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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.



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

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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Beware the DIY aircon re-gas

So, your air conditioner doesn’t feel as cold as it used to and you’ve heard about DIY re-gas kits that are available through accessories supermarkets and on-line. Can we suggest you read this article first!

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DIY wiring issues

Many DIY 12-volt systems fail because of inadequate wire sizing, poor quality connections and inadequate fusing and earthing.

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Circuit breakers or heavy-duty fuses in auxiliary power circuits

Today’s camping vehicle current demands are much greater than those in the ‘good ol’ days’ and traditional blade-fuse circuit protection isn’t adequate. Circuit breakers are an alternative, but larger, screw-in fuses are probably a better bet for off-road vehicles, where vibration is a constant connection hazard.

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Jump starting options

As the old TV commercial for blokes’ undies said: ‘One day you’re going to get caught, with your pants down’. The 4WD equivalent is jumping aboard for a day’s bush drive, to find that your starting battery is ‘dead.’

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Gross vehicle mass (GVM) increases

As 4WDs become heavier and the list of ‘essential’ equipment increases, many 4WD owners find that their vehicles are overweight. There is a way around this situation, but it mightn’t be cheap.

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Starlink bush internet service

Elon Musk’s low-earth-orbit satellite internet service is gradually expanding around the globe and now provides mobile, remote-area coverage, but there have been issues.

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Satellite Phone Communication

We bought our satellite phones years ago and wouldn’t leave home without one of them; a couple of vehicle breakdowns and medical emergencies during our travels in Australia’s Outback and our best satellite phone has more than paid for itself.

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Upgrading your cooling system fan

Many new 4WDs have electric cooling system fans, but nearly all older-generation 4WDs are fitted with thermal clutch cooling system fans. These are not everlasting items, so will need periodic maintenance or replacement.

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Ryco catch can award

RYCO Filters was recognised again as one of the Australia’s most innovative companies in the latest instalment of the Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) BOSS Magazine awards.

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Roof Racks

If the freight won’t fit inside it has to stay at home or go on top, but it’s vital you know how much is too much.

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25 Suspension Modifications

After bar work and roof racks the most common modification made to a 4WD is done underneath – to the suspension. We’ve separated different suspension types and listed the ideal changes needed for each type.

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Lifts need new upper control arms

Raising independent-suspension front ends is fraught with difficulty and often results in misaligned wheels and excessive suspension component wear. Replacement upper control arms promise to remedy that situation.

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We’re all living with corrugations

We’ve read many theories on why corrugations occur, but Outback Travel Australia’s conclusion is that nobody really knows. Also, corrugations occur on river beds and on coastal shores, on asphalt and concrete roads, on railway lines and in the atmosphere.

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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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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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Tyre Pressure Monitoring

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.

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