Friday, January 14, 2000

The 10 Commandments of Modifying an Overland Vehicle

By Scott

1) Complexity is the enemy: Keep the vehicle as simple and reliable as possible

2) Weight is the enemy of performance: Keep the vehicle as light as possible. The goal should be 90% of GVWR or less.

3) Suspension Performance: The vehicle must perform just as well on pavement as it does on the dirt.

4) Keep the Engine Stock: If the environment you are travelling in demands a certain amount of power (like sand) then buy the right truck, with the right engine to start with.

5) Isolate and Minimize All Electrical Modifications: Electronics are the bane of all travellers, taking more time and requiring more “fiddling” than any other system.

6) Use High Quality Tires in an Appropriate Tread.

7) Avoid Roof Loads at all Costs: Loads must be as low as possible and as close to the centreline of the vehicle (fore/aft) as possible. If all that gear needs to be on the roof, you probably bought the wrong vehicle.

8) Self-Recovery: Everyone gets stuck, even with the best possible vehicle and driver experience. A winch can provide control and mechanical advantage that no 4wd modification can match. We have also found traction plates to be essential for extreme bog conditions, and now carry at least four.

9) Secure the Load: Take the time to secure all loose items in the cab, ensuring that proper lashing points are installed throughout the vehicle.

10)  Quality and Design over Quantity: A stock, properly maintained Land Cruiser can easily drive around the world, and take on some seriously remote and rugged terrain along the way. So, make modifications only as absolutely necessary.

=> Simplicity and reliability is the key to vehicle preparation for long-distance adventure travel.