Boydie

New Vehicle, VW Amorok

75 posts in this topic

Due to spinal neurological issues as a result of the motor vehicle accident I had last February 13th I'm having to look to move on from my beloved Disco. Its simply a comfort thing as well as a desire to have more bang engine power wise for my buck - as it were,  so I've placed an order for a VW Amarok Dual Cab Utility with the V6 3 litre engine - the one Porsche designed with the eight speed auto/paddle shift gearbox.

The on road cost over here in Australia is AUD$74,500 but with all the required off road and desert touring add-ons i want fitted to it, for example a Safari Snorkel, ARB bullbar, Warne 12000 lb winch, ARB Canopy c/w roof-top tent, internal air pump, 140 litre fresh water tank, redArc dual battery system, 74 litre freezer/fridge and food storage drawers, ARB 135 litre fuel tank, Kaymar steel rear bumper bar with spare wheel and gas bottle carrier, OME 3" lift kit (see below comments on the rear suspension) and decent Bridgestone Dueller Desert off road tyres (it comes cmes with Continental road tyres :angry:) etc.etc. the final cost will be a tad over AUD$100,000.

The comfort level in the Amarok is unbelievable with the seats being heated and cooled Nappa Leather seats, they look and feel as if they belong in a Lamborghini  --  but they will require sheep-skin wool covers to cope with our summer heat --- but to compensate they do have 14 position settings - with two memory settings per front seat.

It has only two design faults in my experience, one is the alternator is at the lowest possible location on the engine, - well below the depth of most creek crossing water levels :wacko: so I'm expecting several charging unit failures and consequently on the top of the spares list will be two rectifier and diode packs, fortunately they come in a single easily replaceable unit (once you get the alternator off the engine). The second is that despite it being built in 2017 (delivery is due March 2017) it has an antique rear suspension design with leaf springs !!!!     I'm looking for a company that does a coil spring conversion with a 3" lift.  

The Porsche designed turbo diesel engine power is huge, 165 kW with an overboost facility taking it up to 180 kW for 15 seconds with a very flat 550Nm of torque from 1800 rpm, well over 110 Nm over the Toyota 4.2 litre V8 and this is fed through the VW/Audi designed 8 speed clutchless "auto".  The rear axle has an electric lockable differential and the front works on the electronic system of the disc brake being applied to the free wheel to force drive the the driving wheel (again a LR innovation), unfortunately currently there isn't a front axle LSD or lockable differential for the Amarok as the ring gear is welded to the carrier but this will I'm sure be only temporary and some aftermarket company will come up with a fully replaceable electric locker and I'll have one fitted.  It also has Down Hill Assist - again copied from Land Rover of course - which in conjunction with the low speed engine torque and auto box gives it a possible descent angle of 50* and climb angle of 45*

I won't be selling the Disco, it has a few issues that need attention that I'll do and then retire it for the occasional weekend out into the bush. Maybe one day I might get a deserving grand child who will take it over and have as much enjoyment out of it as Julie and I have had, either way it stays in the family !

 

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If comfort is the main driver for the change, then maybe consider the new Navara as well. Has coil spring suspension at the back. As per LR, of course......:) 

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I've ordered an Amarok too :) I've been looking for a year and test driven everything. If I wanted outright value I would recommend the Fiat, it's a rebadged L200 without the awful chrome grill, under £20k + VAT with paddle shift, climate, leather, superselect 4wd, reverse camera, satnav, trailer wobble assist, hill decent and start, 18" alloys etc etc it really can't be beat. For an outright workhorse I would recommend the Isuzu, much more solidly built than the others, everything is over specced and I'm sure they will take the most abuse. They also have the longest warranty by far and a Blade can be had for £23,700+vat which includes leather, climate, satnav, cruise, 18" alloys and even a hard top / roll and lock, 3.5tonne towing, prewired for a tacho etc etc and the longest warranty of any pickup. Both of these are available straight away from stock.

However as the pickup is my only vehicle it has to carry mould tools at 600kg, go on and off construction sites without getting stuck, carry my wife, 3 kids and 2 dogs and tow the caravan. It's 5" wider than any of the competition which should make getting 3 car seats in easy, the V6 full time 4wd 8-speed auto should make towing a effortless. Plus it can take a europallet so I won't have to cut one down everytime I take a tool. I've added a rear difflock, not sure if it will be needed with the traction control but it's a factory only option so I didn't want to risk it, plus it has award winning seats for comfort. I've also added satnav, pollen filter (yes, that's an option!), a spare wheel (yes, that's an option too and only with the 18" wheels not the 19" wheels), spray in bed liner, hard top, towbar and paddle shift (yup, another option that others have as standard). It tows less than the Isuzu, has less tech and kit than the fiat and possibly the shortest warranty of all of the pickups and is around £10k more so I'm still not sure it's the right thing but I'm giving it a go. On the plus side of getting nothing as standard it means I don't have to have annoying automatic lights, wipers, corner lighting and follow me home lighting :D

The old model did come with coils at the back but with a reduced carrying capacity, maybe you could do a scrap yard type swap?

