Grant’s been everywhere man…Grant’s been everywhere! The kilometres are rapidly disappearing under the treads of this fully kitted out D3 Tourer and van.
Why did you choose this particular 4X4?
When my parents retired they wanted to tour Australia but Mum suffered from a muscle degeneration disease and dad was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes. When they passed away we used the inheritance to do what they wanted to do.
We bought the car off Trading Post and the caravan off eBay. I then went about kitting the car out so that we could do long haul touring anywhere in Australia. The main reason for most of the gear is safety, for the family and for our equipment. Also in case of an emergency my wife would be able to drive to safety if anything happened to me.
The D3 is such a capable car off the showroom floor that it didn’t need all the bling but it has come in handy. The long range tanks get us over 800kms when towing our van, which is greater than the distance between most fuel stops in the bush and when not towing we can do almost 2000kms or Oodnadatta SA to Windorah QLD across the Simpson Desert.
The Bull Bar is a necessary evil but is has stopped front end damage from 2 roo strikes.
When it got down to the nitty gritty of a family tourer and off-road chariot, there was not better. The D3 and LC200 are almost the same size but the D3’s longer wheelbase of 10cm gave it a much more usable interior for parents and 4 kids.
We’ve named the D3 Lancelot because it’s lot in life is towing a van called Camelot.
What have you built this 4X4 to do?
The D3 was setup to go anywhere and to get us back home again. Touring was our main focus, with the occasional trip without the whole family or the caravan, for which I could add a roof top tent and kit out the interior for food and fridges.
A visit to Davis Performance Landy (DPL) resulted in an ECU remap for more power and torque, an auto oil cooler and a steel auto sump and replacement filter instead of the plastic one piece. Again not overly essential but with lots of towing the additional power and torque make overtaking safer and being able to service the auto is helpful.
DPL added a Brown Davis 110 litre long range tank to give us 192 litres in total. DPL also added the Water Watch from Responsive Engineering and thankfully it has never alerted me to bad fuel.
Opposite Lock in Canberra added a Dolium rear wheel carrier and the Bull Bar which has great mounts for sand flag and antennas, they also added Hella Daytime Running Lights wired to Australian standards.
An AULRO (Australian Land Rover Owners Forum) member provided rock and tree sliders mostly for the kids to get in and out but they have also been used for sliding on rocks.
From a D3 S, I picked up some 17 inch rims which are more practical for touring in addition to which I added a Llams height controller to override the 40km/h height restriction and increase the travel available from the airbags.
A Mitchell Bros hitch receiver has been added to replace “The Plough” from Land Rover and I’m now using a Rapid Hitch.
Other additions include, Rola roof racks, window tinting, an Aeroplus for towing the caravan, (saves 3L/100km), Clearview towing mirrors and a Foxwing with four sides.
Electrical work has included dual batteries using an Optima D34, Redarc BCDC1240 with Anderson plug at front, Waeco RAPS-12R-U2 for fridges, tablets and Anderson plug at rear. A TPMS with in cabin display keeps an eye on the Toyo Open Country LT 265/60/R17.
For antennas I have a mount in the roof using the antenna blank manufactured into the car that provides gives great coverage, when not loading anything onto the roof. I recently added an RFI CDQ5000/CDQ34 to the bull bar, an Oricom UHF-180 (might replace with a iCom UHF), multiple high amp and QC3.0 USB chargers for phone and tablets. There is also a Parrot Bluetooth phone system.
Where have you taken it and what are some of your favourite tracks/destinations?
Where have we been? Our first trip took us from our pickup in Melbourne to a cousin’s winery, Morrison’s of Glenrowan and onto the camp spot where my father camped with his brothers, 3 weeks every March for nearly 30 years, just to say thank-you. Then back to Canberra.
We have been to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts numerous times via the inland route exploring along the way. We got to see the Warrumbungles 6 months before and 6 months after the fires that ravaged the area. We’ve camped at Tin Can Bay and hand fed dolphins and then ditched the caravan for a day trip to Fraser Island.
We took the caravan and some Canadian friends from Canberra to Melbourne, taking in the Great Ocean Road, and the Coorong before before going our separate ways at the Kangaroo Island Ferry. We continued on to Alice Springs for Christmas, then back to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under before heading back home again. Adding to this I met the Canadians back in Sydney for the SCG Test before they flew home and I flew back to Alice Springs.
The Canadians then came back to live in Adelaide for a year, so we met them in Ballarat and spent 10 days Gold prospecting but found nothing. Then we took them (5 plus our 6) to Alice Springs and it’s surrounds for the July school holidays.
September 2015 bought a change of pace, I volunteered to be a support vehicle and crew for a rider in the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge, 5 days, 500kms riding a bicycle across 1200 sand dunes. What an amazing trip, my rider, Paul Schroder won by 23 minutes, he was also 2 1/2 hours quicker than the cars across and at one point he recorded 2000 metres that he climbed in one of the morning stages. On the way home I stopped in at the Max Cameron Camp Ground at Bathurst for the Great Race.
Did a great weekend trip with members of the Land Rover Club of the ACT going down to Tom Groggin and up to Charlies Creek via Davies High Plain.
What have we got planned? This July I’m taking my son and school mate to Maralinga via Googs Track and then the five Ground Zero spots before heading back along the Anne Beadell Hwy to Coober Pedy. Then in Oct we are taking another family to Alice Springs via Coober Pedy and back via Mt Isa and Sapphire.
A future trip is to go to Cape York with the caravan and also the Canning Stock Route and the Kimberly.
Would you set it up the same again and if not, what would you change?
I’d probably change the dual battery setup to use the new LiFePO4 Batteries.
I’d go for the Rhino Rack Backbone and Pioneer tray, which would be good for storing stuff when not using the caravan and it would also act as a high vantage point for photography.
What future mods do you have planned?
The Rhino Rack Backbone and Pioneer tray are on order.
I’m looking to replace the UHF with one that performs better, maybe an iCom.
It has great HID lights already but maybe some FYRLYT Driving Lights and a few LED work lights for around camp.
Is there anyone that you’d like to thank for their help/assistance with building your 4X4?
Bruce Davis needs to be thanked, the work he and his crew have done has been excellent and solid. He actually followed me up 3 days later to find out if I got home safely and was happy with the work done. What he doesn’t know about Land Rover’s isn’t worth knowing.
Strangely enough, David from Responsive Engineering (they make the Water Watch) was unselfish and directed me to Bruce Davis for the install.
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