There’s hundreds of different 4WD accessories and modifications on the market today, and the reality is that you don’t actually need many of them at all. We’ve always been firm believers in modifying your vehicle to suit its intended purpose, and in this post we cover a huge number of accessories, how they’ve performed and whether they are worth getting.
Before you fit anything to your 4WD, have a good think about the warranty side of things. Aftermarket accessories create an interesting grey area with warranties, but don’t allow yourself to be pushed around by dealers who don’t understand the law.
Under the Bonnet
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Automatic Transmissions are amazing, but if they get hot (which happens very easily) you can be up for some serious repair bills. We fitted an aftermarket transmission cooler some time ago after finding the temperatures running hot, without even towing anything too heavy. If you want long life out of your transmission, check this out.
If you are in the market for a new 4WD snorkel, Safari is a brand you’ll most certainly stumble across. We’ve had a couple of their snorkels on our 4WD’s over the years, and today its time to do a review.
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.
If you aren’t sure whether its worth fitting a stainless steel snorkel, and what some of the pro’s and con’s are, this post covers everything you need to know. Stainless snorkels look neat, but can be seriously expensive, and can also easily allow water into your airbox.
A good set of 4WD drawers will make camping, travelling and even general 4WDing so much more comfortable and enjoyable. Get it wrong though, and you’ll have a big paperweight and be unhappy with it. So, what should you look at before getting Drawers for your 4WD?
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.
Nothing beats a good drawer system in the back of a 4WD. However, use the wrong material, or the wrong thickness and it might become the bane of your life. Check this post out to look into the different materials, and what you should be using.
Wanting a fridge slide for your 4WD, but not sure where to start? In this post we look at all of the options for fridge slides, and what you should consider before laying your hard earned down. Teaser alert; weight, price and efficiency are some of the bigger items.
After running a Bushman Upright Fridge for nearly a year, we’ve done a full review. Spoiler alert; its an awesome fridge with one big shortfall.
We’ve always run Redarc Brake Controllers, but haven’t ever done a review on them. Want to know why they are the most commonly sold and used in Australia, and why they are good?
Wondering how to set your Ute up for storage that is easy, functional and simple? In this post we check out what you need to think about, and give you a number of recommendations for building a canopy that does what you need it to.
If you haven’t got a first aid kit in your 4WD, you should get one, and keep it in an easily accessible place. With everything that goes into a 4WD, having access to a comprehensive first aid kit is not something you should be skimping on!
There was a time not too many years ago where your choices for a Bull Bar on your 4WD were limited to a handful of companies. Today though, there are a huge number of 4WD Bull Bar manufacturers around, and your choices are much greater. The thing is though, Bull Bars are not all the same, and there are a lot of things you really should consider before committing to one.
Buying roof racks for your 4WD is not something that should be done without some prior thought. There’s so many pitfalls that you can get caught up with, and buying a roof rack that is going to suit how you want to use it is the key! Find out everything you need to know here.
4WD’s in Australia have been fitted with Bull Bars for years. Not only the ones that never leave the bitumen roads of the city, but those that head bush exploring this amazing country. The thing is though, have you ever really stopped to think about what they do, and whether they are actually necessary?
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.
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.
Driveline and suspension
After running Old Man Emu Suspension in our 80 Series, and now the Dmax for about 50,000km, its time to do a comprehensive review. Is it any good, or have we binned it?
If you want to hugely increase your vehicles capability, fit a locker. The thing is though, is it better to fit a front locker, or a rear locker? If you want to know the detail, this post covers it all
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.
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).
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.
Wanting to install a diff locker, but not sure what type to get, or where from? In this post, we cover the different types of differential lockers, what you should look for and who you can get them from.
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!
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.
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.
We ended up with a tail shaft spacer in our Isuzu Dmax, despite never planning on having one. There are times where you really should get one, and for us, it happened after fitting a lift kit.
We finally bit the bullet and purchased a rear mounted Darche Eclipse Awning, after spending hours and hours weighing up different options. This was the only 1.5 metre 180 degree awning we could find, and we’ll soon know if its any good.
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.
Bolting a roof top tent for a 4WD is not something new. People have been doing it for years, and when you see thousands of 4WD’s in Australia with roof top tents on, you know they’ve got to have some merit. However, like anything, they aren’t perfect and there are lots of downsides to roof top tents too.
Does it suit your style of travel? Is your vehicle suitable for a roof top tent? What’s a good roof top tent? How do you mount a roof top tent? Read on below and you’ll soon find out!
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.
We’ve been using our second hand Bull Motor Bodies Canopy for nearly 5 years now, and have been pretty pleased with it. Not only was it cheap, but its bulletproof, light weight, modular and extremely cleverly made. Want to know more? Have a look at our review
Nothing beats a quick setup shower and toilet tent that folds out for you to have a warm shower or do your business in! We’ve been running the Quick Pitch unit for a number of years on our camper trailer, and have finally done a review.
Nothing beats being able to turn a tap on your 4WD and have running water. Whether its for dishes, for drinking or just to wash your hands running water is quite possibly the best 4WD modification you can do.
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.
Ute’s are pretty amazing vehicles for multiple purpose functionality. They can be used in a heap of different ways, and we are lucky to have a vast array of aftermarket accessories like Underbody Tool Boxes. These can be a great way to get extra storage space for different items, whilst making access easy and utilising dead space.
The most common location for these is behind the rear wheels, but you can get them in front of the rear wheels as well, depending on your Utes configuration and the space available. There’s a heap of different types, shapes and functions that these can perform, and they are very popular today because of it.
If you are wanting a comprehensive, unbiased review on the ARB Frontier Long Range Fuel Tank, you’ll find it here. I finally caved and bought one about a year ago now, and we’ve given it a hammering. I didn’t expect to be so excited by it, but its made life so much easier on so many levels.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Wondering what length tray you are legally allowed to run on your 4WD? Here’s a post that covers everything you need to know. Spoiler alert; keep it as short as you possibly can!
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.
If you are chasing a more budget but good quality 4WD winch, Runva is a name that will come up regularly. These are Chinese imports, but have been on the ‘good quality’ end of the market now for many years, and a lot of people still recommend them over the higher (and sometimes much higher) priced units.
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.
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.
If your 4WD is set up for travelling, there’s a pretty good chance you can’t see out the back windows very well. That is of course, assuming you have windows at all; our Dmax has a solid Ute Canopy on the back and you can’t see a thing past the second row of seats.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once you go to a permanent panel on your 4WD, you’ll never go back. No messing around with portable panels or blankets, no worrying about battery voltages and no worrying about moving extra gear around. A good permanent panel should be a fit and forget arrangement, and ours has been amazing for nearly 5 years. Want to know how to do it? Find out here.
We’d never considered getting a 12V Upright fridge, but after a bit more investigation they have a huge number of benefits we’d never thought about. We’ve gone with an 85L Bushman Upright, and have written an in depth comparison between Uprights and traditional fridges here.
Enerdrive gear is popular in a lot of different 4WD setups, and for good reason. It’s quality gear, and we’ve been running our Enerdrive DC2DC for a number of years now. There’s a lot of things to love about this DCDC that other brands don’t have, and I’d happily get another one.
It’s finally time to upgrade our Dmax electrical system to a DIY lithium battery system, running 230aH. We’re also getting a new DCDC charger by Renogy, a shunt, inverter and battery monitor. We’re super excited.
We’ve run a Bushranger Compressor for nearly 10 years now, and its been a seriously good bit of kit. On top of this, two good mates ran a different type, and my Dad has owned the cheapest Bushranger one for more than 10 years. In this post, we check out how good they are, and what problems we’ve had.