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Unread 11th April 2019, 12:41 AM
Bridgestone Bridgestone is offline
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Default Tough Triton Build

Meet TREV; my Mitsubishi MQ Triton build project. Iíll apologise in advance that TREV isnít another outlandish 79 Series build, but honestly, I couldnít afford the fuel and TREV is my daily drive.

TREV might look more mild than wild, but if you scratch below the surface, youíll see that just enough has been done to make this MQ Triton work better both on and off-road. I wasnít interested in wrestling with a 4WD with a big lift, bump-steer, a load of additional weight and compromised handling for the 340 days a year Iíd have to drive it on the bitumen.

You can read more about the TREV backstory in Issue 4 of the Loaded 4X4 magazine, but this Triton needed to drive better both on and off-road, which meant being smart and keeping this build realistic was a priority.

For example, thereís a quality Australian designed and engineered Karrman front diff-drop kit fitted. Fitting this kit increased down-travel by 70mm and allowed us to run perfectly flat CVs with a modest 25mm front suspension lift. That means more suspension travel off-road, less chance of breaking a CV shaft or joint and legal amounts of clearance between the control arms and their bump stops.

We took the same sensible approach with TREVís suspension and had our suspension guru, Brendan OíKeefe from The Ultimate Suspension, custom valve a set of Dobinson monotube shocks. We avoided the remote canister type as that introduces more joints that can leak, and TREV has a full schedule of off-road adventures in his future. Adventures that donít have leaking shocks on the guest list.

Now, all that good gear is tucked away, out of sight, underneath TREV, and while it works a treat, itís the wheels and tyres that set TREV apart from the average Triton and getting this part of the build right, wasnít as easy as you might think.

CSA recently released its sexy HAWK alloy, and it was available in an 18x9 positive 20 offset fitment, which would just fit the MQ, so I locked a set of those in. That was the easy part. It was the tyres that I had to get right if our intentions to improve both on and off-road driveability were going to be met.

I travel to Corryong every year with the same bunch of mates, to tackle the Snowy Mountain tracks in the region, and there has always been three of four in the group whoíve sworn black and blue, that Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697s were the best tyres theyíve ever run on their 4WDs.

Those conversations came back to me during the TREV build, as each of them had waxed lyrical about the performance of these tyres both on and off-road. They talked about improved wet weather handling and braking on bitumen, and better traction off-road. One of them even claimed his Dueler 697-fitted Triton, which was resting back in Brisbane at the time, would walk up a track we were struggling with on the day. Now thatís a big claim, but there was passion behind his words, and itís always stuck with me. It seemed logical to give the Duelers a run on TREV.

As luck would have it, Dueler A/T 697 are available in the perfect size (LT285/60 R18) for the rims Iíd chosen and the space available under TREVís guards. With a rolling diameter of 799mm, they were also 1mm under the legally allowed 50mm increase in rolling diameter over the factory fitted tyres. The Dueler 697 285/60 R18s are a tyre built specifically to suit the 200 Series Landcruiser, but they fit TREV perfectly, and heís taken to them like a duck to water.

Compared to some US brands of light truck construction 4WD tyres that Iíve run in the past, the Dueler A/Ts are quieter, in fact, they are nearly as quiet as the Tritonís factory fitted Bridgestone Dueler Highway Terrain tyres. This can of course change as tyres with higher tread blocks wear, but so far, so good. Compared to the Tritonís stock tyres, the Dueler 697s provide a noticeable improvement in grip, handling and braking on bitumen, particularly in the wet.

Off-road they are in their element, with a reasonably aggressive tread pattern Ė theyíve got to be close to being categorised as an aggressive all-terrain Ė that offers plenty of grip. TREV hasnít seen any mud or High Country trails since the build, but he has clocked up around 15,000kms, including around 6,000kms of tough outback tracks and a crossing of the Simpson Desert, none of which has bothered the Dueler 697s.

Importantly for me, Iíve ended up with a 4WD that boasts well-rounded credentials. Itís a dream to drive on-road and more capable than ever off-road, so thatís mission accomplished in my book.

As an aside, if you own a Triton, remember to get a decent wheel alignment when fitting new tyres. The factory settings cause excessive tyre wear, and a wheel aligner that knows their trade will ensure that your new tyres wear nice and evenly. The Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697s on TREV show no sign of uneven wear after 15,000kms.


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Unread 11th April 2019, 06:58 AM
Ben Up North's Avatar
Ben Up North Ben Up North is offline
can only hope to improve
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: FNQ
Year: 2004 | 1992
Model: SG Forester X MY05 | 92 SVX
Transmission: 5MT D/R | 4EAT
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Nice, but it's no Subaru..
SLO White Foz, Quicksilver SVX!
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Unread 12th April 2019, 08:44 AM
Kevin's Avatar
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Location: Sydney, Oz
Year: MY'03
Model: Forester
Transmission: A/T
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Here's my Triton offroad/outback tourer. Ultimate suspension all round; 150L fuel capacity; 50L water tank; 2 x 105 AH Aux batteries; Bedslide tub slider; MCC4x4 rear bar; TJM bull bar; Rock Sliders; Alpha Canopy; Autohome rooftop tent with 2 x 100 watt solar panels attached; 110L fridge freezer; after-market sump guards; etc etc. Where has it been for major trips- Cape York (old Telegraph track of course); crossed Simpson Desert x 2; Broome & the Kimberley (incl a very muddy Plenty H'way on the way and the Gibb River Rd while there); Victorian High country a couple of times; Great Ocean Rd and many more short trips. It performs extremely well; is very comfortable and versatile. BTW it's not my daily driver of course as I've got the Foz! ;-)

MY'03 Foz AT XS with centre lock-up
MY'10 Triton AT GLX-R 2.5 DiD
MY'97 Outback RIP
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Unread 15th April 2019, 02:08 AM
ABFoz ABFoz is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Year: 2005
Model: Forester XS
Transmission: 4EAT
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I like @Kevin's build. It looks like a proper off-road tourer with those meaty tyres.

OP's one is also a good sort of lightweight setup.
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