- how’s it been preforming with all the upgrades?
    Keen to chat and ask a few questions regarding my own future build.

  2. Hey Cam. Fire away anything you want to bounce around.

    Covid the gift that keeps on giving has slowed things down.

    Slowly… only about $10k into it, and really just a lot of little odds and ends at the moment. Its about a 2 year build. My ideal suspension is a GVM upgrade from Dobinsons using their MRR system. They’re currently sending that through the approval process, as of late last year when I asked them about it, they said it takes them 3 – 6 months to get each one through, and just keep checking the website for when its listed. I’m really just waiting for that, will buy wheels in the coming months ready for the lift.

    So pretty much, just doing little odds and ends awaiting that, as the Lovells one is too harsh for what I need it to be. If Dobinsons fall through, I may fall on the sword and go to ARB as they do have a GVM upgrade using their adjustable shocks now. Axle load rated, which is all I really need. I’m most interested in adjustable shocks to dampen the harshness of the ride, especially offroad in the vic high country, whilst being legal weight wise with a camper attached.

    Also changing the wheel tyre combo, to KMC XD xd132 rg2 17×8 P25 rims sporting Maxxis RAZR MT772 285/70/17.

    I’ve purchased the new Rhino Armour kit they just put up for sale, so that should be ready around April. I’m letting it sit in the garage at the moment because I did heaps of pinstripes on my last trip to Mt Disappointment, so had to cut and polish to clean it up a little until the rhino armour arrives. Happy to accept its going to get scratched up, but I’m keen to take measures to limit it so things last.

    It goes into tintacar this week to get the windows tinted using their spectre film, which is the best for heat apparently, being my main concern. I want to keep the cabin cool as possible when we venture into the hot places. Like said, just odds and ends at the moment.

    The missus pretty much only let her foot of the brake on upgrades at Christmas, and I’m really just waiting on the suspension I want. Some of the stuff I’m actually waiting until later in the year when the 4×4 show is on, then try and get some show deals on big ticket items all at once.

    This year I want to get the tub completed, with all its elec bits and pieces. I want to get the basic 4wd bits on (suspension, wheels, sliders, bash plates). I’ve been buying all those bits and pieces, DC charger, ARB compressor, etc etc. Just waiting for them to all arrive and then get it out to Boss Aluminium to make something nice for the tub to mount it all.

    Covid is just the gift that keeps on giving with everyone, and getting things is slow.


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