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All Four x 4 Spares Blog

Our Blog provides All Four x 4 Spares with a channel to share information with their Customers and the 4wd Industry in general. Please check back on a regular basis as we explore a range of issues that are important to our industry.

 

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Protecting your 4x4

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Protecting your 4x4

 

Off-road driving, when done correctly, can prove to be a lot of fun for us lot! While it is all fun and games, all efforts must be made to protect our vehicles, which we call our pride and joy! Following are a few pieces of off-road gear which will help you properly safeguard your 4X4s for the harsh outdoors.

Front Bull Bars

P1Front bull bars have proven to provide enormous gains when it comes to frontal protection for your vehicle. These bars, when installed, give your vehicle a much more solid front end. In addition to providing protection, these bars also provide your vehicle with additional benefits:

Better Approach Angle: Since the lowest point of these metal bull bars is much higher than the factory bumpers, the approach angle of your vehicle is increased. This means, your vehicle will be able to take on higher gradients without digging into the terrain. Even if the bar does hit the terrain below, it will be rigid enough to take the impact without any real damage (depending on the speed at which it hits the ground below).

Winch Mounts: Various companies, like Ironman 4x4, offer bull bars which have inbuilt mounts for winches. Even if you currently don’t have a winch, you should opt for the installation of a winch compatible front metal bumper. This will ensure, that when you are ready to install a winch, you do not have to go through the hassle of replacing your front bar all over again.  

Other Accessories: These metal bars also give you a place to mount other accessories like driving lights, UHF antennas and brush bars.

Please note: If your vehicle comes with air bags, you must install an airbag compatible bull bar to maintain the roadworthiness of your vehicle.

Click on the following link to know more about the full range of bull bars offered by Ironman 4x4:

http://www.ironman4x4.com/product-categories/bullbars

 

 

 

Rock Sliders

P2Like the name suggests, these bad boys are installed along the sides of your vehicle and provide protection from any impact from the below and the sides mainly from rocks and boulders. These prove to be most beneficial when navigating tight tracks and you have to slide against a rock or a tree without the fear of damaging the sills. Instead of putting the weight of your vehicle on the body, these sliders take up the weight thus protecting your vehicle due to their rugged design and manufacture. Since they are fitted directly to the chassis of your vehicle, they are much stronger than the body of the vehicle. While providing a lot of protection, these sliders also double up as side steps for your vehicle, making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle.

Steel Rear Bars

P3Like the front metal bull bars, these rear bars also provide your vehicle with increased protection. These are functional, both, on-road and off-road. Along with providing your vehicle with strong rear end protection, these can also be used as mounts for various other accessories:

Spare Tyre Mounts: Depending on the kind of rear bar you have opted for, you are able to select different accessories that you may require on it. Spare tyre swing arms are designed keeping in mind the extra weight of larger diameter tyres. Kaymar for example offers rear bars for various vehicles with many optional extras!

Jerry Cans: If you are someone who likes travelling to remote regions of Australia (which are not difficult to find!), this option should be a major consideration. Having a rear metal bar, you will have the freedom to mount jerry cans to carry extra fuel or water when you are kilometres from any township.

Other Accessories: Various other accessories can also be mounted on these rear bars, like, rear facing reversing lights, high lift jacks etc.

Underbody Protection

P4Last, but not the least! Underbody protection is an almost necessary item on your to do list if you wish to head off the road. These metal sheets, normally with a thickness of 2-4mm, provide protection to the sensitive components of your vehicle. Things like transfer case, gearbox and radiators are almost completely exposed under your vehicle. Thus, it is extremely important to invest in a good quality bash plate to ensure longevity of your vehicle, especially in remote areas.

Click on the following link to know about the full range of underbody protection offered by Ironman 4x4:

http://www.ironman4x4.com/category-products/underbody-protection

To know about the latest offers and availability of the above items in store, click on the following link and let All Four x 4 Spares make your vehicle more capable and safer for your next off-road adventure:

http://www.allfourx4.com.au/epages/shop.sf/en_AU/?ObjectPath=/Shops/allfourx4/Categories/Accessories

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

Image Sources:

http://www.ironman4x4.com/products/bullbars/deluxe-commercial/pxii-ranger-deluxe-commercial-bull-bar

http://www.rocky-road.com/tacoma-rock-sliders.html

http://www.kaymar.com.au/vehicles/nissan/gallery_nissan_gu4_gallery.php

http://www.allfourx4.com.au/Ironman-4x4-Underbody-Protection-Kit-For-Suzuki-IUP011K

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Lift Comparisons

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Modifying your 4X4: Suspension Lift vs Body Lift

 

Installing a lift kit to your 4X4, is one of the most important modifications on the list. This has to be done very carefully, as installing the correct lift kit will ensure driver and passenger safety in long trips and general longevity of the vehicle. Before deciding on a lift kit, it is first crucial to understand the pros and cons of the two kinds of lift kits available in the market today.

Suspension Lift Kits:

IFCPThis kind of lift kits involves replacing the factory fitted shock absorbers and springs to upgraded ones which are available from aftermarket shops. The process involved in installing a suspension lift kit is fairly straight forward and can be done at home using correct equipment and technique. This is the lift kit you should be opting for, if you wish to enhance the performance of your vehicle while adding height to it. Using this lift kit, will enable you to carry a greater weight in your vehicle, enable you to have a higher ride height, enable you to run larger diameter tyres and greatly enhance off-road performance!

Pros

-          Better off-road performance: Since this procedure involves physically changing out the suspension components of your vehicle with better ones, the new product will give you a better ride over corrugations due to a higher absorption rate when compared to standard set ups. Also, due to the new suspensions being of a longer length, the articulation of the vehicle will greatly be enhanced, resulting in better off-road traction.
 

