Dirk Hartog Island is Western Australias largest island and an amazing place to spend a few days exploring. The island is in fact comfortably large enough at ~650 Km2 to spend quite some time there exploring different areas and having a variety of experiences.
We recently took a convoy of vehicles to the island to spend a couple of days exploring some of this amazing part of the WA coastline. For some in the group, this was their first adventure to the island, for others they had been there before, but never to some of the less known places we were able to take them.
The week was highlighted with great conversation, amazing scenery, delicious fresh fish and great 4WDing. We were able to get to see a dolphin feeding her calf, watch sharks and rays cruise by. Admire the massive ocean cliffs and fish for some of the best eating fish around. All in all, it was an awesome week and we can't wait to do this (or something similar again soon)
Want more info on Dirk Hartog Island? You can check it out through the website.
Let us know in the comments below if there is somewhere you would be keen to join us on a trip for!
As a youngster I was lucky enough to live with my parents on a fairly large property, this meant that I got the chance to learn to drive from a pretty young age. I always loved being outdoors and going exploring and being able to do this in a farm truck made life a lot of fun.
From there it was pretty natural to get into camping and 4wding more as I explored some pretty great places in Western Australia.
My First 4WD was a 1993 Suzuki Sierra. It was great as it has a fibreglass canopy and removable roof, great for exploring the beaches.
My first real 4WD was a Ford Maverick LWB, moving up from the Zuk meant i treasured the extra space that I got in the bigger 4WD.
The Suzuki never really needed much and it stayed pretty much stock apart from a few basics like bullbar, spotties and tyres.
The Maverick on the other hand got the full treatment. Front to back, top to bottom, pretty much anything that could be upgraded was. It really was a weapon. I often regret selling it, but then I remember how much time I had to spend keeping it driveable.
Im actually between 4WDs. I have been looking for a little while, but I need to work out what the next solution is as I now have a young family and that really changes the vehicle requirements.
At the moment I think I am leaning towards a dual cab ute with a canopy set up, but I'm not totally sold.
Honestly, there are so many great places to go camping in WA, The list we put together the other week really reminded me of that. In saying that, heading off to a beach down Esperance way to relax around a campfire is really right up there.
It might seem a little corny but my favourite adventure is the one that I'm going on next. I love exploring and taking a trip to a new place is something I will just never get sick of.
The must have piece of gear for me is a shovel. If you really know how to use one it can do so many things. Of course they are great for digging and getting yourself out of trouble but they come in handy in so many odd ways.
Always try to think about what you are going to need in future even if it means spending a little more now. Buying the right gear for the job and ultimately the quality gear for the job is going to save you money in the long run. Also, you cant return a broken something when you are in the middle of nowhere, we speak with so many people that have had cheap products fail when they are in the middle of their trip, then that is all they remember from their week away.
Growing up we didn’t have a 4x4 of our own but the earliest memory of wheeling as a kid would be in a friend's ute chasing salmon up and down Preston beach. Then the bug really took hold in my early teens when I got my first competition 4WD DVD.
After that my brother got a 4x4 and there were many weekend adventures on the south coast and up north 4wding and fishing. Once I got my own 4WD, I started getting into the competition side of things and built my first dedicated rock crawler at 22-years old. Now that I’m slightly older I enjoy the touring side of four-wheel driving more and being able to see some of the great destinations WA has to offer.
First 4WD was a 1993 Suzuki Sierra, I chose this because it was small, light and nimble.
Yes, definitely modified.
Stage 1: Started with the simple things like lift and tyres, built a home-made false floor in the back for storage. It stayed like that for a few years until I wanted it bigger and better.
Stage 2: I deregistered it to build into a rack crawler. I did a spring over axle conversion, front and rear diff locks 33-inch tyres, low-range crawler gears and wheel spacers.
Stage 3: I swapped the body for a soft top and cut it in half to lengthen it by 400mm. While I was there I made a four-link suspension with coil springs. I fitted a six-point roll cage to make it a bit safer. I did a sill chop and built some rock sliders.
2020 Isuzu MU-X. We have fitted a Piak bullbar, Tough Dog suspension lift, bigger tyres on steel rims. Uniden UHF radio, and an Outback Accessories fuel tank.
