4 x 4 Australia - - Custom 4x4 Of The Year 2017 -

THE HUM­MER H3 isn’t your usual base for a mod­i­fied off-roader, but owner Dean has proved the small­est Hum­mer ever made can keep up with the big rigs out in the bush – espe­cially once it has copped some se­ri­ous mods. Dean and his wife had owned the H3 for a cou­ple of years be­fore the mod­i­fi­ca­tion bug bit, mainly as a re­sult of Dean test­ing the Yank tank off-road and soon re­al­is­ing a few ‘small things’ needed sort­ing be­fore it could be­come a le­git­i­mate bush tourer. One of those ‘small things’ was a rad­i­cal mod­i­fi­ca­tion: Re­moval of the stan­dard in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion and re­place­ment with a live-axle setup. The rea­son was sim­ple, ac­cord­ing to Dean.

“I used to take it 4x4ing all the time when it was IFS, but it kept break­ing CV joints and front diffs. Things sort of snow­balled from there.”

Dean sought the ex­per­tise of Matt Kin­sela of Kin­se­las Kus­toms, with Matt in­stalling a live-axle setup com­prised of a Dana 44 front axle with a cus­tom set of hubs with tone rings to en­sure the ABS, trac­tion con­trol and sta­bil­ity con­trol still worked. The axle was fit­ted with a set of 80 Series ra­dius arms and a GU Pa­trol steer­ing box. Then a set of cus­tom 10-inch travel King Shock coilovers (with ex­ter­nal reser­voir) and hy­draulic bump stops were fit­ted. The ride height jumped three inches as a re­sult and ar­tic­u­la­tion was – as you’d ex­pect – far bet­ter than the orig­i­nal IFS front end.

The rear matched this with fit­ment of 50mm ex­tended shack­les and an add-a-leaf sys­tem (plus shocks) from The Ul­ti­mate Sus­pen­sion, re­sult­ing in three inches at the rear as well. The re­sult was per­fect and al­lowed those big 37-inch Fed­eral Coura­gia mud­dies to fit too.

The stock I5 donk was soon flicked for a LS2 V8 – this pow­er­plant pumps out more than 298kw and 550Nm, with the fit­ment un­der­taken by


Steve Et­cell, of Au­to­mo­tive Et­cel­lence. The process in­volved cus­tom en­gine mounts, a lot of work to mesh the trans­mis­sion with the LS2, and a cus­tom loom from Ul­ti­mate Con­ver­sion Wiring, along with a new ex­haust. In­ter­est­ingly, the stock ECU was able to com­mu­ni­cate with the LS2, with a cus­tom tune added to en­sure the en­gine can cope with on- and off-road du­ties eas­ily.

Tour­ing mods in­clude an ARB front bar with 10,000lb Warn winch and LED driv­ing lights. Kin­sela Kus­tom scrub bars link the front bar to OEM slid­ers. A dual-bat­tery setup en­sures the En­gel fridge/ freezer and ARB com­pres­sor are al­ways pow­ered, and there’s a rooftop tent up top for those des­ti­na­tions where the van won’t go.

It’s a hell of a lot of work but we reckon the boffins at Hum­mer would be left in awe by the bush-tough end re­sult.

Ex­ten­sive sus­pen­sion changes, LS2 V8 fire­power and tour­ing mods – this cer­tainly isn’t the average H3.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.