-          Better Heat Distribution: Since the upgraded shock absorber has a much larger bore and higher grade of technology used in it, the heat distribution is much more efficient. This will result in extremely rare overheating instances while driving over rough surfaces for long periods of time.
 

-          Stable Drive on the Road: Due to the stiff nature of the upgraded shock absorbers, the overall on-road ride will also be enhanced as your vehicle will sit more stable at high speeds and will not roll about as much around corners. (No, this does not give you permission to try and drift and lifted vehicle!)
 

-          Better Weight Carrying Abilities: The stiffness of the shock absorbers results in better and increased weight carrying abilities. Your vehicle will tend to behave in a more efficient fashion when fully loaded up and the suspension will not sag as much as the factory equipment will under full load.


Cons

-          High Cost: Due to the complete replacement of suspension components in this method, the cost is generally high. But when weighing in the benefits of this set up, it turns out to be a well thought out investment which needs to be made!
 

-          Actual Ground Clearance: It is a common misunderstanding that adding lift kits to your vehicle will increase the actual ground clearance. Your ground clearance is only as high as the lowest point on your vehicle. The lowest point in your vehicle is generally your differential housings which do not get lifted up by adding any kind of lift kit. Having said that, lifting up your vehicle, will enable you to install a larger diameter tyre, which will result in a higher ground clearance.

Body Lift Kits:

bodyliftThese are lift kits which only result in a higher ride height, enabling you to install larger diameter tyres. So if it is only installing bigger tyres you’re after, then this is your best bet. This method involved installing lift blocks between the body and the chassis of the vehicle. Normally, this would give you a height increase of 1 – 3 inches.

Pros

-          Lower Cost: Since this method does not require much material to be used, the cost is generally much lower as compared to a suspension lift kit.
 

-          Suspension Geometry: Given the fact that the factory suspension set up is not touched in this method, your vehicle will maintain its original geometry and no further wheel alignments or other adjustments will be required due to the lift kit.

Cons

-          Higher Centre of Gravity: Since your vehicle will now be higher when compared to original setting, like suspension lifts, it will have a higher centre of gravity. The problem arises here as the factory suspension set up is not designed to keep your vehicle stable at heights higher than factory recommendations. Your vehicle will still roll in corners, resulting in dangerous situations arising as you will be higher off the ground and it will be more difficult for the factory suspension set up to deal with this. (Mother nature always wins!)
 

-           No Real Performance Gains: Since the actual suspension set up does not even get touched in this method, your car’s off-road performance will remain same. You will get enhanced performance if you opt to fit in larger diameter tyres, but in terms of absorption rate and articulation, your vehicle will still be on factory standards.

-          Check local regulations for legality of items

Click on the following link to see availability of lift kits in store!

http://www.allfourx4.com.au/epages/shop.sf/en_AU/?ObjectPath=/Shops/allfourx4/Categories/Accessories

 

Stay tuned to learn more about off-road modifications to your vehicle!

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

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All Terrain v Muddies - Pro's and Cons

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Modifying your SUV: Tyre Upgrades

 

Modifying vehicles for off-road usage can be an expensive activity, and it must be done correctly! One of the first few things people tend to change on their 4WDs, are the tyres. An upgrade to a decent set of tyres gives your 4WD an immediate boost in off-road capability. Having tyres that are able to effectively put down the power of the vehicle to the terrain are definitely a good investment. Before doing so there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself in order to purchase the correct product. Due to the abundance in tyre types, companies and sizes available out there, it is important to know exactly what you are after and what will fetch you the most value for your money.

What kind of tyre upgrade should I opt for?

Most SUVs today come with a set of HT (Highway Terrain) tyres, which are useless as soon as you leave the tarmac. Therefore, the first questions to answer would be, whether you want to upgrade to an All – Terrain tyre or a Mud – Terrain Tyre.

All – Terrain Tyre

AT1An All – Terrain tyre is your best friend if your vehicle is being used as a daily drive, which turns into a weekend warrior every now and then, or, if you wish to have a good on-road and off-road balance. When compared to a Highway Terrain Tyre, an All – Terrain tyre has deeper treads, which allow it to dig into the terrain and pull you forward. An All – Terrain tyre is generally a mixture of 50% on-road and 50% off-road driving. Do keep in mind that various tyre manufacturers now offer different models of All – Terrain tyres, which vary on their ability to tackle off-road, and on-road terrains. Some tyres could be 20% off-road use and 80% on-road use, or even 40% off-road use and 60% on-road use, so make your decision wisely!

AT2Pros:

-          Good balance between on-road and off-road driving.

-          Better traction when off-road.

-          Better sidewall protection.

-          Better self-cleaning abilities of the tyre, resulting in better off-road traction.

Cons:

-          Marginally poor on-road performance when compared to Highway Terrain tyres, especially in wet conditions!

-          Comparatively noisier than Highway Terrain tyres.  

Mud – Terrain Tyre

MT1This is the tyre for when the going gets tough! This is one of the more aggressive tyres available in the market today. The tread pattern on these tyres is much deeper compared to All – Terrain tyres that results in much better traction when off-road. The deeper tread patterns also result in a much better self-cleaning ability of the tyre. Since the tyre cleans itself with every rotation, you almost never end up with a donut looking tyre in deep mud! This tyre is made of a much softer compound, when compared with All – Terrain and Highway Terrain tyres, which could result in a higher wear and tear rate. Like All- Terrain tyres, Mud Terrain tyres also come in various models, which can be differentiated by their ability to tackle on-road and off-road driving conditions. Some tyres have a split of 80% off-road and 20% on-road, where as others have a split of 100% off-road and 0% on-road driving. Make sure you choose the correct driving split to achieve maximum value for money.

