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.
The ‘See Ezy’ rechargeable LED inspection light has proved popular in workshops, garages and at campsites for several years, and Narva has launched a new model with improved performance and functionality.
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
The consequences of a flat 4WD battery vary from annoying to life threatening. Today’s vehicles are packed with power hungry technology and, coupled with a change to driving habits post-Covid and post oil price shock, a flat battery is now quite common.
NARVA has developed purpose-built LED globes to provide a super-powerful output for high-beam use only, as well as upgraded high-low-beam LED replacements and new halogen globes.
Bendix’s Ultimate 4WD Big Brake Upgrade Kits deliver improved braking performance for some dual cab utes and wagon derivatives.
Our Outback Travel Australia restoration project, rebuilding and modifying a LandCruiser 75 Series tray-back, is an ongoing exercise. We continue to use it as latest bed for all sorts of gear.
COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION
Elon Musk’s low-earth-orbit satellite internet service is gradually expanding around the globe and is now ready for reliable, remote-area coverage.
You may not know it, but the piece of real estate you’re sitting in has a unique three-word code, developed for a free app called ‘what3words’. That code can be input into a navigation device or mobile phone, allowing a delivery to be made, without the driver’s need for a detailed address and access instructions.
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’.
We all know that weight is the enemy when you’re packing your 4WD or camper. Here’s one way of reducing weight while providing a great storage solution.
SUV Doorstop is a small, foldable step that allows safe and easy access to roof racks and roof-mounted solar panels.
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.
Hydrogen fuel cells are touted as the best solution for electric 4WDs and RVs, because battery packs are just too big, too heavy and take too long to charge. However, hydrogen tanks are also too heavy and lack capacity. How about powdered hydrogen?
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), also known as lithium and LFP, batteries deliver high energy and power density for mobile applications. They often have the best combination of performance, safety, cost, reliability and environmental characteristics for RV and marine applications.
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.