The Tank

Australia Add comments

Book racks (times three), a two-output pure sine wave inverter, the little black box at the top is the speaker for the HF radio, solar controller top right and the red knob is the on/off switch for the solar panelsA few people have asked about the gadgets and gizmos The Tank has to offer, so I thought I’d put together a quick post detailing all the ins and outs of the place we call home.  The Tank is a Toyota LandCruiser HJ75RV Troop Carrier.  It has a 4.2L inline six cylinder naturally aspirated diesel engine, five speed manual gearbox and dual range transfer case.  Low range is quite amazing, I think I could crawl faster than first gear in low range.  The drive-train also has front and rear electronic differential locks.

The interior of the cab to begin with…  The cargo barrier behind the two front seats is jam-packed with three book racks filled with everything from outdoor books to 4WD guides and instruction manuals.  Next to the top book rack is the speaker for our Codan HF radio, next to that is a two-Pneumatic Recaro seatsoutput pure sine wave inverter that generates 240V for any Australian appliances we need to use.  The three white boxes at the top right of the cargo barrier are all involved with the solar panels that sit on the roof of The Tank: there is an electronic solar controller which serves the dual purpose of making sure that nothing discharges our batteries too quickly; the red knob is Bottom right is the HF radio control unit, underneath the car stereo is the UHF radio transceiver and up top is the auxillary fuel tank gaugethe master on/off switch for the solar panels (in case we’re driving a long haul and don’t want the batteries getting overcharged); and the large white box with black chords coming out of it is two 12V outlets as well as three gauges showing how much power the panels are generating and how much power we’re using.  The Recaro seats to the left that have been put in place of the original seats can be raised or lowered by inbuilt electric motors and have pneumatic lumbar supports, inflated using a little pump on the side of each seat.  The seats are a godsend for bumpy roads, they have supports around the lower back that can be tightened or loosened depending on the road.  The photo to the right shows the two communication radios in The Tank: the box at the lower left of the photo is the head unit for our Codan HF radio and the black box underneath the car stereo is a regular UHF radio (or a CB radio).  The HF radio is our emergency communications device, we haven’t needed to use it yet (and hopefully we don’t have to!).  The HF radio has a large transceiver that is bolted to the rear of the cargo barrier out of view, on a good day the HF radio has a range of over 3000 kilometers so can call pretty much anywhere in Australia (I tested it in Adelaide by calling a station in Alice Springs over 1500 kilometers away).  Or if we’re bored we can listen to the fishing boats in Taiwan as they pirate the HF emergency bands on the other side of the globe!  The UHF radio is mainly for listening to truckers and asking Reg and Marg if it’s safe to pass them because we can’t see around the caravan they’re towing.

LightForce 170 Striker driving lights, a Warn 10000 pound electric winch and the spring at the base of the HF radio antennaThe cable coming out of the winch, base of the ARB bull bar, Cooper Discoverer S/T-C tires and our Old Man Emu suspensionNow to the outside.  The front of The Tank is endowed with a sizeable ARB bull bar which wraps around the sides of the vehicle and supports steps for getting in and out of the cab.  In the driver’s side of the bull bar is a small diaphragm pump that hooks into the vehicle’s heating system and enables us to have hot showers when in the bush (something we used a lot on our trek across the Gibb River Road and up to Kalumburu).  There’s a 10000 pound Warn electric winch that is visible all coiled up in-between our two LightForce 170 Striker driving lights, which are so bright they have been known to make koalas fall out of trees at night.  Old Man Emu suspension and shocks support the axles and we have Cooper Discoverer S/T-C anti-chip tires on all four wheels.  We also have two spares, one on the MSC gear bag hanging off one of the spare tires (we use the bag for carrying firewood), Zifer Maggiolina rooftop tent and underneath that is the rolled-up Fiamma F35 awningback of the Tank and one tucked away in the cab just behind the cargo barrier.  Our pride and joy is pictured in the photo to the left: To the right of the leaf spring is our 70L stainless steel water tankthe Zifer Maggiolina rooftop tent (AKA The Blue Room).  The tent is made by an Italian company and takes only about two minutes to put up and take down.  The base and roof are made from fiberglass while the blue sides are constructed from sail cloth, making it impervious to both wind and rain.  The sides of the tent can be rolled up to reveal fly netting and there is a small window in each end, enabling us to open it up for a lot of air on hot nights.  There’s a queen sized mattress inside, giving us both plenty of room and me just enough length to lie flat!  We get a lot of comments on the Maggiolina, we’ve only seen one other on the road, it makes it so easy to be mobile.  Also in the photo to the left is our MSA gear sack hanging off the spare tire, we use the sack for material we don’t want inside the cab with us, usually it’s full of firewood.  The shot to the right shows our 70L stainless steel water tank tucked in behind the rear leaf spring.

