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4WD BUYERS GUIDE UPDATES
Latest: FORD EVEREST
The Outback Travel Australia 4WD BUYERS GUIDE covers new and previous model vehicles. The 4WD Buyers Guide is updated regularly and you'll find shortcuts to our updates here in Recent Articles.
Information about 4WD wagons, utes, cab-chassis, heavy duty off-road vehicles, motorhomes, campervans and soft-roaders can be found in our comprehensive Buyers Guide, which covers new models and previous models.
LIGHTFORCE STRIKER LED PAIR
Compact, rectangular lights with middle distance range.
Striker LEDs driving lights were released by LightForce in May 2018. These middle-distance rectangular lights suit small frontal profile vehicles.
ENDUROCO CONVERSIONS ON HIACE AND COASTER
Conversions that use coil-sprung live front axles.
This Melbourne-based company has specialised in converting mainly Toyota vehicles from 2WD to 4WD for many years. All conversions are engineered and tested to gain Australian Government Federal IPA or secondary manufacturing approval.
FUNNELS FOR ALL REASONS
Lubemate has released three specific funnel types.
Lubemate has released three different funnel models to suit different 4WD requirements. If you've had to strain crook fuel going into your tank or juggle an oil bottle over an engine or gearbox filler hole you'll appreciate these innovations
ARB BYPASS TECHNOLOGY SHOCK ABSORBERS
Race-type damping quality for popular 4WDs.
Many of us are familiar with the design of off-road-race shock absorbers, with their external ‘bypass’ tubes. ARB’s BP-51 bypass dampers use the same principle, but with internal bypass technology. They’re vehicle-specific and new models are being added periodically.
REDARC REDVISION APP CONTROL
An app-based system for controlling and monitoring many functions.
Redarc has released RedVision, a vehicle management system that brings multi-function control to the user’s fingertips. RedVision comes with an In-vehicle display and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) iOS or android smartphone app to control and monitor many functions in a camper, caravan, or motorhome.
OFF ROAD CAMPER TRAILER OR A SLIDE-ON CAMPER
Making the right choice is very important.
At OTA we get many enquiries about camping gear choices. Here’s an edited guide from Trayon Campers, who make camper trailers and slide-ons.
DISC BRAKE KITS FOR UTE REAR AXLES FROM PEDDERS
Greatly improved braking for loaded utes.
Heavily loaded utes are common sights on bush roads and tracks. Braking power could do with an improvement we’ve reckoned for some time and Pedders agrees with us.
ULTRA VISION NITRO 140 MAXX COMBO
Large but slim round lights with great distance and medium spread.
Our test pair of Ultra Vision 140 Maxx driving lights were the largest round lights in this company’s range, measuring 235mm across and 240mm high, including the mounting brackets and the side-mounted angle-adjustment screws.
Knowing how different batteries work can make selection easier.
Back in the good old days you could have any battery you liked, so long as it was black, heavy and full of easily-spilled acid. Now, there’s a choice of several different types.
PARADISE INSPIRATION EXPLORE 4X4
This is one top-shelf Sprinter motorhome.
Paradise Motor Homes is a well respected brand that hasn’t been well known for off-roading, but the Inspiration Explore 4x4 model changes that situation. Based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 platform this vehicle is very well equipped.
MOBILEYE vs DASH CAM DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGY
Camera systems with quite different characteristics.
Cameras can give drivers much needed help in today's heavy traffic conditions, but there's no way to retrofit the latest vehicles' camera-activated autonomous braking into older vehicles. However, some camera-based technology can be fitted to any vehicle
PROJECTA FOLDING SOLAR PANEL RANGE
Battery charging from a briefcase-sized panel kit
Projecta has four folding solar panel kits that come complete with canvas carry bags, five-metre cables with battery clamps, inbuilt charge regulators and set-up pegs.
JACKSONS CARRY ME CAMPER HARD LID
A hard roof addition to this soft-roof slide-on camper range.
Carry Me Camper launched the Hard Lid slide-on camper in mid-2018. This additional model was designed for fitment to single-cab and extra-cab tray-back utes, complementing the soft-roof model that can fit all ute sizes - even crew-cab utes.
STONEY CREEK CAMPERS
A range that includes soft-floor and forward-fold models.
This brand has been around for a few years now and seems to have a loyal following. The model range covers the whole camper trailer spectrum, from soft-floor shorty to forward-fold models.
HEADLIGHT RESTORATION MADE EASY
Bright headlight beams can be easily restored.
Many older 4WDs have plastic-faced headlight housings that have oxidised, giving them a distinctive hazy and yellow appearance. That ‘fogging’ and discolouration greatly reduces brightness and beam size, which is a dangerous situation for the driver and others on the road.
VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY
Tracks vary from easy to very difficult - something for everyone!
There are literally hundreds of tracks through Australia’s tallest mountain ranges, but we’ve selected just a few of our favourites.
STEDI ST3303 LIGHT BAR
This light bar has 320W output in a compact housing.
Stedi has packed 32 10-watt Cree LEDs into a 545mm (21.5-inch) light bar that can fit onto most nudge and 'roo bars. It has brilliant distance and spread characteristics, as our test video shows only too clearly.
HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
Big design changes are coming faster than most people think.
It seems inevitable that the future of 4WDs is as hybrids and range-extended electric vehicles.
FLAT ENGINES COULD BE THE FUTURE
Opposed piston engines have been around for years and could be making a comeback.
