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New Member - Cuppa

05 Oct 2020 09:13 - 05 Oct 2020 09:21 #1 by Cuppa
Cuppa created the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Hi folks, we are 'Cuppa & MrsTea ' (aka Ian & Julie),

Several years ago I fitted out an ex Telstra Patrol for remote area camping, complete with rooftop tent as a significant part of what we hoped would become our retirement lifestyle. It quickly became apparent that a rooftop tent & I were incompatible, & so the roof was instead covered with solar panels & our bedroom became a towed one, a Tvan.

We have now been travelling fulltime (interspersed with a bit of house sitting & caretaking) for the past 3 years .

If anyone is interested we keep an online blog of our travel experiences. A Nomadic Life

Prior to our current set up we had owned a bus based motorhome I converted, & when moving to the Patrol & Tvan motorhoming friends predicted we would not last 12 months before 'returning to the fold'.

We always believed that we would return to a motorhome after we had had enough of 'roughing it' with an outdoor only kitchen, but 3 years on, although we would very much like that 'luxury' we are not prepared to give up being able to get to the sort of places we love to be in.

Most alternatives, including most 'expedition trucks' preclude us reaching some of what have been our favourite spots - but we would prefer not to tow. Not because it's 'hard' (we managed the Munja track to Walcott inlet, & the jump up on the Wickham Track heading south to north through the Gregory NP pulling the Tvan), but because all too often we choose not to take an unknown track, simply because we don't know if we will have room turn around. For this reason we look enviously at things like 79 series based campers, but know at our age we need more comfort than can be squeezed onto & into one of these.

We have looked longingly at Iveco Daily 4x4 campers like the Scrubmaster & White Rhino, but a combination of huge cost even second hand & vehicle height, are off-putting, as is there modern sensor for everything reputation for poor reliability. Canters, Isuzus etc also have been considered , but each time we choose our trusty Patrol & Tvan .... (& outdoor only cooking)

We are uncertain about an OKA, primarily because we don't want a vehicle which because of it's age has reached a stage of life where constant need for fixing & replacement parts mean less confidence in 'going remote'. Back issues make me a bit less happy about crawling under vehicles than I used to be, but routine maintenance I can still manage. This unfortunately rules out myself doing another full conversion.

An OKA, especially one without a 'high box' on the rear (giving comforts we would love, but are prepared to forgo if it means we can squeeze into places that height & width would not allow) would we think enable access to anywhere we have been with the Patrol & Tvan, as well as allowing confidence to turn down that track 'just to see what's there'.

So here I am, looking, prepared to swap Tvan life for OKA life .... if the right vehicle (for us) can be found. Knowing more about OKA's will help me to know about what that 'right vehicle' is.

I might add that good friends of mine are OKA owners & long time members here so I am not completely 'green' as far as these vehicles go. Hi to the two Peters with OKA 196 & 374, & to Tony with 123. (Yes I know yours is for sale Tony - we've looked but my back & your bed arrangement would not work well together).

Last Edit: 05 Oct 2020 09:21 by Cuppa.
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05 Oct 2020 09:49 #2 by Peter_n_Margaret
Peter_n_Margaret replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Welcome Cuppa.
I think the David Ribbans OKA is still for sale (in Adelaide) since he passed away 2 years ago.
Not seen inside and don't know how to contact his son, but someone may be able to assist.

Cheers, Peter.
OKA196 tinyurl.com/OKA196xtMotorhome
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05 Oct 2020 11:42 #3 by Frank
Frank replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Welcome and a great introduction.
Excellent blog too.

Frank & Christine Thomas
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05 Oct 2020 14:57 #4 by Paul Scherek
Paul Scherek replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Welcome Cuppa - I will add my 19 cents worth.....
All my life I have had good cars, I love motoring. I have had Jaguars, Mercedes, Triumphs, Rovers, Land Rovers, Volvos, Saabs and Peugots.

I love driving..... but I have never found a vehicle so enjoyable to drive as my Oka Motorhome. Over the last 100,000 k's every time I hop into the Oka for a drive I get excited - it is just such fun!

The down side is that they are a high maintenance vehicle. I too have back problems, and due to a wrist injury I have also been having trouble hauling myself into the Oka. So I defected and bought a 6x6 Land Rover Perentie and built a motorhome onto that. It is a simple, bullet proof, relatively low maintenance vehicle. It is powerful, has a good air conditioner, superb suspension and excellent road manners.

