Envious of your friends, you’ve got yourself a new 4WD Equipment vehicle that you are now proud of. It’s got big freakin tyres and chrome plating all over and a super powered engine ticking under the hood. It looks mean and feels powerful so you figure you are now ready to join the big boys in your first offroad adventure right? Not so fast. You need to walk around your all new 4WD vehicle; gawk at it some more if you like but you need to make sure it checks all the right tick boxes in the requirement list to take on the tough offroad terrain and get back in one piece. So let’s check her out.
Check box # 1 – Under carriage Skid Plates
Your new 4WD might look like it has ample ground clearance but trust us, at your first attempt to go over a rock the mid portion of your 4WD Accessories belly will scrape on the rock and leave some very ugly scars that you won’t like. Worse, if you take your vehicle over a single sharp stone that is jutting a vee bit higher off the ground, it can puncture your tank like it was made of paper. Make sure the bottom of your engine is covered as well. Check this box if you have skid plates including a gas tank skid plate installed.
Check box # 2 – Breakover, Approach and Departure Angles
These are an indicator of the angle your bad boy vehicle can take on without slamming its front bumper (approach angle while climbing) or it rare bumper (departure angle while reversing back) or scrapping your undercarriage as your vehicle crests a sharp rock or hill (breakover angle). You will need to study the terrain of your intended off-road trip to figure out how your vehicle will perform. Check this box if you think your vehicle will do well.
Check box # 3 – Axle Ratio
The ratio of pinion gear teeth to ring gear teeth in the differential is called the Axle ratio. A higher rear axle ratio (something like 3.8 to 4.4: 1) would mean that the ring gear has 3.8 to 4.4 times more teeth than the pinion gear which in turn translates to higher torque. This in turn makes it easier to cross over obstacles and steep slopes. Talk to an off-roading specialist mechanic if your vehicle is under powered in terms of torque output.
Check box # 4 – Off-roading tires (also known as mud terrain tires)
Think big tires with deep treads and tough sidewalls and made from toughened rubber compounds. 33 inch to 35 inch tires are recommended. Deflate your tires when you are ready to leave the tarred road.
Check box # 5 – Locking Differentials – you’re going to have to talk to your off-roading specialist mechanic for this one.
The ideal situation is when the tire(s) with the most grip get more power (rather than the other way round which is the factory set default). There are many options available to help reverse this default setting. Which option to select will depend on your vehicle which is why you need to talk to your off-roading specialist mechanic for this one?
The best off-road accessory shop is Bars-n-racks at 6 Chard Road, Brookvale NSW. You can call them on 02 9905 2422