Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pimped my ride

I'm told that the recent modifications to the GoatMobile amount to 'pimping my ride'. This is more than a little confusing, because there's no additional fur on the dashboard, the wheels are not chromed, neither are those ridiculous spinners fitted, and the on-board stereo system is exactly as originally installed by some Japanese mechanic in around May 2004. I will confess to tinted windows, but only to the 30% legal limit.

All I've done is made a few adjustments so that the vehicle is slightly more agile over the dunes than it was when stock.

1. Suspension

In September 2005, I had the springs and shock absorbers replaced with Old Man Emu units. Aside from stiffening the ride, I got a suspension lift of around 50mm. Bigger lifts are possible. Just look at some of the Jeep Wranglers and American pick-ups that are around. However, big lifts go hand in hand with a whole plethora of additional suspension and transmission adjustments, whereas keeping the lift moderate avoids a lot of these.

2. Bash plate

While the GoatMobile was in the workshop having the suspension done, I had some under-engine protection fitted. A sheet of 10mm aluminium replaced the ridiculous spindly tin thing from Toyota. I found out in July 2006 that belting the underside of the vehicle with a large rock will even bend thick aluminium, but at least it saved me from a repair bill.

3. Bumpers

Despite the increased ground clearance, I was finding that the front bumper kept hitting the sand dunes, and the rear acted as a huge sand shovel. Following a couple of trips to the body shop, I figured that it might be a good idea to install metal replacement bumpers. The original plastic ones can be stored in Grumpy Goat Towers until the car goes up for sale. "One careful owner, FSH, never been off road, etc."

So in March 2007, the GoatMobile was booked in for some surgery.


The bottom of the new bumper is rather higher off the ground than the factory item. This exposes vulnerable and expensive items such as the radiator, oil cooler and air conditioning plumbing. Accordingly I needed an extension to the bash plate that would serve to reinforce the old one, which in turn was being beaten straight.

The interesting thing about the bumpers is that Sharjah police told me that steel ones were 'forbidden'. And then when I protested, an appropriately senior officer decided that it would be OK for me to have them. I have a letter signed and stamped by the man with the comfy leather sofas and the thimbles of tea. I await this year's Tasjeel time with interest.

4. Snorkel

A side-effect of driving in the Lands of the Sand is the enormous quantity of dust that gets ingested by an engine, hence the need for a decent air filter. The air intake is traditionally in the engine bay or in one of the front wheel arches, the latter being precisely where a lot of road dust will get kicked up. The snorkel moves the air intake up higher, hopefully out of most of the dust and thereby giving the air filter an easier life. And if the intake air is cooler than the contents of the engine bay, it might even be slightly denser. More oxygen --> more power. Ha ha ha.

As an aside, does any one remember speculating when young as to whether a front-facing air inlet could increase engine power? I certainly recall wondering if a big funnel poking out through the radiator grille into a cool breeze and connected to the airbox with a vacuum-cleaner hose was feasible. Kawasaki first made the dream a reality in the early 1990s, where slots in the front of the ZZR-1100 motorcycle fairing, a ram air induction system, pressurised the airbox and measurably increased power. Like a bike that would do 170mph needed to be any more powerful.

According to Land Cruiser Owners On Line, a similar effect is measureable after fitting a snorkel to a Prado. Personally, I reckon the effect will be nigh-on unmeasureable and certainly not perceivable from the driver's seat. But feeding the engine with cleaner and slightly cooler air could be beneficial. LCOOL also notes that when an after-market front bumper is fitted, it increases the risk of the original air system ingesting water when fording streams, and this is definitely something to be avoided.

All of the modifications were carried out by Icon Auto Garage in Al Quoz.

5 comments:

Taunted said...

Hang on you spent loads of wonga at Chris's place and he didn't even give you a new tyre cover!!

Incidentally, pics of the new Saluki are here http://www.orrp.com/smf/index.php?topic=35324.0

Mme Cyn said...

"Pimped" is about right. Can a Respectable Person such as me be seen in such a thing?

Grumpy Goat said...

Thirty percent of you won't be seen, on account of the tinted windows.

Doha Diva said...

Note to self - buy PC a set of furry dice for when I see him in DC, next ...

truck lift pip said...

With its new suspension lift, your vehicle is definitely pimped-out!

 

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