Submitted: Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 08:46
ThreadID: 11404 Views:2083 Replies:14 FollowUps:14
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I wrote this piece as a follow up in a previous post and decided to post it as a new post also to initiate discussion on what I find an interesting topic.
I'm really not keen on fitting a lot of aftermarket stuff. Not because of the cost but the reliablilty. I'd rather buy a vehicle which was off road ready to go. My extensive experience has lead me to the view that manufacturers of aftermarket equipment tend to "create" a market with advertising. They have very limited R&D resources which leads to a far higher failure rate than OE parts. I have seen a number of vehicles whose owners were convinced by advertising that they needed to "lift" their vehicles. They didn't realise that their diffs stayed at the same height from the ground and soon had suspension problems because of such things as the bump stops not being modified to accomodate the changed suspension travel. Thus I would much rather buy a capable vehicle than one that is less able and needs $50,000 spent on it to bring it up to grade (sorry Truckster but thanks anyhow)
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Reply By: Michael_FNQ - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:27

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:27
Would agree with alot of what you say. But you assume that there are vehicle manufacturers who design vehicles for our conditions. No.1 rule is that manufacturers design vehicles to sell off the showroom floor and must suit all world wide markets. How many 4x4's (really only 2wds) come standard with diff locks, not traction control as it just doesn't work when pushed to the limit. Definately agree that people do get sucked into buying accessories that they think are great but are just crap. Spring suppliers such as Iron Man will approach every cheap spring manufacters in the world and buy pallets of landcruisers springs prices by the KG from the cheapest offer. This is only guarantees a poor quality product. However Australia has some of the best aftermarket products in the world, the ARB Airlocker is in huge demand worldwide. It is interesting to read alot of people knock OME suspension but it is easily the biggest selling shock in Australia on 4x4's and is also in huge demand around the world, particularily South Africa where conditions are similar to here. Oftener see forums in other countries that have suspension discussions and regularly see comments such as "if you want the best suspension buy OME it is expensive but is the best". Aussies seem very critical of home grown product's.
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:28

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:28

Sorry, I have to disagree with you. The aftermarket industry is multi million dollar industry.
Where do you think the vehicle makers get there OE stuff from. Bullbars from TJM and ARB, cargo barriers from Milford and towbars from Hayman Reece.

Suspension for the aftermarket suppliers comes from manufactures that supply springs to suit rolling stock (trains) to V8 supercars. King springs supply springs to Mercides.

I think a lot of people don't blindly rush in and buy accessories just because they read about it in a magazine.

One of the reasons people buy aftermarket suspension is so the vehicle can carry extra weight over very rough roads that we have in Australia.

I suspect if you have had some failer with accessories that it could be a failer to understand how it might work.

I can only speak for TJM in Brisbane, because I have seen what they do in there R&D and the amount of money they spend .ARB would be the same.

Spending $50,000 is not required to bring any vehicle on the market to day up to a safe and reliable 4WD. If you want a 4WD to go to the shops, then they have them ready to go, but if you want to go to the Corner Store at Cameron Corner a bit of work has to be done to get there and back safely.

AnswerID: 51134

Follow Up By: Mick - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:21

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:21
I take it you haven't been to Cameron Corner Wayne. Last time I was there you could have taken a Commodore or even a motorscooter!! Mind you it's a different story if it rains but all the diiff locks and high suspension money could buy wouldn't help because once it rains the roads are closed and that's it till it dries out!
Products made for OE for vehicle manufacturers are designed and made to the manufacturer's specifications. The manufacturers also closely monitor and guide the local suppliers. I'm not talking about these products as they are NOT aftermarket accessories.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog Morgan (Victoria)) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 00:45

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 00:45
And after the roads dry out they can be in a shocking state until graded. I wouldn't have wanted to be a Commodore last time I was out that way, Broken Hill to Tib was crazy and out to the corner outright dangerous. Apart from the numerous washouts the damage was caused by vehicles driving on the wet roads.
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 00:55

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 00:55
Just because you don't like aftermarket accessories don't think everone will agree with you. We all buy things to make driving in the out back safe. I will not and can not travel the out back with stanard suspension stanard fuel tanks and no front end protection.