Our Engel 80L dual compartment fridge/freezer, 15L water container and 1.8 metre roller drawers filled with kitchen gear on the left and miscellaneous items on the rightThe roller drawersOur stove sits on a removable shelf on the end of one of the roller drawers, the gas for the stove is located inside the cab and can be hooked up with an extension gas lineThe entire rear section of The Tank behind the cargo barrier is fitted with full-length 1.8 meter roller drawers which house everything from axes and sledge hammers to kitchen utensils and fishing tackle.  They can hold an amazing amount of stuff.  We have mainly kitchen wares in the left drawer and tools and miscellaneous every day items in the right.  Our other pride and joy is the 80L The bed up and rear awning extendeddual-compartment Engel fridge/freezer pictured to the right, it can hold enough food for us for around three weeks and does an amazing job of keeping everything cool (or frozen) in the heat.  We have a small marine stove that runs off a gas bottle located in the cab, the stove sits on a removable shelf at the end of one of the roller drawers (pictured above).  The gas to run the stove has a long extension hose on it so we don’t have to lug around the gas bottle every time we use the stove.  Not visible here Dave Stuart's high-lift jack, the top of the air snorkel on the right and out two antennas: the left is the HF entenna and right is the regular UHF antennaare five 50L plastic tubs that we use for storage: one for dry food, one for each of our clothes, one for wetsuits and snorkeling gear 180W of solar panels make us pretty much self sufficient, they can run the fridge as well as charging our three batteries during the dayand a final one for our shoes.  Also not visible are two tool boxes inside the cab filled with every tool I could think of needing in The Outback.  There’s a Fiamma F35 awning affixed to the roof racks underneath the bed above the rear doors, it’s extended in the shot to the above left and is very handy for hot days when shady trees are few and far between.  On the roof on the bed, shown here to the left, are two solar panels producing around 180W of electricity when they’re in the direct midday sun.  That’s enough power to run the fridge and at the same time charge the three batteries we carry with us, making us pretty much self sufficient wherever we go.  The final shot here to the above right shows our high lift jack bolted to the roof racks, the top of the air snorkel and our two radio antennas fixed to the top of the bull bar. 

That’s about it, our home for the time being!


This entry was posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 at 10:17 AM and is filed under Australia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

20 Responses to “The Tank”

  1. Nomaan says:

    This is a beast. These updates are awesome.


  2. Brett M. says:

    All I can say is amazing and how do you find something like this? I had no idea these things existed.

  3. Broome to Exmouth | Our Walkabout says:

    […] after school twice during our visit!)…  From Darwin we flew southwest to Broome to pick up The Tank, which we were very happy to see after almost two months away from our little home on wheels.  […]

  4. Coral Bay | Our Walkabout says:

    […] cove and the waters above Five Finger Reef.  It was the deepest sand we’d driven in with The Tank, after letting some air out of the tires we didn’t have too much of a problem in low-range, a fun […]

  5. Kalbarri, Northampton and Geraldton | Our Walkabout says:

    […] a quick visit to the supermarket and replace one of the three batteries (the starting battery) on The Tank.  We almost had to jump ourselves yesterday morning as we left Coral Bay, Carnarvon is the […]

