A massive thanks to Phil for sharing all of his great advice on the history and how to drive this amazing Australian track.
This was going to be my new Ute. The rumours were that it was going to have a new 3.6 litre Petrol engine with a lot more power. The Ecoboost engine was meant to have 336kW and 690Nm. The new diesel has 147kW and 470Nm.
We discuss with Robert Pepper, renowned 4WD journalist about -
We also look at the shocks, gearbox and the tyres. At least with BF Goodrich tyres is a serious statement from Ford that the Raptor is meant to go offroad.
When first announced, people were putting deposits down on the Raptor without knowing the price, which is pretty amazing. How will the reaction be once people know what the specs are going to be.
It will be interesting to see how the Baja mode works, it does sound like it will be a bit of fun to drive offroad, but the other question is where can we take one of these to really give it a good go and drive it to it's full potential.
We also talk about how some of the pressures of modern vehicle design are shaping what is possible for vehicle designers. The smaller engine is part of a trend. It is a bit of a surprise that it is a diesel. We've spoken before about the death of diesel.
The reaction to the engine size has not been great, it will be interesting to see what the final price for the Raptor ends up as. It will be more expensive than the Wildtrak, but just how much will be interesting to see.
Robert gives an example of how the comparing engine and gearbox pairings and how the performance of the new 10 speed gearbox in the Raptor will be really important to how powerful the Raptor feels. The bi-turbo will also assist with off the line performance.
What is the future of big engine 4WDs and cars in general?
Between 1,500 and 2,000 a year do the Canning Stock Route. What is there to see and what is there to do when travelling the CSR.
We talk with Canning Stock Route expert, Phil Binachi about the activities and attractions on the stock route.
The dune systems are an amazing site and an amazing driving experience.
There is a large amount of aboriginal art some of which is incredibly old.
There are of course, the wells and a number of graves.
We discuss the work of Track Care and how they are working to maintain the tracks.
Phil talks about how the 4 wheel drivers are working together with conservationalists to ensure ongoing access to the tracks.
We discuss the concept of 4WD Tourism and the effect that it has on the economy of Australia as a whole and for rural towns in particular.
We talk about the access to the Canning Stock Route. What parts are open and which parts are effected by the weather.
We answer the big question - how long should you take to do the Canning Stock Route and which way should you travel the Canning?
North to South or South to North, which way should you go? Phil talks about where you can get your repairs done, which is a bit factor in travelling the Canning. It is 1,800kms and there is a high chance of vehicle damage, so thinking about repairs is an important part of doing the Canning.
Phil Bianchi is a historian and 4 wheel driver who has documented a lot of history of the Canning Stock Route and he has driven the route many times.
From Wiluna to Halls Creek, it runs 1850 kms and was first surveyed in 1906.
We discuss Alfred Canning and his initial trip to survey the Canning Stock Route and the expedition to build the stock route.
The history of the Canning Stock Route is fascinating, with murders, sabotage,Beef barons and a Royal Commission.
We talk about the initial survey and the Royal Commission that followed. Some of the documents from these early times are still locked up in Government Departments.
In 1908, Canning started construction creating a lot of issues with the local Aboriginals.
This is a fascinating discussion about the history of this iconic 4 wheel drive track.
We talk to Robert Pepper about the future of Diesel engines in 4 wheel drives. My last 3 4WDs have had diesel engines and I have loved the economy and reliability of diesels.
Vehicle emissions have become increasingly under the microscope as people become more aware of the effects on the environment. Whilst the fuel economy of diesel has been great (my old Patriot was getting 6.5 liters / 100km) the emissions are a lot dirtier.
The United States has never really embraced diesels, nor has the Middle East, but diesels are very popular in Europe.
We talk about the Common Rail Diesel design, and how that works.
We look at some of the ways that engine designers have tried to make diesel engines more environmentally friendly.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation, whereby some of the exhaust gas and how it works to decrease Nitrogen Oxide emissions.
Diesel Particulate Filters and how they work.
AdBlue, one type of Selective Catalytics Reduction. We look at how this works, and more importantly, what happens if you run out of Ad Blue when you are out bush.
