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4WD MODIFICATIONS & ACCESSORIES

Buying the right 4WD is critical and in this Buyers Guide, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of new and used wagons, utes and heavy duty off-road vehicles. Also in the Buyers Guide are motorhomes and campervans. Many of the vehicles tested have video reports to let you see how they perform on and off road; and some also include tow tests. There are also suggestions for desirable bush modifications.

LATEST ARTICLES

BARS, WINCHES & SIDERAILS

Buying a Winch

Buying a Winch

Many people see a winch as a means of increasing the off-road ability of a 4WD. It’s an impression that’s easily gained by seeing how off-road competition blokes and gals go about conquering seemingly impossible obstacles, but that’s not how you should look at a recreational vehicle winch.

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Front and Rear Bars

Front and Rear Bars

You only have to see how serious 4WDs are dressed up for bush work to appreciate that out-of-the-box 4WDs are underdone for Outback travel and off-road driving. The most obvious addition that most people fit is a bull bar.

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DIY WORKSHOP

ELECTRICS & LIGHTS

Certa Battery Analyser

Certa Battery Analyser

This tiny device was said to monitor battery health and display data on a smartphone, via an app. However, out of our five test units we bought, three failed.

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Lazer Sentinel

Lazer Sentinel

Lazer High Performance Lighting continues to hit the Australian market with new driving light products. Although best known for its grille-integrated driving lights and slimline light bars, Lazer has developed a driving light pair in the popular 225mm size.

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GENERAL MODS

6×6 Australia conversions

6×6 Australia conversions

Bob James’ 6×6 Australia has been working on 4×4 modifications since 1984 and now does many 6×6 conversions on popular 4×4 utes and wagons, plus some 4×4 light trucks.

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COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION

Hema HX-2 Navigator

Hema HX-2 Navigator

Hema Maps unveiled its seventh-generation GPS and navigation product, the HX-2, in August 2021. The product is said to integrate digital mapping and data of remote areas with moderated community sourced data and social networking. 

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POWERTRAIN

The good oil

The good oil

We’ve been asked many times what’s the best oil type to run in new and older model 4WDs and it’s not easy to come up with a straightforward answer. First, here’s some background into all the confusing acronyms that surround the oil business.

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iDrive

iDrive

This device alters accelerator response without touching fuel injection computer ‘mapping’.

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STORAGE

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Tough Dog Adjustable shock absorber test

Tough Dog Adjustable shock absorber test

Most 4WDs spend their time relatively lightly loaded around town and fully loaded on bush trips. Trying to make a fixed-setting shock absorber handle both damping tasks isn’t easy: hence, the adjustable shock absorber.

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Progressive rate bump stops

Progressive rate bump stops

Supple suspension gives great wheel travel and a comfortable ride, but load and road conditions can sometimes cause ‘bottoming’. There’s a procedure to control this undesirable situation.

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TECH TORQUE

Atkinson and Miller cyle engines

Atkinson and Miller cyle engines

Electrification doesn’t mean the end of the internal combustion engine, but tomorrow’s passenger car engines are being designed primarily for hybrid-electric vehicles and as range extenders.

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All leaf springs are not the same

All leaf springs are not the same

The leaf spring has been with us since horse-drawn wagon passengers demanded better ride quality and the long-serving leaf spring is still the principal springing medium for the rear ends of light commercial 4WDs.

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TRACTION AIDS

LOKKA auto-locking differential

LOKKA auto-locking differential

LOKKA is an automatic differential locker that can be fitted to front, rear or both differentials. This auto-locking diff centre has been manufactured in Australia since the 1990s.

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TYRES & WHEELS

Six tyre myths busted

Six tyre myths busted

No matter how many tyre stories we run we still come across many myths. With the help of Bridgestone, Kumho, Maxxis and Cooper Tyres, we conducted some real-world testing to dispel some of these tyre myths – hopefully forever.

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The airless tyre remains elusive

The airless tyre remains elusive

We’ve been hoping for years that the airless, puncture-proof tyre would save us from plugging flats in mulga-root country, but it seems that our salvation is some years away. OTA brings you up to date with non-pneumatic-tyre (NPT) development around the world.

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