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Browsing: Shop talk

Whether or not you have obvious damage like a puncture, it is always important to inspect your tyre after every 4×4 trip to check for cuts, chipping and sidewall damage. Heat damage: Driving for extended periods at low pressures, such as on a long dune trip through Namibia, will cause a surprising level of heat build-up along the sidewalls of the tyre. Heat is created because the rubber, canvas and wire elements in the tyre flex and potentially delaminate. The risk here is that severe tyre damage may not be visible, as strands of tyre break within the tyre. Look…

Rotation will prolong tyre life and help maintain balanced handling and braking. This is particularly important when using all-terrain or mud-terrain tyres whose bigger-block pattern is subject to added heel and toe wear when used on tar. What is the correct tyre rotation pattern for a 4WD vehicle? I often find my customers only do their rotations when servicing their vehicles. This is not enough. On a four-wheel drive subject to many additional stresses, and varying loads, more frequent rotation is better – not every 10 000 to 15 000km, rather every 5000-6000km. Every tyre carries a different weight and front tyres…

What happens when you upsize your tyres? Johann ‘Tyres’ Viljoen tells you what to expect. Changing the diameter of a vehicle’s tyres can dramatically affect the performance of the vehicle − from acceleration, to braking, to fuel economy. By changing to a larger diameter tyre, a 4×4 vehicle can reduce its fuel consumption by as much as 15%. However it also impacts on the engine’s torque curve as well as the vehicle’s weight, aerodynamics, suspension and gearing. A more aggressive tread also has an influence. A larger diameter tyre covers more ground per revolution so overall gearing is reduced, causing…

Johann ‘Tyres’ Viljoen tells us about tyre width vs tyre profile, and how to achieve an optimum tread footprint off-road When fitting an off-road tyre, it’s important to remember that fitting a wide tyre with a low profile on large rims will not benefit your vehicle off road. It’s much better to have a tyre with a tall profile on smaller rims with a narrower width section. Narrow and tall tyres allow you to deflate more in off-road situations like sand or mud, which lengthens your footprint to improve braking, traction and stability. Very wide, low-profile tyres are easier to…

1. Ignore your tyre pressures Tyre pressures are the most critical thing you can control when 4×4’ing. There’s a very good chance that the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are recovering are incorrect, so check the pressure and adjust. In sand especially, this is the easiest way to make a recovery simple, safe and quick. Don’t be afraid to let your tyres down a bit more if needed; it makes a huge difference. 2. Use the tow bar ball NEVER use a tow ball to snatch or winch a vehicle. It can create a heavy piece of metal flying…

Getting stuck; it’s as much a part of 4x4ing as a good braai and a camp fire. At some point, no matter how big your tyres, how expensive your bull bar, or even how many skull stickers you have to your Jeep’s door, you’re going to fluff a line on an obstacle, lose traction and get thoroughly bogged. Getting stuck is all part of the fun, though, and as vehicles get more capable, they find themselves stuck in progressively more precarious situations. Getting yourself unstuck safely is an art all of its own, which requires that you invest in some…

Both a snatch strap and a kinetic rope are used for a so-called “kinetic” recovery. This is a recovery in which you use a bit of momentum from the front/ towing vehicle to “pop” the stuck vehicle out of whatever it’s stuck in. This technique is incredibly effective at retrieving stuck vehicles if used correctly; if not, it can be extremely dangerous! Just to be clear about the difference: a snatch strap is similar to a kinetic rope, but usually a snatch strap is made from flat webbing, while a kinetic rope is just that – a round rope. Both…

When it comes to winch recovery, there is a sharp divide amongst enthusiasts about whether steel cable is superior to synthetic rope. No matter where you go, people seem to argue the merits of both types, making it hard for someone not in the know to get a definitive answer. In the past few years, the popularity of synthetic rope has escalated and it is now widely available; but is it the right choice for you? Steel cable For as long as winching has been around, the industry standard has been aircraft-grade steel cable, which is more durable than synthetic…

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…

Upgrades make a big difference to the offroad performance of a standard truck, which is built for comfort and a compromise between off-road and on-tar performance. Add in a few hundred kilograms of camping gear, plus passengers, and you find the standard suspension taking major strain on bumps, dips and corrugations on any excursion to the bush. It’s why one of the core hardware improvements worth making is to beef up the suspension. Conventional wisdom is that there are three major benefits. First, the vehicle is able to safely carry more weight over rough roads. Add up all the gear…

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