4X4 SHED: FORD EVER­EST

THE EVER­EST GETS THE UL­TI­MATE OODNADATTA EX­PE­RI­ENCE.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

UN­LESS you read the mag­a­zine from back-to-front, you would have seen that our Ever­est has worked its way up the Oodnadatta Track to Al­ice Springs. Last month we left off at Mar­ree, which marks the start of the track and also where it meets the Birdsville Track. From there we trav­elled north, tak­ing in the usual tourists sites at the var­i­ous rail­ways sid­ings: Coward Springs, the Wil­liam Creek Ho­tel and the Pink Road­house.

Heavy rain­fall the weeks pre­ced­ing our trip had closed the Oodnadatta Track, but it was opened just days before we left Pe­ter­bor­ough. It was still closed north of the Pink Road­house – where the track veers west to meet the Stu­art High­way – due to flood­ing, which suited us as we had planned to fol­low the line of the Old Ghan Rail­way to Finke and then on to Al­ice.

Stop­ping at the Road­house for fuel, an ‘Oodna Burger’ and some local info re­vealed that many trav­ellers head­ing to the Finke Desert Race had passed through the open roads ear­lier in the day. Even though the roads were open, they were still very wet in places and the muddy con­di­tions gave us the chance to sam­ple the Ever­est’s Ter­rain Man­age­ment Sys­tem (TMS).

The Ever­est’s full-time on-de­mand-drive sys­tem works al­most like a twowheel drive set-up un­der nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions, with very lit­tle drive be­ing sent to the front axle. It’s only when wheel-slip is de­tected at the rear axle that the sys­tem sends more torque to the front wheel. This is re­ac­tionary and there is a bit of a de­lay in how quickly it works – enough of a de­lay to get you stuck in the wrong con­di­tions.

To avoid the de­lay and re­duce the risk of get­ting stuck, the driver can select one of the off-road modes in the TMS: Snow/mud/grass; Sand; or Rock. You can feel the dif­fer­ences in the TMS sys­tem by floor­ing the throt­tle on wet grass or an­other equally slip­pery sur­face. In Nor­mal mode, the rear wheels slip before the front wheels take up the slack and pull you forward. In any of the off-road modes the drive to the front is in­stan­ta­neous and doesn’t al­low the rear wheels to slip as much.

Snow/mud/grass mode was se­lected for the slip­pery con­di­tions, and we ei­ther mashed it through the mud and ruts or worked our way around the de­tours that had been formed in places where the track was im­pass­able. Need­less to say, the Ever­est got us through – helped by the more ag­gres­sive Cooper AT3 tyres we’d fit­ted to it.

One com­plaint about the TMS is the dial used to select the mode. In­stead of hav­ing four de­tented po­si­tions, it is in­fin­itely ad­justable both clock­wise and an­ti­clock­wise. So in­stead of be­ing able to select a mode by feel with­out look­ing away from the track, you need to di­vert your gaze to see what mode it is in. To its credit, the TMS mode is dis­played on the gauge bin­na­cle as well, but it would be much nicer if you could do it with a sim­ple turn of the dial

After a cou­ple of days in Al­ice Springs, and fol­low­ing the Finke off-road race, the Ever­est re­turned to Mel­bourne via a tour of the West Mac­don­nell Ranges, Kings Canyon and Uluru.

You ei­ther pay the $3.40 per litre, or you end up stranded. Never Glamp­ing? it! heard of The Cooper AT3 tyres tran­si­tion from cor­ru­ga­tions to mud and ruts with ease.

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