There are very few challenges outback explorers will face like building a tourer. It’s a unique amalgamation of automobile and house. The only type of four wheeled pursuit where the spring rates are dictated by the weight of the fridge. Where the horsepower figure you’re aiming for directly correlates to the size of the pantry. And where mattress density gets given an equal pedestal as turbo pressures.
Get the combination right and you’ve built yourself the perfect adventure machine, something that’ll let you experience a thousand red dirt sunsets far past the black stump. Get it wrong and you could be calling for the most expensive tow of your life.
For first time adventurers, and seasoned travel veterans alike, it’s a delicate balancing act between wants and needs, budgets and options. Nestled in between the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and within cooee of the iconic Stockton Beach, TJM Hunter Valley have spent years coming up with the solution. The larger than life ‘Cruiser you’re looking at is the rolling billboard for everything their workshop and sales team pride themselves on. No non-sense builds with the best of the best components. Built once, built right. We recently had the opportunity to run our eyes and cameras over it, and here’s what we found.
To kick off their showcase on solid ground the team at TJM Hunter Valley fitted up the full suite of Australian built JMACX suspension kit. Bumping the gross vehicle mass from the factory 3500kg up to an impressive 4495kg, the JMACX kit adds in a 300mm chassis extension bumping the ‘Cruisers wheelbase out. The effect is not only more load carrying ability with a larger tray, but better weight distribution and smoother towing. By fitting the JMACX rear setup TJM Hunter Valley also vastly improved the ride quality thanks to converting from leaf spring rear to coil springs. Adjustable arms all ‘round, helper air bags, high-end King shocks and a brake booster upgrade drastically changes the way the ‘Cruiser performs on and off road. The setup not only allows an additional 995kg of payload, but also increased maximum braked towing capacity up to 4000kg making it perfect for towing large caravans and loaded hybrids. The combination sees the 79 riding 4in higher than stock and running 35in tyres legally in every state.
Making the most of the newfound real estate with the 300mm longer chassis, TJM Hunter Valley brought in local canopy manufacturer Mits Alloy to piece together one of their Evo 2 tray and canopy packages. Built locally in Newcastle and constructed out of lightweight aluminium, the Evo 2 setup provides huge touring potential without eating into the GVM any more than necessary. On the inside the team have fitted one of the most elaborate touring setups of all time in order to show what can be done with your rig. Think of it like an Ikea showroom with six different kitchens and you’re on the right track. On the passenger flank a Redarc Redvision Battery Management system keeps twin 200Ah Invicta Lithium running late into the night. A 150W Enerdrive solar panel up top keeps the batteries topped up at camp, while a huge 200A sealed alternator fills them up in no time on the road. A 3000W Redarc 140V inverter has also been fitted up. Under the bonnet a TJM DC to DC charger keeps a single Century Dual Force AGM battery charged. The Canopy also features not one but two fridge options, a 130L upright Bushman’s fridge on the passenger side, with a Dometic CFX75 on the drivers, a Clearview drop down fridge slide giving easy access.
While TJM Hunter Valley pride themselves on being able to offer any accessory it’s no surprise to find their flagship build adorned with the full suite of TJM bar work. Up front a T13 Outback Bar leads the tip of the spear. The solid powdercoating and steel headlight hoops ensures it’ll last for years of outback abuse, and should an animal strike occur the ‘Cruisers occupants, and vital engine components will live to fight another day. Not one but two winches were spec’d up for the build. A 12,000lbs TJM Torq winch sits proudly in the Outback bar behind the Factor 55 clevis, while a matching combo sits in the rear in the JMACX winch cradle.
If animal strikes at night are a concern TJM Hunter Valley reckon they’ve got you covered too. Up front on the ‘Cruiser there’s an absolute powerhouse arrangement of LED driving lights. Three TJM Ultima MK2 215 spotlights take pride of place in the bar, while a combination of Stedi 50in light bar and Quad Pro lights sit high on the Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform. Moving down the flanks and there’s TJM protection top and bottom too. Up top the roll out TJM awning keeps the sun off you, while TJM Side Steps protect the sheet metal from wayward rocks.
While the Hunter Valley workshop is well versed in suspension and camping fit outs, they speak fluent horsepower too. Pushing the factory V8’s outputs sky high is an in-house tune in partnership with QLD based Just Auto’s. A Torqit stainless steel snorkel and high-flow airbox ensure the diesel gets as much clean air as it could ever need, while a HPD top mount intercooler keeps those intake temperatures down. On the back end, a Torqit 3.5in exhaust system expels the spent gases, with a 1300Nm rated NPC clutch ensuring even fully loaded to high heavens, a TJM Hunter Valley build won’t suffer the dreaded clutch fade.
While the average adventurer may not need half of the kit fitted to this powerhouse of a ‘Cruiser it serves as an example of what can be done. Punters from all across the country find themselves standing under its awnings at 4x4 shows imagining their dream builds, planning out exactly how they’d like their camp kitchen setup, and standing next to some of the most knowledgable people in the game to help turn that dream into reality. Is it the best fitout 4x4 in the country? It’d have to be bloody close!
For more information:
TJM Hunter Valley
Address: 130 Newcastle Rd, Wallsend NSW 2287
Phone: (02) 4951 1184