We talk about Dieselgate, where VW and a number of other vehicle manufacturers built software to decrease performance
What will the introduction of Euro 6 mean for Australian vehicles? New cars sold in Australia after July 2018 will have to meet Euro 6 and the Ford Explorer already has AdBlue fitted.
There have been a lot of developments with petrol engines, although petrol is probably on the way out as well.
In the UK, they are banning the sale of new petrol cars in 2040 and Volvo will drop Petrol and Diesel cars after 2019, so the writing is on the wall.
This is a sad development for fans of the big oiler engines, it will be interesting to see what an electric 4 wheel drive will be like off road.
We talk to Mike Clayton from Clayton's Towing. Started 45 years ago on the Sunshine Coast, Clayton's now has 15 depots and 100 staff.
Have a listen to this podcast if you ever tow a caravan, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider when planning your trip, and those factors can change between the start of your trip and the end, so knowing how to drive with a caravan is really important. Please share with anyone who tows a caravan.
Mike drives a FJ Cruiser, goes offroad and tows a caravan - on top of that, he and his crews have seen a lot of caravan crashes, they are often one of the first people that drivers get to talk to after having a crash while towing a caravan so he is uniquely place to talk about some of the reasons why caravans crash.
Claytons Towing has seen a lot of unusual crashes, including a boat recovery off the beach, the sinkhole and aircraft crashes. We talk about how they worked to move winch a boat of the beach and the technical difficulties they faced with that.
Caravan crashes create a lot of mayhem on the roads and tend to get more publicity,
We discuss towball weight,the weight of vehicles, electric breaking, caravan wobbles.
Towball weight can either be too light or too heavy and the weight on the towball can change during a trip, so a good understanding of what towball weight is and how it effects the towing performance is really important.
Vehicle weight - just because a car or ute is rated to 2.5 ton, doesn't mean that you should. Some vehicles, especially utes can be quite light when towing a large caravan.
Electric brakes need to be adjusted for different driving. Highway driving needs more brakes than city driving.
A lot of people think that when the caravan starts to wobble you should speed up, but Mike has seen many people who have speed up and it has only made things worse. You might be better off using the caravan brakes to straighten out the caravan and pull it straight, rather than speeding up.
Be cautious on windy roads, especially when going downhill.
Mike isn't an engineer, but his wisdom is based on years of experience in dealing with caravan crashes.
Please share this podcast with anyone who tows a caravan so that we can help more people get to their holiday and return safe and sound.
Keep an eye out on 7 Mate for their new TV Show - Towie's featuring the crew from Clayton's and some of the interesting people and jobs that they do.
We talk to Jason Lock to talk about all of the things that can go wrong when you head offroad.
Before we get started, we talk a little about 4WD insurance and the work that Kalen is doing at Club 4x4. He is providing the insurance for 4x4earth members. If you are looking for insurance for your 4x4,check out the Inusrance page on 4x4earth. We get a commission from each one sold which helps keep 4x4earth free and independent. We also talk about The Day I killed my Jeep.
Getting stuck and being unable to recover.
We talk about my first trip out,everything that went wrong from a really simple trip out and how it went pear shaped really quickly. I relied on the kindness and smarts of a passing motorbike rider who helped me get out of the situation I was in.
Getting bogged in mud
The situation gets a little more serious when you are bogged in mud.
Getting bogged in sand
I love driving on sand, but there are some basics that everyone needs to think about. Tyre pressure is the most importantly thing to think about. Don't turn too sharply, keep your momentum up.
Getting bogged in sand below the high water tide mark at the beach
This makes it a lot more serious, because you are now fighting against time to get your vehicle free.
Lots can go wrong with creek crossings. We talk about my Jeep creek crossing gone wrong.If the river is flowing too fast, you can find you vehicle actually floating down the stream. Also, watch out for water in the engine. That is bad!
Fires in long grass
This happens every now and then, with either spinifex building up under the engine as you drive through the desert, or brakes, transmission and running gear getting hot and setting the grass on fire after you park.