MT2Pros:

-          Excellent off-road traction.

-          Excellent self-cleaning abilities of the tyre.

-          Much stronger sidewall, resulting in lesser punctures.

Cons:

-          Poor traction in on-road conditions, especially when wet.

-          Softer compound could lead to higher wear of the tyre when driven on tarmac.

-          Significantly noisy on the road.

What tyre size should I upgrade to?

The tyre size you opt for will be decided by what kind of driving you wish to do, what sort of vehicle you drive and what sort of suspension setting you are running. On standard suspension set ups, you will only be able to go one or two sizes up! Do keep in mind, the bigger tyre you run, the more stress you cause on your drive train and drive shafts, which results in a higher rate of wear and tear. In addition, a bigger tyre would definitely be heavier when compared to the standard size, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Keeping the above in mind, running a bigger tyre will give you an instant lift of 1-2 inches (or more) resulting in better ground clearance!

Stay tuned to know more about modifying your suspension set up!

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

Image Sources

https://www.bfgoodrich.com.au/products/all-terrain-t-a-ko-2.html

http://www.1010tires.com/Tires/Reviews/Cooper/DISCOVERER+A-T3

http://www.productreview.com.au/p/bfgoodrich-mud-terrain-t-a-km2.html

http://www.offroaders.com/tech/AT-MT-Tires/Cooper-Discoverer-stt.htm

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Pre-Trip Inspection Checks

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Pre – Flight Checks for your Vehicle

 

Heading out bush, driving through the outback or even hitting your local off-road trails is an exhilarating experience! In order to safely experience the vast outdoors, it is crucial to prepare and monitor your vehicle for obvious signs of wear and tear in an attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible. Following are a few things you can do to make sure your next adventure is safe and filled with tons of fun!

Checking your Battery - Age and Health

BatCar batteries play an integral role in your vehicle. From something as basic and easy as unlocking the doors of the vehicle in the morning to actually turning your vehicle’s engine in order to provide ignition. All vehicle electronics, including car stereo, driving lights etc. are also run by the battery. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to have a healthy battery before you start any trip, whether short or long. On a normal day, a fully charged battery should spit out around 12.6v – 12.7v of charge. This level of charge shows decent health of the battery. Anything lower than this would indicate an ageing or an unhealthy battery. Normally speaking, car batteries should be changed every two years, depending on your usage and load on the battery.

Spare Tyres

DefGoes without saying, at least one spare tyre for your vehicle is an absolute must. Depending on how remote you plan on traveling, this number could increase to two or even three spare tyres (if not more) in some cases. Having a flat tyre without any spares would grind you to a halt, completely stranded. While it is important to carry spare tyres, it is also essential to actually check the tyre pressure of these spares as well. No, it’s not fun to get a tyre punctured and reach out for your spare, only to realise that the spare is flat as well!  

Underbody Inspection

SprGet under your vehicle, and inspect it! Doing so will enable you to know of any oil leaks that may have developed over time and give you a chance to give attention to these oil leaks before they actually start damaging your vehicle components. Look for oil leaks from your front/rear differentials, gear box and engine oil sump. While you’re down there, also inspect all the moving components. This would include things like the drive shafts, propeller shafts and suspensions. Doing so will enable you to pick up on any obvious damage or signs of wear and tear that may require urgent attention.

Carrying Spares

By doing the above mentioned steps, you will get an estimated idea of what spares you may need to carry with you. Some components may not be bad enough to be replaced, but may need replacement in the coming future. This way, anything you find suspicious during vehicle inspections that does not need urgent attention, can be added to your spares list.

Toolbox and Recovery Equipment

ToolThis would be one of the most important things in your trunk. No matter how many spares you carry, or how much replaceable oil you have, it will be of no use unless you have decent toolbox with you. Carrying a good tool box will enable you to either change out complete parts if they break or even do small repairs if required.

It is also essential on carrying recovery equipment based on the kind of travelling you’re doing. If you’re headed off-road, then a complete recovery kit is almost necessary to be carried along!

Side note – Carry heaps of zip – ties, you’ll thank your good stars later!

Vehicle Service

Keep a note of when your vehicle was last serviced. It is recommended to service a diesel vehicle every 5,000kms and a petrol vehicle every 10,000kms. This number would fluctuate up or down depending on your usage and kind of driving you do. Having a well serviced vehicle will not only ensure good health of your engine but also give you better fuel economy (save you a few dollars!!).

Giving your vehicle a thorough look prior to your departure will enable your vehicle to be in good health while on your journey and also help you decide what to bring along and what to leave at home!

Now click those belts in and have a blast out there!

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

 

 

Image Sources

http://www.wisegeek.org/how-do-i-change-my-car-battery.htm

http://rijidijoffroad.bounce.com.au/

http://www.outbackcrossing.com.au/FourWheelDrive/4WD_Trip_Preparation.shtml

http://www.clarketooling.co.uk/tools/info_1801641A.html

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The Art of Sand Driving

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The Art of Sand Driving

 

Sand1Driving on sand is certainly one of the most exhilarating feelings one can achieve whilst behind the wheel. Gliding from one dune to the other while admiring a vast and empty scenery, oh what a feeling it is!  Given the adrenalin rush one gets from this experience, a lot of us fail understand the technicalities and basic fundamentals of driving on sand. Although a lot of fun, driving on sand could turn very ugly, very quickly! The danger of driving on sand when compared to other terrains is the speed factor. Since speeds are usually between 40-50kph, we need to be certain of what is coming next by being able to ‘read’ the sand. Here are a few pointers to make your next sand driving adventure, a much safer one!

