Being able to tackle obstacles and inclines is a key part of off-roading, and having the right equipment as well as the technical knowledge go hand-in-hand with every successful run… otherwise you’ll find yourself in the mud, broken down or stuck on top of a rock.
So here are a few tips to improve your know-how, as well as some part recommendations, for improving your ground clearance when tackling obstacles in your off-road vehicle.
Approach and departure
How you approach an obstacle and your plan for overcoming it are going to be key to successfully beating the obstacle. We break this down into three key angles:
Approach – this refers to the point at which the front end of your 4×4 vehicle will hit the obstacle or ground before your tires can make contact.
Departure – the opposite of approach angle., this is the point at which your back end will make contact with the ground. Imagine coming off of a steep decline, and your rear bumper catches the edge before your tires do.
Break-over – this is the clearance of the center of your vehicle. While it’s important to approach your obstacle, it’s just as important that your belly can also clear it.
To improve your angles, a larger, taller tyre will be very useful. When choosing an upgraded tire, ensure it is suitable for lift kits or wheels you’ve installed, wheel arch clearance and your current brakes and gears. It is possible you may need to do some custom fabrication or upgrade some other parts of your 4×4 vehicle to complete a tire upgrade and the possibility of certification.
Factory bumpers can be bulky, weak and cumbersome, and even a complete pain in the arse when they stuff up your approach and departure angles. Replacing these with a custom bumper that’s custom fabricated for your off-road vehicle can help you maximise your approach, and be the difference between a successful run and getting stuck. It can also improve your departure angle by minimising or removing impact on the way out, and often provide suitable mounts for recovery hooks and winches.
Skid plates, guards and covers
Adding body armour to your vehicle will help improve your break-over angle by protecting the belly of your vehicle. Custom skid plates will guard your vulnerable areas and also provide a smooth surface for sliding. Rock sliders will protect the sill, tub and doors, and a differential cover will protect the differential parts of your axle.
Once you’ve upgraded your vehicle and custom fabricated the necessary parts, all that’s left is to do a few test runs. Don’t go crazy just yet – it’s best to test all of the above gradually so you can figure out what adjustments might need to be made before you start tackling crazy climbs and big boulders.
So for all your 4×4 and off-road modifications and custom fabrications, make sure you give the team at Mudmods a call!