D'entrecasteaux national park would have to be my favorite destination as it has so much to offer. While it isn’t overly difficult in the four-wheel driving aspect, it is a great place to get away and explore. It makes you feel like you are days away from civilization and very relaxing sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in.
My favourite 4x4 adventure would be travelling to NSW and competing in the Tuff Truck 4x4 competition. There is certainly nothing like driving a technical track with a time limit and 10,000 people cheering you on.
The three rules I live by when making sure I have what I need is: Something to eat, Somewhere to sit and Somewhere to sleep (comfortably).
Do as much research as you can before you even start to make sure you know exactly what you want to do with the car. Once that is decided then you can narrow down the modifications needed.
We all know how a canopy can add style, security and practicality to a ute but not all of them are created equal. Here at Midland 4WD Centre we’re taking orders for the full range of Rhino Cab Aluminium Canopies (in powder coat black). To top it off, we are also able to offer you the Rhino Cab with no additional shipping costs if installed by Midland 4WD centre.
No matter the 4x4 ute you run there’s a Rhino Cab canopy to suit it. And one of the things we really like about these canopies is the level of personalisation. Meaning, you can set them up to suit your needs and your vehicle.
For instance, you can get a raft of modular additions for them, from sliding side windows, to a drop-down camping table, shelving units, storage organisers, cooking sets and heavy-duty load bars. And off the shelf, these canopies come pre-installed with aluminium rails for mounting either roof racks or a roof top tent.
The Rhino Cab is built to the highest standards, each canopy is made from high grade aluminium with a unique design providing high strength and a low weight (approx 79kg which is great because we should all be looking to save weight where we can on our 4x4s). Design is carried out with CAD technology with the aluminium sheets cut via CNC machines with all welding produced in a zero tolerance jig to ensure no deforming takes place during welding.
Prices start from $4250 depending on the make and model of vehicle. Save on shipping and have your Rhino Cab canopy installed by the expert installers at Midland 4WD Centre.
Here at Midland 4WD Centre we’re as passionate about four-wheel driving and adventuring as you are. So, over the coming months we’ll be introducing our team who’ll tell you about their first 4x4, favourite camping spots and even some of their top tips.
This week we’re catching up with Simon Ash (the boss) who’s been camping since he was a kid and now loves getting out into the bush with his own family.
I have always loved being outdoors. I’ve been camping since I was a kid with my parents and all the way through high school. When I used to go with my folks it was usually just in the car, with a tent, it was pretty basic but it was always a great experience.
When I got my license and started getting access to 4WDs through work and friends I started to explore a lot further afield.
When my, now, wife and I started dating, we were always going anywhere there was water, we loved fishing and diving and just generally being near the water. When the kids came along we didn't really like the idea of waiting too long to get out again. We even took a 6-month-old and 2 under 6 out for a Station stay at Murchison. The kids don't come as often now, but I still try to get out at least every few months.
Nissan G60, it was cheap and an easy project build. First work ute was a GQ Patrol.
Sure did. Nothing stays standard in my fleet. Fitted it with a five-speed Marks Adaptors gearbox; suspension lift and 33-inch mud terrain tyres (it's funny to think that 33" was considered a really big tyre just 25 years ago). Threw on some spotties, UHF CB radio and even a CD player. I also gave it a paint job in the backyard but that didn’t go so well. And like a lot of older vehicles, a lot of general maintenance.
Currently, I’m running a 2018 Toyota LandCruiser with just 46,000km on the clock. And, like all my rigs it’s far from standard.
Here’s a list of the things I’ve added:
Anywhere near water. I really enjoy Steep Point, and South West Fish Creek area is a really nice spot too. I don't have a one and only favourite spot, it really depends on the weather as to where I want to go.
Hard one. Dirk Hartog 2020 trip is a stand out at the moment. I love the coastline and the exclusiveness of it and feel privileged to have visited something unique over here in WA to be on island four-wheel driving, and we had a great crew with us.
Camp chair to enjoy the view and ambience of your trip.
Start slowly with the basics and build as you find out what you need or, should I say, want to take with you as you expand your camping and travelling.
Before you modify your 4x4 I’d recommend enrolling on a driver training course as you will be given independent advice on how to use your vehicle and you will then come at the mods from an educated point of view.
There are a heap of basic vehicle safety checks that every owner should perform to make sure their vehicle is safe. So, with the school holidays just around the corner and plenty of people planning road trips, now’s the time to give your vehicle a quick once over.
