Used 18ft Bushtraker

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 at 03:24
ThreadID: 122238 Views:8206 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
This Thread has been Archived
Hi, We are getting ready to travel and I am looking for a used 18ft Bushtraker.
We live in Melbourne, but can travel to view.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 at 05:37

Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 at 05:37
We bought our 18 footer 18 months ago, when there weren't many around. 12 months later there were heaps more coming onto the market - more modern and with more features, some at prices near to what we had paid. Very pleased with ours though - can't complain. At the time i found more advertised in the Caravan Trader than on the net. It is different now - do a search on the net as well as getting the Caravan Trader. Quite a few on this site (copy and paste - I'm not smart at hyperlinks)

Of course watch this site, as members selling usually post here first. Do a web search for Bushtracker For Sale - there are a number of web sites I've seen them on recently. Good luck with your search. May see you on the road some time next year.


Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at

My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 567122

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 at 19:13

Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 at 19:13
Thanks Motherhen,
Im also in need of a towing vehicle. Needs to have a 6ft x 6ft Tray to carry our ultralight (120kg) and preferably Dual cab deisel. Any suggestions for this size van.
I have narrowed it down, but would appreciate your input.

Regards Kurt
AnswerID: 567123

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 05:00

Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 05:00
We are towing with a Patrol 3 ltr td - does the job just but would prefer something stronger; either an F250 or a larger size motor turbo Landcruiser. Not in a position to upgrade, but would if we could. We will be avoiding loose sandy roads of steep gradients.

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at

My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 567124

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 22:46

Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 22:46
Hello to Kurtha & Motherhen, firstly to you Kurtha l have been talking to a chap down south as he is selling his 18' BT. It is in the caravan trader this month. A good man to talk too, very helpful and honest. l still have his contact details eta if you wish to give Peter a call as both my wife and l will be waiting a bit longer for our BT !!!! My work # if your interested is 07 47717063 (Tvl)
Motherhen re your last thread regarding your tow vehicle we too have a Nissan ST 2000 Patrol (manual). In Apr 05 Nissan Australia replaced the motor after # 2 piston said goodnight!!!!, at no cost to us except for our recovery from Bowen Qld. It now goes like a dream and more power to boot. Just had our 10,000 km service and more than happy with our truck. However being only a 3 Lt tubo diesel it has made us re-think our size BT. We are now looking at a 16' to put behind our ST
Is yours auto/manual??
Anyway good luck with your BT search Kurtha and safe travels Motherhen, cheers Terry & Vivian
AnswerID: 567125

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 23:39

Monday, Sep 19, 2005 at 23:39
Da Ranger is in touch with a thousand towing, not just the few hundred here in the BOG...

And the reports on the Nissan are overall good for the Manual up to 18', but only 16' for the Nissan 3 litre with the Auto... Most Owners are happy with the 3 ltr towing, as the newer technology diesel seems to go pretty well, but in all fairness success is probably limited to 18' at a maximum.. Maybe a compromise at 17' is the go... For the rest of you, reports of happiness with the Nissan 3 litre auto, are very limited....

Kind Regards from the Ranger at the crossroads.....
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 844951

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 07:21

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 07:21
Hi Terry - our is auto. Luckily not the model with the history or blowing motors. Still cheaper to replace the motor than upgrade. Saving the $$s to buy the diesel.

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at

My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 844952

Reply By: schommys - Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 06:24

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 06:24
Hey Terry,
Our 2000 patrol also blew a piston in 2004 and Nissan supplied a new engine for free, but insisted I pay $2600 installation, so it sounds like I should've negotiated harder.

AnswerID: 567126

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:54

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:54
Hi Alan, yes mate from the feedback from other owners and even the service manager at Parry Nissan Townsville we were very lucky. As he said it must have been our initial letters to Nissan Australia, Melbourne and Parry Nissan Townsville. Picking up the truck on Fri just gone after getting our first 10,000 km service on the motor he mentioned that Nissan has now put together a repair kit for a better word since our mishap. It now works out roughly 25/75% so the owner is still up for some dollars !!!!. Again how we didn't cop some of the expense as it cost Nissan approx $12,000 to fix/replace the motor eta is still a mystery to us.
If your interested Alan l put pen to paper to thank both Nissan Australia and Parry Nissan Townsville plus the 4x4 monthly Mag which published our letter in the Aug 83 edition. Parry Nissan even received a phone call from a chap who read our letter and questioned the service manager on how we had achieved the outcome as he had to pay $4,500 towards the cost. Having researched the matter in some depth there are a lot of disgruntled 2000 ST Nissan owners out there having experienced the same problem. The end state; their isn't one until Nissan Australia has the guts to do total recall to fix the matter at hand which is very simple or so l am told. The problem lies with the pistons not getting enough oil up through the head of the motor which causes heat and after a period of time one saids goodnight !!!!
Naturally thats in laymans terms from me however you can get the picture. The new 3 Lt DI motor has addressed the piston problem with an oil pick up; thus fixing the problem. Having said all that this is our second Nissan (our other two 4x4 have been Toyota) and we would purchase another Nissan albeit a 4.2 Lt to increase the towing capacity. One of the reasons being the service we received from Nissan when they could have easily walked away and it would has cost us approx $16,000.
Having read STG thread and thankyou Steve the 3 Lt is at a disadvantage regarding towing capacity when compared to it's bigger brother albetit Nissan or Toyota. How many Kms had you travelled when you blow the piston? Ours was 150172 Km.
Anyway Alan good talking to you and all the best with your truck. By the way what size BT are you towing?, cheers Terry
PS: The way fuel prices are going we may all be down grading or getting smaller caravans eta !!!!!!!
AnswerID: 567127

