Top Prado Outback Travel Upgrades
The Prado 150 is an extremely capable and reliable off-road vehicle straight from the factory including items like twin fuel tanks, diff lock, traction and stability control, coil sprung rear suspension and independent front suspension. There are however limitations on its ability depending on where you are intending on travelling with the factory fitted items.
We purchased our Prado in May 2016 and got stuck in straight away with the upgrades required for remote outback touring. We knew when we purchased the Prado that we would be limited to 2500kg towing and with all of the accessories our payload would be reduced. Nevertheless we believed this was the right fit for us.
Below are our top upgrades we have installed onto our Prado for touring the outback. We have also written an article on our Top 10 Outback Overland Travel Essentials to provide that extra piece of mind whilst travelling remotely.
Our Top Upgrades
1) MSA canvas seat covers
To protect the new interior (well for as long as possible anyway). We installed MSA canvas seat covers. These always clean up like new and with the polycotten liner on the inside it ensures our factory seats look like brand new.
2) GME remote head UHF
A UHF is a must have on any touring 4wd and I have found none better than the GME range. We chose to install the TX3350 which is a remote head unit with the microphone and speaker both in the handpiece. This enabled us to install the main unit under the dash tucked away and just have the microphone mounted to the dash which is a far more practical installation.
3) Hayman Reese IQ brake controller
We chose to install the Hayman Reese IQ controller due to its small design and ability to be installed into a spare switch panel. The IQ brake controller uses 2 x dials being the Boost and Output to adjust the level of braking for your touring setup.
4) BlackVue 650 F&R dashcam
This is definitely one of our favourite accessories as we often see so much wildlife whilst driving and rarely get a chance to record it. It also provides tremendous piece of mind knowing we will have any accident or incidents recorded on the road. The Blackvue 650 is a 2ch meaning it comes with a front and rearward facing camera. The High Definition recording from the front dashcam has provided some incredible footage of our travels.
5) Scangauge II
The Scangauge is a must have piece of equipment that I believe is required for all touring setup's. We can monitor in real time our coolant and gearbox temps, turbo boost and battery levels plus many more functions. The device is designed to monitor, track measure and diagnose. You can even clear faults from the Engine ECU after the appropriate repairs have been made.
6) Safety Dave Tyre Pressure monitoring system
The Safety Dave TPMS can monitor up to 22 tyres via the 3.5in display which can be mounted to your windscreen via suction cup or to your dashboard. There is an audible alarm that sounds when there is sudden change in either pressure or temperature. This is a great accessory that is well worth the investment.
7) ORS (Off Road Systems) rear touring draw system
A well laid out draw system provides so much additional storage which is greatly beneficial for all touring vehicle's. We chose to install the ORS draw system due to reputation and quality of the product. We opted for a fridge pack model which has a single draw and encloses our fridge. We also chose to add the cargo barrier and rear shelf with security box.
8) Hema HN7 navigator
The Hema HN7 is a on and off-road navigation system that is preloaded with Hema maps. The street maps platform is run on iGO Primo and the off-road maps use OziExplorer. This has definitely been worth every cent for our travels through the outback. We can plot or own our path with waypoints quite easily or follow the preloaded tracks.
9) Waeco CFX 65L
No touring 4wd is complete without a fridge/freezer. We chose the Waeco based on reputation and value for money. The CFX 65L is one of Waeco's fridge freezer model's. The freezer compartment is quite large and holds quite a lot of frozen vegies and bread. So far it has performed flawlessly
1) GVM and Tow Upgrade (Suspension Lift).
A downfall of the Prado is the available payload left after adding all of the accessories for touring. We had the GCM and Tow upgrade completed by Climax Suspension in Long Jetty on the Central Coast of NSW to take care of this for us. We are using heavy duty Koni shocks and King springs with Heavy duty Airbags installed in the rear. Our new tow rating is 3000kg an increase of 500kg over standard and an increase in vehicle GVM of 500kg also. This upgrade has also increased our GCM which is beneficial.
2) Mickey Thompson All terrain Tyres BAJA ATZ P3
A good quality set of tyres is another important upgrade required for any vehicle heading off the beaten track. After having Mickey Thompsons for over 150,000klms across my vehicles with no issues I cannot fault the product. We use the Baja ATZ P3 which we found quite a good all rounder.
