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Is My Car Still Stock, 1 Year Later?


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15 hours ago, munkybizness said:

One of the things that most of us never do when we add extra lights is to check for the current draw. Please do that, whenever you add additional electronics. This includes your entertainment head unit as well.

This is an awesome suggestion for many of us who have a spacious vehicle.

The workaround to the above is to upgrade the current battery from 65/70 AMP (standard specs) to 80/90 AMP. Over the number of years, I keep upgrading my car battery as a test phase. A recent upgrade was to 90 AMP (maximum amp available for light vehicle battery size), my mechanic advise if my 110 AMP alternator fails soon, then we can bump that to 140 AMP (if needed). So far it's been 7-8 months and the 90 AMP battery is doing fine with all additional light, music and winching electrical requirements.

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Great topic @munkybizness. I would argue that there is no such thing as purists in off-roading, every offroader has had to in your words either had to augment or modify depending on his/ her or the cars needs. Therefore the judgement on whether someones driving stock will also depend what the other person thinks is essential for offroading and that stems out of mainly 2 things: tyres and suspension. I will come to these later. 

Another factor that I believe plays significantly is the state of your car. E.g. like yourself, many members in our club have bought new cars and how much they can tamper with the stock car depends on how much modification does the agency allow for it to still cover warranty. This i believe plays a big part in decision making. For others like me, who are driving older cars can go crazy with any modification possible or pick and choose as they like without thinking much of how you will deal with the agency. 

I started offroading with my 10+ year old car and having already clocked +250K Kms. Even then, i wanted to keep my car stock for as long as possible. The 8mm bash plate and flag mount were the first enhancements i got done, i would call them essentials even if you like to hit the dunes occasionally with light offroading. 

For me, after the essentials came the bumper trim. The essentials hardly altered the look of the car so I tried to maintain my stock bumper look and front skirt for as long as possible thinking it would be ok if i was careful. And up until my fewbie drives, it was perfectly fine but as the pace went up so did the risk of hitting the bumper. It came to a point where i was more worried about damaging my bumper than enjoying the drive and thats when i decided to have the bumper trim.

The bumper trim opened the flood gates for me 😝. Once the car lost its family looks, i could basically do whatever i wanted with it. I did get the some offroad lights with the bumper trim. 

My next upgrade were the wheels, this was only triggered after a few pop-outs. I went on to get the method beadgrips just for this purpose. Though if i were to redo this, i wouldnt have changed my wheels in the first place, i bought them out of only frustration of having pop-outs, a couple of them only btw but they were enough for me to think the problem was the wheels rather than the way i was driving. 

My last upgrade was the suspension and safe to say the most satisfying one. I wont go into details as this is the most widely discussed topic in offroading communities as well as in carnity, the choice of whether a suspension upgrade is required or which one suits you or your car is very subjective and depends on how much you can or want to spend . But all i can say is that it has given me the confidence to push the car more and not worry about it bouncing everywhere, so in a way it has added to its protection. 

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Well, not sure where to start, but by just agreeing that it is a great topic.

The approach I took was a bit different: decided on the Y61 SWB, researched about the most common / possible changes, I then concentrated on suspension and safety.  Mostly, I think that carrying with changes is part of the off road fun.

Hope we meet in a drive soon for a conversation on the subject.

Cheers!

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@ASAD. I couldn't agree more with your approach. We all learn from the upgrades we make. And I can safely say that you've got a fine looking - and most importantly, performing - Prado in the process. The warranty process is a confusing one and I think it definitely confuses me to no end. On every trip to Nissan, I get a different explanation of what my "parts warranty" covers and excludes. So this only exasperates me further. I do fully agree that the confidence and safety, an upgraded suspension will give to any car is worth it, as long as you know what it is doing, and how you can dial it in. I see many offroaders heading offroad with Remote Reservoirs who've never dialed in their settings to know what works best. But those who do, are maximising the impact of this worthy upgrade.

@Mario Cornejo - your SWB was the example I always looked at when I started out in Carnity. Because, you're also an avid camper and offroader who doesn't restrict himself to drives to spend real time out in the outdoors. This makes any upgrade you make so in tune with your needs beyond just pure performance. For example, thanks to you and @Gaurav, I prioritized the Front Differential Reinforcement ahead of other upgrades because it now gives me the peace of mind until I go in for a shocks+springs upgrade. And yes, can't wait to meet soon to discuss. I'll be away traveling over the next month so will definitely catch you some time in late August :) 

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4 hours ago, ASAD. said:

My next upgrade were the wheels, this was only triggered after a few pop-outs. I went on to get the method beadgrips just for this purpose. Though if i were to redo this, i wouldnt have changed my wheels in the first place, i bought them out of only frustration of having pop-outs, a couple of them only btw but they were enough for me to think the problem was the wheels rather than the way i was driving. 

Well done @ASAD. to have the acceptance of wrongly done mod, that many offroaders don't even realize let alone come forward to share with others. Bravo.

Beadlocks can be essential for hard-core offroaders and rally drivers, but for regular weekend off-roaders if you tweak your driving style and be in sync with the correct PSI, you may have an accidental pop-out once in six months. Which is not a big deal.