High Range or Low Range?

The answer to this really depends on the power output of your vehicle, your driving style and the kind of sand you’re driving on. Normally speaking, locked high range will get you through most obstacles in the sand. But sometimes, when the going gets tough, or while recovering another vehicle, it is alright to shift into low range. Staying in low range throughout will increase the risk of throwing too much torque onto the wheels resulting in you getting bogged.

Tyre Pressures

Tyre pressures play key roles in this terrain. Deflating your tyres to about 50% of its recommended pressure will give you increased traction due to the increased surface area coming in contact with the sand. The best way to know if you have deflated enough is to let go of the accelerator while driving and if you come to a gradual and gliding stop, your tyre pressures are fine. If you come to an abrupt stop, you need to deflate further! (To know more about tyre pressures, visit http://www.allfourx4.com.au/epages/shop.sf/?ObjectPath=/Shops/allfourx4/Categories/Blog/The_Go-To_Guide_for_Tyre_Pressures)

Sand2No Abrupt Manoeuvres

Sand is a very soft surface for your vehicle to cope with. Keeping this in mind, avoid any abrupt manoeuvres. When starting off, don’t burry the gas pedal to the metal. This will end in your tyres spinning out of control, resulting in you being dug inside the sand instead of moving forward. Hitting the brakes too hard will dig your front tyres into the sand which will make it extremely difficult to start again. While driving on sand, it is also important to take note of your turning radius. It is always better to take wider turns in order to keep the tyres from digging themselves into the sand from one side of the vehicle. This could result in rollovers if due care is not given!

Sand3Straight up & Straight Down

Climbing that freakishly tall dune is on all our bucket lists as it comes with a lot of bragging rights! Doing so is absolutely fine, keeping in mind one rule of thumb, straight up and straight down! Obviously there will be instances where going straight up or coming straight down may not be possible, but where possible, stick to heading up straight. This will minimise the risk of getting bogged at dangerous sideways angles or worse, rollovers.

 

What do I do if I start to lose traction?

If at any time while driving on sand, you feel you are losing traction, STOP! Accelerating harder will only bog you down. The sooner you stop, the easier the recovery will be. Or if you stop soon enough, there might not even be a need for a recovery. If you feel you’re losing traction on level ground, you may need to deflate your tyres further. If you lose traction while going up a dune, stop and reverse back in a straight line and try again.

Never Go Alone

Sand4Off-road driving in general should never be attempted in a single vehicle. Always have at least two vehicles going off-road together. This will ensure the presence of at least one recovery vehicle if things were to go south.  This rule specially applies for sand driving because of the increased chances of getting bogged.

Sand Flags

Due to the nature of this terrain, it is impossible to see what is coming up the dune on the other side. Thus to avoid accidents, it is best to increase your visibility by installing bright sand flags. This way, if there is another person climbing the same dune from the other side, he/she will have a lot more time to react as you will be spotted earlier.

Recovery Equipment

Always carry your own recovery kit when you are off-road, whether it be in sand or any other terrain. If you are unable to find yourself a full recovery kit, at the bare minimum, you should have at least two shackles and a snatch strap.  This is important because if one vehicle gets stuck without any recovery gear on board, it will be virtually impossible for anyone else to pull you out.

 

Keeping the above in mind, and practicing good driving behaviour will ensure that your next visit to the beach or the desert is a memorable one! (In a good way, of course!)

Stay tuned for more off-road learning!

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

 

 

 

Image Sources

https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-5300696-stock-footage-professional-tourism-companies-driving-people-in-off-road-vehicles-across-sand-dunes-dubai-desert.html

https://practicalmotoring.com.au/car-advice/reader-help-what-tyre-pressures-should-i-run-for-my-toyota-lc200/

https://au.pinterest.com/pin/542472717593437049/

http://desertchallenge.org/portfolio-view/driving-in-sand-inexperienced-drivers/

 

 

 

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The ‘Go-To Guide’ for Tyre Pressures

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Given the importance of regulating tyre pressures, it is also important to understand when and how to reduce tyre pressures in order to get the most out of your off-road experience. Also, learning the importance of bead locks will take you a long way in a much safer fashion. Off-road driving is a vast field and can comprise of driving on various kinds of terrain. The correct tyre pressures are usually determined by the kind of terrain you are traversing on, the load in your vehicle and the size of your tyre.

 

Unpaved/Unsealed/Gravel Tracks

gravel_trackIn Australia, it is not uncommon to find yourself on dirt roads. Although today’s vehicles are well equipped to deal with this kind of surface without doing much, it is still advisable to reduce tyre pressures to increase ride comfort and reduce wear and tear of your vehicle. More importantly, it is critical to understand the lower levels of traction that these surfaces offer. Thus, by reducing the tyre pressures in your vehicle, not only are you increasing the life of your vehicle, you could also be saving your own life by gaining access to added traction. It is advisable to reduce your tyre pressures by 5-7psi depending on size of the tyre and the load that is being carried on the vehicle. Over – reducing tyre pressures can also end up in dangerous driving environments due to the increased risk of stones or other sharp objects cutting through the side wall of the tyres.

 

Sand/Beach Driving

sand_trackSand driving is where tyre pressures will make an immense difference. No matter how powerful your 4x4 is, or how well you can drive, sand driving comes down to one thing, and one thing only, tyre pressures! Since there is very little traction offered by this surface and there is always a risk of getting bogged, it is advisable to reduce tyre pressures by as much as 50%! The actual figure will be determined by the amount of load being carried on the vehicle and what kind of sand you’re driving on. Normally, the sand on the beach is much firmer as compared to the sand in the desert. Hence, beach driving can be pulled off by reducing a common 31’ tyre from 35psi to 20psi, but desert driving will demand lower tyre pressures of 14-16psi. To be on the safe side, it is best to stick to reducing your tyre pressures by 50% when it comes to sand of any kind. Reducing more than this will put you at risk of pulling the rubber off the rim, resulting in a flat tyre or worse, a torn tyre bead! A lot of times, depending on the nature of sand you’re driving on, you may have to go lower than the recommended tyre pressures. Anything below 10psi would require the usage of bead locks to make sure of the longevity of the tyre itself.