Rolling your car can happen at very low speeds. There are a few videos on Facebook that show just how easily it can happen. Try to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible and take you time. Keep the car front on to the slope.
Tow Ball injuries
Common misconceptions have the tow ball as being a good place to recovery off. This is not the case and all too often people are struck in the head (and sometimes killed!) but tow balls flying off during a recovery.
Major mechanical damage
Damaging your car can be a big problem when you are offroad.
Navigation embarrassment can be a big issue, especially if out by yourself (don't) or only have a GPS which stops working. The tracks databases can be wrong as well. I think it is important to take a paper map so you have a back up.
Have a listen and please share, especially with people new to heading out offroad.
We talk to Robert Pepper about the new 4x4s coming onto the Australian market in 2017.
There is the Mercedes X Class, JL Wrangler, the new Defender, the L472 Land Rover Discovery.
We also have an update on the MA/MC issue and which companies have worked to fix the issue and which haven't.
We find out about Robert's trip through the Victorian Desert in a Maserati. That's right - a Maserati.
We also talk about his taking a Jag offroad.
We look at the the trend for less diesel's in Australia and what is the future of low range.
How are safety features going to change the way that we design bull bars?
Lots of interesting stories and great vehicles coming out in 2017.
We talk to Rudy Paoletti, organiser of Navruns, map and book publisher, explorer and champion of the history of the Aberfeldy Track.
We are discussing the future of 4x4earth, so please have your say on the forum.
We are also looking at a new slogan for the website. "Looking for a good route" has done us well for the first 10 years of the site, but as we look to work more closely with Corporates.
Check out the 4x4earth store. There are T-Shirts, Caps and stubby holders in the store. This is partially about you getting some 4x4earth swag, but more so about supporting the website and helping to keep it free for everyone to enjoy.
We talk to Rudy Paoletti about the Walhalla - Woods Point Gold Belt.
We talk about the work that he has done preserving the history of the Aberfeldy Track. He has done a great job of putting signs in the area and maintaining them. He has also done a huge amount of work in identifying grave sites, mines and townships that the bush has retaken.
We talk about the burial grounds around Store Point.
We also talk about the effects of bushfire in the area, some of which had a massive impact on the past, including the 1851 Black Thursday fire, which burnt out 5 million hectares (12 deaths) and the 1939 Black Friday fire which burnt out 2 million hectares and had 71 deaths. By comparison, Black Saturday burnt out 450,000 hectares, but had 173 deaths.
We talk about some of the walks that can be done in the area.
Donate to the project to join up to help preserve the history that Rudi and his group is preserving.
SEMA, Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association, is the largest trade only automotive show in the world. Held in Las Vegas, there was 40 kilometers of displays.
ARB and TJM attended with great stands, Harrop Industries.
Bubarope has a greatnew product to help kep 5 wraps of cable on your winch, the Grabber.
We talk about some new Cummins diesel engines that will be coming out the Australia.
We also talk about the differences between the modification legislation in the United States and Australia.
We talk about a Jeep with an Electric engine!
We also talk about the price of Utes and the difference between Australia and the United States.
There is also a really interesting story about how the US protects the intellectual property of their companies - Jason talks about the actions of the US Marshalls and some of the dodgy knock offs that were at the show.
We talk about the new Pressure Perfect tyre pressure management system. This allows you to air down or air up automatically. They have done this by designing the Pressure Perfect module to automatically stopping the compressor or airing down once the required pressure has been reached.
Check out the trip report from the 9th Annual Victorian Gathering. A great
We talk with Club 4x4 Insurance. 4x4earth has worked with Kalen from Club 4x4 and we are now recommending Club 4x4. Check out the link to our insurance link to see how their policies stack up and how they stack up on pricing. This is a great way to look into your 4WD insurance and 4x4earth gets a rebate, so you are helping keep 4x4earth free and independant for all users across the country. (We get 200,000 visits a month!)
The big issues a lot of people have issues with is coverage when offroad, and also the price of modifications that you have done. Often these won't be covered and Club 4x4 has worked hard to ensure that 4WD owners are covered for the
Here is the list of 4WD recovery companies around the country. If you know another towing service, please put it in there.
