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.