Vehicle manufacters don't design bullbars, they request a bar that is not sold to the general public have there part number and name stamped on it, ensure that it complies to all the ADR's and sell it at a higher price than the 4WD retailers.

As for going to Cameron Corner, that does not warrant a reply.

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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 01:14

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 01:14
What is this vehicle that you have brought that will go any where in Australia, that does not need any thing extra put on it? I dont know of any vehicle sold in Australia that comes stanard with recovery gear,UHF radio, HF radio, Sat phone, 2 spare tyres, dual batteries, GPS, 270lt fuel tanks, the list goes on, but in your experience you must have one. So what is it?

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Reply By: Member - Raymond - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:28

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:28
Hi Mick
First of all good luck with the Rangie if you go that way, although I can think of other ways to spend the money left over from buying other brands.

"My extensive experience has lead me to the view that manufacturers of aftermarket equipment tend to "create" a market with advertising." Most of the 4WD in Australia are equipped to suit the majority of buyers, mum's who want a people mover, or those who own large boats, horse floats or maybe a trip to the snow, that is about 90% of the market. The other 10% buy them to use offroad.

"They didn't realise that their diffs stayed at the same height from the ground". Most of use do realise that is a problem and is why many increase the size or height profile of the tyres. Springs are replaced for two reasons, load capacity and to increase the height of the body from the ground.

"needs $50,000 spent on it to bring it up to grade" Suspension Upgrade $1350.00 Offroad Tyres to replace onroad as supplied with the $1200, Winch $1400, Bullbar $1000 Dual Batteries system $600 Cargo Barrier $500 Fridge $1000 UHF Radio $400. Good Tent and camping gear $2500 (Or Camper Trailer $8000-30000) and as Truckster says you only got a RR, the rest of us are fully equipped.
PS The GU, the accessories, the camper and months of holidays still have not reached the price of the RR
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Follow Up By: Mick - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:30

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:30
Price is not a concern to me Ray. Quality is. I didn't initially mention $50,000. It was someone who replied. My comment regarding it was that I'd rather buy a quality vehicle that didn't require modification than the vehicle he described which he said needed $50,000 spent on it. What do you do with the camper when you want to go off road? Can it be removed so that you can use it as a base and work from there? Many of the places I intend going are just not suitable for that sort of rig by the way.
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Reply By: Member Eric - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:34

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:34
Mick , if you need to drive down dirt roads , then you will not need to modify your vehicle . Lift kits are used to lift the body , so we can fit larger tyres , then the diffs are NOT at the same height .

When your out really 4 w driving , you would know that most items are cleared by your diff , because they are connected to your wheels*** HELLO ***** they will go up as the vehicles climbs the obstical . Then you have the rest of the vehicle to get over . I invite your friend to a day day out with Truckster and myself . Bring your best standard 4 by or the most expensive , Lets take them to Toolangi . Deal is though , we dont help who gets stuck . Tell your mate to bring food and blankets

Please dont think I am been a smartass . Just thought i would add a little colour to the post lol . I will not sit here to explain all the reasons why you are wrong since this would take around a week. lol

Could you please expand a little on your vast experience ? & yes i know that you posted this to get some bit's hahahah
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Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:59

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 09:59
I take it that you are the same Mick who has posted here before referring to your extensive experience and the 'I've been everywhere syndrome'. But I am not here to pick a fight with you this time.