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Dear Mayank @munkybizness,

Great topic. I'm always against major mods to the car which was designed by competent engineers who has designed a machine keeping a balance between weekend funs with offroading and daily use. I don't like to make any mods before understanding how its going to benefit me and my driving style. I have tweaked a little bit here and there to squeeze out a little but no major mod till now. The 1st mod was putting wider tires which I believed will help me to have an advantage. Now I have gone back to the stock tire size as increasing the width only increased the weight of the tires and I didn't gain any significant advantage and increased the rolling resistance. When engine temp became a problem I made the fan clutch a little tighter enabling it to engage faster and run more efficiently. Of course the shock absorbers were changed to Bilsteins which was again Nissan's choice for their offroad version and anyways my stock shocks were really bad. I have put 4 additional lights on the roof top under the impression that they will give me better luminance during night drives but due to poor brackets and placement defects I don't use them much. They actually aid me in finding where my car is parked in a parking lot as they rise above most cars and helps me in identifying where my car is parked. Another reason I don't use them is the limitations of the alternator which really cannot cope up with the high demand.  Looking out for a higher rated alternator which can cope up with the supply demand. Of course higher rated alternator fix needs a higher rated battery terminal cables. 

I'm not against any major mods but believe me they are not worth it. The amount of money we spend doesn't justify the performance. At the end of all the mods you get a machine which you no longer recognizes and cannot use much. 

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13 minutes ago, Gaurav said:

Well done @ASAD. to have the acceptance of wrongly done mod, that many offroaders don't even realize let alone come forward to share with others. Bravo.

Beadlocks can be essential for hard-core offroaders and rally drivers, but for regular weekend off-roaders if you tweak your driving style and be in sync with the correct PSI, you may have an accidental pop-out once in six months. Which is not a big deal.

Thanks @Gaurav and totally agree there. I feel its important to share experiences that can help others with their own decision making. Again these choices are very personal so anyone who chooses a certain upgrade may have a good enough reason to do so. 
And just to elaborate i didnt get the beadlocks but sort of hybrids called beadgrips which have inner grooves that grip the tyre and not allow it to slip off the wheel when deflated. Why would I have chosen differently or lets say not choose at all? 
1. they are the same size as my stock wheels i.e. 17”. So I got no advantage when it came to side wall. For others who are looking to change rims, downgrading size from 19 or 18” to 16–17 wheels may be one advantage they are looking for. 
2. The beadgrips allow you lower psi but not as low as beadlocks, and by low i mean you are not very far off from what you would have in stock wheels anyway. If you are too low, there is a risk of sand going into the grooves and then the tyre starts leaking or worse you risk a popout if it hits a hard bump. Anyone whos had experience with getting the beads sit back on the grooves will tell you what a nightmare it is. They are easy to fix in a tyre shop with high pressure compressors no in the middle of the desert. So yes, i reduced the risk of a popout but now I run a risk that if I do have a popout or leak I might as well just swap the tyre rather than trying to fix it. 
If you are looking to change your wheels anyway the beadgrips do provide a good alternative to beadlocks in the same price range as other normal aftermarket wheels. But my reason to get them was just to avoid popouts, that can still happen if i am reckless. 
The advantage that i think they did provide is they have a 1” offset which compensated well when i got the suspension done. Didnot need any spacers. 
 

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23 hours ago, munkybizness said:

 

*The priority coding is intended for you, and not for me. I can tell you for certain that the speaker upgrade was the single greatest thing I did.

 

The speaker and amplifier upgrade was the most satisfying upgrade I have done. My car is a daily drive and I travel between 300 to 400 kms daily and it gives proper entertainment and refreshes my mind and takes away the fatigue listening to all the great songs 

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Where do I start with a reply on this one @munkybizness! and how do I keep a reply short . . . let me try!

Part of the joy in being in a "car" club and seeing members every few weeks is to see how they have individually adapted/modified/personalized their "pride and joy". I smile when you say stock, because every time I join you on a drive a notice something a little different about your car :)  . . . . . . I like your description and split of modifications but I am going to politely disagree with you on the subject of those monster front lights! I've seen them in the light and the dark, definitely not an augmentation, definitely a significant change and modification :) haha

For me I look at anything as a change from "stock" as a modification (a bit like the UK insurance firms do!), and put these into 3 (though I sub-divide 1 into to parts). Need, Want, and Waste. its also important to note that it also depends on how much of a dedicated off road vehicle you have, and what you bought before you got the bug!

1. Need - if you have a car with 4 low and decent HP then there are only 3 (edited 4) things that falls into the category. Decent flag Mount, so you cant attach a proper flag! BashPlate to save the radiator / bumper and for those with newer 4x4s that follow the trend for bigger wheels and lower profile tyres, Some new Rims and Larger profile tyres. (edited - 4th, decent tow hooks if you dont have.)

2.a Want (sensible) - For confidence and/or less hassle. A/T Tyres with bigger profile if you own an older car, Auxiliary fan for transmission cooler in the summer if you car is susceptible. Kill switch for ABS / traction control. The Bumper cut I did on my prado was the single best thing I did. I no longer caught the bumper edges and it stopped my hesitation and over cautious driving. Along with the bashplate this change gave me much confidence and completely transformed how I enjoyed my time in the desert. Ive ended up fitting a Snorkel because I'm fed up of vacuuming out the airbox every weekend in the middle of the apartment parking!

2.b Want (less sensible)- To make time in the desert more enjoyable, or just for fun, or maybe just for looks, or because you have always wanted it! Some of us always wanted to have that loud exhaust, that remap, those fancy lights, the Wide wheel track, the lifted jeep. Many of us in UAE are here for a defined or limited period, the cost of modifications and labour, along with insurance rules mean for many of us this is the only time and place to do it! 

3. Waste - For those new to the desert and 4x4 life, this list will depend on where you sit on the above. Reserved for Mods that are likely to make our cars worse. . . . . Lift springs without matched damper on a car with sufficient ground clearances, or maybe Beadlocks wheels, maybe a pedal commander, Open "oil based" air filter kit. 

PS - I was never going to be in the "1. Need" camp and moved quickly to "2.a Want (sensible)" and now probably in "2.b Want (less sensible)"

Edited by Rob S
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