1998 Mitsubishi Delica L400 (Long Wheel Base)
Well, for starters, I think that our L400 Delica is one of the coolest cars ever. Think about it. It’s a very capable 4WD van with heaps of storage space. It boggles the mind why these types of vehicles were never sold locally in countries like Australia, Canada and the U.S.A which have a proud history of road trips, camping and outdoor adventures. The Mitsubishi Delica was only ever sold to the Japanese market and was massively popular there too, but thankfully this hasn’t stopped thousands from being sold through the grey market to countries outside of Japan.
Our Delica is a 1998 ‘Series 2’ L400 Spacegear in a long wheel base, high roof variation. This means it has had a mild facelift and some basic mechanical refinement compared to the ‘Series 1‘ and is the successor to the Delica L300, another cult-classic 4WD van from Mitsubishi. The engine in our Delica is a 2.8L intercooled turbo diesel with an automatic transmission and full high/low range 4WD. Another less-common option available in Australia is the L400 Delica with a V6 3L petrol (gasoline) engine.
Essentially it is a mixture of Mitsubishi Triton and Pajero engine, components, drive line and chassis with a van body. Both of these vehicles are well known to be highly capable and reliable 4WD vehicles. Most of the parts are compatible to the point that the service manual for either vehicle will be accurate enough to follow for most servicing and repairs on similar era Delicas.
It boggles the mind why these types of vehicles were never sold locally in countries like Australia, Canada and the U.S.A which have a proud history of road trips, camping and outback excursions.
Although the Delica is a very capable offroad vehicle in the stock configuration, there are a number of modifications that we have installed to further enhance it’s capability, performance, comfort and/or reliability. These include:
- Pedders 4WD front suspension
- Rancho rear shock absorbers, 40mm heavy duty King Spring rear coils, paired with Coil-Rite Airbag Man airbags (to prevent sag under load)
- 16″ rims with Bridgestone Dueler A/T tyres
- 1800kg towbar by Fastfit (also useful for rear recoveries when using a rated recovery hitch)
- Aluminium coolant expansion tank by tigweld4u
- 4mm zinc gold electroplated bash plate by t0me
- Fibreglass flared wheel arches
- Remote central locking and immobiliser
- All interior lights replaced with LEDs
- 100Ah AGM SLA deep cycle aux battery
- ‘Red dirt’ aero roof bars by Jaram
- Oztrail ‘RV’ deluxe awning
- Custom 4.5mm rubber mudflaps on all wheels (cut to size and screwed into the arch)
- Custom aluminium roof rack for solar panels, recovery tracks and rear 36W LED flood light/reverse light.
Karl also spent a number of weekends accompanied and guided by a mechanically-minded friend servicing and maintaining the Delica prior to leaving on our trip. This was done to reduce the potential for breakdowns, and also to improve performance and the fuel economy. This included:
- Engine oil and oil filter replaced (done every 5,000km)
- Front and rear differential oil replaced
- Air filter replaced
- Fuel filter replaced
- Automatic transmission fluid and filter kit replaced
- Transfer case fluid replaced
- Coolant flushed and replaced
- Top and bottom radiator hoses and clamps replaced
- Blake fluid flushed and replaced
- Glow plugs replaced
- Intercooler and intercooler hoses degreased and cleaned
In order to be Comfortably Lost, it is critical to have a reliable and well-maintained vehicle. We have done as much as possible to prevent breakdown or any other dramas, however we also accept that breakdowns are a fact of life. In order to resolve any potential mechanical mishaps and carry out preventative maintenance, we’ll also be carrying a core selection of tools and spare parts.
On December 5, 2015 our Delica was sold to new owners who will be taking it for many more adventures.
2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport (Challenger)
We bought our Montero Sport after arriving in Santiago, Chile in 2015. The Montero Sport is also known as the Challenger in Australia. It is a mid-sized 4WD wagon with a 3L V6 gasoline powered Mitsubishi engine.
After a few weeks of dealing with frustrating Chilean bureaucracy and meeting some new friends, we finally managed to get our awesome 4WD wagon converted into a camper; complete with our original prototype folding system which allowed use of the rear passenger seats if needed.
Thankfully the previous owner (an Australian) had a major service and overhaul performed on the vehicle before we purchased it. We were lucky enough to only need to do one standard service (oil change) while we owned it. The previous owner also designed and constructed the two water storage tanks (attached to the roof bars). The combined storage was approximately 40L and each tank had a tap and handle fitting for easy use. This proved invaluable, as accessing fresh water proved difficult in rural, arid areas of Chile. We also purchased a 20L fuel canister (also attached to the roof) which allowed extra range and security. Another essential feature given extreme scarcity of gasoline in remote areas of Chile and Bolivia.
We spent the next few months travelling around, chasing waves, meeting new friends, and exploring Chile and Bolivia before selling it to another Australian couple who had plans to ‘carry the torch’ and spend six months travelling around South America with it.
2004 Toyota Corolla Ascent wagon
The purchase of the Toyota Corolla was a culmination of a desire to retain a functional camper vehicle, but significantly reduce the associated expenses of a large 4WD van like the Delica.
We picked up the Corolla wagon in late 2015 after the sale of our Delica van.
Karl went about designing and constructing a folding camper system for it, based on our previous systems that we’d made.
In addition to the lightweight, removable camper system, we have also added the following upgrades:
- Rhino Rack Vortex S2 roof bars (perfect for carrying loads of materials, kayaks, and bulky camping equipment)
- Injection moulded weather shields on the front windows
- Insect-proof mesh window socks for the rear passenger windows to allow airflow at night and privacy when using it as a camper
- Moulded dash mat to reduce heat and UV damage on the dash
- Heavy duty ‘sand trap’ floor mats to minimise mess and cleanup when camping