Basically what you want is a real 4x4 that does not need too many aftermarket accessories. These vehicles just are not built these days unless you go and buy a special project vehicle for half a million dollars. My old truck, albeit utililtarian, is a stock standard off road vehicle with low gearing and has the capabilty of going into rough country. I did find however that I needed a long range fuel tank as when it was built recreational four wheel driving was in its infancy and the truck was more for commercial use. I want to upgrade to a more comfortable vehicle but cannot find anything that suits my needs within my budget(not buying new). If I do find a vehicle I will have to rebuild it to my specifications with aftermarket gear or my own inventions. I am not convinced by advertisers that I need something. Most of my 'extra' gear are just toys to play with. But if these places did not advetise their gear I would be none the wiser.

I would like to think that vehicle manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers are working together to create an industry which targets those buyers who have the need to alter their vehicles to suit their egos and not so much practicability.
AnswerID: 51139

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:06

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:06
Willem, looks like a rubbish bin on top of your spare there, please explain......... I reckon it would look the part on the back of Micks' Rangie.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:15

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:15
Ahhh John.....It is a 10 litre steel paint tin(do they still make them?) which houses my 4kg gasbottle. In a previous post recently I copped a bit of flak about its legality...but I don't care about that. No one has ever stopped me to ask the
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 12:47

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 12:47
Do like your idea of getting it out of harms way, but may like something a little stronger. Thumbs up mate.
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:02

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:02
Mick I agree with all the advice you have been offered here. I have had a Rangie and it was not the sort of vehicle I would take into the bush here and had it's own failings. It will have a depreciation rate above what you will find nice too, with stone chips, scratches and windscreen cracks. That happens with normal road cars too - dealers look for the stone chips. I live in a country area and have seen these things.

I have a luxury 4by too and know the limitations to where I would take that now. The more sophistication the greater the risk of embarrassment in a difficult situation - just towing a trailer in last years summer temperatures led to overtaxing a fuel pump.....yeh no power. You are better in my mind making the strong and more likely to get through the tough spots. I really can't think why you would wreck a Rangie.

Australia's aftermarket/component industry is world class and is supplying to to the top level of manufacturers from leather to brake components and suspension bits. Lightforce being one supplying into the US armed forces for one.

It is not just the factor of the cost of the vehicle at the shop you will find is pleasurable. Truckster is being pessimistic on his upgrade cost at $50K and offeres heaps for you to play with - I agree with Raymond in his reccommendations to you. Have a game rather than wreck an outwardly good one......
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:20

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:20

I tend to agree with you and find it difficult to accept the logic behind most of the responses. Apart from recovery type add-ons I am quite happy with the bog standard setup of my vehicle.

I will consider aftermarket springs/shocks etc .... but only when the original bits are due for replacement.

I have no doubt most lifts etc are more related to ego issues .... that is of apart from the serious offroaders visiting this forum .....

Cheers ... you are not alone in your point of view.
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Follow Up By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 11:02

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 11:02
I agree Rosco.

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Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 18:02

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 18:02
Look felle's you can argue till the bloody cow's come home. but nothing will come of it, this is just a short true story of when i was about 5 or 6 year's old and my father got a job at Weemalah station, we drove from Moree to Weemalah, DIRT ALL THE WAY THEN, in the rain in an old late 50's early 60's 3 speed ford prefect, proberly sideways 99% of the way but we made it, the look on my father's face when we meet Mr Campbell, the station owner, at the gate to his property was priceless, had an old land rover," only another 5mile to go mate ". IMHO, IT'S THE DRIVER MOST OF THE TIME not the car.

You can take the boy out of the bush, but not the bush out of the boy!!!!!BAZZA.
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Reply By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:50

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 10:50
I totally agree that the aftermarket industry has created a market. During my 2 year trip aroud Northern OZ I could not believe the number of vehicles that were equipped with all the "good gear". I talk to people readily, and the most common addition was Heavy duty suspension. Time and time again ,during a chat , the subject of vehicle ride would come up and of course that would lead to suspension. Someone would say,
"Oh that last stretch of road was rough, we had to slow to a crawl to hold the thing on the road, or, I could n't tell how fast we were going because I couldn't read the speedo"

I would ask about the suspension and lo and behold Heavy duty suspension was installed. When questioned why I was offered a whole heap of reasons ie. to carry the weight, don't want to get stuck, the vehicle was too low, standerd stuff is only for around town, I read in a magazine that xyz suspension is the best for my vehicle, saw this great setup at the 4x4 show and.............. well the list goes on.

