The First Story
My first post on the forum and it is to seek opinions (possibly advice). I asked a similar question on the other forum, but this seems to be place to get advice on hilux vehicles (Thanks for the pointers Warthog). I know very little about cars and even less about hilux's. PS Get coffee this is a long read.
The Back Story
We are wanting a vehicle for travel through Southern and Eastern Africa for a few months (12 to be sure). We are wanting to take our daughter out of school and do a trip. So that means 3 people.
You must remember that you will also need a comprehensive medical bag, as you may be far from medical assistance when you need it most.
And that means stuff. Lots of stuff. Less is more does not seem to work with 4x4ing and overlanding. Whilst we will be remote and dont mind the road less travelled, unknown spoor tracks will be the rare occasion as opposed to the norm. But we do not want to limit ourselves to the places and things we can experience because of a vehicle (folks travelled from London in a double decker bus....).
That desion is yours to make. The double decker bus probably brought them down the main hiway, which is probably tarred from Cape to Cairo. If you want to do a little more exploring, you will need sonmething that can get you stuck a little further away from home/ or the main hiway. The best ourist/destinations, are not all situated alongside the tar road.
Now in chatting to other overlanders the main thing they mention is diesel (we are wanting diesel) and also stock standard suspension. Any after market upgrades that get damaged further up north tend to be expensive as they are not stock standard. As a matter of fact, they all say keep the car as stock standard as possible so that most mechanics (bush type or not) can fix any problems.
Load Hogg helper springs are very basic, and could be made in the bush, if you know how, and can level you ride, making it safer and much more stable. I had a set on my previous D/C Hilux and was very happy with what they did; and received no problems anywhere with them. They are helper springs for leaf springs though and not for coil springs. There are rubber spacers that can be fitted between the coil springs to firm the ride. I have read about the rubber airbags that can be pumped to different stiffnesses, for different loads of your vehicle, that can be used, but have heard about many of them failing on heavily laden vehicles, so think about your different options, before committing yourself.
The Problem Story
We currently own a 105 gx 4.2d, called Daisy. She runs beautifully and we totally enjoy the slow lane when we take her out. We have kitted her out and the few trips we have done she has run beautifully. The plan was to keep her for the African trip.
I would make sure that she is in tip top condition, and then stick to what you have, know and are happy with.
However, as a family of 3 we are finding that space is a real issue. By the time the fridge and all the other food stuff goes in, all the electronic gadgets (camera's, binos, tablets, laptop etc) and other odds and sods, all land up on the back seat.
Cut down on the extra luxuaries, ie make a choice between the laptop and the tablet (why take both?). Take smaller binoculars, travelling along the tar roads you will only see settlements and very little else. On the Hilux Forum, speak to Thunder02 Chabber Canvas Product, Neil the fart & his missus will make you bags to fit on your dash, with pockets for binoculars, cameras, spectacles and whatever. They will make you a saddle over your gear leavers in which you can fit maps, books or whatever. This free's up space elsewhere, even if it does not lighten the load. Just make sure that these pockets are a little larger than A4 size, otherwise the fit is a little tight.
Then there is recovery equipment (Look at minumal and self help stuff), sleeping stuff (sew sheet closed like sleeping bag, which keeps sleeping bag or blankets clean, and is then also easy to wash just the sheet), sitting stuff (fold up chairs that compress into themselves, which take little space, are strong and comfortable), shower stuff (soap & shampoo, leave the fancy stuff at home, you don't want to dress up for the locals, you may look good enough to eat), cooking stuff (take basics, like kooker tops for gas bottles, a braai grid and alminium cooking flat bottomed pots, that fit into each other and can be used for stews and baking bread. Cast iron pots are too heavy), extra fuel stuff (?), extra water stuff (?) and, stuff and more stuff (Take less stuff, you need a knife and fork each with a teespoon or two and a spoon or two, a sharp/pairing knife, with a small grater and a measuring jug ). There is just not enough space (or weight limits for overloading !) While we have got rather good on cutting out stuff down to minimal, things are reaching a stage where we need to spend some money on her and it is either spend the money on upgrades or look at a new vehicle. (If you need excuses to buy a new vehicle, go out and do it, otherwise live in the space you have, and take the implemets you need, not what is nice to have or what the Jones's took with them.). It is not that we want more space for more stuff, just an easier way to pack our existing stuff Ok (Remember that drawer systems are heavier, take more space ang have less packing space than shelves. Make your shelves just big enough to take plastic boxes that will fit exactly into the shelves. In these you can pack, your clothes and groceries. Your clothes must preferably be bush colours, light so they wash easily and dry quickly, and do not need ironing.You only need about three sets of light clothing (the pants can be the zip off legs type with two t-shirts and a long sleeved shirt), with a warm weather proof jacket and an anorack, a pair of comfortable boots and slops and three thin pairs of socks and thermal long top and bottom for emergencies. You will need a washing machine and a drying wrack, for when your clothes do not dry sufficiently before nightfall, so you can hang them up inside the vehicle. Run cords along the roof lining.), I also need space for a fishing rod (take a fold up rod and minimum of whatever else you will need) and a drone and a telescope (you have binoculars, so leave the telescope at home) and a second camera body (one must see to all your needs, take wide angle and at least 600 mm lens to satisfy your photographic needs. Buy Panasonic Lumix with good lens and about 25X Optical zoom for a back up camera) with tripod. Is this to much to ask ? (If you want everything, buy an Iveco 4X4 or an overlanding truck, but then you have many other problems to contend with).