  6. Albany | Our Walkabout says:

    […] some Red Snapper, groper, a big box of cherries and some fresh bread from a local patisserie.  The Tank couldn’t fit any more food after a weekend at the Albany […]

  7. Esperance, Kalgoorlie and Across the Nullarbor | Our Walkabout says:

    […] to the south of the town’s protected harbour.  We spent a few days in Esperance to tend to The Tank, which was due for a major service.  We got in touch with one of Ben Kennare’s mates from […]

  8. John D says:

    Hi there,

    Where did you get the 70L water tank? it looks great.



  9. Nambucca Heads And The Dorrigo Rainforests | Our Walkabout says:

    […] a memorable few days in Adelaide for Sam and Priya’s wedding, we flew back to Sydney to pickup The Tank and continued where we left off on the New South Wales central coast.  Angie Stuart organized […]

  10. The Rainforest Way | Our Walkabout says:

    […] planned to have our morning coffee in Nimbin but only lasted five minutes before we were back in The Tank and scooting south toward […]

  11. Eungella National Park | Our Walkabout says:

    […] we were back on the road headed toward Mackay (S21°05.404’ E149°12.874’) for more chores, The Tank was due for an oil change so we figured that Mackay was the best place to get it done.  Mackay […]

  12. Fraser Island | Our Walkabout says:

    […] and Victorian High Country earlier this year, Chris was also keen for some more adventures with The Tank so put in a marathon slog to cover 2400 kilometers (1490 miles) from Adelaide to meet us at Inskip […]

  13. Port Douglas And The Daintree Rainforests | Our Walkabout says:

    […] set into the Daintree proper from Mossman, taking The Tank for another boat ride over the Daintree River on our way into the Cape Tribulation section of […]

  14. The Long Road To Bedourie | Our Walkabout says:

    […] bitumen to handle the width of a single vehicle, so putting two wheels on the passenger side of The Tank onto the dirt shoulder at 100KPH (62MPH) to avoid oncoming cars definitely kept us on our […]

  15. The Central Deserts | Our Walkabout says:

    […] of the 116 kilometers (XXX miles) from Birdsville without seeing more than a few meters in front of The Tank’s bull bar.  From the Cordillo Downs turn-off we passed alongside the massive expanse of Moonda […]

  16. Broken Hill | Our Walkabout says:

    […] when we were in Broken Hill and Lisa had sneakily hidden a few gifts from her and relatives in The Tank (what a wife!) as well as whipping up my favourite chocolate cherry cake for the occasion.  […]

  17. The Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas | Our Walkabout says:

    […] the majority of Coffin Bay and Lincoln National Parks are 4WD-only affairs so we enjoyed putting The Tank through its paces with a few days in each.  Port Lincoln (S34°43.722′ E135°53.055′) was […]

  18. Farewell | Our Walkabout says:

    […] the Top End, motoring along the sands of Fraser Island or traversing Australia’s central deserts, The Tank never left us disappointed.  We both agree that we were incredibly lucky with the limited […]

  19. Adelaide | The Pink Lemon says:

    […] trip to Adelaide wouldn’t be complete without a reunion with The Tank.  We met Dave and Angie Stuart for a coffee the morning after the party so they could have […]

  20. Nienke says:

    Hi there, what an amazing trip you guys made. Me and my husband are also saving every penny, so we can go on a long trip next year. We also would like to drive through Australia and especially the outback. We love camping the way you guys did and we kind of did the same during our honeymoon, when we rented a kind of “Tank” to drive through Namibia for two weeks. This was one of our best holidays and we definitely want to do the same in Australia. Our trip to AUstralia will be a minimum of 8 months and therefore we want to buy a kind of same “Tank” and sell it afterwards. We were wondering if you could give us some tips about buying a car like The Tank, such as where to find them and what the costs are.
    Thanks so much and I love your blog.

  • Next...

      A couple of months cruising up Australia's east coast...