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.