Kalen has done quite a bit of research in the MA / MC rating issue with Ford Everists and Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees.
New 4WD Trends with Robert Pepper
Sheep Yard Flats - 9th Annual Victorian Gathering. This will be one of the best trips to go on for newbies to meet experienced 4 wheel drivers and get some great tracks under their belt. It is Australia's largest free and independent 4 wheel drive weekend away.
We get Roberts view on the new Ford F250 and what he thinks it would be like offroad.
The new Toyota Landcruiser 200 series, what is it like to drive and is the top of the line Sahara worth the extra money
DCT (dual clutch transmission) vs CVT (continuous variable transmission) - where are the manufacturers heading with them and what are the problems with them. How did the new Suzuki fair with a new dual clutch transmission?
Is the new worth the money? What does Robert think of the add ons on the high end models.
Usability in the 'cockpit' of modern 4WDs, what is driving the thinking behind the way that touch screens and controls are laid out.
AWD - where are they heading?
Safety aids. What is AANCAP doing with the safety ratings. Do we need 6 star ratings for safety?
Autonomous emergency braking and trailer sway control, blind spot warning. (you tube video)
We discuss the most effective safety solution for all drivers is.
Is the Jeep Ute going to be the most iconic 4WD of 2017?
Mercedes ute? Will Hyundai release a real 4WD next year?
What about the new Defender and Discovery due out and possibly an Amarok refresh.
Our resident 4WD expert Jason Lock talks about the history of the diff lock and how Uneek 4x4 has developed a new Cap Locker.
We talk about the effects of a factory LSD when you fit a traditional diff lock and how the cap locker will enable the vehicle to retain the use of the LSD.
We look at the changes to the design, which will make the cap locker easier and cheaper to install and also more reliable. We talk about the design and testing process that the Cap Locker has gone through to be able to bring this product to market.
We talk about what models will be available now (Suzuki and Landcruiser) and also what will be next as well as some of the new bull bars, followed by Subaru and Prado lockers.
Another great Australian manufacturing story about a product that has been wholly designed and manufactured in Australia!
We talk about how to prepare for a trip out into the Snow. Snow driving is a lot of fun, but the conditions are very different to other types of 4 wheel driving.
Snow driving is usually done in very cold environments, so preparation is a lot more important. Spending a night out in the snow can be life threatening if you are not prepared for it.
We also talk about the upcoming 9th Annual Victorian gathering in November 2016 at Sheepyard Flat.
This is a great opportunity for people new to 4 wheel driving and camping to get together with other 4x4earth members. There will be a lot of 4x4 tracks to be done and a lot of people who can make your first or second time out a nice and easy trip out. Sheepyard's is a gateway to some amazing tracks and huts. This is Australia's largest free 4 wheel drive weekend away, so check out the details and come along!
Tim Bates has been driving the High Country for over 25 years and he shares his experiences with some of Australia's best 4 wheel drive tracks.
We talk about the Wonnangatta murders, where James Barclay and John Bamford were murdered in 1916.
We also talk about the Talbotville campgrounds and some of the great tracks and things to see around the area.
Have you had issues with 4 wheel drives being defected in Mansfield? More and more 4 wheel drivers talk about issues in Mansfield and we are trying to find out what makes Mansfield special and what the impact is on the local businesses.
Check out Tim's great video series, Podcasts from the Bush.
We talk to Australia's most famous 4 wheel driver, Roothy. We cover Milo, the places that he has been and the mods that he has done.
We also have a great chat about how to keep tracks open. We discuss one of my favorite topics - 4 wheel drive tourism, giving the bush a hand up, not a hand out to keep the great bush towns going.
We also talk about why he is running for election with the Liberal Democrats in the Queensland Federal Senate. For me, 4 wheel driving is a symbol of the freedom that we have in Australia, and Roothy talks about how he is working to keep our rights to the tracks we love to drive.
This was one of the funnest podcasts we've done. Have a listen to one of the nicest and most knowledgeable four wheel drivers in Australia.
