Fitting a catch can to a modern turbo diesel is extremely important. I wrote a post some time ago, covering this, and mentioning that I installed a catch can from HPD, or High Performance Diesel. You can read more about this here – Is a Catch Can important on a modern turbo diesel?
If you own a modern turbo diesel without a catch can, you’ll probably look back in the future and wish you’d fitted one. You can get a variety of different brands and models of catch can kits for $150 – $450 installed, and they play a hugely important role for your motor.
The only reason you’d not bother fitting one is if you are going to sell the vehicle after a couple of years. However, its still an attractive item for a lot of buyers due to the longevity improvements they provide.
Modern 4WD’s have a lot of electronics in them, and knowing exactly what is going on in a modern car cannot be done with just your eyes and ears. It requires specialised tools to do so, like an OBD2 Scanner.
Several years ago a mate of mine showed me some power figures that a member of a 4WD forum was getting out of his 1HD-FTE (100 series turbo diesel Land Cruiser engine) using a custom turbo setup, running in a Lexus 4WD. I was blown away, but didn’t pay too much attention at the time as I was still driving around in a Petrol Hilux which couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.
Did you know the roof on your 4WD has a weight limit? I’ve lost count of the number of badly overloaded roof’s that I’ve seen while travelling around WA.
Not only is it putting your vehicle and passengers at risk, it can void your insurance and cause serious problems in the event of an accident, or even be the cause of an accident in the first place.
Being able to carry sufficient water when you are travelling in a 4WD is imperative. As you’ll soon realise, water is not only used for drinking, but also for washing, cooking and in the engines cooling system if you have a problem. It’s always better to have more water on board than not enough!
You can do without food, fuel and even shelter for some time, but water isn’t something you want to mess around with. There’s a lot of options for carrying water in your 4WD, so have a squiz and pick the best choice for your situation.
4WD Insurance is something that people often overlook. Having the right insurance for your vehicle is vital, primarily because of financial implications if something does go wrong. As a minimum, everyone should have third party property insurance, as it could save you a lot of money. The risk is simply not worth taking.
It took a lot of thought to commit to selling our 80 Series Land Cruiser, and to move to another vehicle. I pondered for weeks, made multiple spreadsheets, looked online at every possible option I had, and then made the choice; we’d sell our Land Cruiser and buy an Isuzu Dmax.
A few months ago I didn’t even know that a diff drop was a reasonably common modification done to independent front suspension vehicles. I most certainly didn’t have it planned to go into the Dmax build, and yet somehow it ended up there.
When was the last time you got stuck? Have you ever had to use your recovery points? There’s a good chance you have (whether its to pull someone out, or get recovered!) at some stage. 4WD recoveries have gone pear shaped many times, and there are a number of things you can do to reduce the chance of something going wrong.
A part time kit converts a constant four wheel drive vehicle into a rear wheel drive vehicle with manual locking hubs at the front. In other words, while you drive on bitumen the vehicle is two (rear) wheel drive. When you need 4WD, you get out of the vehicle and lock the front hubs, and engage the centre diff lock (now the 4WD button).
A 4WD Recovery Kit is one of the most important things that you can have in your 4WD. The number of people that I have pulled out from a boggy beach who don’t have any recovery gear is scary.
A Snatch Strap is an essential piece of four wheel drive recovery equipment. They are used to recover stuck 4WD’s in mud, snow, sand or even rocky terrain. A Snatch Strap is designed to stretch (about 20% of the length of the strap), and as a result there is much less shock loading in a recovery.
Long range fuel tanks are aftermarket, high capacity fuel storage for your 4WD. In most cases, it involves removing one tank and replacing it with a larger one, but there are cases where it is a secondary tank installation.
If you go 4WDing but want to be confident that you can get out of a situation when you get stuck you should be well aware of the recovery items that are available. The more common recovery items include snatch straps and winches, but not everyone has the luxury of a good quality winch and a snatch strap requires the use of another vehicle.
Ever wondered why your eBay solar panel doesn’t produce anywhere near what it should do? Maybe you’ve been scammed like a heap of other people, by false advertising sellers on eBay.
I’m in the market for another 12V solar panel, for the top of our Dmax’s Canopy. I’ve bought a couple over the years, and each time I’m in awe of how much cheaper they’ve become. However, what I’ve discovered just recently, is a lot of 12V solar panels being sold on eBay are falsely advertised. If you want the best eBay solar panels, start with ones that are correctly advertised.
A good fire really makes camping. Nothing compares to sitting around the warmth and flickering light of a fire with friends and family at night.
In the months leading up to our 3 month Northern Territory trip, I knew I had to sort something out for getting firewood easily.
An upgraded exhaust is one of the more common modifications done to 4WD’s. Most four wheel drives are manufactured with exhausts that somewhat restrict airflow. By fitting a slightly larger sized exhaust the vehicle breathes better, thus potentially producing slightly more power and improving fuel economy.
If you are looking for a quality exhaust shop, Beaudesert Exhausts are a great place to start.
Diff lockers are nothing new. They have been around for many years, providing the ultimate increase in traction. The way the lockers work though, is continually being worked on. Today, I’d like to share with you a Harrop E Locker Review.
Since the government has added their fuel excess for LPG, I wouldn’t get another LPG vehicle again. The costs of LPG just don’t make it affordable anymore, and the hassle of having extra tanks, more servicing and compliance costs, reliability issues and struggling to find LPG especially out of towns just take away from what was once a good idea.
