4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

IT HAS been a slow start to our Project 79 Se­ries Cruiser but, like most of us, I’m cur­tailed by a lack of fi­nance and a de­sire to spend my hard-earned on trav­el­ling rather than ve­hi­cles and ac­ces­sories. ‘Oh, poor you’, I can hear you mut­ter. Still, there’s been progress.

First up, we added a set of Clearview ex­ten­sion mir­rors, which are the best set of tow­ing mir­rors I’ve ever used. These units have two mir­rors in each hous­ing – the top or main mir­ror (pow­ered in some units) pro­vides a clear view of the road be­hind; while the smaller, con­vex mir­ror elim­i­nates blind spots. When tow­ing, the mir­ror hous­ing ex­tends a fur­ther 100mm to give a bet­ter view down the side of the ve­hi­cle/car­a­van. Yes, they are big and, when folded in­wards, still pro­trude some way out from the ve­hi­cle body, so you need to be care­ful on a tight, scrubby track. How­ever, I still wouldn’t swap them for the orig­i­nals.

Want­ing to im­prove the rub­ber on the Cruiser, I de­cided on a big­ger rim and, after a lot of pro­cras­ti­na­tion, I set­tled on a set of 17x8.5 Pro Comp Se­ries 29 Satin Black al­loy rims. These ag­gres­sive-look­ing units fea­ture a split five-spoke de­sign, and the thick outer lip pro­vides added pro­tec­tion and strength for trav­el­ling the back­roads and tracks of Aus­tralia. Pro Comp has a huge ar­ray of rims to choose from, with this par­tic­u­lar style avail­able in 15-, 16- and 17-inch sizes, 5-, 6- or 8-bolt stud fix­tures, and load rat­ings that vary from 1133 to 1587kg per wheel. Not only do they look good, they do ev­ery­thing re­quired of them.

When it came down to what tyres I’d fit, there was no dif­fi­culty in choos­ing a brand. With the three other 4WDS in my garage wear­ing Cooper tyres, the only real choice was which par­tic­u­lar model to choose. Once again, I set­tled on a set of Cooper S/T Maxx tyres and went for a slightly big­ger tyre size than stan­dard fit­ment, stepping up to a 285/70R17 with a load/speed rat­ing of 121Q. The ‘121’ means each tyre is de­signed to carry a max­i­mum load of 1450kg, with a max­i­mum speed des­ig­nated by ‘Q’ of 160km/h. In all, there are 30 dif­fer­ent tyres sizes in the S/T Maxx range suit­able for 15-, 16-, 17-, 18- and even 20-inch rims, so we’re a bit spoilt for choice.

Why do I like the S/T Maxx so much? They have proven over the past 10 years or so on our trav­els around the world to be a tough, re­li­able tyre with good han­dling and wear char­ac­ter­is­tics. While I’ve had the oc­ca­sional punc­ture, and even shred­ded one a cou­ple of years ago (due to my own stupid fault and not hav­ing a tyre mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem on board), I can’t see any other tyre giv­ing me the same off-road per­for­mance and long-time wear life.

As we write this, the 79 Cruiser has just had a new al­loy tray and canopy fit­ted by Boss Alu­minium in Bayswa­ter, but that’s a story for next time.

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