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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 230 HTX2 ‘hybrid’ driving lights

Lightforce 230 HTX2 ‘hybrid’ driving lights

With its top-shelf HTX range Lightforce pioneered high-performance hybrid driving lights that combined HID distance globes with spread-beam LED globes. The original 230 HTX driving light was replaced in late 2019 by the HTX2 model.

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GENERAL MODS

A six-wheeler can solve the GVM issue

A six-wheeler can solve the GVM issue

Adding a third axle to a 4WD ute can increase its gross vehicle mass to 4495kg – car driver’s licence limit – or higher in some cases. The additional axle carries some of the additional weight and, being braked, increases stopping power.

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COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION

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

Safeguard cargo nets

Safeguard cargo nets

Safeguard Cargo Net was Australia’s first load rated cargo restraint net and is used by governments, resource and utility companies, tradespeople and 4WDers.

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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

Kumho MT71 M/T tyre range

Kumho MT71 M/T tyre range

Kumho Tyre Australia has announced the launch of a new mud terrain tyre for the 4WD Ute and SUV market. The new MT71 replaces the previous two Kumho M/T tyres: the KL71 and the MT51.

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Ufixit Tyre Ratchet

Ufixit Tyre Ratchet

The Ufixit mob is best know for their excellent windscreen repair kit that we wouldn’t leave home without. However, another Ufixit product is a wheel nut spanner that takes the effort and risk out of loosening wheel nuts.

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