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 21:24

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 21:24
I still recommend people that are Nissan Fans, get the older non-computerized 4.2 diesel Donk.... More grunt... I know they publicize that the 4.2 and the 3.0 have the same torque, well I think the torque curves must in fact cross somewhere, the towing reports do not add up.

Also, there is a distinct advantage in getting away from the computerized engine controls for servicing in the Bush.... I would rather a full mechanical fuel injection system that any Bush Mechanic could work on... So, my suggestion for anyone shopping for a Nissan? Check out a 4.2 Patrol from the late 90's on, which can be had for about $30k with lots of toys on it... Sometimes in the trends in modern tow vehicles newer is not better, in fact Older is more reliable for half the money... !!!

On fuel costs? I don't see any letup in demand for Bushtrackers. People might stay put in one place a little longer... But we are at about average forward Bookings, and it comes down to "What else are you going to do" not having a good answer... Most do not want to go down to a smaller unit, or have less of a lifestyle, or go on a Persian run buying trip to Iran.... Or how about a Nightclub tour of Bali? The Biblical Lands of Palestine? Mosques of Egypt?? A $9 cuppa in France? The fact is that it really comes down to the idea from most of our Clients of "What else are ya gonna do" but Tour around here in Australia... Away from the crowd, to the undiscovered destinations in the Bush..! From my Contact with the thousand, I would say the cost of fuel does not affect the plans of the 90-95%... They are going to go anyway.. Maybe a little slower, but they are going..

Kind Regards, from the Ranger....
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 844953

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 22:09

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005 at 22:09
Hi again Steve, thanks for your reply and you certainly give food for thought on the Nissan matter. l was only discussing with the wife the other day to do a small DIY mechanics cse and advanced first aid cse before l discharge from the Army.
The reason to at least give me a small percentage on bush mechanics if we are unlucky enough to break down out in the mugla some where with the van /trailor in tow and try and get it going again.
You are 100% correct when you stated with the new engines with all the high tech being added to the motors the man in the street is a shot duck when they stop eta.
At least with a new engine in our truck we will have her for a few more yrs yet all going well. The only major draw back with an older Nissan (4x4) in general the cars working parts are older eta. Having said that their are some great old 4x4 out there still going strong. My mate accross the street at home has a 93 Nissan Patrol 2.8 Lt donk and he swears by it and it's still pulling like a train albeit some what slower when his towing his 18' Regal.
Okay Steve must go we are looking forward to 6 Dec 05 when we are booked in do the factory tour. Do you have a particular time for us to attend eta?, cheers T&V Warke
AnswerID: 567128

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 19:34

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 19:34
Hello Terry,
You should probably try and get here in the morning, so you are not pressured and can spend as much time as you like..... You are on the Calender...

Now here is perspective on the older style Donk... I still have a 1989 Toyota Sahara Turbo Diesel... Yes it is not a suitable tow vehicle as it does not have the higher tow capacity of the newer ones from the 90's on..
However, it is fully a mechanically run engine and truck... Now it has about 340,000 kms on the clock... To be safe, because it had a hard life with me, I spent $1500 on a rebuild of the Transfer Case as the seals were leaking, and $1800 got me a low km. Automatic trans from a Toyota Wrecker that was bring them in from Japan (my old was was fine but showing wear), so I bought a new front axle for $500 exchange, and new tail shafts for $100 exchange off a Tojo same year from Japan with 73,000 km. on the clock.... So, for about $5000 I rebuilt the entire running gear back to front, back to a low km Sahara ... The engine is perfect, maybe runs through a litre of oil in 3000 km, hardly a litre total between 5000 km oil changes... I just had the whole body stripped and re-painted in no wax two-pack. So the point? I would say that Toyota since 1997 and Nissan since 1996? with the higher tow rating, is possibly a better value than new, with all the new computer run stuff...

