While travelling the outback, we often spend a lot of time away from refuelling opportunities and sometimes we test our capacity to actually get back! For this reason we have just had fitted a long range fuel tank manufactured by Long Range Automotive.
The standard diesel tanks in our Prado carry 150L and this generally allows us to travel about a 1000km over various types of terrain. This past year we travelled from Alice Springs to Birdsville via the Madigan Line and we ended up carrying a couple of jerry cans of spare fuel on the roof rack.
I really don’t like doing this as it raises the centre of gravity and adds to the weight I already carry on the roof rack.
As soon as I could I made sure I emptied one of those jerries into the car to get the weight off the roof. I kept the other one purely as backup and ended up using it just prior to Birdsville.
This situation in my view was not ideal but really served to put me on the path to upgrading to a bigger tank.
There are two tanks in the original setup on my 2014 Prado, the front tank carries 87L and the rear 63L. In my new setup the rear sub tank has been replaced with a Long Range Automotive steel tank with a capacity of 136L. All up I can now carry 223L and this substantial increase should allow us to travel virtually anywhere we like without having to worry about fuel.
So why Long Range Automotive? Like always I did a reasonable amount of research looking into the available tanks on the market.
Some are made from plastic and some are made from steel. Some have baffles inside to stop sloshing of fuel and some don’t.
I decided that I wanted baffles as I know I’d hate to have fuel sloshing around on uneven ground!
Importantly though I always look to buy Australian made wherever possible and whilst some companies products were made overseas, the Long Range Automotive tank is made here in Oz.
About the Company
The company is owned and operated by two brothers, Anthony and Roger Beimers, out of Lilydale in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
Anthony is a qualified Boiler Maker and Roger is a qualified Panel Beater and between the two brothers there is a lot of knowledge of both the 4WD and automotive industries, as well as the many manufacturing processes used these days.
Long Range Automotive uses the latest 3D modelling software to design the most suitable shape and size tank for a specific vehicle. A CNC plasma profile cutting system ensures accuracy and provides every customer with a high quality, precision made fuel tank.
All the welds on long range fuel tanks are full penetration MIG welds, using a high quality inert shielding gas and level layer wound MIG wire to ensure good welding penetration.
This reduces the possibility of porosity in the weld. Their tanks are fully baffled and an expansion chamber is incorporated in the design of the tank.
All tanks are pressure tested and checked by two separate quality control procedures.
All this work is carried out in their factory using top quality materials: 2mm (14 gauge) Aluminised sheet steel, brass threaded hose barb fittings, stainless steel hose clamps and high tensile bolts with nyloc nuts. What more could you want?
Fitting the tank only took a couple of hours or so and the first time I noticed it was when I filled up with diesel for the trip home. I’m sure I’ll end up in shock when I have to fill up out bush one day!
Where to now?
With the extra weight on board I’m going to have to check my GVM (gross vehicle mass) to see how I’m fairing and whether or not, I’ll need a GVM upgrade.
I’m still yet to find out what my range is but on my recent return from Melbourne I used only a quarter of a tank to travel 900km! The needle was barely off the full mark at 500km.
To be honest though the trip computer is a little fooled and won’t compensate for the extra fuel as the original amount is what is programmed into the ECU. This means that the computer won’t actually read true until about the half way mark on the gauge when the front tank comes into play.
Apparently a scan gauge plugged into the onboard OBDII port under the dash may help to solve this problem so I think I’ll look into that.
Next winter we are planning another desert trip which will take us well and truly off the beaten track so I can’t wait to see how our new fuel situation serves us this time round.
If you’re interested in upgrading your tank to get you where you want to go then you can contact the guys at Long Range Automotive through their website or the phone number provided on their page. You’ll also find a list of dealers that can help you out too.
For all those interested I’ll update you on my range once I’ve had a chance to put the Prado through its paces with the extra diesel on board.
Fuel tank kindly supplied by Long Range Automotive.