A note on the engine, I don't know if its being released in the same spec globally, but in the UK it is the same block as the Porsche Cayanne, Audi A7, A6, VW Tourag etc etc, however I believe in the Amarok its single turbo instead of dual, the alloy heads have been replaced with cast iron, it has a bigger capacity sump and de-tuned to a maximum of 225bhp depending what model you buy to 'cope with towing'. My boss has an A6 with this engine, the only engine related problem he had was one of the pulleys failed at around 80k leaving him with no waterpump, pas etc. Aparantly they're a metal core and metal outer with a bend of rubber in the middle for refinement which fails and the two parts of the pulley separate. It seems it's common so if that engine has it I would look to change it in advance of that mileage.

The gearbox is the 8-speed ZF auto as used in Bentleys etc, there is no low box but I can't see that being a problem. I have heard reports that they limit the torque in reverse which has left people stranded on sand where you need a bit of go but there is a software fiddle to overcome it, however is it wise to do? Is it limited for a reason? I would rather have a manual but I have to say this gearbox is faultless, it changes constantly but always seems to be in the right gear with no lag like you usually get with autos.

The vehicles 0-60 is around 8 seconds and has disk brakes all around to help it stop although due to the outdated laws in the UK the kerb weight of this brute does mean that it's restricted to 60mph on dual carriageways and 50mph on single carriageways like larger vans whereas my old Isuzu can travel at the same speed as cars despite it having the same gross train weight, drums on the rear and smaller front brakes.

Either way it should be a nice ride and fingers crossed I won't see the hard shoulder in it :)

Edited by Cynic-al

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There seems to be considerable differences between UK and Australian models. The top of the line (Ultimate) Amarok here in Australia the engine has twin turbos, alloy heads, a much larger oil sump than the Porsche Audi and Touareg and yes, it's been detuned to your stated 225 hp (165 Kw) but easily revised up to the Porsche Cayenne specs if you want to burn the additional diesel.  The Amarok "Ultimate" comes as standard with stupid 19" or 20" alloy rims but my dealer was quite happy to agree to supply the car with 17" "ALDO" style rims off any standard unit on his showroom floor and supply a second matching spare rim - (I need six rims, 2 spares for outback travel).

Thanks for the tip regarding the pulleys, I'll check them out and if need be I will replace them.  

Manual gearboxes are great but trust me, on soft sand dunes and auto is the way to go, with a manual the moment you clutch in to change up, or down a gear you're bogged, with an auto the changes are too fast and seamless so gear changes aren't an issue.  The Oz version has electric power assisted steering in what is a virtually sealed for life system, - as is the auto box  -- the belts only power the alternator and water pump and a second belt for the Australian standard air conditioning.  

Like you my only concern has been the lack of a low range selector but I'm told that with the huge torque available (550 Nm) it's simply not needed as the first and second gears are deliberately very low (lower than any other vehicles this 8 speed ZF box is supplied to), when I took one for a test drive most of the time it took off from a standing start on a flatish road in 3rd gear so I guess that the two lower gears are for serious inclines only or for when the rear is fully loaded. I'll ask about the reverse gear inhibitor and if necessary get it rectified. 

One of the design features that swung me to the Amarok is that is has a full separate rail chassis, the majority of other dual cab utilities, Isuzu, Ford, Nissan,Toyota have a pressed metal monocoque body with a auxiliary rear tray chassis.  The experience in Oz is that if you are towing any real sized trailer over constant corrugations and you are near to the total gross mass weight - and especially if you have a leaf spring/air bag combination suspension the rear chassis cracks just after the cab requiring some serious welding repairs. This problem is virtually unknown with vehicles that have a separate full chassis as the undulations are transmitted the length of the chassis rails - not just to the monocoque connections to the rear chassis rails.  Even so, I'll be looking for a coil spring rear suspension conversion. they give a far superior and smoother ride.

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The only one reported to crack over here is the Nissan which goes rotten behind the cab. I'm sure the isuzu, ford etc are on a traditional chassis front to back?

Agreed the smaller wheels get a better ride and more tyre choice. 

