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.
BARS, WINCHES & SIDERAILS
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.
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.
We received an email from one of our OTA contributors, who has suffered flooding in his van, caused by a burst connection between the mains inlet and the pressure reducing valve. Here’s how to avoid that, followed by a drying-out procedure.
ELECTRICS & LIGHTS
In 2016 Stedi released the original Type-X that disrupted the high performance driving light market. With the introduction of the PRO Edition Stedi said it is again redefining the driving light category.
We were very impressed with the ST4K light bars we’ve tested previously – 32 LED and 52 LED – models, so we had high expectations for the 80-LED model. We mounted it on our 75 Series roof rack and went bush.
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.
For many years we’ve been complaining about the restricted wheelbase and GVM offerings from medium-ute importers. In 2020, VW did something about it.
COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION
Elon Musk’s low-earth-orbit satellite internet service is gradually expanding around the globe, but it’s not ready yet for reliable, remote-area mobile coverage.
Uniden’s 2021 App-enabled XTRAK PRO Series of in-vehicle and handheld UHF radios can track and share the user’s location through the XTRAK Bluetooth App.
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.
This device alters accelerator response without touching fuel injection computer ‘mapping’.
SUV Doorstop is a small, foldable step that allows safe and easy access to roof racks and roof-mounted solar panels.
These three fridge-slide enhancements from Clearview can make bush camping easier.There’s a cable tidy, an extension tray and a full slide-out Pantry.
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
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.
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.
Whether you believe in climate cage or not isn’t the issue: the fact is that all engine makers are heading down the alternatives-to-fossil-fuel path and a tiny market like Australia’s isn’t going to influence global developments.
The LandCruiser 300 Series introduced the ‘hot vee’ diesel to Australia. In this short story we explain what that means.
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.
In the accompanying story Differentials Explained we’ve looked at the different differentials that are popular in the 4WD world and now we’ll look at their selection and use.
TYRES & WHEELS
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.
Outback Travel Australia has been evaluating different types of tyre pressure monitoring systems over the past 16 years and we wouldn’t go bush without one.