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  • Unbreakable in the outback?

    We delayed leaving Alice Springs - rather than heading off at 5pm for a 5 hour drive west towards the WA border in the rain two weeks ago, a hotel room was the sensible choice whilst it rained all night. An early recce the next morning in the rain found Larapinta Drive impassable at the first major creek crossing - the funny thing was that a couple of trucks waved me through to tell me that they were returning when I got to the other side (- telling me that they'd shifted sideways). Like them, I quickly u-turned and headed back to Alice. Although it'd been higher, localised showers in local catchments made it hard to predict - I suspect I was the last vehicle through.... Not deep, but swift.... I hope those Britz vans didn't give it a go...

    A day later, the mine-spec hire car was floating effortlessly along the corrugations and water ripples on the red dirt, with notable less vibration that my Pajero. Although it had only 36K on the odo, a glance at the beaten and misshapen underbody made me think it had had more like a hard 136K km under it's belt. Forethought and safety assessments made certain that we were prepared to be stranded for a few days, with sufficient comms to always be in contact (SPOT, Sat phone, and PLB - nothing like redundancy!)

    We knew we were going to wade through some water with a firm base, and as the road simply became the superficially dry riffles of a former creek/road, we paused before the first endless-looking section of water. It was initially shallow, 10-15cm, but after about 150m, the power suddenly dropped. I stopped and confirmed that low range was engaged, and felt horrified as I realised I was in limp mode with no end of water in sight. As the water deepened, the vehicle struggled with lack of power as the mud sucked at the wheels and maximum speed was 5kmh - foot flat to the floor. After 800m, the first of the water was traversed. Under the bonnet was dry, but the dash was alight with warnings and everything disabled, a max of 2K rpm and minimal power allowed us to just limp the last 25km to the station though numerous more sections of water, barely enough power for the mud.

    On arrival, we rejoiced in our decision to not do this trip in the rain at night two nights previous - when the pools of water would have seemed endless, the water deeper, the power loss potentially immobilising - just us, a pool of water, the rain, and the mosquitos....

    A quick google found that this model had numerous articles on the limp mode problem, and the manufacturer reportedly suggesting a recall was not warranted as it was not a safety issue. They may reconsider this view a couple of hundred of kilometres from bitumen when you need some torque for 4WDing just to move forward.

    An 18hr disconnect of the battery removed the limp mode, and a fortuitous encounter with a factory-trained mechanic who checked for codes (none), cleaned the MAF sensor, the air filter, and bled the fuel filter returned a 'cannot fault'. All set for the return journey a couple of days later, or so we thought.....

    I was determined to redeem myself and drive so gently that there was no chance of limp modes. But, within 5km of the station, there was a pool that couldn't be avoided. I poked the left hand wheel through 3m of less than 10cm of water at 20 kmh, and - limp mode. We radioed to borrow the OBDII reader at the other side of all the other water. After each section of water limp mode would deteriorate power to 2K rpm, then build to 3K rpm, all with reduced power (maybe 20-30% of normal power).

    With the OBDII reader I cleared a repeating series of intake and manifold codes, until they instantly recurred once cleared, and the exercise became pointless. On a functional transport leg to meet appointments and flights, there was little time to spare. AND then, the 'DPF full' error message added to the cycling list of error messages on the display, and with that, the slowly further diminishing power was explained. A read of the manual indicated that the stationary process would take at least 30 minutes, and pressing appointments looming we pushed on to Alice. We relished every downhill, every gear up-change, we even passed another vehicle after a 5km run-up and slipstream, like we were in a clapped out kombi.

    Because we were well prepared and had nothing more than first-world-problems, we were at no real risk and our delay was disconcerting rather than life-threatening. However, I still wondered if this was a vehicle model I'd trust in the outback. Limp mode just doesn't cut it when in 4WD conditions, or when you need to travel significant distances, it just doesn't feel safe. Maybe it was a lesson in the realities and risks of outback travel, especially in the digital age.
    Last edited by insect_eater; 1 week ago.
    NX GLX manual, T13, XD9000, Koni RAID, Ultragauge, ISI carrier, pioneer platform, Lithium auxillary

  • #2
    I'm a sensor that plays a part in braking or stability control (wheel sensor or ABS sensor maybe?) was being affected by water. To a car manufacturer this seems totally adequate to almost immobilise a car if one of these systems is down, surely there should be an override for times like this?
    SOLD 2004 NP 3.2 auto
    NOW 2014 Ranger XLT auto

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    • #3
      I rented a Pardon 18 months ago. I was flabergasted on seeing the manual DPF over-ride button & the 50 page handbook on how the driver had to manage it! They finally admitted they had a problem, but that was the best they could do to manage it - appalling! I couldn't wait to return it for a number of reasons.

