Looking for a ute for great hunting trips with mates
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A guide for the outdoorsman looking for a 4WD diesel ute
Lance loves the extreme outdoors and spends a lot of his time pig and deer hunting with his mates. He relies on them for transport and wants to buy a 4WD diesel ute for his trips away.
“I want my own vehicle and have it all set up the way I like and ready to go when it suits. I will be looking at old, high mileage diesel vehicles,” says Lance.
He asks if there are any quick checks he can do himself to gauge the general condition of the engine and running gear.
“I don’t want to spend a lot of money on getting every truck I like checked out by a mechanic, but I know diesel engines can be expensive to repair.”
The budget: $16,000
No doubt there will be many opinions on this subject. And all will have a preference based on a personal experience or from what they have learned from others sitting around the camp fire.
These owners can be the best source of information, provided you keep an open mind and remember that there are always good and bad news stories out there for pretty much every make and model ever made.
I guess the first question you have to ask yourself is whether you go for the trusted brands such as Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Holden, and Mitsubishi or do you look at other brands such as SsangYong or Great Wall.
In this price range, the more established brands will have travelled a considerable distance more than the others and in a rough environment wear and tear is inflicted on all the mechanicals, not just the engine.
Here is a self-check list for vehicles that have travelled over 100,000km to 250,000km mark:
Engine start: A diesel engine relies on compression to ignite the fuel, so there is no spark plug like a petrol engine. Because of this design, a quick tell-tale sign of engine wear can be how easy the engine starts from cold. If the engine cranks for what seems to be a longer than normal time, then it could be compression is being lost because of internal issues. Once hot, the engine is likely to start far easier. So always try and get to a diesel vehicle when it is dead cold.
Servicing: You need to be looking for regular oil, cam belt and filter replacements. If you’re not hearing the words injector, turbo or fuel pump servicing/replacement on a vehicle with huge kilometres, then it may be a cost that you will have to cop eventually. An ex-company vehicle may well have a better service history than one owned by an individual.
Cooling system: While some designs may tolerate lack of care more than others, you need to be looking at the condition of the radiator and the coolant initially.
Road test: Keep the radio switched off and listen for any unusual noises from the transmission and drive-line in general.
Check the rear vision mirrors also for signs of excessive black soot from the exhaust.
It’s the mechanical weaknesses that will keep you broke regardless of the badge in this price bracket. Once you have narrowed the field, contact a repairer specialising in diesels to get an informed opinion on different problems.