 

rock_track

Rock Driving

Driving over rocks can be one of the most challenging terrains to traverse, for yourself, as well as your vehicle. Rocks allow for a very small margin of error due to their hard built and unforgiving edges which could slice your brand new rubber up in seconds! It is important to understand the fine balance between traction and rigidity of your tyres. If you go too low on the pressures, you will, almost definitely end up with damaged tyres. On the other hand, if your tyre pressures are not low enough, you will not get enough traction, and that could lead to a whole new world of troubles! It is recommended to keep your tyre pressures anywhere from 22-28psi, again, keeping in mind the load and tyre size of your vehicle. If you plan to go full on rock crawling, investing in bead lock rims will go a long way! When you run low tyre pressures, the side walls collapse to a large extent, leaving your tyre bead exposed to being pulled off and the air from inside the tyre escaping rapidly, resulting in a flat tyre! To make sure that the tyre is not pulled off the rim even while running low pressures, bead locks can be used. This will give peace of mind to the user when they are running extremely low tyre pressures to suit the terrain they’re on!

pressure_gauge

 

Tyre pressures can be reduced using various equipment which are offered in the market today. Some are inexpensive and some cost a fortune. Do note that these pressure gauges could save you a lot of money by reducing your damage costs, so spending a little extra on these things will definitely be worth it! Ironman 4x4 offers a speedy tyre deflator called the ‘ISPEEDY’. It is simple to use and is mostly faster than other kinds of tyre deflators.

Next article on sand driving, stay tuned!

 

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Sources

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Australia_kangaroo_island_unsealed_road.jpg

https://terrylynnhughes2011.wordpress.com/

http://www.drivingline.com/articles/mastering-the-art-of-rock-crawling-beginners-course/

http://www.ironman4x4.com/products/tyre-accessories-tools/recovery-equipment/speedy-tyre-deflator

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Tyre Pressures - Airing down for Off Road use

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tyres2We all love to drive, we all love to go off-road, we all love to tour and we all love our cars! But many of us forget the importance of regulating our tyre pressures. It is crucial to regulate and maintain tyre pressures in our vehicle to increase the longevity of various vehicle components and most importantly, safety! Driving with over or under inflated tyres could result in serious damage to our vehicles and even deadly accidents. In order to grasp this phenomenon better, it is essential to first understand the need for letting out air from your tyres.

 



Added Traction

flat_tyre

tread_printYes, contrary to a lot of individuals believing otherwise, airing down your tyres will give you a lot of extra traction when compared to a fully inflated tyre in off-road and difficult driving situations! So how does this happen? Airing down your tyres increases the surface area which comes in contact with the tyre, resulting in added traction. Many might think that the increased surface area of the tyre is a result of a wider tyre mark when deflated (as shown in the picture to the left). This is a common misconception which many of us have fallen for. In fact, it is the lengthening of the tire foot print which results in a bigger surface area in contact with the ground below. Looking at the image on the right, it clearly shows that when any given tyre’s pressure is reduced from 100psi to 43psi, the surface of the tyre touching the ground increases from 8 inches to 13 inches.


 

Lesser Damage to Engine and Transmission Components

Since the vehicle will now have added traction when off-road, the engine and transmission will not have to rev at higher speeds to enable the vehicle to power through obstacles. This will result in lesser wear and tear of the engine and transmission components.



Better for the Tracks – ‘Tread Lightly’

This, in my opinion, is the most important reason to lower our tyre pressures. Our all-terrain and mud-terrain tyres are designed to bite into the terrain to pull the vehicle forward. When these tyres lose traction and dig up the terrain, it actually causes a lot of damage to the tracks, which would normally take a lot of years to repair itself naturally. When the tyre pressures are lower, the vehicle achieves access to added traction which would curtail free spinning of tyres. In the spirit of keeping our tracks open and accessible to everyone else, Tread Lightly!



Better Management of Unsprung Weight

unsprung_weightUnsprung weight of any vehicle refers to the weight of all the components which are not supported by the suspension. This includes components like the tyre itself, the wheel and axles, amongst other things. Adding up, the weight from these components is significant! By airing down, the tyre starts absorbing more bumps and corrugations on the road, turning into a suspension system for all the unsprung weight. This will put lesser strain on the suspension system and lesser vibrations travelling through the all the unsprung components of the vehicle, resulting in longevity of the vehicle in general.



Better Ride Quality

If nothing else motivates you to air down, this one will! In addition to all the above points, airing down also results in a more comfortable ride quality. Since airing down will result in the tyres also working as a suspension system in addition to the vehicle’s suspension system, the ride will be much smoother and way more comfortable!

It is important to note that airing down your tyre, if not done correctly, has its disadvantages as well! They could include damaging the bead, damaging the rubber or even damaging the wheel.

Stay tuned to learn about how to correctly deflate your tyres, what equipment to use and the advantages of using bead locks!