The most basic check is to make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are working, check the main and low beam lights, indicators and brake lights. Check your windscreen and wipers while you’re wandering around the vehicle.
As four-wheel drivers we know how important tyre pressures are, so, grab your pressure gauge and make sure you’re running the correct pressures all around. And check your spare tyre at the same time. In addition to tyre pressures, check the condition of your tyres; you’re looking for how much tread is left and for whether there’s any damage to the tyres.
Get under the bonnet and check your fluid levels and top them up if necessary. Indeed, while it's okay to top up things like transmission fluid, we recommend a regular transmission fluid flush because nothing can ruin the performance of your transmission faster than dirty fluid. Take a look at the image below which shows clean fluid on the left and dirty transmission fluid being sucked out of a recent 200 Series we were working on; it had only travelled 40,000km.
And it gets worse. Check out this Ford Ranger (below) we recently ran a transmission flush on. It had only done 100,000km and the fluid was almost black.
Brakes are another important check. So, when you’re out driving make sure they’re pulling up properly and that they’re not making any noises. If they are, then make sure you give us a call so we can get your brakes sorted out.
Check out this video we made back in 2018 with Summit Expeditions around a DBA brake upgrade. If you want to know more about a brake upgrade on your rig, then click on these Blue Words to get in touch with us.
A transmission flush isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when we’re talking preventative maintenance on our fourbies. But, just like an oil change, flushing the old transmission fluid and replacing it with new fluid will help keep your car running in top nick.
Unlike an oil change or a transmission fluid change (which is really just a top up), a flush uses a machine to flush out the fluid, rather than relying on gravity. A flush is all about prolonging the life of your transmission.
There are a couple of indicators that you need to get your transmission fluid flushed, and these include things like noises coming from the transmission, slipping gears, difficult shifts, sluggish engagement or surging. Of course, these can sometimes mean more than just you need to get a tranny flush, but they’re good rule of thumb indicators. Let’s get into some more detail.
So, what sort of noises are ‘unusual’? Really anything that sounds like thumping, grinding or whining as the gears shift is bad news. If you hear anything like that, pull over to the side of the road (somewhere safe, obviously) and check the level and colour of the transmission fluid; if it’s a dark murky colour then it’s buggered.
Slipping gears in an automatic transmission is usually down to contaminants in the transmission fluid, so you’re going to need a flush and new fluid added. Similarly, if your auto feels like it's slurring between shifts then that could be a sign the transmission fluid has turned to sludge and needs replacing; if the fluid becomes too sludgy you could end up getting stuck in gear.
Another indicator the fluid in your vehicle’s transmission has gone bad is a delay between gear shifts. Meaning, you put your foot down and there’s a real delay between it changing gear. It’s likely the fluid has become too thick and is impeding movement. Dirty transmission fluid can also cause your vehicle to surge independently of the amount of throttle being applied.
And why would you need a transmission cooler? Simple, if you’re towing or doing a lot of off-roading then your rig’s transmission is going to live life a lot harder than someone just cruising around town.
The harder your transmission has to work, the hotter it gets and the ability of the fluid to lubricate and keep the transmission cool diminishes (we’re talking temperatures in excess of 93-degrees C). A transmission cooler can reduce transmission fluid temperatures by up to 30-degrees C which is going to increase the lifespan of your vehicle’s transmission.
A transmission cooler works just like a radiator. Automatic transmission fluid passes through the cooler and back into the transmission, ensuring the temperature of the fluid is within safe operating limits, ensuring you get better performance when your vehicle and transmission are working hardest.
And now the really good news...for November only, we’re throwing in a FREE Direction Plus Throttle Controller (dependent on the make and model of your vehicle) to anyone who has a transmission flush and a transmission cooler kit installed by us.
So, what's the point of a throttle controller? Simple, while they don’t give you more power, as some people seem to think, they do improve the throttle response by adjusting the signal sent to the vehicle’s ECU. Essentially, they’ll give you access to ‘all your vehicle’s power’ quicker.
The Direction Plus Throttle Controller is easy to install, fitting between the vehicle’s ECU and throttle, with a dash mounted display allowing you to adjust the settings through four different modes (Comfort, Sport, Race, Normal, Economy). Check out the install video below.