Vehicle Components will stress-test a range of offroad gear, including its new Hitchmaster 3.5-tonne drop-on coupling, the DO35, in grueling Cape York country this month.
Over the course of the seven-day trip, the crew will assess the performance of the DO35 coupling, various coil suspensions, and new shock absorber and spring options for the popular Cruisemaster coil, on two camper trailers supplied courtesy of Pacific Aluminium Trailers and Lifestyle Camper Trailers.
“Our plan is to drive to Seisia late on Sunday, via the Developmental Road and hopefully the southern part of the Old Telegraph Track,” says Vehicle Components managing director, Chris Goddard.
Crew members include Chris, Deon van Deventer (Vehicle Components senior project engineer), Andrew Goddard (an engineering undergraduate), and Peter Cooper. Peter is an experienced outback adventurer who has towed a Kedron Caravan across 60,000km of dirt roads.
“He (Peter) will be the resident expert on the trip making sure we don’t drown at any of the creek crossings”, says Chris.
“The cars will leave Brisbane for Cairns on June 22 and will be driven by Pete and Andrew. Deon and I will fly up on the 25th, ready for a start on the next day.”
The crew will tow the trailers with a 2000 LandCruiser 100 diesel and a Prado 120 VX with a 2in lift. Final preparations include fitting a bullbar, a winch and a snorkel to the 100 series and some new treads and a drawer system for the Prado.
“(Finding) Tyres for the Prado hasn’t been easy. Most tyre shops we visited had little technical backup. Everyone has a favourite and probably all of the better makes would do the job. However, with the amount of towing that we plan to do, we wanted a true LT-rated tyre in the correct size (265/65X17) and the only one we can find is the Bridgestone D694LT.
“This seems to have good write ups on the 4WD forums, so these will be purchased next week.”
To keep the costs down, the crew made their own drawer systems from boxes that were lying around the factory.
“We are just waiting for the fridge slide to finish the unit off,” says Chris.
Image: The team at Vehicle Components performs a pre trip inspection the LandCruiser.
"The Prado needs some brake pads but the LandCruiser needs a new header tank and some suspension bushes and the steering pump has sprung a leak. Lucky we did the checks, easier to fix here on the ramp than at the side of the Old Telegraph Track," say Chris.