 



-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

 

 

Image Sources

-          https://shop.bfgoodrichtires.com/tire/bf-goodrich/all-terrain-t-a-ko2

-          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17Rq-T5_XRg

-          https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/variable-tire-inflation-pressure-log-trucks-bob-rutherford

-          http://mjsoomro.blogspot.sg/2015/05/sprung-and-unsprung-weightwhat-is-it.html

 

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The Witchcraft of Winching

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elect_winchAnyone with knowledge of, or experience in off-road driving will know the true purpose of a winch. Yes, these are magical machines which get you out of almost all problematic situations with just a push of a button, yes it’s that easy! Keeping in mind the added benefits a winch would bring to the capabilities of a vehicle, it is also important to understand the risks it poses to you and your vehicle if used incorrectly. The best way to understand the art of winching is to educate yourself on the various moving components of a winch to gain an understanding of how to make your winching experience more efficient and safe by using various other goodies that come along with it.


How does a winch work?

Using electric power from the battery, a series of gears turn the winch drum in two directions depending on user input. The winch cable is wrapped around this drum, which when turned, creates a pulling effect. There is a clutch on the side of the drum. When engaged, the gears are used to turn the winch drum and when disengaged the drum is free to move around. The best way to unwind the winch quickly, is to disengage the clutch, so you are able to pull out the winch cable with ease.

Gaining basic knowledge of winch operation is essential to understand the different techniques and equipment that are used in conjunction with a winch.


Synthetic Rope v Metal Rope

dampenerropesInitially when winches were introduced, they came with metal ropes. Although providing enormous levels of strength, they do have their drawbacks as well. Since it is metal, it weights a lot, which generally adds a lot of weight to the front end of the vehicle. Another drawback to using a metal rope would be the added risk factor from winch line breaks. If, for some reason, under load, the metal rope was to snap, it turns into an out of control missile which will cut anything in its path. Yes, there have been horror stories of individuals being beheaded because of an out of control metal winch cable. To avoid this, winch line dampeners can be used in an attempt to keep the winch rope at ground level if it snaps. To increase the safety factor and reduce weight, synthetic ropes were introduced. These provide equal or more strength when compared to metal ropes and hardly store any kinetic energy. This means that if a synthetic rope snaps, it will not fling out as vigorously as a metal rope. Having said that, it still almost essential to use winch dampeners along with synthetic ropes as well to ensure safety of users, bystanders and vehicles involved.

 

Snatch Block

snatch_blockThis equipment is a piece of marvel. Looking at it, it won’t make much sense to the city driver. But show this to an off-roader, and you will see excitement! A snatch block serves two major functions.

Doubling the pulling line: Doubling the line will ensure a stronger pull in terms of more pulling power due to the employment of the pulley system from the snatch block. The pulling line can also be tripled or even quadrupled depending on how many snatch blocks are used. Normally speaking, a single snatch block will give its user enough pulling power to get unstuck from most demanding situations. A simple rule follows a snatch block - lower pulling speed, higher pulling torque!

angle_pullAngled pulling: A lot of times, you find yourself on tracks which do not allow you to park your vehicle in that perfect position to pull your mate out. In situations like these, a snatch block will help you. Looking at the picture, it is evident how a snatch block plays an important role in angled pulling, no matter what the angle is.

Keeping in mind the benefits, again, it is necessary to use any recovery equipment with care and caution. Given the amount of pulling force going through a snatch block during a recovery, it is essential to properly anchor it. It can be properly anchored by using a tree trunk protector around the anchor point (in this case, a tree) and joining it to the snatch block using a shackle.


Other straps in your Winch Kit

Winch Extension Strap

extensionMany a times, in open off-road situations, the anchor point for your winch may be too far away and pulling your winch all the way to the anchor nut on the drum is not advisable. In such situations, it is best suited to use a winch extension trap. Like the name suggests, this strap has one primary function, which is to extend the winch cable if it is too short to reach the anchor point.

Tree Trunk Protector

Again, like the name suggests, this strap’s main use is to protect the tree you may winch off of. Since the winch rope is very thin, when under pressure, tends to damage the surface of the tree. Thus, to protect it, a tree trunk protector, which is wider, can be used to safely winch out and not damage the environment.


Ground Anchor

ground_anchorA lot of times, especially when touring around the outback or desert driving, you find yourself stuck and in desperate need of a winch anchor. This is a hard task due to the open expanse of the desert. To be absolutely self-sufficient, a lot of people tend to carry a ground anchor. This creates an anchor for your winch when you need it, where you need it! Carrying a full size ground anchor will obviously create storage issues. Various reputed companies like Ironman 4x4, sell foldable ground anchors which make life a lot easier while carrying them around in your SUV.



After theoretically and practically learning about the above components which can be used in conjunction with a winch, the exercise of winching becomes an art. You can be unique and creative with techniques, and trust me a lot of situations demand for creativity while winching.


Do stay tuned to learn more about anything off-road.


Have a question? Write to us!

 

-          Sujay Vasist, - All Four x 4 Spares Researcher & Content Writer

 

 

 

Image Sources:

http://www.outbackcrossing.com.au/FourWheelDrive/Synthetic-Winch-Rope_versus_Steel.shtml

http://www.ironman4x4.com/products

http://www.extremeterrain.com/using-wrangler-winch-explained.html

http://www.arb.com.au/products/recovery-equipment/straps-accessories/

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Range Rover L322 Buyer's Guide

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Range_Rover_L322_Buyer_Guide_1

 

The ‘Mark III’ Ranger Rover, known as the L322, was available between 2002 and 2012, going through many updates and changes as the years wore one. After the ‘Classic’ Range Rover redefined comfort, capability and styling for the 4X4, and inadvertently pioneered the ‘SUV’ as we know it today, the ball was somewhat dropped with the 2nd-generation P38a Range Rover. Since 2012, the L322 Range Rover was usurped by the L405, which built upon the success of the L322. BMW’s ownership of Jaguar Land Rover at the time meant Rover’s long-running V8 was finally put out to pasture after over fifty years of service.

