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Browsing: Technical

Super Solar In order to get properly off the grid for a few days, reader Rob Thompson needed to build a suitable solar power system that would meet the power draw needs of his family. This is his experience… As a family we are keen campers and have been working on our camping setup over many years. We started in a second-hand canvas tent, progressed to a new canvas dome tent with extension and gazebo, and about four years ago purchased a used Imagine Comfortvan off-road caravan. The Comfortvan not only brought a new level of ‘luxury’, it also offered

We compare the footprints of 16 popular All-Terrain tyres at different pressures. What happens to your tyre’s footprint and sidewall as pressure is dropped to gain extra traction? SA4x4 partners with Tiger Wheel & Tyre to compare the stats of 16 popular all-terrain tyres Angus Boswell There are myriad all-terrain tyre choices out there. As an overlander and 4×4 enthusiast, you want to ensure your purchase hits the sweet spot between toughness, longevity, and price. But what really is tough, and how do you know how the tyre will perform for your specific needs? First up, you want to be

Isuzu’s mu-X now available with Eaton rear differential lock The Isuzu mu-X can now be fitted with a Eaton rear differential lock. Costing R11 500 (including VAT) as an optional extra, the Eaton MLocker is a mechanical locking diff that doesn’t require driver intervention. It engages when there is a wheel speed difference of 100 RPM due to a low traction situation. A flyweight mechanism opens to engage a latching bracket. The stopped flyweight triggers a self-energising clutch system, forcing a cam plate to ramp up on a side gear. This will continue until both wheels spin at the same

One of the big worries, when on an extended overlanding trip through Africa, is the condition of the fuel that one might fill up with along the way. However, this shouldn’t be something that gives you sleepless nights.

Your wheels and tyres are your vehicle’s feet on the dirt. The tread type, tyre and wheel size, and potential changes to track width all play a role in your vehicle’s ride, handling, comfort and traction. The standard issue tyres are typically specified to optimise fuel economy and offer a smooth ride, plus good grip on mainly tar surfaces. When the same vehicle is used more often for overlanding and off-road purposes, those needs change. There is a dizzying array of tyre choices to be made. As an off-roader, bear in mind you want stronger sidewalls and more grip. That

Victron Energy first started manufacturing inverters in the early 1970s. The first applications were for the boats that worked the inland waterways of Europe. This was spurred by the invention and introduction of television in the early Seventies, as sailors who travelled onboard for several days at a time did not want to miss out on this new entertainment option. A need was therefore created for a 230V AC power source on boats that were mainly driven by DC power sources. Today, Victron Energy Inverters are some of the most advanced in the world, with a range of models catering

Lead-acid batteries remain the industry standard for mobile and vehicle applications. Sealed lead-acid batteries, also known as VLRA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) batteries, are now widespread because they are safer, require little or no maintenance, and cope well with the heat generated by being sited in a vehicle’s engine bay. Modern cars, and notably those using stop-go technology, have these batteries specified as original equipment. However, the starter batteries of many vehicles are still specified as open batteries (also called ‘wet’ batteries), which require the cells to be filled with distilled water. The C-rating on the label VRLA batteries are

Expensive turbo failures can be avoided. Chris Kambouris of TurboDirect points out some of the primary causes of turbo mishaps, and how to keep them in check… Turbochargers are components that are critical to the reliable operation of correct emission production and under-bonnet thermal management of an engine. The turbocharger, although situated outside the engine, is fed the same oil that the engine relies on, and from the very same engine’s oil pump. The oil is fed through an oil feed line, which is the main “artery” feeding the life blood to the turbocharger. When an engine fails, the entire

In vehicle applications, the use of a second battery is very common. Most users choose one of the widely available lead-acid battery technologies. These include starter-type wet batteries, sealed-valve regulated, Gel and AGM types. Each type has different characteristics, but they are all essentially energy storage devices. The last two articles have covered two topics: first, how to store energy in a battery by charging with an AC-DC charger or MPPT solar controller, and second, how to make up for energy losses that happen in a lead-acid battery when charging takes place. How do you monitor the state of charge

Road conditions on the West Coast of Africa have been nothing short of gruelling. Through tens of thousands of kilometres, it’s been a changing kaleidoscope of sand, mud, rocks and intense heat and humidity… not to mention occasional torrential downpours. Make no mistake: these are some of the worst roads on the planet. My 2011 JK Unlimited Rubicon Wrangler has performed flawlessly, but after 51 000km of this stuff, it is time for maintenance that is more serious than just the usual oil changes and tyre rotations. I’m also making a few key upgrades which should help us keep the

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