4WDS are expensive, don’t send yours to an early grave

4WDS are expensive, don’t send yours to an early grave

Amazing destinations aren’t so amazing if you break down halfway there

Unless you’re rubbing shoulders with the 1%, chances are your 4WD will be one of the most expensive things you’ll ever own, especially when you start taking modifications into account. Of course, they’re worth more than just money too. They’re a gateway to adventure, capable of getting us out of the daily grind to to exotic destinations your average joe might only ever watch on the idiotbox. And they can do it all reliably, and comfortable. The problem is, they can only do all of that when they’re fighting fit and up to the task. A leaky seal, busted camping gear, and a cooling system that can’t keep its cool are all likely to see you spending your hard-earned days off with the bonnet up covered in grease, and not kicking back with a fishing rod on a deserted beach.

The solution is pretty simple. Get it regularly serviced and you’re good to go… right? Well yes and no. Y’see, that’s a huge piece of the puzzle, but there’s more to building a work-horse of a 4WD than regular oil changes. Whether you’re pounding up rock ledges and blasting your way through mud holes, or trundling along white beaches and sleeping under the stars, this advice will go a long way to making your pride and joy last the distance.

Routine maintenance is the only way to keep your engine fighting fit

You’ve just rolled out of the dealership with your brand new turbo-diesel 4WD, or maybe you’re looking out the driveway and a 20yo LandCruiser. In either way, if it’s in stock condition chances are it’s not up to the task when it comes to serious off-road work. As much as we hate to admit it, stock 4WDs just simply aren’t designed for the kind of travel we do with them. If they were they’d come fitted with all the kit already. Of course we’re not talking about being able to nose into Gun-Shot fully loaded either, just the basics needed for remote touring. Their air-intakes are too low, the fuel filtration systems inadequate, and they’re dangerously underpowered when they’re loaded to GVM or hauling a camper or caravan.

It’s this reason we’ll always address those basics right from the get-go, before you worry about picking colour matched drawers. Catch cans, fuel pre-filters, snorkels, exhaust systems, breathers and ECU re-mapping all work together to ensure your engine and driveline not only stay clean and healthy, but you’ll have enough mumbo to get the job done.

The next area we’ll address is the actual quality of aftermarket components too. It’s easy to get caught up on eBay buying driving lights for 20c and a genuine imitation roof top tent for $50 with a free phone cover. But when things like that fail the results are more time in the driveway doing running repairs, and less time on the tracks. After all, when you’re 1000km from home do you want to be gluing a radiator together on the side of the track because a cheap bull-bar punch a cheap lightbar through your cooling system? The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

No amount of modifications can make up for mechanical sympathy

At Roo we pride ourselves on building serious outback tourers and capable tow-tugs. All-round vehicles perfectly designed for exploring the remote, and often hostile parts of Australia, not just hauling down the quarter-mile with a bunch of cheap gear tek-screwed on. Quality gear, with a solid plan, and dependable workmanship. But even the tallest snorkel in the world won’t save you if you put it under water. Making your 4WD last is no different.

Modifications like diff lockers, heavy duty clutches, upgraded suspension and ECU re-mapping will make your 4WD better in every way. It’ll be more capable, more dependable, more reliable, and tow better. But it doesn’t mean you can drive them like a coffee-crazed lunatic with no mechanical sympathy. Knock it back a gear out of overdrive when you’re climbing a long constant hill, drop your tyre pressures a little more, rather than hitting tracks harder and harder, and most importantly, keep an eye on the weight you’re carrying in your 4WD. With more power people load more weight in which will take its toll on everything from your cooling system to your rear axle. Treating your 4WD right is just as important as building it right.

It pays to keep an eye on things, this Ranger had a clogged air filter and wasn’t even due for its first service

All the modifications and polishing in the world won’t hold a candle to regular maintenance. 4WDs work harder than their road going counterparts and the maintenance schedule needs to reflect that. The most important aspect is keeping the engine running. If you’re doing it yourself or bringing it in to us, regular oil changes with quality oil are an absolute must, and forget the manufacturers optimistic service schedule too. You can generally halve them for oil changes, especially if you’re planning on towing heavy loads or driving in soft terrain. Likewise, the gearbox, transfer case, and front and rear diffs will both need regular attention and fluid changes

It’s not just about the driveline either. A qualified eye over your 4WD at least semi-regularly can help spot issues as they develop and before they become problems. Simple things like worn bushes, loose wheel bearings, notchy gears or contaminated coolant can all identify a problem before it leaves you broken down in the middle of the Simpson Desert.




Contact us now or call 1300 305 709 (Mon-Fri) and let us show you what we can do for your 4WD or contact one of our 65 nationwide dealers directly.