 

I love auto off road, for onroad I would always pick a manual, I find you have to double guess autos, I'd rather just put the stick where I want it and there it stays. Obviously we dont have offroading like you do. I'm still looking forward to it, it'll still be the nicest car I've ever had I'm sure :)

Edited by Cynic-al

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Hope you guys enjoy your new toys when you get them. 'Er indoors is due a new company vehicle (she's a quarry manager) and another pickup is on the cards. It's a choice between the rodeo, ranger and amarok at the moment. I drove an Amarok when they first came out (180 Highline) but they had huge waiting lists at the time so ended up with an L200; has to be one of my least favourite vehicles to date.

Looking forward to a pic of Boydies all spec'd up in its expedition clothes 😉

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As you know I went for a new 3.2 auto Ranger a few months back and as I said at the time the primary reasons being the plethora of dealerships and also that no other manufacturer could come even remotely close to the discount deal I achieved by buying through one of my membership organisations. I tested the others, Amarok included but liked the Ford, although technically superior in some respects the shape of the Amarok just didn't do anything for me.

My only gripe with the Ranger to date is that the performance of the headlamps is somewhat disappointing but I'm more than happy with the rest of the truck. I've been able to do pretty much the same as I did in the Puma Defenders [and previous TD5's, Tdi's etc]  but don't have the worry of being delicate with the gear change or finishing the journey somewhat cramped.

I'm not sure I understand about the full length separate chassis rails? Having spent a day and a half under the Ranger spraying Bilt Hammer anti corrosion goop onto and into every nook and cranny I have been left with the impression that the body is mounted on a separate chassis with full length rails too.

Good luck with the new toys anyway chaps. I'm sure they will serve you well :i-m_so_happy:

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Yeah the vw is way over priced and they're not giving much discount although maybe that will change once the supply chain catches up, so far demand is high and supply is low. They're also supplying much less spec than the outgoing model which I'm sure will change once the novelty of a new model wears off and they have to work to sell them. 

 

The list price of the ford wildtrak is actually about the same as the vw but ford give many more gadgets as standard than vw and you can get really good discounts. It can also tow more so it is the better buy however the additional all width of the vw was the winner for me. I didn't like the old 2.0 but now they've actually put an engine in it I figured I had to give it a try. 

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One thing I will add about both the ford and vw is they're both too heavy to be classed as dual purpose vehicles so they have to obay the lower speed limits. The isuzu, fiat etc are light enough so can do the same speed as a car. 

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Aye, I'm sure people will get caught out with regard the weight v speed limit issue.

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Well I've driven many vans and lorries and never fallen foul, I doubt the police are bothered as they'd have to remember every variant of every vehicle. Where it might start to trip people up is if speed cameras get programmed to recognise the limit from information accessed via the numberplate. 

It's a poor law if you ask me, my fully loaded isuzu weighs the same as the fully loaded amarok I've ordered, the amarok has disks all around yet has to travel slower?

They revised the law on hgv speed last year so hopefully this will get revised too. If they really want to have a reduced speed get through manufacturer to test stopping distance when fully loaded along with the other tests they have to do.

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That's a new one on me, and it certainly doesn't apply here in Australia, anything under 8 tonnes GVM can be driven at the maximum advised road speed limits - 110 kph or 70 mph --  if its over 8 tonnes its 100kph or 60 mph, apart from the Northern Territory which does not have a speed limit, but thats on the cards to change to comply with other states.

Many years ago when I was between engineering projects and driving road trains (prime mover and up to 4 double deck cattle trailers for an old mate in the NT I would be happy to "cruise" down the Tanami Track to Alice Springs at 140+ kph with up to 600 tonnes total GVM - but breaking distance to a complete halt was down to around 4 kilometers and 24 gear changes :blush:, the rig could do it in a lot less than that but once you came to a halt you would need to go around every axle checking that the heat from the brakes had not melted the axle bearing grease.    The other thing was Murphy's law, if you had a flat - and you could expect at least one per trip, it would always be in the inside tyre (four tyres per axle, 4 axles per trailer).  When changing it you could guarantee at least one cow would extract revenge by depositing sloppy carp all over you, so the only way was to strip down to underpants - much to the amusement of any passing tourist traffic - and use the cattle wash water after to hose off before getting dressed again. My revenge in turn was to try to memorise the cow responsible and make sure it got a good jab with the electric cattle prod !

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It is outdated and generally I think your safe to ignore it but I guess there's always the one case and the chance it could be you! Shame they're not looking to revise it but the fact that they weren't aware of it means that it hasn't caused any problems so they don't really care. 