3) Oppositelock bullbar and Warn Tabor 10,000lb winch with synthetic rope.
The bullbar and winch were something that we also knew were required as we are driving on plenty of outback roads and require as much added protection as possible. The Opposite Lock bullbar is solid and provides suitable protection as does the Warn provide the piece of mind knowing we have a great quality winch to use in the event of a recovery.
4) Kaymar twin rear wheel carrier
We opted for the Kaymar twin wheel carrier option so we would have sufficient spares in remote locations. We also opted for the LED rear work light and the high lift jack mount which added another level of functionality to the bar as it reduces the need for additional storage brackets for the high lift and lights for around the vehicle. The bar is extremely solid and provides much more protection than the factory bar.
5) Bushranger Night Hawk VLI LED
The new Bushranger Night Hawk lights left me speechless the first time I used them, I had the Lightforce LED/HID combination HTX driving lights previously and although great they somewhat lacked the brightness a full LED light can provide. The sheer distance in which you can still clearly see in complete darkness is incredible.
6) Safari Snorkel
If you intend on hitting the remote tracks then chances are you will be coming across some water crossings. A snorkel is the best investment for your vehicle raising the air intake to the roofline and sealing any breather holes from the factory airbox. We use the Safari Snorkel due to a solid reputation and being Australian made.
7) Rhino rack platform roof rack with Foxwing Awning
After the draws and fridge ect have been installed you will have limited space in the rear for those bigger items. So a roof rack will also most certainly be required to carry those extra items like; Gas bottles, extra tyre, awnings, lights, luggage bags, shovels and jacks.
We chose the Rhino Rack Backbone system platform rack for our Prado as it was by far the strongest and most versatile we had found.
8) DP Chip
With all the extra weight from the touring gear and towing our AOR Quantum Plus the Prado was a little sluggish. After installing the plug and play DP chip the Prado's power returned back to its former glory. The fuel figures are around 18L/100klm which is respectable weighing in at 5500kg and travelling mainly on dirt roads.
9) Dual Battery System
If you do intend on installing a fridge and draw sysetm ect, then a dual battery system will also be likely to be installed. We installed an outback accessories battery tray and a Intervolt Pro battery charger. The Intervolt Pro comes with a remote display that can be mounted inside the cab of the vehicle to see real time figures of the batteries. This was a big selling point for us. We are currently running a Calcium battery which has worked great for the last 24 x months.
10) Transmission Cooler
Any type of towing or heavy work on the tracks with an Auto Prado will generally result in high gearbox temperatures. We overcame this by installing an aftermarket set of brackets and an aftermarket transmission cooler mounted behind the grill. Prior to the upgrade we averaged gearbox temps of around 100 degrees. After the upgrade we now average around 86 degrees.
11) Second Fuel Filter
There is nothing worse than driving along and having a whole lot of lights start flashing on your dashboard and the car go into limp mode or stop altogether to find out it was from dodgy fuel. A simple and relatively cheap insurance against this is to install a secondary fuel filter. Most of these sit inline before the main filter to ensure most of the nasties are caught prior to entering your genuine filter. We wouldn't travel into the outback without this.
12) Underbody bash plates
Bash plates for a Prado I think are a great idea. There is quite a lot of critical components that could be easily susceptible to damage beneath the Prado's. A heavy set of bash plates can mitigate this risk and ensure no issues should be encountered from foreign objects beneath the car. We use 3mm thick bushskinz bash plates.
Other items to get a notable mention on our Prado our:
Bushranger wheelie bin
Bushranger Maxair compressor
Clearview towing mirrors
Road Safe front recover points
Opposite Lock recovery equipment
Opposite Lock diff breathers
Provent Catch can
There are plenty of other upgrades that can be installed and alternatively there are plenty on our car that people may think are excessive. We chose to install each of these accessories as they all serve a purpose for us. We love the functionality and off-road ability of our Prado and have the peace of mind knowing wherever we would like to go the Prado will be able to get us there.
Driving the outback can have its challenges at times so we have put together our lessens learnt on Safe Outback Travel Driving Tips. Click Here to check it out.
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch we would love to hear from you. 'Contact Us'