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4WD MODIFICATIONS – GENERAL MODS

Modifications you might not have thought about: diff breathers, replacement seats, civilising the ute.

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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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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Typical service bodies

Typical service bodies

The Service Body business has grown from backyard fit-outs to professionally engineered, purpose-designed units that suit all popular cab/chassis and light truck vocations. Here is a representative sample of service body types.

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Suzuki Grand Vitara project

Suzuki Grand Vitara project

The Suzuki Grand Vitara is by far the most capable SUV on the market. It has useful 1.97:1 low range gearing and is robustly built. However, like most 4WDs it can benefit from additional ground clearance and some under-body protection.

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FASP replacement seats

FASP replacement seats

Modern 4WD seats are better than they used to be, but some still leave much to be desired – particularly those fitted to working-class utes and wagons.

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Insuring your accessories

Insuring your accessories

It’s all very well loading your vehicle up with accessories, but it’s not so easy getting their value correctly assessed and insured. One company we found stands out from the crowd.

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Gross vehicle mass (GVM) increases

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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4WD Modification Legalities

4WD Modification Legalities

In early 2006 a draft National Code of Practice (NCOP) for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification was released. Since then, there have been several updates, but while no State or Territory has adopted the NCOP, some States have adopted parts of it.

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Protecting your ute tub or tray

Protecting your ute tub or tray

Nothing on a 4WD ute looks worse than a dented, scarred and rusty ute tub or tray. It doesn’t have to be like that. At OTA we’ve owned several utes over many years and we’ve evaluated three methods of protecting the metal and paint from damage. All have their advantages and disadvantages.

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Keeping the dust out

Keeping the dust out

Dust. It looks great in the trip photo album or video, but it’s a gritty nuisance when it gets into your last kilogram of flour.

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Modifying electronically-equipped 4WDs

Modifying electronically-equipped 4WDs

Modifying a recent-model 4WD isn’t the simple operation it was with previous-generation vehicles. Electronics confer greater safety and efficiency, but changes to standard specifications can upset electronics’ programming and behaviour.

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Al’s Project 75 Series

Al’s Project 75 Series

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.

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Ute Modifications

Ute Modifications

As today’s 4WD wagons become larger, heavier and ‘softer’ the 4WD ute has great appeal to many off-roaders. However, a ute – even one of the up-market ones – needs the personal touch to fit in with work and bush travel plans

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