 

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The early Range Rover L322 provides an impressive mix of capability, comfort and luxury for the price. Is it worth the risk?

 

We’ve been researching budget luxury 4WDs at the office a lot lately, and one that takes my fancy the most is an early Range Rover L322. So, I thought I would compile my research, and put it together as a Range Rover L322 Buyer’s Guide.

 

The L322 Range Rover was a massive step forward in terms of luxury, technology and refinement. The flipside of that though, is that it’s a very complex vehicle overall, which is wholly dependant on electronics working in unison with the mechanics. There’s much more to go wrong in this than most of its contemporaries.

 

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The interior is smart, clean and high quality. Plastics will be the first to show their age, around the seat and centre console.

 

Back in their heyday, early L322 Range Rovers were going for up to $160,000. Nowadays, they can be had for a song, between 10-20 thousand dollars. In terms of pure value for money, few vehicles come within a bull’s roar. Most live sheltered, easy lives, but are they a good idea to buy? We take a look at the L322 bargain bin: 2002-2006 models. BMW spent well over $1 billion in the development of the L322, and seeing as they can be had for $20,000 or less these days, does it make sense?

ENGINES

BMW oversaw a majority of the development of the L322 Range Rover initially, so lots of things under the skin were developed out of Bavaria.

Petrol-powered Range Rovers originally had BMW’s M62TUB44 under the bonnet: a 4.4 litre V8 that makes a very tidy 210kW @ 5,400rpm, and 440Nm @ 3,600. Sure, the Rangie isn’t light (2.5 tonnes), but the all-aluminium motor will push the big unit from stopped to 100km/h in 8.9 seconds. Fuel consumption sits around the 15-16 litres per hundred kilometres.

 

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The 4.4 litre V8 petrol engine makes plenty of power, and sounds pretty good when it’s doing it.

 

If you opt for diesel power, it’s BMW’s M57D30. It’s a three-litre, six-cylinder turbodiesel, making 130 kW at 4,000rpm and 390Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm. It’s mated up to a GM 5L40-E, five-speed automatic gearbox. Acceleration is much more sedate, 12.9 seconds to the 100km/h sprint, but fuel usage sits around 12 litres per hundred kays on average.

Both units run a troublesome five-speed automatic gearbox, Torsen centre diff and full-time 4WD. There’s a two-speed transfer case for off-road work, as well has a gamut of electronic aids.

SUSPENSION

Since the last of the Classic Range Rover, airbags had long replaced the coil springs for suspension. These have a love or hate relationship with Australia. They are loved for the smoothness of the ride afforded and ability to change ride height and ground clearance (even levelling loads and ball weights), but loathed for their overall complexity compared to a twisted up piece of steel. Bags can let go, and compressors get tired, something that owners just have to accept.

 

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all of that, but we reckon the L322 Range Rover does look pretty sharp…

 

KNOWN PROBLEMS

By far, the single biggest problem with the early L322 Range Rover is the gearbox. The petrol powered ZF 5HP24 gearbox would probably be regarded as being very problematic, if it wasn’t for the GM 5L40-E. It’s a transmission so bad, it’s pretty much viewed as a service item by owners. I’m not going to lie through my teeth and tell you I know exactly how an automatic gearbox works, but it’s safe to say that these gearboxes are happy to throw in the towel somewhere above the 100,000-kilometre mark. It’s not rated to the torque output of the engine, and simply wears out. The ZF gearbox behind the V8 model isn’t as bad, but is far from good.

Both gearboxes were sent out with a ‘sealed for life’ sticker on them. Problem being, that ‘life’ isn’t terribly long. The gearboxes are serviceable with filters and correct fluid, which should help the short lifespan.

 

 

 

 

Because of it’s nature, the air suspension can give problems: air bags can leak, and the compressors can expire slowly and noisily. Your other nemesis with a vehicle like this is the electrics. There can be lots of niggling little problems, which vary from cheap and easy to expensive experts to repair. Those handy enough with a multimeter and spare time should be able to mitigate most big ticket repairs. Our tip: check that water isn’t getting into the rear fuse box, which can cause no end of problems.

Another major problem is the front driveshaft on these units going out of alignment, because of no flex joint or uni joint. This was recalled by Land Rover, so the problem should be taken care of.

The interior on these cars is very impressive. Comfortable leather seats, acres of space, and awesome visibility. Older models can be let down by tarnished plastics, or damaged leather. But otherwise, it’s a genuinely nice place to spend time, ergonomically and aesthetically.

 

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New 2003 Land Rover Range Rover interior.

 

RANGE ROVER L322 BUYER’S GUIDE – WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Check that the air suspension runs through the different ride heights without issue, paying attention to any undue noises from the bags or compressor.
  • Just about everything in these is electrically controlled, so make sure it all works how it should. Budget time and money for anything that doesn’t.
  • Check for engine leaks, and the condition of coolant and oil. Radiator expansion tanks can let go, look for tell-tale white streaks of coolant.
  • Check the gearbox operates smoothly and shifts cleanly. If it doesn’t, it could indicate a big repair bill in the not-too-distant future. Ensure it has been serviced at some stage, as well.
  • Check that low range engages and drives, and Hill Descent Control works.
  • Rust isn’t generally a problem with these cars (aluminium panels), but look under the wheel arches and the rear tailgate.
  • In our books, the most important thing you can check is the service history. Look for a complete one, done by either Land Rover dealerships or specialists. Old Jimbo’s local garage probably won’t cut it, unfortunately; these vehicles need fairly specific knowledge and skills to remain properly maintained.
  • Pixel displays on the dashboard are notorious for letting go after a few years. DIYers can fix this for cheap, or expect to pay a fair bit of labour for somebody else.
  • M62 V8s can leak a lot of oil from a dodgy valve cover gasket, and the diesel engine might need a replacement turbo. Check if it’s making excessive noises. Otherwise, they seem to be pretty strong engines. If only the gearboxes were okay …

 

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Range Rover L322 Buyer’s Guide – Would you buy one?