I observed that the majority of people who appeared not entirely pleased with their setup were those who appeared to have retired and had the big van etc etc
and that someone or something had got into their head and convinced them that they their trip will be more enjoyable if they have all of these extras , in case they get stuck.

I don't really think that the majority of users on this board fall into this category as open discussion is educational and gives people the opportunity to be exposed to real 4x4 people instead of the classic first or second paragraph in almost every 4x4 mag:

....we set off in our **** 2003 model 4WD which was fitted with abc heavy duty suspension and shocks, twin spare wheel carriers, extra long range tank etc etc

you get the drift

Now I am not against anyone modifying their vehicle in any way nor am I really concerned whether they get value for money but what ticks me off is that the 4x4 aftermarket parts retalers appear to take advantage of people who don't know what they want or need and they are planning the big trip around Australia. Next yuo see the 4by rolling out with bullbar, winch, airbags and Series 67000 suspension, spotlights etc etc and the poor bugger who just spent the cash is feeling like the king of the world, so he goes home hooks up the van and heads off around Australia and ends up not getting off the sealed road because he doesn't want to chip the paint. Freedom of choice...yes but how many people feel they have been swayed by a retailer and latter regret the advice given by the bloke who got their money.

Sorry the above is probably fragmanted and I haven't done a grammer or spell check....wife is waiting to go shopping....
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Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 14:20

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 14:20
Mick I must say I agree with you when it comes to fitting assesories that we get sucked in to buying unnecesary gear because of some percieved need. My dad has a HZJ 80 series with an alloy bar, poly air bags, home made storage system, fridge, 2nd battery, all terrain tyres and a UHF radio. Thats it! It hasn't stopped him driving to the Cape or up the Canning in fact he gets the best fuel consumption of anyone in the group because he's never overloaded.
The current trendy "percieved need" is the camper trailer. (got to have one of them) Another case of not enough R&D as most arn't up to the job. (that should start some discussion) KISS. Craig..............................
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Reply By: Member Eric - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 22:01

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 22:01
I thought that the aftermarket products usualy cattered for items needed on cars that the manufacturer wouldnt make , or found it to small a market to cater for
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Reply By: Mick - Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:42

Saturday, Mar 20, 2004 at 23:42
Aftermarket products cater for anything for which a perceived need can be created.
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Follow Up By: Member - Raymond - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 07:18

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 07:18
Hi Mick
In answer to you question, the camper can be lifted off in about 15 minutes and used on site. We have taken the camper through the High Country in Victoria with no problems on quite hard tracks and also throughout Central Australia and the Kimberley Area.
The problem we had was the only vehicle that could buy that could take the weight and not need any modification was a 130 series LRover or an F250, both to long.
I think the after market people have seen a need and filled it. Probably the Defender is one of the few vehicles that I would consider as off the shelf ready for serious 4WD
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Follow Up By: pathfinder - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 14:11

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 14:11
yes Mick, and sometimes perceived needs are real needs. Try handling corrugated roads and rough hilly firetrails with a full load on board on standard suspension...which I might add, will usually be clapped out within 50Kk after given this treatment in any case - and then you will have to buy aftermarket suspension (which is often cheaper than OE in any case!)
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Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 08:09

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 08:09
A very quick story of actual experience that happened to me very recently. I had driven a particular track with our Patrol, which has 2" suspension lift and 33" tyres, many times, without a problem. I drove a brand new 4X4, (not mentioning any makes/models, suffice to say in the 40-70K bracket and very popular), down the same track, took the exact same line and bottomed it out on the first hole!

