SHOCK­ING STUFF

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

THE Can­ning Stock Route is known for killing shock ab­sorbers, some­thing we were con­scious of go­ing into this epic ad­ven­ture. We didn’t want to over­heat them to the point of fail­ure, so we car­ried an in­frared ther­mome­ter gun to mea­sure shock temps after the pun­ish­ing cor­ru­ga­tions ei­ther side of Ku­nawar­ritji. There’s about 60km of re­ally bad cor­ru­ga­tions, and many peo­ple take them at a bone-jar­ring 10km/h.

Mea­sur­ing the tem­per­a­tures isn’t an ex­act sci­ence, partly be­cause it’s some­times dif­fi­cult to ac­cess the shocks. On the rears, for ex­am­ple, one side sits ahead of the axle and the other be­hind, so it’s hard to pick a com­mon spot to take the tem­per­a­ture. But it at least al­lowed us to check whether the shock ab­sorbers were peak­ing at a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture, and how long it took them to cool down.

The high­est temp we saw was 105°C, ob­vi­ously mea­sured on the out­side of the shock; the oil in­side would have been hot­ter again. Park­ing the cars for just five min­utes pulled be­tween 10°C and 15°C out of each shock ab­sorber.

The For­tuner and Ever­est each saw shock temps above 100°C on the fronts, with the rears much cooler. The MU-X had by far the coolest shock ab­sorbers. That may be be­cause its shocks don’t seem to be work­ing as hard to con­trol the car, but also be­cause at 2.1 tonnes it is a fair bit lighter than its com­peti­tors.

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