      When I got home, I took the Paj for a drive - so refreshing!

      I have just taken delivery of my latest Paj (no. 6) - such a shame there won't be any more made after this one..................
      Pajero NX MY21 GLS

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      • #4
        Has the make of the said vehicle been left out for obvious reason by the OP? Why?
        Mitsubishi Pajero NT Platinum 2010

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        • #5
          One of the first error messages I saw was 'frontal collision warning failure', which (i understand) is one of a series of messages that comes on when there is a major meltdown in the system. Engine, ABS, and a few other lights were lit up. I also had MAF, and other engine codes thrown, but none for safety/traction systems. I think that the DPF was simply another layer on top of other faults.

          Originally posted by bennyb29 View Post
          Has the make of the said vehicle been left out for obvious reason by the OP? Why?
          Bugger! Oh I had a feeling that someone would ask that - a few details have been denatured to protect innocent parties on this far from luxurious journey.. Perhaps I was being too cautious in doing so,

          It reminds me that every time I turned the ignition on to check the status of the warning lights, the centre dash display showed a video of the vehicle splashing through a puddle. I didn't realise that this was a safety warning....
          NX GLX manual, T13, XD9000, Koni RAID, Ultragauge, ISI carrier, pioneer platform, Lithium auxillary

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          • #6
            it was a toyota hilux, dpf and faults with water, all our standard mine site faults. lol
            07 Mitsubishi Pajero Shorty - Currently rolling around Africa

            Insta: https://www.instagram.com/wrongturnadventure/
            Website: https://wrongturn.com.au/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cruisn06 View Post
              it was a toyota hilux, dpf and faults with water, all our standard mine site faults. lol
              Thanks for clarifying. A bit shocked to note how fragile it has become.
              Mitsubishi Pajero NT Platinum 2010

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              • #8
                How the mighty have fallen..............yet they still sell like hotcakes, expensive ones at that.....................
                Pajero NX MY21 GLS

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by spot01 View Post
                  How the mighty have fallen..............yet they still sell like hotcakes, expensive ones at that.....................
                  Yes...but a fool and his money are soon parted.
                  Dicko. FNQ

                  2014 NW with all the usual stuff plus more.
                  If you take life too seriously you will never get out alive....



                  Telegraph X camper

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cruisn06 View Post
                    it was a toyota hilux, dpf and faults with water, all our standard mine site faults. lol
                    Thanks Cruisn06 - is there a pattern of circumstances behind these faults, or any easy way to disconnect sensors to prevent it occurring?
                    NX GLX manual, T13, XD9000, Koni RAID, Ultragauge, ISI carrier, pioneer platform, Lithium auxillary

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by insect_eater View Post
                      - is there a pattern of circumstances behind these faults?
                      Yes.

                      Once upon a time, Toyota were really on top of their game, and made a significant number of class-leading vehicles that were streets ahead of their competition.

                      That time is long gone, but too many purchasers have grown up with the class-leading reputation, and are true believers in the "unbreakable" myth.

                      Those brilliant minds at Toyota who positioned the company in the market, and their product line, so well have long since retired, and the current generation simply don't have what it takes to continue to achieve those stellar outcomes.

                      But it doesn't really matter (yet), because the "class leading" reputation, and the "unbreakable" myth are deeply ingrained in generations of brainless buyers - it's gotta be a Toyota, because they're the best.

                      When the "class leading" Toyota struggles, the brainless buyer rationalises that anything else would struggle even more. When the "unbreakable" Toyota breaks, the brainless buyer rationalises that anything else would've broken earlier / worse / more catastrophically / it's not my fault / don't blame me.

                      Don't get me wrong. These vehicles still have their strengths, they're not the worst vehicles in the market place. But they definitely have more than their traditional share of weaknesses, and much of the myth surrounding the badge is, unfortunately, little more than myth. But they sell based on the myth, despite the faults, and the poor unsuspecting drivers suffer the consequences.

