Just to stir the pot

Submitted: Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 23:25
ThreadID: 8290 Views:1447 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Just returned from our first weekend foray away with a local 4WD club up in the boon docks. Had a great time with a top bunch and enjoyed it immensely.

An assortment of vehicles : .. Suzuki with tractor tyres, diff lockers and the works, Pajeros, Prado, L'Cruiser Troopy, Hiluxes and a Defender.

As I said, we had a great time and I noticed it confirmed the content of numerous earlier postings. All vehicles are not born equal and neither are their drivers.

In this case I would venture to suggest the level of experience varied from moderate to reasonably competent.

The troopy pilot knew his stuff as did the Zook man, the Defender bloke had a moderate running knowledge. One Hi-lux bloke had 'been there done that' but appeared to be a tad heavy on the right foot when not necessarily required.

The remainder appeared to be of a moderate to reasonable level with some being a little cautious with their second great loves, but that's fine and I have absolutely no problems there .. to each their own.

One look at the Zook and you felt it would climb both up and down gum trees, as attested by other members of the party who had seen it in action. Unfortunately one front FWH packed it in, so it couldn't really show its stuff.

The troopy did very well though required more than one go on a number of occasions. The various Paj's and Hi-Luxes and Prado struggled on gamely but didn't impress. The Defender treated all obstacles with aplomb and never required a second attempt, even on ascents/descents where all except the Troopy and one hardy Hi-lux feared to tread.

The Pom did come to grief in a hugh mud puddle at the hands of herself, which was skirted by all other vehicles ... Ok .. I urged her on .. but don't worry .. she's outside now hosing out the floors which were under 50mm of muddy water. That's her pennance for not giving the beast that little extra bit of poke when needed.

I look forward to our next outing, hopefully attended by a Cruiser or Patrol or two, preferably in bog standard format so we can see how they all really compare on an equal footing.

..... Now let's all stand back and wait for the deluge....
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 07:54

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 07:54
Hmmmm...Ross...you are stirring. Club trips, I remember them well.........much hilarity and teasing......but I give them away a long time ago.

I would say that if you wanted to draw a comparision you would have to take the best driver and let him/her drive each vehicle over an obstacle to get a result. Tyres on the individual vehicles also play a very important role.

Best bog standard off road vehicles to mind are the Range Rover(but they don't like water crossings), Zook(a tad short in the wheelbase but very capable), Lada Niva ( difflocks and all), a FJ 55 Landcruiser( plenty of grunt if you don't mind reshaping the bodywork), My old G60 which powers over and through anything if you can stay in your seat.!!!!

Cheers,

Willem

Always going somewhere
AnswerID: 36143

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 18:34

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 18:34
Willie

I have a fair recollection of your truck. If my memory serves me well they had an engine you couldn't kill with armour piercing bullets and a 3 speed gear box with no synchro on 1st. ... + 3 ridiculous little windscreen wipers. A highly respected vehicle at the time .. but as you say, kidney belts were mandatory. ;-)Rosco
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FollowupID: 26094

Follow Up By: Willem - Wednesday, Nov 05, 2003 at 07:11

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2003 at 07:11
Ross,
Ahhh...my G60 is an up market one with a 5 speed box. Top speed 142kmh(on the GPS). Cruise on 100 but it doesn't like hills. What it does like is fuel outlets :-)
Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
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FollowupID: 26144

Reply By: Member - Karl - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 08:22

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 08:22
I really don't think that 'bog standard' etc is going to do much for comparisions etc. I beleive that ultimately it realy comes down to the ablity of the drivers rather than the actual vehicles being tested. A good compentant driver should be able to get the best out of a vehicle, regardless of what type of vehicle it is, whereas someone of a lesser ablity, regardless of the vehicle he is driving will always have problems. Well that is my opinion anyway.Everyone is entitled to have an opinion - just make sure that yours is correct.
AnswerID: 36149

Reply By: Martin - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 11:20

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 11:20
Ross when you get into what 4wdriving is all about you'll have a better chance to compare vehicles. Club trips tend to produce artificial situations (as you describe) and don't really produce the best in drivers and vehicles.
Things like range, load space, reliability and so on also become very important on long 4wd trips and don't show up on short trips with people bush bashing and showing off - though the Suzuki didn't stand up even on a short trip! Then again fitting tractor tyres to a little 4wd can't be a good move!
The vehicle that can keep going, handle a wide variety of terrain and get the occupants there in comfort is the best vehicle. And remember that any trip involves mainly highway driving so many mods score poorly in this area.
Personally I prefer vehicles in standard form as I think most manufacturers know more about setting up vehicles than after market "experts". I've often heard of fuel leaks from after market tanks, suspension problems because of something as simple as a bump stop not being changed to allow for spring modifications. After all these small manufacturers just can't put the R&D into their products that the manufacturers do. Nissan and Landrover seem to be the makes with the poorest R&D as their vehicles have much higher fault rates than the others and thus many owners of these search for fixes in the after market area.
I do recommend that you move on to some serious 4wdriving - try the Canning Stock Route (CSR), the Simpson Desert, the beaches in SA, Victorian high country. Watch what other vehicles are doing and you'll learn heaps!
AnswerID: 36164

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 11:59

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 11:59
Marty

I couldn't agree with you more. I can not really grasp why one would want to spend mega bucks on after market suspension and traction gizmos when one can buy a perfectly adequate vehicle off the shelf.

You're quite right about moving into serious 4WDing. This weekend was my first outing with a club, after 27 years behind the wheel of an assortment of 4WD's, all of which have been bog standard. However I did enjoy the company, the laughs and the raised eyebrows....."Crackle, crackle (radio noise) ... Rosco, have you got diff locks on board? ..... Nah mate, bog standard."

If the beaches in SA are anything like the beaches in Qld they're a little ho hum. Provide access to great spots but don't provide any real challenge for any vehicle with a moderately competent driver. Don't get me wrong I don't take them lightly as that's when you come unstuck .. however I wouldn't exactly classify them as a real test of a vehicles ability.

Sand in the centre is a different matter entirely and definitely not to be taken lightly, as I found out to my surprise in the Finke River bed. The learning curve was quite steep there.

So we're off to the Cape next May/June in our bog standard Landie .... but I'll take your advice and carry a sat phone so I can call road side assist when one of its many failings manifests itself ... I might even ask them to bring along a whole range of parts to save them extra travel when something else breaks.
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FollowupID: 26072

Follow Up By: Martin - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 22:09

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 22:09
Just a quick response this time Ross - the beaches in SA are much more challenging. Last time I was on sand in Queensland there was a Kombi van and also a full sized caravan cruising on the beach so yes I agree a little ho hum. Not so around Beachport and Robe - much heavier going and some challenging dunes in the stretches between beaches - I thoroughly recommend them to you if uoi're ever down that way. The big minus is that it's often cold!! Cheers!
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FollowupID: 26129

Reply By: landie - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 13:35

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 13:35
I think this is an interesting discussion, but one that simply highlights that there is no "bog standard" answers to the issues raised - It often comes down to the how, the where, the why, and the whom.

Whilst I entirely agree that the less the modifications, the better, sometimes this is not necessarily practical or for that matter sensible.

Landie

AnswerID: 36182

Reply By: Brian - Wednesday, Nov 05, 2003 at 08:54

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2003 at 08:54
I think it comes down to whatever lights you candle.... some people love club trips, some don't.... some people love Queensalnds beaches.... some don't.... some people love all the modifications.... some don't... If everyone and everything was the same... there'd be no need for forum's like this one.... would there?
Cheers
Brian
AnswerID: 36264

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