how To SIMPLE IS SOMETIMES BETTER
Right, so you’ve bought that new 4×4 and now you’re dropping hints about that special accessory you’d like. But there are accessories that are really cool, those that are cool and expensive, and those that are really worth having.
Text: Glyn Demmer
Let’s assume that you didn’t buy that 4×4 just to mount pavements with. No, you actually want to go and explore the great outdoors. So your hints about gifts – since Christmas is only a month or two away – should focus on off-road accessories.
A recovery kit is normally the first thing you buy because that’s as essential to off-roading as the vehicle itself.
Tyres are usually next on the list. The ones with knobbly things on them look really cool and are very off-roadish. But it might be a good idea to stick with the original tyres for a while. Although the knobbly ones look good, you will drive on lots of tar roads to get to the off-road parts where the specialist tyres will make a difference, so why waste a set of good new tyres?
A fridge is a worthwhile investment as you can use it all the time — even on weekends for picnics and general travel that may include tar-only driving. One always needs cold drinks, water and fresh food when travelling, even on your way to self-catering resorts.
Next, the really cool stuff! You know, the stuff that shows you are a serious adventurer and off-roader. The stuff that instantly turns you into a Johan Badenhorst or a Kingsley Holgate! It’s the replacement bumper and winch!
Before you head down this avenue, it’s worth considering a far less expensive option which in many cases can be more practical. The guys at SecureTech recently loaned me a Donsa hand-winch to have on standby at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. And come in handy it did.
On the break-up day after the show, I had to load a display vehicle onto a carrier. The vehicle had been immobilised to ensure that the public would not be able to start it. On sending it to the show, there were numerous willing hands ready to load it onto the carrier, but after the show the task was left to me and a lady who assisted with the steering.
After rigging the winch and cable, and attaching it to the truck, it was simply a matter of fitting the handle and winching the vehicle across the car park and up onto the carrier. Even though the weight was against me as it had to be pulled up a ramp, it was a relatively simple task and took about 15 minutes until the vehicle was secured.
Sure, afterwards I felt as though I’d been through a rigorous gym session, but there was no way I would have loaded the vehicle without the Donsa.
The Donsa is a lot cheaper than an electric winch and when not needed the cable, handle and winch unit can simply be stored out of the way. The typical unit comes with a cable and a handle for winching in and out.
Jaws in the winch grip and move the cable as the handle is cranked. All safety methods that I have described in previous articles, such as the use of gloves, a safety lanyard and a recovery blanket, still apply.
A snatch block can also be used in conjunction with the winch. To lengthen a cable, you can safely use a pull strap.
A hand winch is a highly effective piece of equipment but as I said, it requires a fair amount of manpower to operate.
From a safety perspective, the winch unit itself comes with shear pins built in to the crank. Should the unit be stressed beyond its limitations, the pins will shear and the jaws will lock onto the rope. Replacement pins are contained in the handle.
Your typical Donsa winch can be ordered complete with mounting brackets, covers and spools for the cable. An added benefit to their portability is the fact that they can be attached to the sides of vehicles as well as the front or rear, making them useful in a variety of situations. In addition, they are not dependent on hydraulics or electricity so will work even when a vehicle’s electrics or hydraulics are not operating.