There are some obtuse reasons to run LPG, and a good kit will perform well, but I just don’t see the benefits anymore. That said, there can be some specific reasons to run it, and for some people it still works out. Not for us!
Kaymar are a very well known 4WD accessory manufacturer, and have a big following.
I’ve had 2 Kaymar Rear Bars now; one on my Hilux and now one on my 80 Series Land Cruiser. The bar came with the Hilux, but I purchased the rear bar and twin swing away tyre carriers for the Land Cruiser.
These days, 12V batteries are the heart of many camping setups. Whether you are using a dual battery system in the back of a 4WD, or you have batteries in your camper trailer, caravan or RV, they are used everywhere for running a heap of different appliances.
A good 12V system makes camping much more comfortable, but they aren’t cheap to setup and install.
I’m always on a mission to help people travel easier, cheaper and better, and one of my pet frustrations is seeing people damaging their 12V batteries through a lack of understanding.
Today, there are more 4WD accessories on the market than ever and the budgets for builds keeps going up. I like the idea of things evolving, but people are getting too carried away with modifications they don’t really need, and that’s not good. Where do you draw the line?
Before buying the Dmax, I sat down and made a spreadsheet covering the accessories and modifications that I wanted to put on the 4WD, as part of building it into a comfortable, reliable and mildly capable tourer.
A GVM upgrade was never on the cards, but I’ve ended up with one.
About 2 months before our big 3 month trip up north I was getting into the swing of building the Dmax, and was thinking about the weight of everything in it.
The Hilux is one of the most popular four wheel drive vehicles on the road today, and for good reason. When you still see 1985 hilux’s driving around you know that they have been well made! Regardless of what model Hilux you own, there can be a lack of clearance (even with the older ones that have a lot of it in their stock form). There are a number of ways in which you can gain more clearance, which I will go into below.
When looking at a lift kit its worth putting some time into researching what is going to suit you best – many people end up spending considerably more on their lift because they don’t look into it enough!
When it comes to solar power for your 4WD, Caravan or Camper trailer, the age old question is this; should you go with fixed panels, or portable ones? People will argue all day over which is better, and I’m here to settle it once and for all.
Fixed panels are attached to your vehicle or trailer in a way that makes them difficult to remove. Usually this means bolts, but sometimes they are riveted or siliconed in place too.
Solar technology has come in leaps and bounds, and there is some truly awesome gear on the market today.
If you haven’t already seen one, you can get solar blankets which fold out and act as solar panels. They are similar to a picnic blanket, although a fair bit heavier and with a cable you run to a regulator and then your batteries, to keep the power flowing in.
The 4WD accessory and modifications industry has never been bigger than it is today. You can get everything from lithium batteries and microwaves to hot water on demand systems, portal axles, 6WD conversions, chassis extensions and everything in between.
Whilst this is great in many ways, it creates a huge opportunity for people to make costly mistakes when it comes to modifying their 4WD, and lots of people lose track of what the essential 4WD modifications actually are.
An extended diff breather is a piece of hose that runs from your differential to a higher point on the vehicle (usually the engine bay). The hose is connected to the diff via a push fitting or hosetail and should have a filter on the other end. They are one of the first modifications you should do to a 4WD that is used off road.
There are hundreds of thousands of 4WD’s in Australia, and a significant portion of them are not legal in one way or another. Sometimes the reasons are minor and relatively harmless, and other times the risk passed onto the driver when on the road is substantial. A 4WD that isn’t legal can result in some hefty fines, liability and other truly nasty consequences if something goes wrong.
One of the first things that made itself onto the mod list for the new Dmax was underbody protection, or bash plates. The reason for this is simple; there are some very expensive, vulnerable and low to the ground bits of gear underneath the Dmax.
I never had anything fitted on the 80 series Land Cruiser, but that was a totally different beast.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know my new Dmax was fitted with a HPD catch can not long after getting it as a catch can is a sensible idea, and they were the most highly recommended by a huge number of workshops and individuals.
A few months later, I received a report from Curtin University showing how poorly the HPD catch can performed in a laboratory test when compared against other catch cans.
There is nothing more practical than a 4WD Ute with a good setup on the back. If you are looking at buying a Ute Canopy, this post covers every option you have along with the many pro’s and con’s of each setup and will leave you with a great understanding of the best option for you.
A Ute allows you a huge amount of flexibility, and there are a huge number of ways you can use the space.
Every now and again I see 4WD’s on the road, or in the bush that really make me wonder what the owner was thinking when they modified it. These days, there are thousands of different modifications you can do to your 4WD. The thing is though, how often have you stopped to consider the downsides?
If you do much night driving out of the city aftermarket driving lights are a pretty worth while accessory. The factory lighting on most 4WD’s is not nearly bright enough to give you time to safely stop if wildlife decides to cross in front of you, or to even make well timed decisions on a 4WD track.
Today, there are lots of different products on the market to make driving at night safer and more comfortable.
I’ve had my 80 Series Land Cruiser now for just over 6 months, and absolutely love it. My Hilux was great, but this thing has heaps more power, torque and comfort. With a big trip coming up, a reasonably fresh engine and a need for prevention, I decided to fit an EGT gauge.
LED technology has come a long way over the last 5 years. This, in turn, has made LED light bars substantially more affordable, even for the better quality units.
I ran a 600mm Narva LED Light bar on the 80 Series Land Cruiser, and it did a pretty good job, but was limited in distance and overall coverage. Every year that goes by lights for 4WD’s get better and better, and cheaper too.