Custom 4X4: 79 ‘Cruiser The ’Cruiser for the Outback
This kitted 79 Series was built to be put to the test – not only does it look great, it eats up the Outback like it was meant to do!
The NSW Central West is the gateway to the Outback for many New South Welshman. It’s surrounded by harsh countryside and long expanses of country highways. The four-wheel drive is the obvious vehicle of choice for this landscape. But what good is it if you have to travel back to the big smoke to get the gear and servicing you need?
When Aaron Toll, the local Dubbo panel beater, became the agent for the well-known Dobinsons suspension (and now accessories) he wanted to put his money where his mouth was and build a robust and functional truck – suited for the country to the west – not only to put the products to the test, but to get his young family into the Outback like the rest of us. Just back from its maiden 10,000km Outback trip, the proof is in the pudding. We are happy to report that (besides a couple of bracket failures) this no-fuss bulletproof build killed it.
But first, the giant grey elephant in the room. I hear you all saying: “This is just an ad for Dobinsons.” I read your Facebook comments. Well, I guess it partly is – but only by coincidence; I eyed this truck off driving through town one day and I can tell you it wasn’t the stickers that got my attention… it was the attention to detail and the bespoke canopy sitting on the back. After chatting to the owner who is a four-wheel drive nut, just like the rest of us, it was destined for these pages!
Being a panel beater, Aaron was never going to buy something off the shelf. Before the ute even arrived, the canopy was put together in what has been years of evolution. After using a range of different materials on his previous utes which had failed to stand up to the rigours of the Outback, a steel-framed body was chosen to support aluminium composite sheeting (commonly used in caravans and camper bodies) to create an insulated and lightweight canopy.
Inside the canopy are two sets of slide-out draws to keep things tidy and secure, while the big fridge sits inside the well-known MSA drop slide. The internal wiring, lighting and switch panel have been put together by the local auto-electrical mob who have done a very clean job, keeping things easily serviceable and simple to understand.
Making use of the abundant space underneath the canopy sits an 80L poly water tank with an electric pump and a tap sitting neatly on the rear beaver panel. The second battery also sitting under the canopy, in a custom cradle, saves space inside the canopy and keeps the weight lower.
Body and chassis
To make this vehicle stand out from the crowd, all of the Dobinsons barwork has been powder coated in a silver-textured finish which I reckon looks great on the gunmetal grey body. It’s hard to ignore the stainless steel Patrol Docta snorkel sitting prominently up front, attached to the Patrol Docta airbox. One of the neatest and cleanest snorkels I’ve ever seen.
Keeping things comfortable is a sensible Dobinsons MRR 2-inch lift kit with 800kg rear leaves to support the loaded canopy and trailer. Keeping it connected to the road, custom-drilled KMC wheels were chosen with different offsets to correct the narrow rear wheel track. These are wrapped in 33-inch BFG KO2s which Aaron says are a perfect match for Outback touring.
Engine and interior
After struggling to get a tune Aaron was happy with to suit the new DPF engine, a local tuner sorted out a sweet tune that gives better fuel economy and that bit of extra power to help with Aaron’s trailer of choice. For the ultimate control on and off the road, a Legendex Thrust Monkey gives 21 throttle choices. The proud owner says when the going gets technical, the decreased throttle sensitivity is gold; but when dragging the camper along the highway the higher sensitivity is a must have!
To keep things breathing well, the Patrol Docta stainless airbox uses the larger 200 Series air filter, while the Big Boy Legendex intercooler sits behind that bonnet scoop. To give it that V8 roar we all love, a Legendex DPF-back stainless exhaust keeps it humble on the highway… but open it up and there is that sweet noise.
Taking care of the organisation inside the truck, a Department of the Interior centre console covers the details Toyota missed. Overhead, an Outback 4WD Interiors console houses the UHF and adds some much-needed interior lighting.
A must have out west is decent communications. Tucked away under the front seat is a Telstra Cel-Fi car kit that gives up to 70dB of signal boost (that’s a lot). No pairing, no cradles, just great mobile reception nearly everywhere.
I reckon this is a pretty neat build that any of us would be more than happy to have in the driveway. There is nothing over the top… just a 4WD built for a purpose and that purpose is pretty damn clear!
Vehicle: 2017 79 Series GXL
Engine: 4.5L Turbo Diesel
Driveline: Standard 5-speed manual/diffs
Wheels: KMC 17-inch
Tyres: BFG KO2 287/70/17
Suspension: Dobinsons MRR 2-inch lift, 800kg leaves
Barwork: Dobinsons custom powder coated
Winch: Dobinsons 12,000lb
Canopy: Custom steel frame
Snorkel/Airbox: Patrol Docta