It’s a shame that some big car company doesn’t release a 4×4 that is properly equipped with the lift kit and all the bars and skid plates you must buy anyways. It might be a niche market, but if someone made a purpose-built off-road wonder-ute, some folks would put their money down well in advance. Sadly, the trucks we buy are a compromise between city looks and off-road performance. Even the work trucks aren’t ready for rough conditions. So, it is up to us to put the pieces together and make our own rigs. But if you can’t do it all, there are some things you should do, if you are serious about off-road fun.
- Bullbars: You got to have something up front so when you are bashing down the trail you aren’t knocking out your headlights and peeling off your fender. Modern bumpers are essentially useless for the bush. There are a lot of different options. You can get aluminium bullbars or you can get them in chrome or painted to suit your needs. There are bars to wrap your fenders, or just the rad. This is a piece of first-rate protection and the first item you should add to your ute.
- Lift Kit: No one is going to take your truck seriously if you haven’t got it lifted, even a lift of 4 or 5 inches will make a big difference. Add to that some bigger rims and high-profile tires with an aggressive tread and you will be riding up above most of the trouble on the trail. But while you got it up there, you should consider getting some skid plates bolted on, just in case you didn’t get it high enough.
- Suspension: Since you lifted it you are going to need new shocks any way. Now’s the time to get some long travel shocks, adjusted for those heavier tires, and velocity sensitive valving. Stock parts aren’t going to cut it anymore.
- Winch: Like a badge of honour, a winch gives you credibility off road. But winches are not just for decoration, they can be a life saver. And if you put one on your rig, you will be quite chuffed the day you finally need it. Every serious off-roader should have one.
Maybe someday the car companies will build us a great truck and then we won’t have to put our own together, but until then, it can be fun making something better than it was ever meant to be. Whatever you do out there, stay safe and keep it fun.