The dual goals of meeting tight emissions standards and improving fuel consumption have seen some engine development companies look to designs of the past for inspiration. One OPOC engine is at the production evaluation stage.
Here are two separate Geosurveys Hill travel stories.
The first trek was two years in the planning. The aim was to escort two senior archaeologists into this remote region, to search for evidence of ancient Aboriginal occupation in what is today an arid, desert region, with no surface water. The second trek is a round-trip journey from Birdsville, recounted by an OTA Supporter.
CLEARVIEW'S FRIDGE-SLIDE ENHANCEMENTS
These three products maximise fridge-slide versatility
These three fridge-slide enhancements from Clearview can make bush camping easier.There's a cable tidy, an extension tray and a full slide-out Pantry.
KEEPING THE DUST OUT OF YOUR CAMPER OR CARAVAN WITH RESPA
This rugged device pressurises your camper or van interior - February 2018
We’ve all done it: opened the camper or caravan and discovered a fine coating of dust throughout the interior. No matter how tightly you close doors, vents and windows, some dust always seems to get inside.
ORARA ESCARPMENT TO YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK
This adventurous drive ends on the ocean front.
Just half an hour from Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, this challenging track is perfect for the 4WD explorer, as it climbs along the ridges of rocky plateaus and winds through lush rainforest. This journey can take one day or one week depending on how much you’d like to explore the diversity around the National Parks.
KONI SHOCK ABSORBER EVALUATION
Not our normal test procedure and with mixed results
We asked the Australian Koni distributors, Toperformance Products, for a set of dampers to test on our LandCruiser 75 Series, but they refused, so we’ve used OTA Team vehicles for the purpose.
SATELLITE TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION
A reliable form of communication for remote areas
We bought our satellite telephones years ago and wouldn't leave home without one of them; a couple of vehicle breakdowns and medical emergencies during our travels in Australia's Outback and our best satellite telephone has more than paid for itself.
RIDE ON TYRE SEALANT TEST
This water-based sealant passed our puncture test easily.
We checked out LSM Technologies’ Ride On tyre sealant in the most practical way possible: we tried to flatten a tyre deliberately.
A BUSH COOK WITHOUT PEER - RANGER NICK
Learn the art of camp oven cooking and have heaps of fun as you do.
If you haven’t come across one of Ranger Nick’s demo camp cooking sessions at a 4WD or camping show or watched his DVD you’re definitely missing out. He’s a very entertaining presenter and he knows exactly what he’s doing.
POD CAMPER RANGE
These pint-sized campers pack in a lot of tent space and gear
The Pod Camper range is one of the few offerings in the Australian camper tailer marketplace that is designed specifically for lightweight camping. Many camper trailers are too heavy and have far too much ball weight for towing by SUVs and small 4WD wagons.
SAFE AND LEGAL LOAD RESTRAINT
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so you need to know what's right and wrong
The 2018 Load Restraint Guide for Light Vehicles spells out clearly how you should load your vehicle and the correct method for restraining that load.
COLEMAN INSTANT UP TENT
This tent offers two-minute erection
Coleman reckons its Instant Up range can be set up in under two minutes from a small carry bag and each tent has a 100km/h wind rating.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A WINCH
Some vehicles can't mount a winch, but they can still self-recover.
OTA checks out three different ways of getting your 4WD unstuck: sand ladders, Bog Outs and Trac Grabbers.
WHAT HAPPENED TO GALILEO
No, not that Galileo, the renowned astronomer and father of modern science.
The Galileo we’re referring to and about which we haven’t heard much since 2007 is Europe’s challenge to the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).
HELPING PEOPLE IN THE BUSH
You can turn your skills into help for needy famers and bush dwellers
Many bush travellers get great satisfaction from helping bush people as part of an extended holiday or the retirement trip. Involvement with the 'locals' enhances any bush trip and many helpers make lifelong friends from the experience, Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia reports.
A SIX WHEELER CAN SOLVE THE UTE GVM ISSUE
An extra axle makes all the difference
Adding a third axle to a 4WD ute can increase its gross vehicle mass to 4495kg - car driver's licence limit - or higher in some cases. The additional axle carries some of the additional weight and, being braked, increases stopping power.
BOATS AND BOAT CARRYING OPTIONS
Your choice of boat can depend on how you carry it
We all love it when the boat slides into the water and we clamber on board for a day’s fun. Trouble is, you have to get the boat to that idyllic spot first…
SWISS ARMY KNIFE IN THE BLACK AND TAN
New looks for an old Victorinox standard
Everyone is familiar with the long-serving red and silver Swiss Army Knife, and in recent years the Victorinox company has developed new derivatives. The latest are white or black finish Spartan series, fitted with specially-coated blades and tools, and wood-finish models.
TRAYMATE SLIDE-ON CAMPER
From the makers of the market-leading Trayon comes a budget slide-on - December 2017
Slide-on camper manufacturer Trayon/Traytek has produced a budget-priced, lightweight, slide-on camper. Traymate can double as a tradie’s body during the working week.
DIESEL FUTURE UNDER A CLOUD
Emissions compliance has spoiled diesel simplicity and reliability
Five years ago we’d have laughed if someone said 4WD diesel engines are higher-maintenance and more likely to break down than petrols, but that’s the situation today. The latest diesels are high-maintenance and fragile.
SLRV IVECO EUROCARGO
The Iveco Eurocargo makes an excellent heavy duty motorhome base
Gold Coast based top-shelf motorhome builder SLRV Expedition Vehicles has completed a Eurocargo ML150 4x4 outback tourer for a Western Australian owner.