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Browsing: Technical

Water is the elixir of life and a priority on any overland journey. We need at least two litres per day just for drinking, before we can even consider washing grime off our skin, brushing our teeth or tackling the dirty dishes. Although some tannins in water have a nasty taste, and some may discolour surfaces, water is also the perfect breeding ground for a wide variety of bacteria, parasites and viruses that can ruin a trip − or even end your life. But, for the well-equipped overlander, there are many filtration options, each with its own pros, cons and…

Fire. It’s a vital component of any overlanding journey. Internal combustion powers your 4×4; and more often than not, fire cooks your meals out in the wilderness. On the other hand, fire can be the cause of your journey’s untimely end. Unfortunately, while we are all too eager to stock up on gas bottles, jerry cans and firewood, we often overlook the absolute necessity of having fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are not too expensive to purchase and are widely available in many retail outlets. It is also simple enough to mount a fire extinguisher in your cab, or to stash…

Good news for our Mazda BT-50 long-termer is that it has just been fitted with a set of Dunlop’s Grandtrek AT3G tyres. We fitted a set of LT 265/65 R17 tyres which have a load rating of 120 (1400kg per tyre), and an “R” speed rating (170km/h). Pricing per tyre at this stage should be around R3000, ex Vat and fitment. Why would we change tyres? Simple, really. The AT3G, unlike a number of other all-terrain tyres on the market, has a three-ply sidewall design; and from the get-go, it looks to be the business as aftermarket fitment for tough…

You want tyres fit for the bush, which are also comfortable on tar? Yup, you have entered the realm of All-Terrain Rubber which must grip and grind its way over a variety of surfaces. But which brand is best? The SA4x4 team amassed 17 sets of AT tyres for the biggest local tyre-showdown ever… The tyres The tyre market in South Africa is rapidly expanding – in volume as well as in brand diversity. World-renowned manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental (General) and Sumitomo (Dunlop) have facilities here, and a plethora of brands is imported through companies like TiAuto, SA…

Chris Collard shares his three decades of backcountry breakdowns, and the tools and equipment needed to get you (and your vehicle) home alive. For Chris’ full insights, grab the December 2017 edition of SA4X4.If we sat around a campfire spinning yarns about our early exploits into the backcountry, my guess is that the memories, regardless of the details, have been filtered into blissful adventures. They were most likely simple affairs with a full complement of necessities: a cooler of coldies, sleeping bags, and camp chairs. I recall the first trip in my ’82 Hilux. My buddy Rich Currie and I…

As a tour operator with Fly Africa Safaris, I have led more than a thousand vehicles over the border, and guided countless tours as far as Uganda in my 18 years in the business. In that time, I have experienced a lot of changes and developments in the field of dual-battery systems, deep-cycle batteries and charging systems. I’ve seen technology evolve from a cooler box packed with dry ice to fridges connected directly to the vehicle’s main battery. Then solenoid systems took over the market. Today things have moved on with vehicle manufacturers opting for smart alternators, while charging technology…

Somebody gets stuck; you take out the snatch strap, connect it to the stuck vehicle with a pair of rated steel bow shackles and complete the recovery. It’s the way it’s been done since the first Datsun 1300 was still proudly displayed on showroom floors. On Track: Vehicle recovery tools and techniquesThe problem comes in when a recovery point fails or the shackle was incorrectly attached, and now you’ve got a heavy piece of metal flying through the air at speed similar to a bullet. People have tragically lost their lives or sustained horrific injuries this way. It’s why we…

Why your dual-battery system is incomplete With the Easter holidays just weeks behind us, there’s a good chance that your auxiliary battery is in desperate need of maintenance, and an even better chance that permanent damage is happening to the battery as we speak. But don’t fret; there’s still time to save your battery and prolong its life. This is what you need to do … A lot can be said about battery life and how it relates to recharge rates, but in the interests of simplicity, here’s the gist of it: a deeply discharged battery must have enough TIME…

With special thanks to National Luna and Branden Austen of Deltec Energy Solutions. Auxiliary batteries are used to operate appliances while you are away from mains 240V power, without running the risk of compromising your vehicle’s main starting battery. People have been using and charging auxiliary batteries in their cars and caravans with varying degrees of success for over a century. For most of us, the days are long gone when all we needed from our auxiliary battery was a small amount of power for a bit of lighting, and maybe a radio. These days, we expect much more. We…

Special thanks to Branden Austen of Deltec Energy Solutions Batteries are the core storage units of any solar or multi-battery system, so it’s worth knowing how to choose the right type for your application. This quick look at a complicated topic outlines key differences between cranking and deep-cycle batteries, and how to prolong their service life. Starting Batteries Starting batteries, most commonly referred to as automotive batteries, are required to provide a high current output for a relatively short period of time with immediate recharge from the vehicle’s alternator. This type of application typically uses a very small amount of…

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