If you put your head into the back of my tray on the Dirty 30, you’ll find so many mechanical odds and ends that you’d think I run a mini mobile Repco store. It’s almost become a bit of a joke between the fellas here at 4WD Action when I’m travelling with them. They of course stop laughing when they need to borrow a tool or a bit of gear to get them back on the tracks again.

I guess it comes with the territory of owning an older 4WD, things can go wrong and they do. But if you prepare yourself with the right spares it can literally mean the difference between getting your 4WD back on the track or leaving it stranded and waiting for a tow truck to come.

In fact, bringing the right spares isn’t just in the realms of older 4WDs and even if you own a brand new 4WD that has just rolled off the showroom floor, you’d be mad no to carry spares, tools and other repair gear.

Australia really does have some of the most remote tracks in the world and it really doesn’t matter where you travel, I bet you’d rather be prepared than to become stranded!   

In the back of my canopy I carry two rather large space cases that are packed to the brim with tools, spares and bits of kit that I’ve collected over the years. You would think I’m a serial hoarder and haven’t cleaned the back of my truck for the last 100,000km or so.

Whichever way you look at it, there’s a whole lot of bits and pieces in the back of my truck that I would never consider removing. From old wiring harnesses to used hoses and belts, you’re bound to find something in my 4WD that could potentially get you out of strife should you breakdown off road. The old wiring harnesses are from 12V projects gone wrong and an old spotty loom, plus other random gauge and lengths of wire.

You see, this ‘junk’ as some would call it, becomes very handy when you’re after a fuse, length of wire, a relay etc in the bush. Even if the wiring in your truck is done to a high standard I bet you’ll have a mate that is often repairing his 4WD on the fly every time you head off road.

Last year on the way up north a mate in his 4WD started having issues with his fridge. Not the kind of problem you want on day one of a 10 day camping trip! Seriously, imagine not having cold beer when you’re camping at a tropical north Queensland campsite. If that’s not enough incentive to carry lots of spares, I don’t know what is.

When we popped the bonnet to get this bloke’s fridge going again it turned out that the wiring he was running to power the fridge was way too thin and some of the connections were a little bit dodgy. Honestly, if I was to get a dollar for every time I saw a problem with a fridge that was because the wiring to the fridge was not up to scratch, I would hardly have to buy a beer again.

To power my WAECO CFX 65L DZ in the back of the Dirty 30 you notice that I run a minimum of twin core 6mm wiring so I don’t lose voltage over the distance to the back of the 4WD. I would even suggest a heavier gauge of wiring if you plan to run any other accessories of that wiring. As for connecters, everything needs to be soldered and you should use some sort of insulation to protect the wire itself.

An even easier solution to powering your fridge is to use one of the ready-made WAECO Fridge Power Kits that are available for all their fridge and freezer models. These take all the hard work and guess work out of wiring, and come with 6mm twin core, good plugs, solid mounting brackets and the ability to switch between constant power or power only when your vehicle is running (to avoid a flat battery). I can install one of these units in just an hour or two and I’ve never heard of one failing. They’re a fool proof option whether you’re starting out with your first 12V fridge, or have been running one for years and want to bush-proof and tidy up your wiring.

Get this sorted and you’ll never need to put up with warm beer again!     

Shauno's Blog: Bring Spares

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