Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Making of Ruby - Part 2

Part 2
Following a couple of weekends away (we will also get some posts up about this soon!) it was clear that we were a little light on for extra storage. The 76 is a relatively small vehicle inside and bulky or awkward items such as swags, shovels, fishing rods and spare tyres were taking up too much room, or risking damage to the gear, us, or car itself by having them inside the cabin. As a result we needed to make a decision on how to carry this equipment. With a second spare tyre a mandatory inclusion for us, this became a key issue, with a couple of solutions being considered.
We looked into mounting a rear bar with dual wheel carriers onto the back of the car, this would sort the spare tyre issue out and also remove some weight from the rear door while providing better rear panel protection. However; we found that to secure a quality unit that these are VERY expensive (more than the cost of all of our other bar work combined!) We also considered modifying the camper to carry a second spare, but decided against this as it would have meant a custom fabrication of a carrier and had the potential to make it inconvenient to get into and out of the trailers storage compartment.

Rear awning on roof rack
All of this made a roof rack a pretty compelling decision; the next problem is which one! Almost every major 4x4 accessory supplier makes a roof rack, with cost, materials and quality varying greatly between models and brands. The first decision was Alloy vs Steel, Alloy is lighter, but in most cases has a lower carrying capacity for the rack itself. Whereas steel is heavy (meaning you take up more of your roof rated weight limit with the rack before you have added any extra equipment). We settled on a Rhino Rack unit, which is made of aluminum, but built to be heavy duty. We also decided against the traditional roof bars and basket configuration of Rhino Rack, opting instead for their new (at the time) Pioneer units, which are similar to other steel unit available on the markets in being permanently mounted complete units with the supports being contained in the tray of the rack rather than in separate roof bars. All roof racks for the 76 series are mounted in the gutters of the vehicles roof. One concern we had with many of the racks we looked at was that when there were not enough mounting points to spread the load evenly across the roof that the gutters can be damaged and lead to long term issues for the vehicle. The Rhino unit has well designed mounting clamps which spread the weight over a large area, and fix to the gutters in a way, where point loading is minimised. We have since added shovel holders, and side and rear awnings to the rack, further adding to its versatility for our needs.
Side awning on the roof rack

Rhino roof rack with shovel holder attached
 As mentioned in our earlier post, it was always part of the plan to fit a winch to the car at some stage. However as we are not using the vehicle for extreme 4x4 and don’t intend on actively putting ourselves in situations where we know multiple recoveries will be required (which is very hard work with a trailer on!) we didn’t feel that we needed a top of the range winch. However with Ruby and the trailer weighting in at a combined 4.5 tonnes and Murphy’s Law meaning that we will need the winch when we least expect it, the unit had to be reliable and rated sufficiently to easily recover car and trailer when needed. We spoke to a number of people and read a lot of articles before deciding to fit a Tigerz11 12,000Lb Grande winch. Tigerz11 had a good deal at the time which made the cost of supply and fitting the winch the same as supplying one alone would have normally cost. We opted for synthetic winch rope over steel wire. This was both for safety reasons (synthetic rope is a lot less dangerous if it breaks in a recovery situation) and for ease of handling. As with all items on the market there are a lot of mixed reviews available on these winches. We are happy to report that after multiple uses that ours is still going strong! We have also found that the winch is very handy for moving trees off the track and can be used for an number of other bush mechanic fixes in an emergency.

Winch in the ARB winch bull bar


  Posted by Mat

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