Category: Driving

World’s most dangerous roads

Watching the third episode of “The worlds’ most dangerous roads”, and trying to decide which is the most dangerous.

The first was “Ice Road Truckers” territory – not that hard in a decent 4×4 but will kill you if you get it wrong.

The second was driving across Nepal – harder terrain, but most of it much more forgiving.

And this one is driving across Peru to find the lost modern city of Constitucion, which was intended to be a new capital to replace Lima, and now doesn’t even exist on a map. This one has the makings of being the most challenging of the three – narrow roads, 1000 foot drops…

Part of me would love to try something like this – and part of me would be absolutely terrified at the prospect.

Winching Demo

I think the most oft-repeated lie in off-roading is that “plasma” rope doesn’t stretch, so doesn’t store energy to “whiplash” when it breaks.

This demo clearly shows this isn’t the case.  This has been deliberately set up with a weak link of 8mm rope between the winch hook and the strop around the tree (and a snatch block to change direction to ensure the winch vehicle isn’t in the firing line when it breaks!)

From the driver’s perspective, once the rope goes taut you can clearly hear the winch moving – slowly – as the rope continues to extend and tension.  Some of this stretch is coming from the weak link, sure, but most of it is coming from the plasma itself.  And when that energy goes into a hefty winch hook, here’s the result.

It’s nothing like wire rope letting go, but there clearly is lots of energy stored there.   Stay safe when winching folks, and that means well away from anything under tension.

C.S.K. R.I.P.

Some people get upset when royalty die.  Some people get upset when soap stars die.  But when I think it’s sad when someone I’ve never met dies, it’s often someone who has changed the world in ways most people don’t notice.

And the latest person in that category is Charles Spencer (“Spen”) King.

Who?  I hear you ask.

Spen King lead the design teams for the Rover 2000 and SD1, Triumph Stag, TR6 and TR7, and most notably the original Range Rover.  Arguably the TD7 wasn’t his best work, but it’s still an fantastic CV.

The world has lost one of the finest car designers ever.  The man who arguably created an entire new segment of the car market – the luxury SUV – is no longer with us.

That’s worth raising a glass in his memory.

Disco Phase I – what I planned and what I did.

Underbody protection.   In the end I went for the Qt guards front and rear.  The others just seemed too wimpy.

Steering Guard.   Southdown Steering Guard fitted.  Still working on best recovery options.

Tank Guard and rear recovery point is proving to be a real problem.  Still.

Snorkel.  Safari. Easy decision.  And looking good.

Winch is looking good in the Bearmach discrete mount kit.  I still need a good strong recovery point, and I’m thinking of drilling the steering guard to add a couple of swivels.

I also added some privacy screens to the windows, a roof rack and some bridging ladders.  Given the lack of lift and agressive tyres right now, these seemed worthwhile.

So what next?

Tyres: will be upgraded to ATs in axle pairs as the existing ones wear or otherwise need replacing.  And the chrome side steps, which look nice, will get replaced with tree sliders if and when they get damaged.

Discovery Update

A busy weekend.  The winch, steering guard, snorkel and roof rack have all been fitted.  And I am now too knackered to take pictures or further document what I did. 

A gotcha for the unwary is that the hose you have to remove from the washer fluid bottle is a push-to-release clip that you can’t see in the dark behind the bumper.  Don’t break it like I did.

Snorkelling

A bit of a busy Friday evening, but the Discovery has the first visible evidence of it being made a bit more capable for off-road use – a Safari Snorkel.

My friend David French came over and helped fit it, and at the same time we fitted another one to a Td5 that’s being taken to Iceland for an extended trip in the summer.  We both came to the conclusion that car maintenance is much more enjoyable as a socialble activity.

IMG_3543

Disco upgrades… a small start

Well, I’ve made a small start to the upgrades on the Disco.

I’ve fitted Qt Services diff guards front and rear.  I originally planned to put a bearmach one on the front but after actually seeing one decided it was a piece of crap since it didn’t actually protect the underside of the diff.

I went with the advice to put the Defender one on the front to avoid needed to weld lugs onto the diff.  Worked like a charm, though I did need to get all the bolts started before tightening them up, not to mention cleaning the unused threads on the casing that had been exposed to the elements for the last 5 years (M10 1.25mm pitch if you want to get a tap in advance).  The hitch down the road is that I assume the defender diff drain hole is in the bottom, not the side.  There’s a circular hole under the diff – and the plug wont quite clear the side of the guard once it’s all done up tight.

It’s going to have to come off at the next oil change, and a bit filed off to avoid having to do that again.   Yeah, I should have done it right the first time, but it’s been a long week and I’m knackered.

I also replaced the broken A post trim cover in preparation for installing a snorkel in the next few days.  Watch this space.