Duncan Udawatta and Overland Journals holds full copy rights.
logo

TECHNICAL – DICEROS | KITTED OUT

The 80 came with the basic mods – bull bar, snorkel, dual battery system (with a battery manager), rear storage drawers, roof rack, awning and a 2” suspension lift. This gave me a good starting platform to customize the fourbie around my needs whilst keeping within budget. With the two of us (my wife and me) traveling most of the time alone, we need to be self-sufficient. So after a few months of DIY work and some after market fit outs, I had customized DICEROS to our requirements.

EXTERIOR

In the front, to the 80’s bull bar I had a 5.5ton (12,000lbs) winch with synthetic rope installed.

At the rear a completely new custom bumper with a dual wheel carrier would have been ideal, but that was not within budget. So instead got a single wheel carrier with swing arm installed with the second spare wheel mounted underneath where the stock wheel sits.

INTERIOR

With only the two of us travelling, most of the time, the rear seat was pretty much not needed. Initially I thought of having it removed all together, but then decided against this and currently have it folded down. Placing storage items such as our swag and clothing/bedding on top.

Not having the rear seat folded up also gave me the opportunity to have quick access camping gear to be attached to the cargo barrier. I mainly have my first aid kit, camp lanterns, camp chairs and the water bladder clamped to the cargo barrier.

I carry two fridges. A smaller 12l to keep all our drinks and a larger 60l fridge/freezer for meats and other cooking stuff. The smaller fridge was installed between the two front seats making it very easy to access on the go.

All the interior room lights’ standard globes were replaced by more power efficient and brighter LEDs.

SUSPENSION & TYRES

Diceros came with a 2” (legal limit) suspension lift that was pretty sufficient clearance for the type of terrain I was planning to travel on. Despite the 2” lift, the after market suspension had a 4” travel. This gave considerably good wheel articulation improving the ride over uneven surfaces as well as general road handling. To get the diffs lifted off the ground a bit more and improve off road grip, I installed a set of 33” aggressive off road Mickey Thompson Degan 38 tires. These have a surprisingly low on road tire noise level. As for the rims, the 80 came with black steel, which I preferred over alloys, as steel rims are very easy to fix in the bush if there was a need to.

REAR STORAGE

Overlanding requires being self sufficient for long periods of time. It’s is even more of a necessity in Australia and Africa where vast distances have to be covered in very remote areas where at times the nearest resemblance of civilization can be at least 500km (300miles). With this in mind I had to make sure the rear storage space was utilized efficiently. At the same time, being a bit of a neat freak, I wanted my storage neat and well organized. I also wanted everything as easy to access as possible. Having to climb into the fourbie every time I needed something was not something I fancied.

Diceros came with rear storage drawers and a fridge slide when I made the purchase. This gave me a good starting point.

Of the two drawers, one is used to keep all the recovery gear and the other for cooking utensils. The 60l fridge/freezer went on the fridge slide.

I like to arrange my other overlanding stocks (food, spares, tools, camping gear, etc) into clearly labeled storage boxes. This makes it easy for me to get what I need when I need it. Also, if there is anything that needs to be in the camp, then all I needed to do was take the appropriate box rather than having to empty out the entire vehicle. To make it easier to access the boxes, I had a slide installed so I can slide all the boxes out instead of having to climb into the back of Diceros.

The right hand side of the rear storage (between the boxes and the window) I kept for “throw in stuff.” As for the left side (between the fridge and the left side window), I kept for my electrics and power points.

POWER SUPPLY & ELECTRICS

Diceros already had a dual battery system with a battery manager when I took ownership. The two batteries consist of the main starter battery and a deep cycle battery to power all the accessories such as the fridges. There was only a cable to the back so it was up to me to finish it off to my requirements.

Utilizing the rear left side space, I installed a set of switches to control all the interior and exterior lights. Also installed were a set of power points for the fridges. During the installation I kept a few extra switches and power points for future use. I intend, down the line, to install an inverter so kept space for that as well.

As for lights, I installed a LED strip light on the inside of the rear and LED floodlights on two sides and the rear.

FUEL AND WATER

The 80 has a standard fuel capacity of 140l, but considering this is a thirsty beast, I feel the ideal would be a capacity of around 200l. Installing a long range tank was something out of my budget at this point. So settled for a couple of jerry cans on the roof rack bringing the total capacity to 220l (four 20l jerry cans). This also got me thinking, having the cans on the front of the roof rack helped distribute the weight better, rather than having all the weight over the back axel. This then helped me to decide on the water storage.

Initially I was thinking of having a water storage tank at the back of the fourbie, but after the extra fuel carrying thought process, I kept to the weight distribution and went for a 85l water bladder installed behind the rear seat. This did not bring the weight entirely away from the rear axel. However, it did move the weight closer to the centre of the fourbie.

 

COMMUNICATION

As with all other fourbies out there, a UHF radio was a must for convoy conversing and also for keeping in touch with other traffic. The 80 came with a well looked after UHF so that made it easy for me. With solo travelling in mind, I initially wanted to install a HF radio along side the UHF for long-range communication. But this idea was scrapped since, in my opinion, in this day and age, it’s better to have a SAT phone and they are not all that expensive. To keep the cell phone signal stretched as far as possible, I also installed a cell signal booster antenna. Not that we want to be hounded by telephone calls whilst away, but having it can be useful if the need arose.

There are a few more mods and accessories I would like installed, but for the moment this was sufficient for our travels. With so many accessories availlable in the market today, rather than installing everything as the heart desires, I felt it is better to firgure out what else we needed as we travelled.

I feel with the current kitout we can travel to just about anywhere any overlanding tourist would like to go whilst being completely self sufficient at the same time.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *