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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

Installing a diesel camper heater

Installing a diesel camper heater

Chinese-made camper heaters are shameless copies of European-designed units and they’re available at a fraction of the price. Our test unit cost $340, rather than around five times that for the genuine article. Performance so far is excellent.

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ELECTRICS & LIGHTS

Lightforce 4000K LED Headlight Upgrade Kit

Lightforce 4000K LED Headlight Upgrade Kit

We tested the LightForce 4000K LED Headlight Upgrade Kit for three months on the OTA Team Hilux. Because Lightforce doesn’t claim ADR approval for this kit, we were very careful to ensure it caused no glare hazard for oncoming motorists.

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Laser headlights and driving lights

Laser headlights and driving lights

Two years ago it seemed that the next big breakthrough in automotive lighting would be laser lights, but that’s not how it’s turned out. Yes, there are some low-cost laser/LED combination driving lights on the market, but quality makers haven’t gone down the laser road yet. We checked out why.

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GENERAL MODS

Weight distribution calculations

Weight distribution calculations

These calculation tables are designed to make it easy to assess the effects of payload and towball weight when towing. Caravan and trailer weight distribution can also be calculated.

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COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION

Remote area messaging device

Remote area messaging device

The ZOLEO satellite communicator is compact and provides over 200 hours of battery life. It is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 55°C, is shock-resistant and features an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. 

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POWERTRAIN

iDrive

iDrive

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

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Don’t ‘sock’ your snorkel

Don’t ‘sock’ your snorkel

There’s a current craze for fitting a plain or oily-foam ‘sock’ over a snorkel. It may seem like a good way of keeping your air cleaner element dust-free, but it isn’t.

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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

AAV4x4 wide single wheels and tyres

AAV4x4 wide single wheels and tyres

As we all know, the skinny standard wheels and tyres fitted to Japanese 4×4 trucks are useless in off-road situations – particularly the rear duals that can trap rocks between them. There are several sources for replacement wide single wheels and tyres, but the most practical we’ve come across are the Australian-made 17 x 9 wheels from AAV4x4.

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