But it ain't an Oka. It is good to drive, but the Oka is FUN! So I will be selling the 6x6 and keeping the Oka. Fun is more important than practicality. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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05 Oct 2020 15:49 #5 by Cuppa
Cuppa replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Hi Paul, thank you. It may be obvious, but could you (or anyone else) define 'high maintenance vehicle' as it applies to OKA's. I appreciate that as vehicle's age the maintenance 'load' becomes higher - is this what you mean, or are you saying they were a high maintenance vehicle from new? I may have it wrong but I was thinking that accessibility & simplicity of design makes what maintenance is required on an OKA generally simpler than in many vehicles. Eg. is there a 4.2 patrol owner who has never sworn at whoever made the decision to fit two horizontal oil filters in a location requiring a contortionist to get to? I'm not expecting the huge service intervals of modern vehicles, & am used to 5000k servicing intervals.

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05 Oct 2020 16:38 #6 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Hi Mr & Mrs Cuppa :)

Don't take any notice of Paul :), anyone who has owned and driven as many Land Rovers and other weird European cars as he has and actually liked it, has got to be soft in the head :S

Seriously though Paul is right on the money here, the Oka like most 4WD's is high maintenance compared to a 2WD vehicle and in all fairness when compared to your Patrol. When I say high maintenance I'm referring to the amount of work required to keep it in tip top condition, anyone can just drive a vehicle till it drops. The Oka fully loaded can be a 5 to 6 tonne vehicle and as such drive line and suspension 'wear and tear' will be greater than that of a lighter vehicle. Engine, gearbox, transfer case etc when properly maintained are no better/worse maintenance wise than any other vehicle, though IMO the total lack of electronics in the Oka puts it streets ahead of any of its 'contemporary's'.

The Oka is a very simple vehicle, think of it as an old G60 Patrol on steroids, and is the same level of complexity. This makes it a very simple vehicle to maintain, most parts are generic and generally readily available. There are specialist Oka parts/maintenance/upgrade businesses both here in Victoria and in WA as well as an Australia wide network of Oka owners ready to 'chip in' if required.

If a high roof Oka isn't your thing there's modified factory bus body variants with pop tops or tray/extra cab/multi cab variants with slip on type accommodation out there as well as bespoke camper conversions.

There are subtle variations between XT and LT variants which can make a difference to the suitability of a particular vehicle to your needs. The factory fitted engine, gearbox's and axles are the same and the XT/LT transfer cases are different. A number of Okas have had engine upgrades (typically to Cummins 6BT), some with autos though there's nothing wrong with the (under-powered by today's standards) factory Perkins.

Look closely before you buy, as with all vehicles there's plenty of good ones out there but there's 'clunkers' as well.

Deano :)
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06 Oct 2020 05:26 #7 by Holmz
Holmz replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
Welcome, and which state are you locked down in?

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06 Oct 2020 06:03 - 06 Oct 2020 06:06 #8 by Cuppa
Cuppa replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa

Holmz wrote: Welcome, and which state are you locked down in?

G'day Holmz,

Thanks. Although home is in Victoria, we were last there in June '18. Since then we have been 'up north'. Covid hit when we were readying ourselves for a full season of exploring Cape York whilst doing a house sit on Cairns northern beaches, when all the travel restrictions were imposed, ruling out our plans. So we came close to reluctantly returning home to a Vic winter, when the house sit ended prematurely with the owners having to return early from NZ to self quarantine at home or risk not getting a flight back. Thankfully, at short notice, we were lucky to get an offer to care-take an ex tobacco farm 30kms west of Mareeba where we have been for the past 6 months or so. It is a 'for as long as we want it' situation. Not exactly 'lockdown', rather a warm, covid -free & safe place to 'bunker down' for the duration. When we shop in Mareeba, about once a month you would be hard pressed to notice anything telling you a pandemic was happening. With no community transmission up here, folk are going about their daily lives pretty much as normal. We wear masks when shopping, but would be the only people in town to do so!
Last Edit: 06 Oct 2020 06:06 by Cuppa.
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06 Oct 2020 09:35 #9 by Paul Scherek
Paul Scherek replied the topic: New Member - Cuppa
G'day again Cuppa, Agreed with everything Deano wrote - including me being soft in the head! - but will also add that there are a LOT of grease nipples. This means that it takes a long time to service, but also explains why many of them are still going well after more than a million kilometres. "Sealed for life" items tend to have a very short life.....

Like most vehicles, there were a few weak spots but these are well known and easily (if not cheaply) solved. To me the most important mod is to replace the steering knuckles with beefed up types available from Paul Knott. Failure means complete loss of steering control, and it does happen. This I think is ESSENTIAL however you use the vehicle. Stronger axles are often fitted, and the early XT's benefit from a beefed up shaft in the transfer box. The only other area to consider is the water pump. It is mounted in the timing case. If it collapses, water flows into the sump, so you can't just add water and keep going - very far. The water pumps are now over twenty years old, and a failure strands the vehicle, so I regard replacement as very important.

I would expect that is you could find one with GENUINELY low kilometres that apart from routine servicing you would find it very easy to live with.

Good luck! If you get one, prepare to be astonished at the incredibly good suspension, the incredibly comfortable seats and the incredible pleasure of driving.
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