IMPROVE your four-wheel drive’s bravado by upgrading it with new tyres, a new brake kit or a suspension overhaul. Here are a few new products to get you started.
Tough Dog AirAssist airbag
Tough Dog’s AirAssist airbag system is available for both leaf-sprung and coil-sprung vehicles. The AirAssist system is ideal for off-road tourers who use their rigs for unladen (or relatively lightly loaded) around-town duties and then for serious adventures, where all the essential gear is packed in.
By fitting AirAssist springs you can level out the rear ride-height of your fully loaded vehicle to help maintain ride and handling qualities. The Leaf Spring AirAssist features heavy-duty construction, a 5-100psi capacity, laser-cut and powdercoated brackets, zinc-plated roll plates (top and bottom) and in most applications you don’t need a drill to fit them.
The Coil Spring AirAssist also includes the laser-cut powdercoated brackets and zinc-plated roll plates as per the Leaf kits, as well as heavy-duty construction. The Coil Spring system has a 5-60psi capacity (in most cases). Both systems are offered with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
4x4 interview: Tough Dog's product development director, Simon Vella
Continental CrossContact ATR
Tyre giant Continental has released the ATR, a tyre designed for off-road vehicles (4x4s and SUVs) that spend a fair chunk of their time on bitumen but also get off-road onto dirt tracks whenever possible (think: weekend escapes, week of camping).
The ATR features beefed up puncture protection via the sidewall protection wrap, and it also ups the traction levels on both wet and dry surfaces thanks to the multiple in-built sipes in the tread pattern, as well as the silica tread compound.
Additional off-road grip is also realised via the open tread pattern which ensures there’s plenty of bite, not only in the main part of the tyre but on the tyre edges as well. Add in reasonably large tread blocks and you’ve got a quiet on-road tyre (thanks to noise blockers that reduce sound coming from the tyre centre) that is more than up to weekend off-road adventures.
4x4 buyers' guide: 4x4 tyres
Ironman 4x4 Pro-Forge control arms
The gurus at Ironman 4x4 are behind this awesome new piece of kit. High-strength forged alloy control arms mean owners can fit larger tyres and increase lift without sacrificing optimal wheel alignment and operating clearance around the control arms.
The 6082 T6 forged alloy (with silver anodised protection for even better corrosion resistance) control arms are exceptionally strong, thanks to the drop-forged method of construction. This entails the alloy’s grain structure being aligned with the ‘new’ shape and the removal of any imperfections, and it results in a tougher and stronger arm than what you get from a cast, fabricated or machined variant.
Designed to be used between standard-height and up to a three-inch lift (alignment settings are calibrated to centre around a 50mm raised ride height for optimum adjustability), the control arms feature OEM-compatible rubber bushes and ball joints (the ball joint position has been relocated) and they are a direct fitment.
Available for Ford Ranger, Ford Everest, Mazda BT-50 and Toyota’s Hilux, Prado, FJ and Fortuner.
4x4 gear: Ironman 4x4 accessories review
Terrain Tamer suspension kit (Ford PX3 Ranger)
The new suspension kit from the gurus at Terrain Tamer 4WD has been designed for the Ford Ranger PXIII (the first on the market for this model). The kit comprises bushes (12), greasable shackles, greasable pins and U-bolts, as well as Terrain Tamer 4WD’s own leaf/coil springs and dampers.
The options within the kit include the choice of four different ratings of coil springs for the front end: up to 50kg; up to 100kg; up to 100kg (for Smart Col with bullbar); and 100kg-plus (for Smart Coil with bullbar and winch). The rear leaf also has three rated weight options: up to 100kg; up to 300kg; and up to 500kg.
The new kit is the latest in Terrain Tamer’s catalogue of more than 100 suspension kits, covering a wide range of both early and later model Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Ford, Holden, Isuzu, Great Wall, Jeep, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Suzuki, and, more recently, LDV and Mercedes-Benz.
Industry Insider: Terrain Tamer
Pedders Trakryder Extreme front brake kit
The gurus at Pedders have worked some magic to produce this new braking kit that includes a larger six-piston caliper design (finished in a robust red gloss and debossed Pedders branding in white), Kevlar ceramic brake pads and a schmick 10-slot dimpled and Geomet-coated larger diameter rotor.
A larger braking surface means enhanced stopping power and Pedders has ensured this is the case with the kit’s massive 356mm-diameter rotor, which represents up to a 40 per cent increase in swept area compared to the OE units (310mm on Ford Ranger; 300mm on Colorado and D-Max).
The kit has been designed for the Ford Ranger PX and PXII models, Mazda’s BT-50 UP and UR, Holden Colorado RG, and the Isuzu D-Max RT50 and RT85. The calipers are of a two-piece aluminium forged design, while the pistons are forged aluminium as well. Braided hose (stainless steel, of course) ensures optimum durability, as does the high-grade alloy steel brake pad insulators.
4x4 product test: Pedders' disc brake conversion kit