4WD Accessories – What do you Need? (Part 2)

1398605_666243130062826_517425168_oThis week will focus on some optional accessories suggested by Outback Crossing that will help turn your 4WD into a viable and independent proposition for tackling Australia’s nastiest terrain. See some of their recommended optional accessories below:

Power or Electric Winches (optional)
A power winch mounted to the front of a heavy bullbar certainly looks the part but is it really an absolutely essential piece of 4WD kit? We don’t believe so. We wouldn’t consider going into serious off road terrain without a hi-lift jack while the addition of a power winch really only adds push button convenience and labour saving efficiency. Consider any given situation that requires some sort of vehicle recovery and you would be hard pressed to imagine an electric winch saving the day where a hi-lift jack couldn’t. On the other hand a winch won’t jack and raise a vehicle (without some fantastic pulley arrangement) and it won’t serve the multitude of functions capable of a quality hi-lift jack

An electric winch relies on powerful electrical current to operate and has the added complication of both a mechanical system and an electrical one in its componentry while a hi-lift jack relies solely on a simple gearing system.

Power winches are fantastic devices. They are fast, convenient and easy to use and make an eye-catching accessory. However, if budget considerations are a real factor then we would opt for a suspension lift over an electric winch. A suspension lift will eliminate many problem situations requiring an electric winch to be called into service. Combined with a good jack and a willingness to put in a bit of effort then most things can be accomplished with these two items alone.

Driving Lights (optional)
Driving lights play a vital role in reducing fatigue during night driving and reduce the danger of hitting roadside animals by highlighting them long before your approach. How many people really have a use for them though? Many caravanners pull up stumps at 9am, wander through a couple of towns or tourist stops during the day and have settled in somewhere new by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. They rarely find the occasion to turn on their high beam, never mind a powerful and expensive set of driving lights.

Drivers who find themselves breaking camp early (pre-dawn) or covering distance at night will certainly appreciate the immediate impact generated by the longer, wider beam thrown from good driving lights and could consider them essential accessories.

For those unlikely to drive at night spotlights can be just one more expensive, frontline accessory on the vehicle at risk of damage.

Diff Locks (optional)
Differential locks are great. There is nothing better than pushing a button or two and clawing your way out of a snotty predicament. Standard 4WD diffs aren’t a magical panacea and they come with a couple of inherent shortfalls. Diffs, including limited slip differentials are designed with self-preservation in mind. Rather than have all 4 wheels rotate at the same speed some ‘slippage’ is required to allow individual wheels to turn at differing speeds. If you attempted to make a turn without this feature then tyres would bind and driveline components stressed to breaking point. Consequently this diff ‘slippage’ means that the wheels with the least resistance (ie: the least traction) get the most engine power. Not a perfect situation off-road where you want the tyres with the most grip to drive the 4WD out.

Diff locking systems, as standard equipment, are creeping into more new 4WD’s but for those without them, an aftermarket diff lock, that drives all four wheels at the same rate, can be an attractive proposition.

Diff locks are expensive. They constitute a fairly large mechanical upgrade to the differential centres and wiring and/or compressor systems need installing or modifying. They are a fantastic upgrade and they will drive out of situations many regular equipped 4WD’s struggle with. For push button convenience that immediately and dramatically increases traction nothing beats them.

However there are few situations where a little effort and ingenuity can’t recover a vehicle in trouble.

Don’t forget that your tyres are the only part of the 4WD making contact with the track and are therefore a critical accessory affecting your performance. If you need some new boots before hitting the tracks click here to see our entire range or call our team of specialists on 1300 MICKEY.

SOURCE: outbackcrossing.com.au
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