HOW to build the perfect accessorised 4x4 depends on a number of key factors: namely, how you intend to use it, where you want to take it, and your budget.
If you have a bottomless pit of cash, then you can afford to go all out with the best suspension upgrade, the best roof rack system and the best set of treads. But for most people, it’s important to budget for their 4x4’s upgrades.
Regardless of how deep your pockets are, there’s plenty you can do to get your rig to take you further. To prove this point, Opposite Lock gave us the keys to its rigged-up Ranger, and we took it for a blast through Toolangi National Park in Victoria.
Opposite Lock has decked out the PXII Ford Ranger XLT with a number of top-grade accessories in an attempt to show off its broad range of gear on offer, as well as its quality workmanship. Not only does Opposite Lock sell and install its own gear, it also sells and installs gear from other manufacturers. On this Ranger build in particular, some of the best gear from Safari, Front Runner and Sammitr has been used to maximise the rig’s off-road potential.
Along for the ride and to talk us through the ins and outs of the build was Opposite Lock’s global sales and marketing manager, Wayne Coombe-Heath.
“The first thing to do when you buy a 4x4 off the showroom floor is pull the wheels off and put on decent tyres,” Wayne said.
For Opposite Lock, this meant a fresh set of Dynamic Wheels with Dick Cepek All Terrain tyres. Out on the tracks of Toolangi, the new rubber capably navigated through corrugated tracks and over fallen logs.
As mentioned, Opposite Lock hasn’t made all the equipment seen on this build, but they do stock and fit a variety of parts – such as the Aussie-made Safari snorkel.
“We can do all installations at all of the Opposite Lock stores,” Wayne told us. “While you can fit the snorkel yourself, it’s not recommended. When you see someone taking a big holesaw and drilling a massive 50-70mm hole in the fender… I don’t want to do that myself. You’ve got to get it exactly right and you have to know exactly what you’re doing.”
This is why it’s best to leave the modifications to the boffins at Opposite Lock, who are highly skilled and trained in this field. The contours of new-car design can be complex, and the task of cutting a hole in the fender isn’t as easy as it used to be. So it’s best left to the pros!
The high-quality Safari snorkel doesn’t just allow the OL Ranger to wade through waist-deep water, it also limits dirty air from filtering through the intake pipes – especially valuable for sand and extreme-bush driving.
Up front sits an Opposite Lock Premium three-loop steel bullbar fitted with Ultravision Nitro driving lights and a Kingone winch with sythetic rope.
Running down the flanks of the Ranger are Opposite Lock steel sidesteps that double as rock sliders. The durable and sturdy sidesteps are bolted to the chassis, and they offer superior protection underneath the vehicle. “You also want to be able to stand on them when you’re in the mud,” Wayne added. “So they’re the best of both worlds.”
Up top reside two Front Runner roof racks: a canopy rack and a cabin rack. The racks are attached to the roof sans any drilling, so they can removed and refitted with ease. They can also be customised to cater for what you want to transport, be it jerry cans, gas bottles, water containers, fishing rods and canoes, to name but a few.
“This is the most versatile roof rack ever designed. This is the top of the top! It really has taken versatility and design to a whole new level,” Wayne said.
A slide-out table is cleverly stored underneath the canopy rack in what would normally be wasted space. It’s easy to access, so when you arrive at a campsite you don’t have to unpack a week’s worth of luggage just to set up lunch. And fear not, out on bumpy tracks the table remains rattle-free.
The Sammitr V2 Premium Steel canopy is made from the same material as the car’s body panels. Plus it’s colour-coded, it follows the contours of the car, and it provides full side and rear access with big window openings, which makes the retrieval of goods easier. The canopy is carefully wired by OL staff so it works off the same central locking system as the vehicle. Brake lights and tail-lights are also integrated. Don’t try this kind of installation at home, as the wiring is a tricky job best left to the pros.
An added benefit of the canopy is that it allows a Front Runner drawer system to fit in the tray to maximise storage space.
“When going overlanding you need as much space as you can possibly get, and having a drawer system doubles up your normal packing space,” Wayne added.
The twin-drawer, lockable system has drawers that slide all the way out – and all the way down to touch the back of the cabin – so that there isn’t an inch of wasted space. The wings on either side of the drawers lift up so you can access the space underneath, which is another clever way the drawers utilise all the space. Recessed power points allowing the tailgate to close are an intuitive addition, as are adjustable tie-down points on top of the drawer system.
“Front Runner really has thought of everything. This is a top-class drawer system,” Wayne said.
Moving underneath and Opposite Lock has rejigged the Ranger’s stock suspension with a 40mm lift and changes to the leaf springs, front struts and shock absorbers. The full Opposite Lock suspension kit has given the Ranger an additional 300mm of wheel travel.
“The more you add on, the more your suspension drops. So there’s nothing like a great suspension upgrade to get the car back to where it should be,” Wayne said.
To improve underbody protection an extra tough steel plate Front Runner sump guard has been fitted.
“We removed the standard guard which was only microns thick and replaced it with a Front Runner sump and belly guard. It’s a nice, solidly-fixed steel sump guard, powder-coated black, properly reinforced, and bolted in using existing bolt holes,” Wayne said. “Nice added protection when you’re going over rocks and logs. It finishes the package off nicely.”
The Opposite Lock Ranger is an adventure-ready tourer capable of taking you to the most remote regions of outback Australia. Opposite Lock is the one-stop shop to deck out your 4x4 with all of the best gear, and the enthusiastic staff will tailor-make a package to suit the customer’s specific needs.
Wayne added: “You can go into an OL store and you can kit out your car with anything you want. You got a trip, you got a plan, you got a dream, and an Opposite Lock store can make it happen.”
Opposite Lock premium three-loop bullbar $1699
Ultravision Nitro driving lights $695 each
Kingone winch $1385
Opposite Lock side steps $799
Opposite Lock suspension kit $1840
Tyres $567.50 each
Rims $230 each
Safari snorkel $462
Sammitr V2 premium steel canopy $3328
Front Runner canopy rack $995
Front Runner cabin rack $995
Table (+ bracket) $460
Front Runner drawer system $2090
Front Runner underbody protection $395 (sump guard)
PH: 1800 624 444