Those computers on the newer ones will probably force people to scrap them when the vehicle is a certain age.... And which is more reliable???? Well for my money, and older one without the computer controls is an option, for about half the money... And just FYI, my old Sahara is going to my Son, and it may be on the road longer than many of the new electronic ones....

So if someone is on a bit of a Budget, I am not sure that this is not the best way to go!!! I bought my Wifes 100 Series 2000 model with 105,000 km on the clock, winch bar, driving lights, after-market turbo, no engine electronic controls as it started as a GXL naturally aspirated diesel, came with suspension upgrade, tow bar, Long Ranger tank, rear tyre spare mount, and more.... I firmly believe it is a more reliable vehicle than a new computer driven one, for about half the money...!!!
For those on a budget, surely a consideration... I went that way just because of the engineering reasons involved!!

Since I am an Enthusiast, and good mechanic, and the money savings was just a bonus... For some struggling to meet new prices, I am not sure it isn't the best Theme for the Lifestyle... New is not always better... Especially when a Cynic like me thinks they are doing it to force you to scrap your new electronically run vehicle in 5 or-6- or 7 years and repurchase new again, with a built in electronic "used by" date.... Am I right? Well maybe just cynical, but I am told THAT is the underlying reason, despite the rhetorical line of "Emission Controls" technology they give you.... Ask yourself, will the computerized bits be available, and at what cost? My old Sahara is going good, parked outside right now, 340,000 km, 16 years old, looks new, and we have seen the older Toyotas with 600,000km on the clock.. And still going strong...

If the rest of you can afford to buy new, congratulations.!! I can as well, but I will stay a dinosaur as long as possible thank you... The rest of you that might need a little budget help, I can make a very good engineering case for a vehicle three or four years only 100,000- 150,000 km well cared for, non-computer run, may be a better value for money... And I put my money where my mouth is... Ha!

Kind Regards, from a well meaning "Lone Ranger"
Out on the ridges trying to look afta ya!!!
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 844954

Reply By: schommys - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 03:40

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 03:40
Hi Terry,
I bought my Patrol from gov auctions in March 2002 ,15 months old and 60000 kms. Was ex police car with lots of options. 3 L td manual.That winter, towed Aussie Swag camper thru central Aust. to Kalumburu and up to Coberg Peninsula and back via theGulf. The next winter went up Starkey Track to Bathurst Bay. Then in 2004 heading up the climb to the Blue Mountains from Newport in Sydney on our way to Ningaloo Reef in W.A. car lost power and blowing tons of smoke. Towed 90 kms home and 3 weeks later set off again with new diesel donk due to 1 holed piston and 2 with cracks. The car was 3 months out of warranty and had done 100650 kms. Free engine and $2600 install. cost. Nissan told me this is happening to police and mining cars as they tend to do a lot of high speed driving, but I have since learnt via the internet that its more common than they make out. I wonder if the replaced engine is still vulnerable to lack of oil cooling to the underside of the pistons and whether it could happen again.
My BT is an 18 footer with island bed,cafe dining, ensuite, 3 solar panels (maybe 4) and 3 batteries and is due for completion on Dec 5 2005. (might see you at factory on 6th) Est. weight is 2400 kg.Just sold our Aussie Swag Camper after 6 years of perfect service and great times, it never let us down.
Did you have extended warranty when the piston blew?
Regards AL.
AnswerID: 567129

Reply By: Kiwi1 - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:20

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:20
C'mon, Ranger. You can't keep on telling us that older is more reliable without backing it up with hard facts. Where are the statistics that say modern, computerised vehicles are all getting stranded in the bush? It's simply not true. The truth is that computerised systems are proving near bullet proof and if that was not the case who is going to risk leaving town in future with a BT? Oops...there goes your market.

By your own admission, BT's tow vehicle of choice is the computerised F250. You had a choice of old or new technology with your own tow vehicle - what did you choose?

OK, I've had my say. Now, how do I post this reply to the forum? Do I need to stick a postage stamp on the monitor?......... (wink)
AnswerID: 567130

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 18:51

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 18:51
Oh Kiwi 1,

I am not going to get down and argue with you, because I do not really give a stuff, if you don't want to listen, just don't..!!! I only give my best advice based on the contact I have with the 1000, not just the few hundred here on the BOG.... BUT AT LEAST GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT FOR OTHERS BENEFIT.

FIRSTLY, we do not say Ford is NOT THE "VEHICLE OF CHOICE FOR BUSHTRACKER" as you say.. That is totally wrong.... Ford is recommended for LARGER VANS ONLY, where Toyota and Nissan and Discos and the like, get unsafe towing over 21' on the highway if an accident happens.... They just do not have the reserves in the wheelbase for mobility at high speed, and yes for the larger vans over say 21', Ford, Chev, GMC, or Dodge trucks could save your live with the added mobility to manuevre at high speed on the hiway to avoid an accident....

