The dream has become a reality. We’ve got a 200 series!
Alby, the 2013 Toyota Landcruiser Altitiude 200 series now sits boldly in our garage, towering over poor little Dougie, our much loved but war-weary Pajero.
With the plan brought forward a few years, we picked up Alby in September 2013. Nicknamed Alby for two reasons – one, after the larrikin Australian adventurer Alby Mangles, and two, because Alby is all white – albino.
Over the next three months we made some fairly substantial modifications to get Alby looking and feeling capable of going anywhere we dare travel.
Straight up we got Alby some new shoes. We ummed and ahhed about whether to change the OEM 18” rims to 17” but the changeover was just too expensive. This limited our options for new tyres in the range we wanted, but we chose the Cooper ST Maxx in 275/70/18. They do scrub a little on the inside mud flap but nothing we can hear from inside the luxury of the leather-upholstered cabin.
Next on the list was a lift. Malaga Suspensions in the northern suburbs of Perth fitted Dobinsons springs, Bilstein Shocks, Poly Airbags and provided certified engineering for a GVM upgrade to 3800kg. There’s a noticeable difference in the height of the rig, about 50mm all round. However, even with the stronger springs in the back to accommodate the heavy towball weight of our camper, the ride is just as comfortable.
Following a very disappointing experience (well the final of three disappointing experiences) with a very well-known and well-marketed 4wd accessory company, we opted to investigate what some of their competitors had to offer. We are so glad we did.
Opposite Lock in Mandurah (WA) kitted Alby out with –
- Crystal pearl, colour-coded premium 3-loop bulbar
- UHF radio and antenna
- Rhino roof racks and awning with extensions
- Safari Snorkel
- Trailer plug
- Lightforce spotlights
Alby came up a treat. The Driver has since been busy fitting mods to the inside of Alby in preparation for touring. This has included –
- Custom-made drawers for the back
- A removable ‘deck’ that sits over the middle row of seats when they are folded down (or taken out to create storage space underneath
- A third battery in beside the drawers with an Intervolt EBI programmable 100A 500A peak dual battery isolator system
- Anderson plug at the tow hitch
- MSA drop-down fridge slide and walls to protect the 40L Engel
- A dedicated slot along the wall of the fridge where we can store the camp table
- LED strip light on the inside of the upper tailgate that makes a great light over the back of the car and drawers at night
The dust deflector on the top of the rear door had to be taken off as it hits the SUPs or anything long that is carried on the roof racks.
An inflatable water bladder capable of carrying 75L of drinking water sits in the footwell behind the front seats. The Driver rigged up a pump and hose so that we can transfer this water from the bladder to the camper water tanks without having to take the bladder out of the car.
We then headed back to Opposite Lock to have a pair of Superior Engineering Upper Control Arms fitted to the front. These allow more adjustment for the wheel alignment following the suspension upgrade and lift.
And that’s about it. Alby is the most capable, comfortable and serious off-road vehicle we have ever, and probably will ever, own.