Many 4 wheel drive owners go their whole life without any formal training in going offroad or the vehicles that we use. Because of this, there are many myths about driving and our vehicles which have crept in over time.
We talk to 4WD expert Robert Pepper about many of these myths, how they came about and why they just aren't correct.
You'll have a better understanding of your car and you'll be a better 4 wheel driver.
We discuss diff locks, recovery techniques, axels and a whole range of other 4 wheel drive myths!
This is a great story that looks at the way that 4 wheel driving with mates in the bush can help people struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
We talk to Marcus Nash, the Founder of the Blue Green crew about how he started the group
This is a must listen episode for any Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade, SES or ADF members who may be struggling with PTSD, or if one of your mates is struggling with PTSD, this is a great way you can help them.
It is a really inspirational story both of the work that Marcus is doing, and also about the power of going 4x4ing with some mates, having a few laughs and enjoying the peace and quiet of the great outdoors and how it can help people start to get their lives back on track.
I've spoken to some of the people who have been in dark places with their PTSD and they are certain that they wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the trips that the Blue Green crew are putting together.
We talk all things 4 wheel driving with Rodney Hudson, or Rocket, from Wholesale Automatics. Rodney is an iconic legend in the 4 wheel drive industry, featuring in many videos as he explores all over Australia.
We also talk about his pioneering work at Wholesale Automatics, developing sophisticated solutions for people who want an automatic transmission in their vehicle. It is an amazing process that Rod shares with us about the design and Research and Development involved in building these great transmissions.
Rods an expert 4 wheel driver, a passionate advocate for the bush and enjoying the great outdoors and an amazing mechanic with a great story to tell.
Also, have a listen to our test drive of the new Pajero Sport. Really interesting to drive this after our interview with Robert Pepper, because some of the things he was talking about are starting to appear in the next generation of very tech savvy 4 wheel drives.
What kinds of changes are going to happen to 4 wheel drives over the next 5 years?
Robert Pepper is one of Australia's leading automotive journalists and is very technical. We discuss what changes are going to effect the 4 wheel drives that come onto the market over the next 5 years.
Autonomous Emergency Braking, self driving cars, bullbar modifications and how these will all change the way we go offroad.
We look at what factors make a 4 wheel drive fun to drive and what that means for the future designs that we will see offroad.
What will happen with low range?
The Simpson is one of the iconic places to go 4 wheel driving in Australia. We chat about the some of the interesting history of the Desert, along with the best ways to tackle Desert driving. Ian has been through the Desert 3 times and has a wealth of experience in Desert driving as well as the high country.
We discuss how to prepare for travelling across the Simpson Desert, what time of year is best and some of the great sites to see along the way.
We also discuss Ian's unique connection with the history of the Desert.
Thinking of buying a used 4 wheel drive? Some 4 wheel drives have a much harder life than others, so you need to know the clues to find out the vehicles you may want to steer away from.
What are some of the things to think about in selecting the make and model of vehicle? What is the best way to research the different models?
Is it better to buy a 4 wheel drive with lots of mods or should you look for one with no modifications?
Where are the places to buy a used 4WD?
You'll find lots of great tips to help you make a better choice next time you upgrade your 4x4!
Listen to Lowlux as he shares his wisdom about driving on Sand. Based in South Australia, he's done plenty of both desert and beach driving and has some stories to tell. We will talk about:
Resident expert Jason Lock joins us to talk all things Lift Kit and Suspension for your 4x4. We give you the information you need to choose the right kind of lift for your 4WD, what they different types of lift and suspension are, what can go wrong with lift kits that are illegal or badly designed and what impacts a lift kit can have on your insurance.
Winches are a really important bit of kit on any 4WD. Whether you put one on as a bit of insurance, hoping to never use it or if you go offroad expecting to winch out - you need your winch to work. One of the things that I have been amazed with is the number of times winching has been needed and the winches have failed. Some winches have a notorious "Water Clause" in them, which means that the warranty is invalidated if they go under water, which means you can't do creek crossings! Find out which winches are good and which ones have issues in our interview with Swaggie, 4x4earth moderator and winch expert.