 

THE GOOD

Immense comfort, space and refinement, especially for the money you’re spending. They still look quite sharp, and are great off-road.

THE BAD

Unless you’re willing to get your hands dirty, repair and maintenance costs can be high.

THE UGLY

Early model gearbox problems vary from temperamental to terrifying, and can quickly empty a bank account.

OUR VERDICT

It’s intoxicating amount of car for your money, but don’t be fooled into thinking it will be cheap. It’s a roll of the dice, with solid risks and rewards on offer.

 

 

 

Sourced from Pat Callinan's 4x4 Adventures

13/01/2017

https://mr4x4.com.au/range-rover-l322-buyers-guide/

 

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Ironman 4x4 Recovery Gear

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Recovery Equipment for your Off-Road Adventure

 

Going off the road is always a fun activity and is usually done as a family outing for the most of us. To ensure safety of everyone involved, we need to understand the importance of using correct and rated equipment as our recovery gear. Using wrong or sub optimal quality equipment will only make life harder while out on the tracks and could end up in someone getting hurt as well!



Snatch Strap v Tow Strap


iSnatchLet us first discuss the biggest confusion among all the recovery items in the back of your rig. This is the age old question of using a snatch strap as opposed to a tow strap. A tow strap/rope is not something that should come under sudden and direct directional forces and thus should not be the preferred weapon of choice while snatching out a bogged vehicle. A tow strap is not able to stretch out more than its length to create a bungee effect which results in it not being able to hold any kinetic energy. This inability usually results in over exertion of other components involved in the recovery, like shackles, recovery points and in some cases even the chassis beams of both the vehicles involved.

To try and avoid damage and help in an efficient recovery, one must use a snatch strap/rope. This strap works like a bungee rope. When one vehicle pulls away in momentum to recover the bogged vehicle, upon reaching its length, the strap will then extend whilst holding kinetic energy and once the maximum length has been reached, it will transfer this energy into contracting itself back to its original length. This will result in the bogged vehicle being pulled out with tremendous forces in a calm and controlled manner.

There are various such products out in the market today, belonging to a huge price range. It is always beneficial to use proven and tested companies when it comes to such equipment. Paying a little bit more will always be worth it, as this is something that may just save your vehicle someday. Snatch straps usually come in different categories. Ironman produces top quality snatch straps which cater to either an 8,000kgs or 11,000kgs pull limits.



Shackles


iBowThese are the most important items in your recovery kit, unfortunately these are also the most common thing to be forgotten at home when you go off the road. Because of their small size, it is sometimes difficult to catch them lying around resulting in you leaving them outside your vehicle when you drive off. I usually keep 4 or 5 spare shackles in the car, but that’s just me. Shackles are the piece of equipment which help attach the snatch straps, tow straps and winch cables to your vehicle. No matter, how good your straps or winches are, unless you have a strong and rated shackle, it is all waste. This connection is the most vital link for your recovery. There have been stories about unrated shackles breaking and turning into uncontrollable missiles when under tension. Again, as any other recovery equipment, it is mostly worth the extra money to buy something which is rated and tested. Ironman sells bow shackles which are capped at a massive 4.75T weight limit.

The above two items must always be carried in your car when you’re going off the beaten track. It may come in handy to recover yourself by using another vehicle or may even save someone else’s vehicle who has conveniently forgotten to bring their own. Never leave anyone behind yea?



Treds


iTredAs advertised by Ironman, ‘Total Traction by Treds’, the equipment gives you the liberty of having yourself a road made under your tyres on demand, when the things get too rough. In the olden days, most of us had to make do with planks of wood under the tyres to try and gain some traction out of tricky bog holes or even sand. But today, Treds can offer brilliant levels of traction by using technology that has revolutionised recoveries in the four wheel drive world. The key thing to look out for on Treds are the ‘teeth’ on the face of the equipment. This is what helps the tyre gain traction as the tread of the tyres bites onto these ‘teeth’ to move forward. Various smaller brands have tendencies to produce and distribute sub quality products on which the ‘teeth’ are either bent out of shape or broken within a few recoveries.



Recovery Kits


ireckWhen it comes to equipping yourself with a complete recovery kit, it is normally easier on the back pocket in the long run, to buy everything as a kit as opposed to buying all the equipment separately. Ironman sells complete recovery kits which include all the required equipment that you may need. Dependent on your requirements, you may choose from a small or large recovery kit, both offered by Ironman.

 

 



Winches

 

iwinch

 

 

These are the overlords of recovery equipment. A winch can get you out of situations that you may feel impossible to get out of, provided you use the winch correctly. Winches normally come in various pulling strengths, ranging from 2,000 Lbs, all the way to 12,000 Lbs. Ironman boasts its winch line up with 12,000 Lbs and 9,500 Lbs monster winches. The one key thing to understand with winches of any brand, is that they are as powerful as the brain of the user. There are various ways and techniques to operate these machines in conjunction with heaps of gear that you may want to use along with it. Usually installed in the front of the vehicle, the winches pull the vehicle out of any situation, up most hills and when correctly used with snatch blocks, they can even pull out bigger rigs without any trouble.

Stay tuned for more information on winches with synthetic ropes and other accessories.

-          Sujay Vasist

 

Image Source

http://www.ironman4x4.com/products

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