We can’t stay away from K’Gari for long, as a family it’s one of our favourite destinations. We love the beaches, we love the scenery and of course, I love driving on the sand. We’ve been to K’Gari three times in as many years, and each time our MR Triton has been in various stages of its build.
The Triton’s first visit was as a recently purchased, completely stock vehicle which is in stark contrast to the most recent visit, last month (September 2022), which saw us in an almost finished, final version, of our ideal Triton tourer. Almost finished, because these builds are never, ever, really done and dusted are they?
I believe you can do Fraser Island in any old 4WD and have an amazing time doing it. Your stock Triton, provided you take appropriate care, will get you there and back without blinking. But if you’re a family guy like me and you want to make the drive more comfortable and the vehicle more capable, even if just to lower anxiety levels and ensure you get back to the mainland with all systems functioning correctly, then there are some mods that you can make that really improve the experience.
I’ve made quite a few changes to our MR Triton over the last few years, but it’s not a big dollar build, and I haven’t set out to build an in-your-face off-roader. I have instead chosen to build MY ultimate beach going 4WD, as beaches are my favourite type of wheeling. The result is a lightweight, sensible and legal Triton. The following are my three favourite mods.
The stock Triton suspension will get you to K’Gari and back again, but once you’ve driven a Triton with decent aftermarket suspension, there’s no going back. Choosing a suspension type and brand, was without question, the hardest part of this build. There’s so much conflicting information out there, that narrowing your choice down to one brand seems almost impossible.
I don’t want to muck around with my 4WD’s suspension, I just want it set up right, so that it works and I can concentrate on enjoying the drive. That meant adjusters were out, besides the fact they are notorious for jamming up, particularly in a beach environment, I’ve never met anyone who was happy with them, and not continually adjusting them to get a better result. Remote reservoir gear just seems overkill and introduces a bunch more failure points.
In the end I settled on a Loaded4X4 Dynamic Tune 40mm lift kit. It didn’t require aftermarket upper control arms and came with reduced height front droop stops and a tailshaft spacer, to kill the drivetrain vibe some Triton’s develop when lifted. Thankfully, I got this big decision right, as the Loaded4X4 kit has transformed our Triton in a couple of notable ways.
Firstly, the 40mm lift was enough to allow us to run a larger diameter tyre, and that in turn provides some extra clearance. It’s not massive, but it was enough to get us through sections that caught some stock utes out. We came across a couple of stranded stock utes that had bellied out, and the Triton just cruised on by with ease, and don’t worry, we did offer our assistance!
The second big benefit is comfort. If you have been to Fraser Island before you will know that the inland tracks can be pretty wild at times but this time around, we were able to get through with ease and without hitting our heads on the hood lining. The new suspension really soaked up the bumps and corrugations, and smoothing out the ride like that, means you can make the best use of momentum, without being bounced off the track.
My research suggests that you should run quickly away from cheap suspension, but you don’t have to break the bank buying into the latest fads either. Somewhere in the middle, as always, is the sweet spot and if you get this mod right, you’ll forever be smiling as you drive.
Wheels and Tyres
The most recent and most aesthetically pleasing mod made to our Triton is the addition of a set of CSA Raptor alloy wheels. For me, wheels take any vehicle build to a new level, and the Raptor’s lift the Triton out of that knock-kneed OEM look, and add a sense of style while they do it.
I actually had difficulty deciding on the wheels, it was a toss up between the CSA Ridgline, CSA Dune and CSA Raptor, but the Raptor came in the fitment (18×8) that worked best with my preferred tyre choice – more on that next – and in an offset (P25) that didn’t require flares. When the inevitable mid-life build refresh comes about, I’ve got my eyes on a set of Ridgelines in 18×9 P20, and some suitably subtle flares. Don’t tell the wife.
Besides looking sensational, there are some real benefits to running the Raptors, including a 1250kg load rating, that means they’ll deal with a bigger load and pretty much anything you put them through off-road. They’re also amazingly well made and durable, which means they take a beach environment and salt spray in their stride.
My tyre of choice is the Falken Wildpeak 275/65/18 (32”) in Light Truck spec, and it’s a popular size and tyre choice with Triton owners. Everyone has an opinion on tyres, but I think the 32” tyre is a great combination of width and height, giving you plenty of sidewall, but not so much that you muck up the Triton’s gearing. Throughout the K’Gari trip I ran 24psi and didn’t really feel the need to go lower.
You might think that bash plates aren’t really needed in a beach environment but you’d be wrong! I’m a concervative driver, and I was even surprised at how many times I gave them a hit on this trip.
On K’Gari, the inland tracks are littered with debris and there are numerous washouts that run down the beaches, any of which, if hit a little too quickly, can do serious damage. It’s not difficult to fold the stock paper thin bash plates up around some expensive componentry, like radiators and 4WD actuators, which can easily cost a bomb and/or see you’re 4WD heading home on a flat bed.
I opted for a set of Loaded4x4 4 bash plates, in particular their 4-plate kit which protects from the front of the car right through to the transfer case. It’s the only kit that includes a front mount strengthening bracket and serious, standalone, transfer case protection. It was also important for me that stock levels of cooling weren’t compromised, and the Loaded4X4 kit is, I think, the only kit that can make that claim.
They’re made from 3mm mild steel which offers the best compromise between strength and weight and comes with a hi-tech anti-corrosion powder coat finish. Unlike some of the in-your-face bash plates getting around, this kit has its own unique enhanced OEM look which is my preference.
Whatever your preference is, fit some bash plates for piece of mind, flashy ones or otherwise.
So, that’s my top three favourite mods, and what they allow me to do is drive down a beach, or up a track more comfortably, safely and confidently, which makes every trip way less stressful. I get to focus on the sights and enjoying the experience with my family, and that makes the mods, when you get them right, well worth the effort and money that goes into them.
Article by Ben Svikss