Tales of a 3.9 litre Tdi Bushie Ute

Bushie Ute

“Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“There are many roads to ancient Rome and everybody will have to find his own.”

This is the story of “Bushie Ute”, a Land Rover 120 (one twenty) ute (utility) fitted with a Bush Ranger body kit purchased from John Davis. The Bush Ranger kit was originally the more popular four door version fitted to a shortened (rear overhang) Range Rover, then converted to the Bushie Ute version.

A four door “Bushie” is a very capable 4×4, and great fun to drive, but lacks the space required to be self sufficient for long remote trips. The 1987 Land Rover 120 ute bought to do extended outback trips had a cramped cab and needed many repairs and changes before it would be suitable for the task. A Land Rover 120 has a 500 mm longer wheelbase than a Range Rover (120 inch vs 100 inch) and by transferring the “Bushie” kit from the Range Rover to the Land Rover 120, produced an “extra cab” variant of a Bushie Ute suitable for extended trips into remote areas where a very capable four wheel drive vehicle is required.

Minimising weight, because of its adverse affects (on performance, mobility, wear and tear, etc.), without compromising function, safety and reliability was a prime objective. To realise that in a vehicle intended for remote touring requires some sacrifices and Bushie Ute was kept as minimal and simple as practical.

Both front and rear axles from the Land Rover 120 were replaced with the Toyota Landcruiser HZJ105R axles with ARB air lockers that were used in the four door “Bushie”. Read more about the axles.

The original aluminium utility tray from the Land Rover 120 was shortened to approximately 1800 mm, to allow space for the “extra cab”, and reduce the rear overhang. The tray width was reduced to approximately 1700 mm, to blend in better with the cab on Bushie Ute and improve clearance on tight tracks.

Located underneath the tray are the main and auxiliary fuel tanks, a 53 litre water tank, jerry cans for 30 litres of water and 10 litres of petrol (for the Coleman stove), recovery gear, etc.

A 120 litre long range fuel tank replacing the original Land Rover fuel tank, plus a 130 litre auxiliary fuel tank  mounted above it, provide a total fuel capacity of 250 litres. Because the weight is behind the rear wheels, both tanks are only ever filled when distances between fuel supplies warrant it. Gravity transfers the fuel from the auxiliary tank to the main tank, controlled by a manually operated valve.

Bushie Ute’s upgraded 8274 (high mount) winch is mid mounted, underneath the front of the tray. This improves Bushie Ute’s approach angle, air flow to the intercooler and radiator, locates the weight better, and allows a single high performance winch to be used for both forward and rearward winching. The fleet angle, resulting from the distance between the winch and rope sheave at the rear, ensures the rope winds neatly onto the winch drum and avoids bunching.

ARB Paratus “Pararally” seats (Paratus seats are now Paradrive) replaced the original Land Rover seats that were in poor condition. Excellent canvas seat covers, made by Dingo Seat Covers at Atherton on the Atherton Tableland, QLD, protect the seats from mud, water, etc.