                      Notwithstanding all of the above, I'd be in a 200 Series if I could afford it.
                      NT Platinum. DiD Auto with 265/70R17 ST Maxx, Lift, Lockers, Lockup Mate, Low range reduction, LRA Aux tank, bull bar, winch, lots of touring stuff. Flappy paddles. MMCS is gone!

                      Project: NJ SWB. 285/75R16 ST Maxx, 2" OME suspension, 2" body lift, ARB 110, 120l tank, bullbar, scratches, no major dents. Fully engineered in SA. NW DiD & auto in place - a long way to go....

                      Scorpro Explorer Box

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by insect_eater View Post

                        Thanks Cruisn06 - is there a pattern of circumstances behind these faults, or any easy way to disconnect sensors to prevent it occurring?
                        On our site we actually tried to get toyota to buy them back it got so bad, reflashing, and repairs, always same dpf issues again and again and again, and we had stretches of 80kmh public road we travel for work, which since it was outback adn the 80 was the mine site speed, most would still do the 110 WA limit. so they burned and still clogged, in rain, we had continous wet filter, even with snorkel heads spun around to try to help. sadly, I can provide no assistance to actually fix the problem besides an actual tune and delete.

                        The new hilux's are quite weak. nothing like the last model.
                        07 Mitsubishi Pajero Shorty - Currently rolling around Africa

                        Insta: https://www.instagram.com/wrongturnadventure/
                        Website: https://wrongturn.com.au/

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nj swb View Post

                          Yes.

                          Once upon a time, Toyota were really on top of their game, and made a significant number of class-leading vehicles that were streets ahead of their competition.

                          That time is long gone, but too many purchasers have grown up with the class-leading reputation, and are true believers in the "unbreakable" myth.

                          Those brilliant minds at Toyota who positioned the company in the market, and their product line, so well have long since retired, and the current generation simply don't have what it takes to continue to achieve those stellar outcomes.

                          But it doesn't really matter (yet), because the "class leading" reputation, and the "unbreakable" myth are deeply ingrained in generations of brainless buyers - it's gotta be a Toyota, because they're the best.

                          When the "class leading" Toyota struggles, the brainless buyer rationalises that anything else would struggle even more. When the "unbreakable" Toyota breaks, the brainless buyer rationalises that anything else would've broken earlier / worse / more catastrophically / it's not my fault / don't blame me.

                          Don't get me wrong. These vehicles still have their strengths, they're not the worst vehicles in the market place. But they definitely have more than their traditional share of weaknesses, and much of the myth surrounding the badge is, unfortunately, little more than myth. But they sell based on the myth, despite the faults, and the poor unsuspecting drivers suffer the consequences.

                          Notwithstanding all of the above, I'd be in a 200 Series if I could afford it.
                          Mate in Mackay bought a new 200 series $117,000. Sold it 3 months later because the buyer needed on urgently for towing and willing to pay cash. Sold it for $135,000.....The prices are absolutely ridiculous at the moment. Why people wouldn't get a Y62 for towing is beyond me. Better still....get rid of the absolutely ridigulous huge aluminum road block and get something smaller that is easier to drive, maintain and park....Some peoples ego,s are just stupid.

                          Mate over the road sold his corolla he bought 4.5 years ago for $6,500...just got $7,500 for it!!!
                          Last edited by Dicko1; 1 week ago.
                          Dicko. FNQ

                          2014 NW with all the usual stuff plus more.
                          If you take life too seriously you will never get out alive....



                          Telegraph X camper

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                          • #14
                            Slightly off topic, but some time back, I was driving my friends Landbruiser 100 series (petrol/gas V8) and we were going up a steep hill (there are quite a few of those around where we live). The beast dropped right back in speed and I commented to him that my NW diesel would be doing 80 km/h in 4th gear on this hill. He asked how much fuel did I use towing my caravan and I told him. He then said "Why shouldn't I buy a Pajero to do the work I do?" I replied ' Because it is not a Toyota'.. He was silent for a while and then finally agreed He will have any vehicle you like as long as it is a Toyota. He has a fleet of 4 80 series and one 100 series, and his fuel bill must be horrendous, but he will never change. He did ask me if I was going to sell my Pajero, could he buy it because he knows what has (or rather hasn't) been done to the car and what it can do, but it is not for sale. He believes the Unbreakable myth and will never change. One of his 80 series has had 4 heads on it (the rings are still original). It has done about 650000 km now.

