Bushtracker Tip # 18, for those who want to push edge a bit.....

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 08, 2005 at 07:17
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For some of the new Off-Road Travellers, just a little friendly advice from the experienced….

Most of you fellow Boggers, just want a high grade touring van that can also get off the road, and travel along well on corrugated dirt roads and rutted out tracks that would destroy a normal van, and last and hold its value. But a smaller group of you Boggers talk about desires for expeditions to extreme locations that require advanced gear on the tow vehicles… And I think many of you will go on to do some advanced exploration with your 4x4’s. This is to whom I am writing. I am amazed at some 4 x 4’s that are bristling with toys and gizmos and electronics, back up cameras, and radios, and CD changers, and stereos, and Ipods, and all kind nice toys… But without what I would consider to be some of the basic gear that is necessary… With all due respect, it is for those that I am spending my Christmas Holiday time to write some of the extreme 4x4 tips for..

People have GPS, automated map directories, rear back up cameras, fancy driving lights, fancy boxes and trays, tonne of toys on board; and they are running on near street tread tyres !! Now for those of you that just wanted the best Touring van, and are not going to get too carried away in exploration: You are in the Majority, and the mainstream of Bushtracker van Owners that just want the best Touring Van in Australia with occasional off-road work.. That is fine, nothing wrong with that, it is no less of an ambition, and you can stop reading this now…

But if you have the interests of that smaller group of fossickers, intrepid adventurers, fishermen, explorers, and the like; you need to have a look at your tyres… It is not just the aggressiveness of the tread to get more initial bite that I am going to tell you about. Here is tip #18: If you get a bit of spin up as you get going in the mud, the more aggressive the tread, the more the spin throws out the heavy weighted clumps of mud between the lugs and allows the tire to keep on with the better traction… Centrifugal force is the engineering word, as the large clumps of mud have enough mass (weight) to be thrown clear on each rotation.. The smaller gaps of street tyres just will not clear their own tread because the little clumps do not have enough mass to be flung clear at low speeds.. If you are going on an expedition way out back, I have two words- Mud Terrains.. The value of Mud Terrain tyres, is that the real 4x4 work comes into play when it has rained for six hours on black soil tracks or bull dust tracks, and when the street tyres gum up to become greased drag slicks…! Ha! Yes, the Mud Terrain tyres howl a bit on the highway…You might have to turn up the stereo a quarter turn... But an alternative is to keep a spare set of tyres in storage just for when you are going on an expedition… That practice is not as rare as you might think… I would not think of going up the Cape, or the Gulf through Hellsgate to Roper River or up the west side of the Cape, or along other NT or Qld rivers, or gem or fossicking fields, or many places Outback without a set of Mud Terrains… I keep them on my old Sahara full time, and on my 100 Series full time, and even have a spare set for my Mack 4x4 horse truck in case I go on expedition. They do not howl all that much, in fact after a while you really don't notice... I have been caught near the beginning of the rainy season and had four rooster tails throwing black soil mud all over, just to get out of a remote spot. If you get caught off the road 100 kms like I have, with unseasonable weather just before the big wet season, you either get out or you could be in for a very long stay… Ha! I have had the weather set in, and debated half the night to realize that I if I did not get out at dawn, I might not get out at all for an extended period.. The Mud Terrains will allow that muddy but graceful exit.. And for those water crossings and occasional big BOGS (no pun intended, Ha!), there is nothing better. A bit messy, but at least you get out.. I even have a set of Mud Terrain big lugged tyres on my van, in case my F-350 got into trouble to change them out… I carried my extra set of extreme condition tyres with me, but running them on the van… And guess what even though my F-350 has been outgrown due to my wanting to travel with horses lately ( yea, yea I refuse to grow up even though I getting old), the Mud Terrains will be on my next van as well. I am not going to sell them, when I sell my current van early this year. I will put a new set of street tyres on board the current Show van before I sell it… When the "Muddies" on your tow vehicle get about half worn out, your tyres on the van will need replacing, run them out there on you Bushtracker and put "Fresh" ones on the tow vehicle...

If I think that, why don’t we just put them on all Bushtrackers? Well for one it would be expensive and unnecessary for most. I am talking to the few that would want to do this, and to the few that are growing in that direction and talking about doing this amongst the Boggers… The truth is where the rubber hits the road so to speak, there are four really important things. tyres, tyres, tyres and tyres….

In the words of Roy Rogers: “Happy Trails to You....... Until we meet again…”

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