Category: 4×4

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.

Farewell to the Dakar, Disco upgrades planned

Well, I’ve gone and done it and sold the Dakar.

It’s become too much of an effort to find time to give it the work it needs along with all the other things I want to do.

I don’t want to step back from off-roading completely, but the Discovery is too nice and shiny to take into the really mucky bits.

So the plan is to still do some marshalling for TV4x4, and perhaps the odd bit of green-laning and training days for 4×4 response – and to spend some of the funds from the sale of the Dakar on some upgrades for the Disco.

So, what’s the plan for upgrades?

Underbody protection.   Starting with diff guards, even this isn’t as simple as it seems.  I really like the wraparound ones from Qt Services, but their Td5 Disco ones require welding to the front diff casing.  Not an option for me.  So I went with a compromise here.  On the front diff it’s mostly the forward facing flat side of the diff that’s vulnerable, so I’ve got a basic Bearmach diff guard here and then gone with the Qt wraparound where the input side of the diff is more vulnerable.

Steering Guard.   I’ve had a second hand steering guard in the garage for a while waiting to be fitted.  Time to go for it.

Tank Guard and rear recovery point is proving to be a real problem.  I can’t find anyone doing a combined tank guard and tow hitch that is type approved, and all the approved tow hitch designs are good at doing double duty as a plough.  I can be legal or useful, it seems.    In the meantime I think a JATE ring might find it’s way under the rear rail.

Snorkel.  Safari. Easy decision.  Much prefer the look to any of the “drainpipe up the A post” designs.

Winch/front recovery point is another non-obvious decision.   Most of the winch bumpers are a bit too “cutaway” for my taste and I think destroy the nice lines of the front of the vehicle.  After all, this is supposed to be an everyday car first.   Land rover do a mounting kit that sits in front of the vehicle, but that adds another 4″ or so to the front of the car which I don’t much like either.  I think I’m going to go with the “discrete” mounting option and see what I can do to add some recovery points to the winch mount.

4×4 drivers save wedding from the snow

A couple in Kent who thought they were going to have to call off their wedding because of the snow may have the kind of white wedding they wanted after all.

Karen Rawlins is now hopeful of becoming Mrs Lee, thanks to offers of help from listeners to BBC Radio Kent. They have offered to take the wedding party and guests, by 4×4 vehicles, up a single lane track which is otherwise impassable.

CADAC vs Cobb

Between my activities with RAYNET and off-roading, and my love of food, I wanted to find a way to do some decent portable cooking. Better than warming stuff up on a camping stove, anyways.

The two contenders – that several people seem to debate, are the Cobb barbecue and the Cadac grill. They are different animals – and ultimately I want both for different reasons.

The Cadac is a gas bbq, with space, from the reviews, to cook burgers and sausages for eight people. You can stick a pan on it, and it comes with flat (bacon and egg) and ribbed (steaks) cooking surfaces. It’s a portable gas barbie, basically.

The Cobb is a portable oven. Charcoal fired, and popularised by the “Hairy Bikers”, it’s a good way of cooking a proper roast or similar out in the field. But it’s not something that can be used for quick grilling of steak, or really for a quick breakfast. If you want to do a roast in the field, it’s the equipment of choice.

So which did I go for?

Ultimately, the Cadac.

It’s a bit cheaper, but the selling point is that it’s really for quick cooking. Grilling a steak, cooking breakfasts, perhaps roasting some veggies. It’s the weapon of choice for the next two events.

I’d like to add a Cobb as well, but funds aren’t unlimited. So I’ll stick with the extra grill space for now.