THE CRUISER has been wandering the backblocks of Australia for its annual winter sojourn, including a trip across the Madigan Line from Mt Dare to Birdsville. Before it went on the trip, though, we had it up at Outback 4WD in Bayswater for a pretrip inspection, where among its general service requirements we changed the rear brake pads and skimmed the rear discs.
As a prerequisite for the desert trip we fitted an ARB twin compressor, which we shoehorned into one of the under-tray boxes of the Boss canopy. The twin motors of the high-performance compressor incorporate internal thermal protection, while in-line heavy-duty fuses offer protection from extreme current draw. The compressor draws up to 68amp at maximum pressure, so it requires heavy-duty wiring to cope with the current drain. On the plus side it delivers up to 174 litres of air per minute at 0kPa and 131 litres per minute at 200kPa (29psi), which is bloody good. This makes short work of inflating tyres or running some air tools; the latter requiring an air tank for optimum operation. We fitted a four-litre tank into the under-tray box.
The setup, ready at hand all the time, makes it easy and quick to inflate tyres, and for even better tyre inflation we went all out and got ourselves one of those fancy digital tyre inflators. This makes obtaining the right tyre pressure that much easier, with a stated accuracy of +/-1psi at 25-75psi.
With a lot of sand running and halfreasonable outback roads in store, we swapped back to our Cooper ST Maxx tyres, as they perform extremely well in these conditions and you get better fuel economy on these than when running heavy-duty mud tyres.
More recently, after discovering there was a shortage of space for long bush trips, we fitted a Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform roof rack to the Boss alloy canopy.
Rhino has a heap of racks and support bars to choose from and we’ve used a variety for many years now and they’ve never let us down in any way, even when we load them past the recommended limits. These platform racks come in a variety of sizes, from 928x1426mm to a mammoth 2528x1586mm, so there is one that will suit you and your vehicle’s roof; we opted for the 1928x1236mm, which should be capable of handling everything we want to carry.
I was limited in what I could fit to the Cruiser because of the roofline clearance getting into our garage, hence the platform design. With clearance being the real issue we couldn’t use roof bars of any sort, so we mounted the rack with just a few spacers, enabling enough room for ropes or tie-downs to be used but keeping the overall height as low as possible. At home it was a tentative drive into the garage, with the new rack clearing by just one centimetre. The accessories I bought – a shovel holder and a gas bottle holder – will require fitting before the next trip, and they’ll also demand removal before I try and drive back into the garage. It’s not perfect, but I can live with it.
OUTBACK 4WD: www.outback4wd.com.au
COOPER TYRES: www.coopertires.com.au
FATZ FABRICATION: www.fatzfab.com.au
NARVA LIGHTS: www.narva.com.au
We also took the opportunity to fit a set of Narva LED globes, which come in a variety of fitments so you’ll be able to find one suitable for your rig. You’ll find the improvement over normal halogen globes to be more than worth the price, especially if you’re doing plenty of night driving and can’t use or don’t have a good set of driving lights.
Then, with stories of dusted engines and extremely high repair bills circulating on social media and ringing loudly in my ears, we went searching for a better air box and aircleaner system.
We settled on a unit from Fatz Fabrication based in Rockhampton, Queensland. These aren’t cheap, but if they save an engine from an early death then that will be a godsend. I’m not a great lover of flatbed aircleaner elements, anyway, so this new smart-looking unit has already won me over. We’ll provide a full report on this when we’ve done a few dusty miles and seen how it performs.