Peter Hepworth, Wheelers Hill VIC
“G’day, I’ve got a Prado set up for touring and fishing. I’ve had 4WDs on and off since I was 20 years of age. I did the round Australia trip in 1974 over 18 months in a Nissan three-speed-soft-top. I’d like to travel more in the Outback remote desert areas.
The Prado is set up with bulbar, Superwinch, Hella driving lights, Brown Davis under-body guard [a lifesaver for Prado], roof rack, Foxwing, rear park sensors, ARB snorkel, drawer system and cargo barrier modified for fly fishing rods, a home-made water system, an auxiliary battery for the Engel fridge, a GME UHF, turbo timer and brake controller.
My problem is that my average fuel economy has increased from around 11.5L/100km, to 14.5L/100km. Prior to the desert trip, if I removed the roof rack and used Bridgestone 684 tyres, the fuel economy reduced to under 11L/100km. I set the vehicle up for a Simpson desert trip, by adding a winch and under-body sump guard, and during and since the trip I’ve averaged that 14.5L/100km. Any ideas?”
"Peter, you’ve got to understand that injectors are basically worn out by the time they’ve done 100,000km. They’ve pulsed millions of times in that period, and they must be worn. It’d pay to think carefully about them, and maybe pull them out to get them checked. I think you should be running the Flashlube diesel conditioner all the time in your vehicle; it will certainly help economy and emissions. Some people reckon it’s almost like an extra gear to them and certainly an economical way of taking care of your engine.
I’d put the vehicle across a weighbridge to tare it - you’ll get some idea of what the weight is now. You should definitely make sure the vehicle starts okay – one of the good indications of the general health of a diesel engine is whether it starts easily. I’d be inclined to look at the tyres you’re running; oversized tyres can chew up to an extra 1.5L/100km simply because of the extra drag created. They’re certainly something else worth considering. Hope that helps Pete."