4*4  Vs 2*4


This seems to me a hotbed of discussion, just as why double cabs are not supposed to be suitable for Boerdery. On a personal note, as mentioned before, I decided to make myself a bigger 4*4 (I love Chevy’s) and a build up a Hilux 2*4 to my taste and in exchange put my Hilux 3.8 Liter on the market. So who can help me get a Chevy LWB or Hilux 2*4 to build up ?


A 2*4 has 2 wheels at either end of the vehicle pulling and if it has an open diff you really only have 1 wheel drive (the 1 with the least traction). On a 4*4 you have all 4 wheels getting traction, let’s say you have an open diff on each axle you have 1 wheel on each side getting power (again the ones with the least traction).


Then you have on demand and permanent 4*4. Permanent 4*4 of course means more friction and fuel consumption, but also more roadholding when the going gets slippery. There you either have the power split front to rear with an open diff (Land cruiser 4500) meaning that the power goes to the wheel with the least traction. Or a viscous type coupling (Syncro) that can lock the center diff automatically, to equally apply power front to rear should one end loose traction (you still have 50 % of the power wasted in wheelspin). Then you have the manual center diff lock Land Cruiser 4500) that will split the power 50/50 on demand. Of course you also get really fancy systems that send the power equally to the 2 wheels with the most traction, but this is normally only used on Military stuff.


Ok now gearing. Most 4*4’s have a low range that enables you to crawl over rough terrain without slipping the clutch, and that increases available power. Some new process boxes were constructed that you could only use low (Donkey) range when 4*4 was engaged. This stops Hooligans engaging low 2*4 to enable them to pull their house up a hill- this will Grenade your Box! Watching a Pinzgauer in action makes you understand what gearing is all about.


Now why a 2*4? Numero uno- it’s cheap, to purchase and to maintain and gassin’ her up brings a smile to your face. Secondly equipped with a LSD or locker makes her handle the outdoors great. Ever wonder why Off Road racing is normally won by the 2*4 crowd? Thirdly they often have a higher load rating than their 4*4 cousins. Normally they also have a lower center of Gravity which causes less kaans om hulle om te bliksem. Also ground clearancing on them can be increased dramatically (see hi rider) and a lot of these vehicles benefit from racecar technology (we have a kit to turn your Hilux into a race winner). Problem is; their gearing is normally too high for serious crawling work- which the Yanks fixed with their granny Low first.


If your driving conditions are mostly on slippery terrain (such as mountains) or thick sand a 4*4 will probably be the answer. Also living amongst rivers can be a pain with a 2*4. But on most occasions 2*4’s do fine as long as you keep an eye on the midelmannetjie, or raise your vehicle. If your 2-wheel drive has to strain frequently to get through the tough stuff get a 4*4 (jou bankbestuurder sal bly wees) or trade your bakkie in often. If you have smooth terrain and lots of distance to travel a 2*4 will probably be the answer.


Now for a short and incorrect history lesson; 4*4's were developed round the 2’nd World War to transport troops through slippery mud etc. Thereafter a lot of these surplus Vehicles were released on the Market creating an Appetite for these vehicles- if you got it you will find a use for it. Also the colonialisation and upkeep of certain countries needed vehicles to get you all over the place, because bearers were to slow and unwilling. “Land Rover conquered Africa”- “Yep, only because it was to weak to break anything”. Actually Churchill said upon  his first encounter with a Land Rover in 1948, something like “If this is all what the Empire might manage to produce, then I have reason to despair”.


4*4’s are the rage now. Where in Germany have you got use for these? And in the States it is impressive to cart your Babe around in a Leather Clad, Auto everything Cummins Diesel Dodge Dually 4*4. Auto makers are taking note and building 4*4’s that have Image and Creature Comfort but no decent Off Roadability. 2*4’s are following because “its smart to be seen in a Pickup”, although Pickups are still needed everywhere for Load hauling. In Europe small trucks are more popular though. This gives you the split in sports Pickups and Utility Vehicles.


Here in Africa and certain parts of Australia, Canada etc. you NEED a 4*4 and therefore local Industry is stepping in, supplying us with something that hopefully works. Sadly nowhere else in the world do you still get Hilux 4*4 with Solid front axle suspension. So either we drive Dinosaurs or something current that has been modified for local conditions- both don’t sound good to me. I would prefer to see a specific development for our conditions. I am somehow led to believe this will not occur.


Where do I fit in? Nowhere! I want to do Engines. We do import suspension systems and Traction aiding devices etc. But I do not want to get involved in Aftermarked in depth drivetrain and Chassis development. Who would pay me? I do not want to seem a pessimist here, but I think our bakkies are going to develop more into Boulevard Cruisers, unless we have another serious war. There is no money in Africa (wonder where it went? Who said Switzerland?), so it will not be worthwhile for anybody to develop serious Heavy terrain capable vehicles. Sorry I cannot afford a Hummer.


Where does this leave us? I reckon 2*4 pickups will remain, as there is always a Load to be hauled. 4*4’s ? Well if you have an old Mule such as a F100, Cruiser or Safari and it ain’t too badly shot- keep it. Maybe you will need it one day to pull your Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer onto the yard. Also I don’t think parts availability will be a Problem and you will keep me happy, as I can modify your vehicle to suit your taste.