While we were away we saw a 79 landcruiser and it looked just about perfect. And then we got reading and a double cab Hilux popped up. A trailer is very much not an option.
The trailer is not an option, unless you want to take everything including the kitchen sink with you. You will need space to load everything you want to take with you. Life is about choices, you must start making yours.
In terms of overland travel, how often to you really need to use the full 4x4 capabilities of the car? Yes the LC is a burely 4x4, but how often to you really need all that 4x4 "power".
You can have the power and 4X4 abilities and very seldom need them, but when they are required, you will be very grateful that you had them.
Which offers more space the Hilux DC or the 79 DC ?
The Cruiser is bigger, so will always have more space.
Which has better fuel consumption the Hilux or the LC?
The Hilux will give you at least 3 km/l better fuel consumption.
Normally aspirated toyota's have a reputation of having parts readily available and generally can be repaired by bush mechanics. The Hilux is a turbo, what is the risk of blowing a turbo? And how tricky are they to repair in "darkest" africa? All our discussions with overlanders have been, not if it breaks down, but when. As something surely will go wrong and you want a bush mechanic to be able to fix it.
There are many Hiluxes all over Africa. A looked after vehicle will give you many more km's than you will drive in your year long trip in Africa.
Would you even travel into africa with a turbo car for 12 months? So may overlanders say stay away from turbo's?
They will often not recommend a turbo aftermarket system, which are prone to giving trouble, as the enjine was not designed for the turbo (After market System).
While we are very blessed that money is not (to much) of an issue, price (value) is a concern. The 2015 Hilux at R290K vs the 79LC at R450K one needs to be sure that there is R160K worth of value to be had for overlanding. (Oh yes, both are equally well kitted out)
The 2.5 is also a bit of a Donkey, but is very reliable. In Africa there is no rush and the roads are also mostly, not in a state to go faster, than the 2.5 will travel comfortably at. I chose the bigger 3.0 D4D above the Cruiser and have never been sorry. I average a sadately 9 – 10 km/p/l - Fully Loaded.
Which has better fuel consumption? The Hilux or LC
The Hilux will give you at least 3 km/l better fuel consumption.
What are the general running costs compared of the two vehicles?
The Hilux will be a lot cheaper to run than the L/C.
Do you guys know what the carry weight difference is between the Hilux and LC? Stuff = weight. Will moving from a 105 to a double cab give us more space to pack safely ?
Your Cruiser should have about the same carrying capacity as a Hilux. Remember that the D/C models will not have the same carrying/loading capaity as a S/C. You are used to your Cruiser and will know about the rattles that go with travelling on bad roads. The D/C vehicles with the load being distributed at the back, will be a lot quieter iro of the rattles, as they will mostly be confined to the back of the load bin.
I am sure some will say upgrade the suspension of 105 we already have. While not what I want in terms of repair, the other concern would be potential for overloading. By the time all the "static essential equipment is included on the car, there is not much room for anything else. Think roof rack, RTT, wheel carries (x2) and two spare wheels, rear bumber, 40l water, 130l fuel, 2 full jerry cans, front bumber, front winch, recovery gear, highlift jack AND we have not started loading the "stuff" yet.
When you speak about upgrading the suspension, there are many different variables. You have noted that after market suspensions are difficult to come by, the further north you go. I have for the same reason driven over 7 000 km with a broken shock, so know the feeling. You should seriously consider the option of using Load Hogg helper springs, which bolt onto your existing springs (Leaf Springs, the tension can also be set to a cetain extent). They will assist in preventing the sag at the back. The RTT will free up a lot of space for matresses, blankets, pillows, etc., time and effort. I would also keep the two wheel carriers and two spares. When you lose to tyres with gashes in the side walls in a distance of 20 km, and still have a long way to go, before you can get to any form of assistance, you will greatly appreciate the extra wheel. The 130l of fuel will get you to most places in a Hilux, but the Cruiser may need the full jerry cans as well. I have a 150L long range tank, which will get me about 1300 km of carful mixed driving (including sand/mud and rock crawling – which ould free up the two jerry cans), you would be lucky to get 900 km from the cruiser, under the same conditions. I also have a 50L water tank which is sufficient, if you use it for emergenciers, and cooking and for mixed cooldrink.. There is water all over for washing the clothes and yourselves. The highlift jack can also be used as a winch to cut down on weight, so either, or, make a choice. You also get bladders that you can fit into the footwells of your vehicle, for water or fuel (keeping the centre of gravity low).
I drove the old (1990's) LC single cabs and the rides were not that bad, although it was in a previous life, but with a loaded 2016 79 LC, will the ride still be an uncomfortable one? Surely suspension and vehicle design have changed?
The heavily loaded vehicle ride is much more comfortable than an empty one, which can be supplemented ith pillows, sleeping bags or blankets, to spread your weight out over and around your seating area. I use a small cushion on the arn rest against the door and a small cushion for the arm rest between the seats. These small non items, make the driving experience so much more comfortable.
And then lastly ......
would you move from a 4.2d 105gx to a double cab ? If you had to choose, the 2015 2.5td hilux or the 2016 79 4.2d LC?
When I was faced with the same decision, I opted for the 3.0 D4D Hilux. I looked at new, as it was just for the wife and I and it was for a 20 year project, as I was having it converted to a full time camped, which was my own design and kitted for two people, as opposed to three (in your case).
If you would like any further information, that I may be able to assist you with, you are free to contact me at
I also have other information, that I will send you, that may assist you with your packing and your decisions.
HABOOB means "Dust Storm"