Allen And Heather’s Nissan GU Patrol

Allen And Heather’s Nissan GU Patrol

  • Model GU Patrol

  • Engine Type ZD30

  • Transmission Type 5-Speed Manual

  • Classification Tourer

This 4X4’s Story

Heather and Allen bought their Patrol new in 2002. At the time, Allen test drove a Land Cruiser and a Land Rover Discovery but ended up choosing the Patrol as in his opinion, there was too much to go wrong on the Disco and the Toyota was too expensive.

The big GU is the couples first and only 4X4 and follows a line of Commodores (VB and VL) that they took from one end of Australia to the other, back when it was still mostly dirt roads.


According to Allen, there weren’t too many places that they wanted to see that the Commodores couldn’t get to but the Holdens just weren’t strong enough to take the pounding some of those roads dished out.

The Patrol on the other hand is built like a tank and has done hundreds of thousands of kilometers without really ever having an issue.

It’s a bit of a truck around town but that’s something I enjoy about it, although it is nice to jump in a smaller car from time to time, says Allen.

Since buying the Patrol the modifications have been kept to a minimum. It came with the alloy bullbar fitted from new and in addition to that, Allen has fitted a snorkel and upgraded the suspension with a 2-inch lift and Tough Dog shocks. He also added a fridge in the back and an on-board air setup via a compressor that mounts near the fridge.

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Allen also built a steel barrier / shelf unit that bolts into place when the rear seat is removed, which allows the couple to travel for extended periods and carry everything they need to be comfortable.

For most trips I’ll fit the roof-rack and take the spare off the back door and pop it on the roof. Helps to stop the back-door from copping a pounding on the rough roads.

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The ZD30 might have a ‘reputation’ that is less than stellar but this is one GU that has survived the test of time. It has proven to be ultra tough and ultra reliable and it’s taken the couple everywhere they’ve wanted to go and they reckon there is plenty of travelling still to do.

We’ve thought about buying a new one but I know this one so well now and have it working just right.

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How This 4X4 Gets Used

Allen and Heather are strictly Tourers. They aren’t interested in mud, or mountainsides, preferring to get out to remote areas and enjoy the sort of solitude that is unique to the Aussie Outback.

Our favourite trip is up through W.A. to Broome and through the Kimberley, closely followed by regular trips from Adelaide up to Alice Springs where we enjoy visiting the artists at the Titjikala community.

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They’ve recently completed a Simpson Desert crossing (West to East) and enjoyed it so much that they are heading off on the same trip again this year, with an extra day or two up their sleeve for the crossing this time around.

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What’s Next?

Well…its got a few miles under the belt now and I’ve just finished going through it from top to toe to ensure it’s reliable for the next 10 years of touring, so I guess we’ll be keeping it and driving it.

The Patrol doesn’t need much in the way of modifications to do what we do.

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Oh and for the naysayers out there, this particular ZD30 has done 300,000 kms without blowing up and that includes Allen doing his best to kill it with unleaded on their last trip. It was an accident of course and Allen is sure that the GU is going better than ever in spite of the mishap.

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Engine Upgrades

  • Snorkel
  • 3″ Mandrel bent stainless exhaust
  • Dawes valve to control turbo boost
  • Diesel Gas / LPG

Powertrain Upgrades

  • HD Clutch
  • Solid Flywheel

Barwork / Protection Upgrades

  • Bullbar

Suspension, Wheels and Tyres

  • All-Terrain Tyres
  • 2″ Suspension lift with Tough Dog shocks

Interior Upgrades

  • UHF Radio
  • Upgraded Sound System
  • Two Auber gauges one for boost and the other for EGTs


  • Fridge
  • Roof Rack
  • Rack / Shelf system that bolts into place when back seat is removed

Recovery Gear / Equipment

  • Hand Winch
  • Recovery Kit
  • First Aid Kit

12 Volt and Lighting

  • Multiple Battery System
  • On-board Air System
  • 240V Inverter
  • Driving Lights

Other Accessories

  • Awning

Favourite Mod Or Accessory And Why?

Allen’s favourite mod is the Tough Dog suspension. It’s lasted more than 10 years and seen some of the roughest roads in the country. He reckons the unloaded ride could be improved with different springs but then it wouldn’t deal with being loaded for a trip as well as it does. When loaded it apparently rides like a Rolls-Royce.

Least Favourite Mod Or Accessory And Why?

The Dawes valve. Not because it is in anyway defective but because it’s needed to fix an issue that shouldn’t exist.

Thanks To

Heather for being so understanding

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