Most 4x4 utes are built to be workhorses, but it doesn't have to be all work and no play. All it takes are little tweaks to turn in into an all-round tourer and it starts with the bits and bobs beneath.
Modern All-Terrain tyres such as Bridgestone's new Supercat and Cooper Tires' new AT3s are now designed to to be quieter and deliver more on-road comfort while having better traction off-road, whereas Ironman 4x4 has released a suspension upgrade that improves the LDV T60 ute's ride characteristics with a more controlled ride.
Bridgestone Supercat All Terrain
Bridgestone has developed its new Supercat All Terrain (AT) for the Aus/NZ market, with the aim of supplying a value-for-money 4x4/SUV tyre for vehicles five or more years old. The thinking behind this decision is that owners of older vehicles may not want to fit premium rubber to their older rigs, but will still want a tyre that offers top safety, durability and versatility.
The Supercat AT comes in 13 sizes – from 16- to 18-inch – with models available for most of the popular 4x4 wagons and utes. The Supercat is of Light Truck construction across the entire range, with load ratings from 1030kg (109 index), so they’re more than up to the task of towing or coping with fully laden off-road vehicles.
Cooper Tires AT3
The US tyre giant has released a new version – or should we say, three separate versions – of its super-popular AT3. The AT3’s three variants include one aimed at soft-roaders, with the other two – AT3 LT and AT3 XLT – for 4x4 vehicles. The tyre will come in a wide range of sizes, with the LT and XLT covering all popular off-roaders sold here in Oz.
The new tread design includes stone ledges to eject stones from within the tread void, Whisper Groove Shields (claimed to reduce on-road noise by 20 per cent) and Scalloped Shoulders for additional soft-surface traction.
The carcass is tough, with high-tensile body plys for robustness and super-tensile steel belts (LT and XLT) across the full tread area (edge to edge), while the new compound uses high-content coupled silica for enhanced cut-and-chip resistance. No wonder Cooper Tires is confident it can offer an 80,000km warranty.
Ironman 4X4 suspension upgrades: LDV T60
Ironman 4x4 has released a suspension upgrade for LDV’s T60 ute that features four variants. The Performance Load kit offers a 45mm lift and is rated for loads 0-200kg, so for vehicles with a few accessories fitted and that may carry an occasional load.
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The Constant Load kit (45mm lift, 200-400kg) is ideal for a rig with permanent heavy accessories and promotes a firmer, more controlled ride. The Extra Constant Load kit (45mm, 400-800kg) is for heavily kitted-out vehicles, while the Extra Heavy Constant Load kit (45mm, 800kg-GVM) offers maximum support and is perfect for commercial vehicles.
Each kit offers a choice of Nitro Gas, Foam Cell or Foam Cell Pro shock absorbers, and includes the shocks, leaf springs, U-bolts, coil springs and polyurethane spring bushes. (Greasable shackles and pins are optional.)