Heading into the outback? Have you thought about how much fuel you will actually need and how you’ll carry it?
Words and Images by Tobey Bostock
The fuel tank on your humble dual-cab utility isn’t getting any bigger. Although these vehicles are the biggest segment of the new car market, manufacturers don’t seem keen on realising the full potential of these vehicles – after all, owners are using them for more than just carrying the kids to soccer. There are the trailer towers, the outback travellers, and those of us who just like filling up less often on a trip; 80 litres of that refined crude oil just doesn’t cut it!
On our upcoming outback trip, a rough estimate has us needing 800-odd kilometres of off-road fuel range from our new vehicle. Carrying a couple of extra jerrys was never going to be a long-term solution. A new tank was on the cards to take us into the West Australian deserts, along the Gunbarrel and Anne Beadell Highways. In the search for my new larger fuel tank I had a couple of criteria – I wanted the biggest, but didn’t want to sacrifice ground clearance. It wasn’t hard to pick a brand out of the current long-range tank manufacturers.
The Long Ranger (the name says it all really) has been manufacturing replacement and auxiliary fuel tanks since the 70s; they haven’t showed any signs of slowing down either. Their tanks are developed and manufactured right here in New South Wales, in a lot of cases before the launch of new vehicles. Their brand has stood the test of time, with a long-running partnership with ARB since the early 90s.
Having chosen the Long Ranger brand, the next step was to choose which tank. The Long Ranger makes three tanks for the Amarok, so that decision wasn’t so easy. They offer a 61-litre auxiliary to use the free space above the spare wheel, a 120-litre replacement with better ground clearance than factory, and a 145-litre replacement that sits only 15mm lower than the factory tank. They have the market pretty well covered; they employ this manufacturing flexibility across most other vehicles, some including water tanks moulded into the fuel tank – why not make the most use of the space? All of their tanks are made from 2mm aluminised steel that is super strong and which they say will never rust.
The auxiliary tank is what I needed, placing the fuel tank up out of the way, in dead space under the tub that was never going to be used. Before I knew it the Amarok was on the hoist at Out of Town 4WD to be fitted up. The boys knocked it out in only two hours, a job the humble DIYer could do if they had a hoist and a good mate. Things might get a little tricky on the driveway though.
The way the guys have put the auxiliary kit together means both tanks are filled from the factory filler, so using the high-flow nozzle is no problem. Then as the factory tank gets to about three-quarters full, the auxiliary will begin to gravity feed into the factory tank. Simple.
I hung around while the install was taking place to get a look at the kit being installed. Their design has every possible crevice of free space accounted for; they tell me this is done using 3D imagery of the vehicle underside – what a world we live in. The fittings kit uses equally quality components. Seeing how it all fit together made me confident it would be a perfect fit for our impending remote travel.
Once the tank was fitted up, the boss took me for a walk around the manufacturing facility. It’s great to see good old local manufacturing still pumping. The tanks are cut, folded, welded, twice pressure tested and painted all under one roof. Check out the pictures! From the hoist to the servo running on near fumes, in went 138 litres of diesel – gotta be happy with that. I will keep you posted on how far we get once the tyre pressures go down and the dust starts flying!
Where to buy? Your local ARB dealer
Price: Varies model to model
Warranty: Three years
Material: 2mm aluminised steel
More info: Long Ranger