SECONDLY, computerize engine controls are a problem in the Bush, if they can be avoided by some people that are struggling to buy new anyway, it is not a bad idea. WE GET MANY REPORTS.. Even simple things like the accelerator black box failing, leaving the Tojo beside the road at an idle, the Nissan black boxes having to be restarted (re-initiated) because of a battery crashing on the corrugation shutting down the electrical system, repairs not being able to be done on computerized systems is definitely an added liability...

THIRDLY, I put my money where my mouth says.... My two Landcruisers are both, turbo, and one turbo intercooled, and both not computer run..... And my Ford, now gone, one of the first to tow a Bushtracker, was a non computer run 7.3 litre diesel, full import model.

So, I don't mind you having a go at me in good fun, but at least get the facts straight so you do not mislead others... My whole point is to give people that are struggling to buy a Bushtracker, a cheaper option in the tow vehicle, that may in fact be a more reliable vehicle for half the money. You want new? Go do it....

Don't be so fast to draw on the Ranger, he might just be a little more on the ball than you think...

And yes, my Mack dual cab horse truck 4x4 does have computers, but it is the only truck like it in the world so I had no choice.... And by the way, I bought all three as spares, a VECU for the whole truck electronics, an EECU for the engine electronics, and even an accelerator ECU.... And they are small, light, and travel with me..
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 844955

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:33

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:33
Hello again Al, good to hear back from ya. Enjoyed reading your thread and in particular the part where you explained when the piston blew. l couldn't help but laugh when you mentioned the black smoke eta. When ours went we were travelling at 100kph towing our Kimberley Kamper and yes it was black, thick and a bigger smoke screen than John Howard and his front bench could throw at the Australian Public ref his recent comment on our fuel prices eta !!!!
Regarding your question about warranty we had none having purchased the truck from Macarther Nissan in Campbelltown in Sep 03. At that time she had 111,000 plus Kms on the clock. We travelled a further 38884 Kms when # 2 piston blew 38 Km north of Bowen. We couldn't account for the previous 81,000 Km from the original owner nor could Nissan Australia sheed any light other than to say the vehicle had warranty work conducted at 14,000 Km and the last known service from Nissan at 29,500 Km. All in all we were we very fortunate as stated. At the time when we were requesting help l read an article in the 4x4 monthly mag from a Mr Julian May, from Rouse NSW who had the same problem and l photocopied it to add to my letters eta.
Your camper trailor was a good one and like us you have very fond memories. We love our Marnier KK with the boat eta all in one package. We brought ours in Nov 03, (Wollongong) when we lived in Sydney and have travelled approx 22,000 Km thus far. We wish to do the block or parts of it before we trade/sell eta and hence our interest in BT. l see you are picking up your 18' BT around the same time we are doing the tour of the factory eta. We were looking at the same size; however due to the Nissan 3 Lt eta we are looking at a 16'-17' and have been given sound advice from STG regarding tow vehicle - size BT eta. Plus the bigger the caravan their may be other restrictions on certain areas to take it. Just on that the new motor that we both had fitted is the current one l am told and the problem with the pistons has been fixed. Ours only carried a 12/20 warranty. Anyway Al it's 2220h so l better get going home as it's been a long day since 0530h. Hope to catch you and the family at BT factory / Bris in early Dec if possible. My contact # at (W) 0747717063 and we leave Townsville early Dec 05 for Melb for a two yr posting !!!!, o - joy, cheers Terry & Vivian
PS: Do you have a (W) # ?
AnswerID: 567131

Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 20:55

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2005 at 20:55
If you pick up a copy of the "4x4 Trader" magazine in your area, there are usually a half dozen custom Toyota Landcruisers that have been coverted to dual cab utes. I see them in 80 series (you need 1997 on for the larger towing capacity), but I also see them in a variety of 100 series ute conversions, and a few 75 Series. Just be sure you get the larger towing capacity... But these conversions are usually a very good buy, not much more than a normal vehicle the same age.

These would suit your needs admirably. The problem with the Nissan utes, is they have a long tonne lower capacity, at 2.5 tonne, and this will not serve you...
Fords are nice, but not necessary for an 18' Bushtracker, and they are expensive.. Second hand Fords will stay expensive as Ford is out of supply to Australia right now and people are asking near new prices for the second hand ones already... Any way, Toyota dual cabs may be the go... Have a long look in the 4x4 Trader Rag, even for a few months, and see what you can find. OK?...

Regards, Bushtracker
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 567132

Our Sponsors