Happy wife happy life… that’s why you buy a Prado
From an 80 Series, to a 76 Series, now to a 150 Prado… Anthony’s had more than a bit of experience building some capable tourers!
Starting out a few years back with the tried and tested 80 Series ’Cruiser, Anthony stepped up into the 76 Series wagon for something not so long in the tooth. After a Cape trip in the 76, and over four grand in fuel costs alone, it was time for something as capable (yep, you read that right), with half the fuel costs and twice the creature comforts. Enter the 150 Prado.
Don’t get us wrong; a 76 Series is a bloody nice bit of kit – but the front end has as much flex as a skateboard without dumping squillions worth of suspension into it… so the 150 easily matches it in living life with one wheel permanently in the air.
I’m sure there are still the non-believers out there, who absolutely wouldn’t believe that a Prado will go the same places as a ‘real 4WD’ will – without some kind of evidence? Pics or it didn’t happen, right? Lucky we had Brett Hemmings along to get all the photos then, huh?
After that stupidly expensive Cape trip Anthony picked up this 2015 Prado in March of ’16. It had bugger-all Ks on it, and it was absolutely bone stock – a la ‘carpark ’Cruiser’ spec.
From there it’s had the all the touring mods you could want thrown at it to get him where he wants to go, without having to worry about that Mack truck sized turbo hanging off the side of the engine and the 4-inch exhaust that most 70 series ’Cruisers get these days. Essentially, this means he can jump in it and know it’ll hit the Kimberley in one run without needing to keep an eye on EGTs, temp, air fuel ratios, dodgy oil lines or anything else Mr Tojo didn’t want in there.
The engine and driveline have been left to their own devices, as everything just works out of the box; and a respectable 2-inch lift is plenty to take Anthony to all the places he wants to go.
So let’s get into the specifics of how Anthony’s built this Prado to tackle the Cape, then the Kimberley in the one trip!
First off the bat, Anthony has worked pretty closely with ARB for most of the bolt-on mods simply because they work… and if there are any hassles, he rings the one bloke who’s always looked after him.
He’s got the ARB Deluxe bar up front, with brush bars and sliders attached; and a Smittybuilt winch that has seen the insides of three different bullbars on four different Toyotas, with the optional flip-up numberplate bracket on the front. There’s a GME UHF and mobile reception aerial up on the bar too, with a set of STEDI 9-inch spotties and then a 32-inch light bar up on the roof.
Holding the light bar up top is an ARB full alloy rack, with a 2.5×2.5 awning off the passenger side with some LED strip lighting inside; as well as Maxtrax holders, a solar panel and the high-lift jack. He’s also bunged a 4-inch light bar on the back for being able to see when reversing.
ARB Underbody Protection Plates and a 1-inch diff drop cover the underside and keep the CVs nice and level. On the rolling stock front, there’s a set of 17×8 D-hole King Rims wrapped in 285×75/17 BFG muddies. These attach to the Dobinson coilovers in the front, and shock and spring combo in the rear, for a 2-inch lift in the back and 2.5-inch lift in the front.
The engine bay is reasonably standard. Anthony has worked along the idea of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Aside from the 2.75-inch Beaudesert exhaust system and Safari Snorkel, you’ll find a Provent catch can under the bonnet, an extra fuel filter, and breathers for everything else. There’s also a 110Ah battery that had to be shoehorned into the secondary battery tray, being bigger than the stock 75Ah size; and a Redarc VSR keeping the second battery isolated when the truck is off.
Anthony explained that the 1KD works well now that they’ve ironed out the injector issues from earlier on, so aside from the catch can and a second filter to watch the fuel, there’s not a huge amount to do to it. He did mention however that there may well be a tune on the horizon.
Moving into the cab, Anthony’s thrown in more switches than you can poke a stick at (into the stock holes), and a set of Black Duck seat covers. The remote face GME UHF looks after comms, and he has a RAM mount iPad holder for navigation. Gauge-wise there’s a scan gauge for keeping an eye on everything else the ECU can tell him, and a set of voltage gauges for watching voltages across the dual batteries to make sure there’s never a warm beer in the Prado.
In the rear end of the Prado, Anthony’s modified a 5-seater cargo barrier to fit, and utilised the bottom section as the shelf – all fit up perfectly. It was simply a matter of cut and shut to make it come together. A set of ARB rear drawers houses everything else, with some extra drawers he’s knocked up himself. Being a cabinetmaker by trade certainly helped in that regard. Rounding out the back end, the ARB fridge slide holds the fridge without any hassles; and there’s a drop-down table off the rear door. He tells us he’s just added a Staino pull-out table which attaches to the drawers – for another cooking area.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND ANTHONY’S ADVICE
Looking to the future, Anthony says he wants to get a remap done once the warranty is expired; and a rear bar for the Prado when he tears the standard bumper off (which is only a matter of time). The only advice he can give to someone building up a 150 Prado is: Do your research, read up as much as you can through custom write-ups in good quality magazines, and never be afraid to build something how you want it.
For us, it’s a little different and quite refreshing to see a Prado built up like this, to be able to tackle stuff that the ‘real 4X4s’ run, and be able to easily keep up. With all the photos so far, here’s hoping you believe us now!