CAMS VCAS Round 11, Ballarat – Toyota Corolla AE95

My third run for the day in the Toyota AE95 Corolla Wagon.

AE95 Corolla

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Toyota Corolla AE95 Brembo Brake Parts

S 83 514


P 83 011

AE95 Corolla

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Battery Box to power my Engel

I recently purchased an Engel Fridge. Trusty little 40 Litre model, Transit bag, divider and a small Basket. I’m enjoying Cold Beer.

Most of the time when camping, we’ll be taking the trusty Rav4. Now, not being a full blown 4wd like my Good Old Days in the Prado or Patrol, I don’t want to rig up a permanent dual Battery system in the Rav4. There isn’t enough room under the bonnet and its a little un necessary. Although, I do need to power the fridge.

When driving, this isn’t a big issue. The Engel will happily run fine via the 12 volt lead and the cigerette lighter socket in the back of the Rav4. When camping though, its a different story as with the ignition off, the socket loses power. Powering it permanently is an option, but the Rav4 being an auto and the dread of a flat battery has me nervous for this solution.

Next I looked at some commercial options. Engel and Waeco both make a battery pack capable of powering the Fridge Essentially a battery in a box with some trickery. The trickery joins the battery once the voltage of the power source is high enough. these are bulky and expensive. I wanted to utilise the space under the floor of the rav.

I decided to possibly make my own Battery case. Using a Pelican case I had a sturdy solid case i could easily carry. These are quite expensive however. I found a cheap second hand case on Ebay, $30 for a Pelican 1400 case.

Pelican 1400 Case

It was obviously used for some form of testing equipment, I ditched the foam.

Inside the Pelican 1400 Case.

I found Jaycar had a source of Sealed Gel Batteries that fit the case. I decided on 6 12 Volt, 7.2Ah batteries that I could wire together to get around 43Ah. The six batteries fit in the case with about an inch spare on 2 sides and a snug fit width wise. Height wise I was again, about an inch clear.

Once the batteries were in, I wired them up with some decent cable I had connecting all the positive and negative terminals. To power the box, I mounted an Anderson 50Amp plug on the bottom of the case, out of the way and protected by the moulding.
Anderson 50Amp plug for powering the Box.

On the top, I mounted a surface mounted LED Light. It was something I had laying around so would be a good little added feature when camping. This is turned on by a switch on the top of the box.
Switch for LED Light.

4 LED Surface Mount Light inthe Top of the Case.

In the top , side of the box I mounted a Surface mount Engel Power Lead. This lets me connect the Engel Power Lead and screw it in the case, ensuring a tight power feed thats secure.

Engel Surface Mounted Power Socket

The wiring on the inside. It isn’t pretty, but works!
Internal Wiring

To charge it whilst camping, I am about to buy a Protecta or Ctek Maintenance charger and Pure Sine Wave Invertor to power the battery either off a generator / 12 volt source or from the car whilst running.

It ran the Engel @ 0.3 Degrees Celsius from Friday afternoon to Sunday Lunchtime. The fridge was ‘used’ during this time. It should run the fridge over a standard weekend.
Its easily carried and fits under the floor of the Rav4. Long term, I may build a second pack to mirror this, and thus doubling my capacity. I have a few spare 1400 Pelican Cases, which i’ll mount the Battery Charger and Inverter.


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Time to update The Aurion.

With the lease on our 2010 Toyota Aurion AT-X drawing to an end, it wsa time to order a new car. Over the years, having a sweet deal on leasing Toyota’s and turning them over often (6-9 months) has meant we have had a few Toyotas. 2 Corolla’s, a Starlet, another Corolla, Echo, 2 x Camry Sportivo’s, then an Aurion SportivoSX6, Rav4 Cruiser, Aurion AT-X x 3 and a couple of ‘loaner’ Camry’s whilst the lease car was in the ‘shop’

We were happy with the Aurion. Its a comfortable car for driving to work, around town. Its big enough for 5 people and economical to drive (was pulling 7.6l / 100 when we had the consumption guage in the SX6). Since we upgraded the second car from the 2001 Corolla to the Rav4 ZR6, the extra power and comfort was no longer required and the lease car’s duties changed slightly.

Upon inspection of the current list, there isn’t much left in the way of ‘fun’. Initially we looked at the Corolla Range although with the import price increase, we could get a Camry for similar money thats a tad bigger and a little more practical. Although, I do miss the Corolla Sportivo. Toyota really do need to get back in the Hot Hatches and a high Kw, AWD Corolla Hatch would be a addition to the lineup would be awesome.

The Camry range have 9 models to choose from, 2 being the newer Hybrid. It would be nice, but i don’t think we have access to these on the lease. We have a Grande as a loaner whilst the last AT-X was in getting the petrol cap repainted, and I must say it was a nice rig. The pop up sun shade, whilst being useless, gave the James Bond feeling when cruising down the highway.

We settled on the Ateva, whilst missing the sun shade, leather, sat nav and sunroof, it keeps the much needed climate control, cruise and rear camera to make things easier when driving around town.

Although, at $46k, an FJ Cruiser was tempting but I would have taken a Hot Hatch Corolla if Toyota would hurry up and bring back the similar spec, Toyota Corolla Sportivo of the past, possibly turbing it under the TRD banner.


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2010 Toyota Rav4 ZR6

Its been 7 months wince we took delivery of the Toyota Rav4 ZR6. Overall, the car is fantastic. Its performed its job with ease and is a very comfortable vehicle to drive. Its has plenty of power on tap and the driver assist features of Downhill Assist, Hill Start assist, traction control and the centre diff lock all work wonderfully.

The extra features of the ZR6 are worth the extra investment in my eyes, Whilst having the sunroof fully open in summer does little but baked the interior to an unbelievable tempreture and give you sunburn, tilting it up slightly helps the vehicle with a bit of fresh air flow. Its main value is in allowing natural light into the car. The Heated seats whilst a little useless at first appearance are a welcomed relief each morning when gazing down and seeing its 4 Degrees C outside. The climate control is a feature that once you have it, you can never live without it. Setting the tempreture to 23C and leaving it alone to do its stuff is what motorists want. Hassle free driving.

The Sat Nav is fairly simple to use and the integrated phone system works flawlessly. Being unable to ‘download’ my Apple iPhone address book is a pain. Also the inability to stream music via Bluetooth, as I can in my Poverty pack Aurion ATX is also a major pain. We do leave a 3.5mm jack cable in the centre console for this purpose.

The front and rear parking sensors are handy (well the rear are), I cna’t say I am overly impressed the Front Parking sensors button is backlit in Green when the rest of the dash is Orange. A complaint to Toyota revealed whilst this complaint is common, there is ‘nothing we can do’.

The lack of a Distance till Empty / Fuel Consumption gauge on a vehicle costing over $50k is a little dissapointing also. Especially when so many other vehicles in Toyota’s fleet have this feature. Maybe its a deliberate ploy in hiding the at times, woeful economy of the V6 and the lack of fuel capacity. I’d gladly trade my underfloor storage area for a decent fuel tank. I reckon I could get another 80 litres in there giving the rav a decent range.

I would be tempted to look at upgrading the suspension as it feels a little soft for my likeing and a little more lift would be welcomed offroad.

Overall its been a fantastic vehicle and I have no regrets in buying it. Even if the Toyota Prado Kakado looks like a Fantastic buy. If your interested in one, why not pop over to Discount New Cars. Its the site I go to to compare specs / features and getting an upfront discount to start your negotiations with dealers is a welcomed start for me.


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