Some smart cameras do read number plates but it comes down to where they get their data from, for tax purposes i think theyre all lcv not plg so that doesn't work?

What's crazy is the old amarok was under 2040kg so was OK apart from the canyon special edition which had extra bling which took it over 2040kg kerb but still had the same mgw so would still take the same distance to stop fully loaded.

 

Hmm being dumped on whilst changing a tyre, I'm sure that can be laughed about... in hindsight :)

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Went for a test drive today, drives really well, doesn't have that pickup bounce at the back that you usually get from leafs, cruises really well on the motorway, very quiet, very quick pickup for such a lump and theres loads of headroom, it's is the only car I've ever driven where I don't have to duck to look left under the rear view mirror :) Just got to wait for it to arrive now.

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It (the Amarok) only has one problem and thats off road ground clearance.  

Bilstein do a stronger front uprated coil over strut and rear shocks with Dobinsons coils and rear leaf springs that will give the truck a 75mm (3") lift as well as coping with the anticipated increased front and rear 350kg static weight increases, that along with the standard 20" rims with BFG "KO2"  all terrain 285/75-R20 tyres should lift it up above most country track hazards with a fully laden 350mm (14") ground clearance and 215mm (8.5") under the rear differential housing.  There is a very neat aftermarket front grille available locally that does away with the horrid "chrome" VW badge and gives greater airflow - thats a definite !

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Sounds like it's going to be a cracking truck! Share pictures once its built. We don't get the 20" wheels in the UK but I'm not too bothered as I always think the thinner tyre the harder the ride and the more chance of damaging the rim. 

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5 hours ago, Cynic-al said:

Sounds like it's going to be a cracking truck! Share pictures once its built. We don't get the 20" wheels in the UK but I'm not too bothered as I always think the thinner tyre the harder the ride and the more chance of damaging the rim. 

You're not wrong, the other factor is the price of the boots, AUD$535.00 each !  As I'll need a set of 6 (2 spares are mandatory for most desert crossing permits) thats a not so cool AUD $3,210.00 fitted and balanced, I'm hoping to be able to sell the standard Continental tyres to reduce the pocket pain.:blush:

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If your in north Yorkshire AL stick to 50, they have done our rangers and D4 commercials for doing 60 and 70 on A roads and DCs respectively.

The V6 amarok would be the one to sway me from the green oval if I needed a pickup, boydie I look forward to seeing the pictures of yours once completed.

 

Will.

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On 31/12/2016 at 11:04 PM, Boydie said:

Like you my only concern has been the lack of a low range selector but I'm told that with the huge torque available (550 Nm) it's simply not needed as the first and second gears are deliberately very low (lower than any other vehicles this 8 speed ZF box is supplied to), when I took one for a test drive most of the time it took off from a standing start on a flatish road in 3rd gear so I guess that the two lower gears are for serious inclines only or for when the rear is fully loaded. I'll ask about the reverse gear inhibitor and if necessary get it rectified.

That's an interesting view because my 3.6TDV8 with ZF6HP box has 640Nm available and it does have a low range. It pretty much always pulls away in 3rd on the flat or perhaps 2nd if its uphill. I don't think I've ever had it pull away in first in D even with 3.5 tonnes of milling machine and trailer behind it. The 4.4TDV8 (with ZF8HP) which also has a low range has a slightly ridiculous 700Nm available.

They are possibly geared higher but given the road manners and gear selection can't be that far off. It does give you far more control off road though with low range available.

With regards to comfort have you considered changing the seats in the Disco? I recently changed the ones in my 300Tdi 110 to a set from a BMW era L322 and the transformation in comfort is astonishing. Despite being on HD springs all around it feels as if its not anymore, I'm now mostly running it empty so its been quite bouncy. There is a thread in the Tools & Fabrication section on it which I must update with newer pictures. The full set of seats only cost me £140. Won't help with the engine though!

If I remember correctly the seat setup in the Disco would make the swap even easier than what I had to go through because you have a flat floor and more height so wouldn't need to do the dismantling I had to do. Food for thought anyway.

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Thanks for the warning. It's only just over the limit so it's a bit frustrating but I've been driving vans and lorries for years without getting stung so hopefully I will be ok. 

 

The mercedes is going to have a v6 diesel as one of the engines but it's built on the Nissan which, having driven the Nissan, devalues it for me! At least the vw is made is a vw plant. 

One of the special editions that I would've loved but couldn't get has come up for sale as an ex demo, £5,000 above list price! Ouch!

