July 17, 2010

One thing leads to another

One of the problems with modern 4WDs with front crumple zones is finding somewhere to fit rated recovery hooks. Even my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, supposedly the Jeepest of all Jeeps, has this problem. Mopar offers a solution, but the factory product is rated below the 10,000lb that event scrutineers and club safety officers here often prefer. So I thought I'd ask ARB if its Wrangler bumper has recovery points like those on my old Defender bumper. Even these drew the ire of some scrutineers so I always carried a letter from ARB saying the points were suitable for snatch recovery so long as a rope
was used with 20 per cent or more elongation. Yes, the Wrangler bumper does have recovery points. No, ARB will no longer write me a letter. Then Stuart Cocking of Motortech 4x4 and I worked out how we could fit rated hooks to the bumper that would make everybody happy. All good. Then I become worried about the bumper's weight, which is about 55kg on top of the 16kg Mopar skid plate I've already fitted. I weigh 55kg worth of stuff and load it onto the stock bumper, which immediately causes the Rubicon to go arse-up and sink some 1.5cm on its front springs. Well, I could always get an ARB lift kit with stiffer springs and ... now I'm into about $3000 worth of mods in order to fit a couple of $30 hooks.

My plan for upgrading the Wrangler was to mess with it as little as possible. No lift kit, no unnecessary added weight, just some slightly larger tyres (the new Kevlar-bolstered asymmetric Goodyear MT/Rs), decent shocks, underbody protection, an on-board air compressor, etc. It comes standard with front and rear diff locks and a disconnecting front swaybar. So I gave myself a reality check and ordered the Mopar hooks from the US, the ones that seem to satisfy the needs of thousands of American and other off roaders. If some safari scrutineer doesn't like them, I'll just have to go home. Meanwhile, though,
club safety officers and organisers of tag-along safaris should seriously think about the realities of using modern vehicles off-road. The days when you could bolt some hooks any old place on the front of the chassis and then snatch-recover the buggery out of it are for the most part well and truly over.

December update: Sure got the above all wrong. Here's a newer posting.

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