The Hilux Vigo is a pretty tough vehicle in standard trim, but you quickly find its limits when you hit a few trails. The approach angle isn’t all it could be, and my 2010 version of the breed had a chromed loop up front that reduced the effective forward clearance; on more than one occasion I scraped it on steep dips. The sides of the plastic bumper also received their share of scratches from my over-enthusiastic attempts at deep ruts.
So, I had been eyeing the bull bar offerings for some time, and when a scratch-and-dent item came up from Ironman 4×4, I jumped at the chance to fit a proper crash-tested and airbag compliant item from a known brand – taking at first-hand the advice given in our own Buyer’s Guide feature in the June issue.
The Ironman 4×4 Commercial Deluxe Bull Bar for the Vigo is a pretty hefty steel item, priced at R16 495. It features internal reinforcing in all the right places to ensure rigidity, and two tower profiles run through, with 50mm round tube to protect the headlights and deflect bashes and scrapes. As per current engineering practice at this level, it is designed using 3D scanning technology and modelled in CAD before the components are laser-cut, welded and given a thick, glossy powder-coated finish. And it really is a quality piece of kit from every angle. I was also pleased to note the two polyurethane bump stops extending over the towers and the front face of the bull bar. The Aussies call these overriders – sure to save my garage door and prevent excessive damage to other parties in any low-speed shunt.
The design includes mounting brackets with a built-in “crumple” zone (essentially a curved and drilled steel section) to ensure deflection in sideimpacts and some ‘give’ in forward-impacts, saving the chassis in these cases. It also features niceties such as a plastic fog light pod with built-in LED park/indicator lights and full bolt-on protection underneath the main bumper, protecting the radiator and side panels. It is also winch compatible, with the winch-mounting a key part of the bull bar’s support system. This perfectly suited my needs as I wanted to put the DC-6T winch (sold locally by RTS) through its paces.
Made in China like so many others, this good winch with decent components at a bargain-basement price is badged as ‘Titan’ in the US market and as ‘Tiger’ in Australia. If a selection of internet reviews is to be believed, its internals are as good as, if not better than, some big-name brands, boasting bearings where other use bushes, and steel where others use plastic. It’s rated at a line pull a fraction under 6 tons (plenty in this application), yet is nicely compact. From the exterior hammered-finish, to the quality of the fitment bolts and the standard bolt fitment pattern, there is nothing to fault. Importantly, it is supplied with a safety-conscious and lightweight polyethylene line (Dyneema), which runs through an equally lightweight alloy fairlead (as opposed to a heavier metal roller fairlead). This keeps the overall weight to just 27kg; a key aspect in preventing overloading of the Hilux front coil springs.
The winch specs are good (see side panel), and although I had a slight niggle at the clutch control being a uni-directional knurled plastic knob instead of the typical cranked arm, in practice, it works well. It’s fitted into the bumper so that there is not much hand space or visibility, and the knob simply turns a quarter anticlockwise to free the spool, and another quarter to lock up, and so on… Easy.
The full fitment process documented here took approximately three hours at Johann Viljoen’s 1St Alignment Centre in Brackenfell, Cape, where the team of Nyasha Watyoka (mainly mechanical) and his brother Peter (electrical) rapidly completed the work.
The result? A neat and tidy installation with the winch tucked away out of sight and a brand-new bull bar – with all the right safety credentials – giving the Hilux a whole lot more capability. As they say, I’m stoked.
RTS DV-6T Winch Specs
Motor: 5.2kW (7.2HP) series wound
Gearing: 218:1 (three-stage planetary gear)
Line pull rating: 13 000lb (5890kg)
Remote: Wired and wireless (3.7m lead)
Line: 10mm x 26m synthetic
Waterproofing: IP67 rating on motor, gearbox & solenoid
Dimensions: 508 x 156 x 190mm
Tel: 086 100 2525
Commercial Deluxe Bull Bar
- Airbag tested and certified
- Driving light and aerial mount
- 50mm steel triple loop design
- Tough polyurethane overriders
- Winch compatible
- Plastic fog-light pod including LED parker/indicator lights
- Designed in Australia – made in Thailand from highest quality SPHC grade steel
- Powder coated with AKZO Nobel powder for a thick, durable finish
- Includes bash plate and underbody protection
- Uses Grade 10.9 bolts for fitment – zinc-plated
- Use only with chassis- mounted recovery points
Price: R16 495 (excluding fitment)
With Thanks to:
Johann Viljoen of 1st Alignment Centre
021 948 2006 | www.1stoutdoor4x4.co.za