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A couple of things.  One is that out bush, and I'm talking way off the beaten track here, places like Mulan, Balgo, Ilkurlka, Tjuntjuntjara you can only purchase diesel, If they have petrol its a non fuming petroleum 85 octane fuel called "Opal" so the kids aren't able to get high sniffing it and it's only sold in sealed 20 litre cans.  

Petrol engines are therefore not an option.

Another consideration is, for me anyway, is I've had to order my Amarok from Mexico, not Germany as the Mexican assembled/built cars dont use Adblue as they are sold to countries, like NZ, Australia, Asia, India and China that dont have such restrictive exhaust emission controls, and in any case again, like petrol Adblue is not available out bush.

The final thing is that as a result on the MVA I was in last February I have a fused spine from L2-S1 meaning I have a hard and painful time bending down, so working on the old girl is becoming far more problematic, a brand new car with extended 5 year warranty is therefore an attractive proposition and I can insure it with a full no cost all Australia recovery option, which is mandatory if you break down on the Anne beadell some 750 kilometres from the nearest community! One guy did in his Nissan and the towing charges were well over AUD$10,000 --  I'm 69 now, if I can get 10 years outback and desert touring in before I'm forced to give it away, buy a caravan and stick to the black-top I'll be very happy.  

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"That's an interesting view because my 3.6TDV8 with ZF6HP box has 640Nm available and it does have a low range. It pretty much always pulls away in 3rd on the flat or perhaps 2nd if its uphill. I don't think I've ever had it pull away in first in D even with 3.5 tonnes of milling machine and trailer behind it. The 4.4TDV8 (with ZF8HP) which also has a low range has a slightly ridiculous 700Nm available"

The only problem with both of these Discos is their lack of ground clearance and their problematic air suspension, trust me I looked at both. Due to the latter aftermarket suspension packages are very limited and most require a total redesign of the suspension doing away with the original airbags and fitting coils and shock absorbers.

Even the Amarok will need to be fitted with a Bilstein suspension package that will give it a 75mm with +350Kg constant load on top of the 75 aspect ratio 20" tyres - that will give it the 9" ground level to below the rear differential that from experience I know that I'll need, some of the ruts are very deep!  

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I'm not trying to pick holes / fights here just trying to clarify things in case they're construed in the wrong way and also it's an interesting discussion. I'm also using the L322 as a basis rather than Disco because I know it better.

You mention 9" of clearance that you need. If I remember correctly the 07MY has around that as standard. You gain another 2" in off road height and another bit, I forget if it's 1 or 2", in super extended mode if it detects getting stuck. A lot of people forget that there's very little to get hung up on on the more modern Land Rovers because of their independent suspension setup.

With regards to problematic air suspension the only issue I have had in 4 years of ownership and off-roading it was the front air bags developing a leak but they did have 132000 miles on them. A lot of the issues such as stuck transfer boxes and air suspension issues are because people simply don't use them. I use them probably at least once a week so they get cycled if nothing else.

I've off-roaded the 322 alongside a lot of different marques now from Defenders, Discos both old and new, Ford Rangers, Isuzus and once an Amorak. Without a question of a doubt I feel it is by a substantial margin the most capable of them in terms of off road ability. Once you realise to turn off the DSC when off road so you don't restrict engine power and let the electrikery do its thing that is...

With thorough servicing and a decent diagnostics tool I don't think its anymore unreliable than competitors. In fact as Mr. Rafferty pointed out on a laning trip they do (perhaps not all) have torque sensing diffs and should not let you break half shafts etc as they'll kill power before that happens.

However there are two huge downsides for you. One it's not a pickup and secondly there's naff all in the way of decent tyres for it. It's for that reason that I now use the 110 as my play toy instead of the 322. Three years and pretty much £3k in tyres because the sidewalls are made of cigarette paper.

Pete Haylands over on fullfatrr.com has done some serious playing around in his (also trying to sell it currently) and there are more people exploring them as off road / expedition vehicles. If I had more spare time / cash / space to work then I'd like to do more with mine, the first being eliminating the EGRs. As a diesel expedition vehicle the 3.6 sorted most of the issues with unreliable diffs and gearboxes the td6 had. The only issues that seem to recur are due to lack of maintenance and not giving it the beans. The alternator is in a stupid position though!

Maybe something to try out when you need even more comfort ;)

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I think the other consideration is you can get 2 new amaroks for one new range rover. So you can't expect it to be as good performance or as comfortable. If your travelling off road your usually looking for the safest route rather than the one that makes the biggest splash so you generally don't need the best of the best off road ability. As for comfort that's up to the individual :)

 

I couldn't get one of the special editions so ordered a highline. One of the special editions has come up for sale ex demo at £5k above new list price :S

Edited by Cynic-al

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