Buy a new 4b and use it as a Turrumurra Tractor, and you won't have to upgrade anything. But to venture off road, you will need to spend some $$$ on quality aftermarket equipment.
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Follow Up By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 10:25

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 10:25
I don't necessarily agree 100%.

Actually the pic in my signature line shows me crossing a river with my standard heavily laden 89 model troopy. I had to rescue a 100 series fitted with a lsd and very heavy suspension, but the vehicle was lightly loaded not allowing for wheel travel I assume. The 100 series fellow was dissapointed to say the least.

You say in your post that the other vehicle took the exact same line and bottomed it out on the first hole. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to assess the situation before attempting the obsticle and fill the hole up or take a different line?

We did the top end and kimberly at the end of the wet season a couple of years ago before the road was officially re-opened and had no difficulty at all, and no we didn't ponse around on the sealed roads either.

The ability of a vehicle is probably a variable governed by the driver and his skills. We all have seen and will continue to see people in 4bys who get stuck or are unable to get get up a track not because the vehicle isn't capable but becauuse they just don't know or haven't learned to see the best way to do it. Even the reduction of tyre pressure can make an enormous difference.

I personally would have preferred to have lifted the troopy an inch or 2 but I didn't do it and I must say that not having it didnot hinder our travels one bit. We even got up the jump ups on the Burrup Peninsulsa with a couple of hundred scrapes with the tow
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Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 20:38

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 20:38
Yes, quite correct I should have assessed the situation better. Definitely! But the fact is I had driven this track a bunch of times, on the same day, following the same line, in my truck.... then got into the new one, and drove the same line! Learnt a lesson real quick! Shoulda went a different way! Luckily for me there was no damage this time! But that's just the way things happen...... and what if it wasn't a "local" track that this happened on?? what if it was out back of beyond somewhere and we were stranded for the want of 2"?? What if there was no other way around?

I think it comes down to what you want to do, awhere you want to go and why you want to go there. If your stock vehicle and your experience as a driver gets you where you want to go and back safely, then that's great! For the rest of us..... there's aftermarket accessories!!!!
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Reply By: Hedonist - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 10:40

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 10:40

I think you have a point. In most cases the limiting factor is the driver, not the vehicle. A 6" lift and 33" MTs won't make up for this.

Aftermarket products do serve a worthwhile purpose, but all are a compromise. Long range fuel tank / Increased weight, Bullbar + winch / increased weight, heavy duty springs + lift / extra strain on driveline etc...

In the end YOU have to decide what is neccessary for YOUR needs. ARB, OL, TJM etc are in the business of selling stuff - of course they will try and tell you that you should buy everything in the catalogue! ;) That's there job. There are plenty who believe them, and end up with vehicles overloaded with gear that that don't use or need, and suffer the compromises needlessly.

Some get off on having all the gear and then go find places that justify having it, some get off on going places and buy only what's needed to get them there.

Each to their own.

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Reply By: Leroy - Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 11:20

Sunday, Mar 21, 2004 at 11:20
I have found where you go and what you do with your vehicle dictates what needs to be done to your vehicle to make your journey safer and comfortable.
You can justify so many of the accessories on the market.

Bullbar(steel) - drive in the outback and see all the roaming stock
Driving lights - helps see the above
UHF radio - inter car coms, emergency's etc
Suspension - you usually have larger loads when traveling hence you need better suspension to counter sag and inprove handling because of additional weight. More height may be needed for extra clearance on the tougher tracks or to fit bigger rubber on. Brian (Gold Coast) mentioned that a stock 4wd wasn't coping to well going on a same track his lifted Patrol went down fine. I had the same prob yesterday. Stock Patrol following lifted Patrol. Those 2" made all the difference between clearing obstacles and rubbing the side steps.
The list could go on....

The aftermarket industry fills a gap that can't be met by the manufactures because everyone is not the same and uses their vehicle for different puposes.

AnswerID: 51246

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