WHY A MITSUBISHI CHALLENGER?
After numerous vehicles we have ended up with a 2013 Mitsubishi Challenger. Being in the Automotive industry for over 10 years you start to learn about different vehicles. and which franchises seem to offer the best support and reliability!
If you have read My Travelling Disasters, you would know that I have not had a good run with vehicles on my trips ever! While on my last Cape York Trip I decided that my rescue vehicle being a Triton. That a Mitsubishi was going to be my next purchase. As much as I wanted to stay with a Ute. I decided to get the Wagon version of the Triton. Running the same drive train of a 2.5L Turbo Diesel, with 5 speed auto. I chose the wagon for its extras over the Triton. They involved a rear air activated diff lock, climate control and reverse camera with touch screen audio system. It felt a bit more comfortable and bit more elegant for the wife!
I really wanted to buy brand new with being 40k cheaper than its rivals at $36,000 drive away. Looking for a white auto, while searching on car sales for the cheapest selling in a car dealership. Came across this one being sold second hand urgently as they were moving overseas. Only 30k on the clock and 4 years of factory warranty left, I negotiated the sale price at $25,000. Well and truly under the market rate, I scored a great bargain! it was basically brand new and hardly driven.
I have fitted an Ironman Deluxe Bullbar to the front of my Challenger. I liked the idea of having a separate winch cradle, then just bolting the winch to the Bullbar. I’ve fitted a few Bullbars in my time and I find the Ironman bar to be an easier install and much more thought out in their design. Don’t get me wrong I’m still a fan of the excessively overpriced ARB Bullbars. $1000 difference for an identical bar, I just couldn’t go past Ironman. Unfortunately both manufacturers don’t have recovery points on the bar.
The Ironman bar comes with LED indicator and Parker lamps and also small driving lights. Though the driving lights are pretty useless at distance, I tend to point them down and out to the side of the road for better spread. I’ve also fitted a 35″ LED curved light bar, this fits perfectly between the uprights above the winch control box. It gives good spot and being curved does a good job at spread beam as well.
My current suspension setup is 20mm raised King springs in the front and 60mm extra heavy King springs in the rear. I have Ironman nitro gas shocks front and rear as well. At the time of purchase the only springs I could buy that didn’t have a couple of months wait was the King springs. After 12 months of use I am a little disappointed, I have found that the rear springs can not cope with the weight of my camper sending the car nose high when loaded.
Before our big trip I will be discussing my suspension setups with professionals to get the best setup that I can get. At the end of the day It needs to hold a fully loaded trailer and loaded car and still perform well off-road and on.
I have opted to go BFGoodrich KO2 all terrain tyres. The last few vehicles I have run BFG KM2 Mud terrains and the traction was excellent with no issues. The main reason behind going the All terrains this time was the amount of time it was going to stay on the black top. Being the family wagon its driven to work everyday and is used every weekend. Going all terrains gives better fuel economy and more mileage out of the tyres but on the downside you loss that extra traction in the rough stuff.
I have gone up one size from 265/70R16 to 265/75R16. The reasons behind this is availability in remote travelling. The 75 profile is a much more common tyre and you get that little bit more ground clearance. The downside is a little down on power and fuel economy but not really enough to worry about.
Whenever you are thinking of travelling remote you need to have at minimum a basic recovery kit! My number one thing I fit to any 4wd is a Winch. It’s all well and good having a snatch strap but it’s a bit useless if you’re the only one on that track!
I have fitted to the front a Dominator 12,000p winch from 4wd Supacentre. I have been through several winches from the well known Warn winch, Ironman, Smitty built and now Dominator. They have all provided the same experience and they have all failed eventually, so the difference between a $2000 winch and $400 winch was nothing but a name! when this winch fails ill just get another one and so on.
I also carry a recovery bag with the following items:
- 1 x 9 metre 8000kg snatch strap
- 1 x 20 metre 4500kg winch extension strap
- 1 x 8 metre 8000kg drag chain
- 1 x winch snatch block
- 8 x assorted Rated D shackles
This is a well used recovery kit, many vehicles recovered from simple breakdowns requiring a tow, to the more extreme vehicle rolls overs, each item in my kit is used for more than one occasion and I wouldn’t be anywhere remote without them.
Inside the cockpit I have installed a GME TX3500 80ch uhf and GME external speaker, I have also fitted a 6.6dbi Aerial on the front of the Bullbar, these give me an all round reception both in open and hilly terrain.
For our Guidance system we use Mud-Maps on our iPad and our iPhone, this App can be launched offline and uses your inbuilt GPS to position yourself in the maps chosen, if you are not familiar with Mud-Maps I strongly agree you should check them out!
on the to do list
- Dual Battery for fridge and starting
- Full size roof rack
- Rear storage drawers
- Solar panels fixed and removable
- Air bags (maybe)