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                            • #15
                              Toyota definitely had reliable cheaper servicing vehicles. The main word here is HAD. These days the price of the vehicles has increased and the quality has decreased. I had a mate with an 80 (who came from a GQ because that would wonder all over the road [lifted way too high]) got the 80 series because his father had one and it was unstoppable...... He used to rubbish me about my "slow" turbo powered 2.8Pajero.

                              He modified the 80 with a turbo and lpg. he stated the LPG gave the thing a extra gear. I spent many a afternoon under the thing fixing things that broke. (or that he had done wrong) the gearbox (only a G series so wish it was an r series) started to howl. I put the VMX-M in it from castrol (the mitsubishi oil) whihc quietened it down alot and also bought him an extra 18months to save and get a reco box which I fitted with him. Next came the diffs breaking, etc etc it was constant.

                              It didnt help that he was a sent it type bloke. went into s river, got bogged, filled the car up and then in recovery mode broke the back door because his brother was too sent it as well and the snatch strap ended up in the rear door. I still got rubbish from him about my paj, but yet I was across the river waiting on the other side. Ended up just winching him across after his second attempt ended in the same way. The paj while it might be known as slow, has recovered this toyota on a number of different occasions. While i expect the recovery is not the fault of the vehicle and I am sure if he drove the paj (never ever while i am alive) he would break that too. BUT the toyota definitely has its flaws like any car.

                              But this whole DPF thing for vehicles is just rubbish. So it tries to reduce unburnt diesel into the atmo, but when it gets clogged it then uses unburnt diesel to clear it ???? anyone else see a small logic problem here? I am not seeing this as a proper environmental solution. sometimes we are very smart as a group but other times i wonder what drugs manufacturers are selecting to get through a day. If we could work out a way to provide commercial quantities of biodiesel (ie peanut/canola etc etc) then we would have a far better outcome out of the tailpipe. Heck I have run mine with sump oil (with the impurities pulled out and all the additives as well) and it was brilliant. As a by product it pulled the waxy sludge out of the fuel lines and made them whistle clean again but I cannot afford to run the vehicle on this full time. The storage, processing and collection of the sump oil is time consuming and difficult to keep up with. While yes sump oil is still petrol-chemical and is still running a carbon based fuel the canola etc results in a better exhaust out. Something people might want to start thinking about. The swap over at the pump would be minimal. it is the production that is the issue, in the quantities required and with a competitive price. the reliance on fossil fuses needs to start being wound back otherwise we will have issues in the near future.

                              So if the DPF is removed I dont believe that the rest of the car would still be all that great. I mean the same vehicle with a few extra technology in it with a lexus badge and a bigger v8 comes in at 185,000. i just dont see the point. nor that it would be any less breakable. Toyota like a number of other japanese manufactures use the parts bin theory. IE what parts do we have that will fit and work in this vehicle. So often the part will be the same and thus have the same breakability in them, it is just the speed to which they do break. I suppose the big thing here is drive the vehicle within its abilities, or most so yours, whichever is the lesser, otherwise you will be breaking stuff regardless. I have seen i time and time again out in the trails. People going to places the most difficult way possibly because it will be a challenge. Net result often is that the vehicle breaks and they have a miserable trip home. I am not saying that things cannot break out on the trails, but i prefer to get to my destination, not look radical getting there, or spending 3 hours on the side of a track fixing stuff.

                              It is like the ford 9" diffs. they have the reputation of being unbreakable. but talk to any ford guy about their unbreakable 9" and you will find there is little ford left and mostly aftermarket, including the bearing support in the front of the diff housing.....unbreakable no, rebuilt and upgraded sure. Lets face it most of the vehicles these days are built to a budget. after we get them we then make them capable, very few vehicles from the showroom and go out and do 4wd without some sort of modifications. And with alot of the late 90's and early 2000 being the family truckster thought the vehicles were design more to be urban buses than rural trucks.
                              95 White LWB Panda coloured GLS TD28 running 18psi 2inch lift, 2 inch body lift, factory rear LSD maxxis bighorn muddies 25,000klms after total engine rebuild - Club reged Currently around 307,000klms

                              Daughters - 2003 NP Exceed Silver Bone stoke getting a engine rebuild after a Major overheat (previous owner) - My current project

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