Body and under-body protection
An inevitable consequence of off-roading on challenging terrain is the potential to damage something. Dents and scratches have to be an accepted hazard in the African bush and if you don’t want your shiny vehicle scratched, don’t take it. Most importantly, steering, axles and fuel tank need some form of guarding, as a serious knock in the wrong place could disable the vehicle in the middle of nowhere or dump all the fuel. The following was fitted to our vehicle, most of which was necessary, some not.
Bush wires – fitted from each front corner to each roof corner. Useful for pushing branches away from screen and preventing damage. I broke mine a couple of times. Also doubles up as washing lines!
Chequer plating – another de rigueur item that no self-respecting off-roading Land Rover would be seen dead without. I plated the bonnet and wing tops but should have gone for full plating on the bonnet. The biggest advantage of the plating is the added strength allowing one to walk on the bonnet for easy access to the roof contents. The unplated sections of the bonnet were abused as I used it for carrying firewood and consequently became badly scratched; full plating would have protected this. I sprayed mine matt black to reduce glare.
Rock sliders – a substantial bar between the wheels to protect the body below the door that would be susceptible to damage when climbing over rocks or brushing through substantial trees. Ours also acted as a step and I placed luminous anti-slip tape along its length as it was slippery in the wet.
Light guards – fitted to standard head lamps and rear lights but not driving lights. In my opinion, an unnecessary fitment as the ‘bull bars’ protect the front lights from trees etc. and the gaps in the guard are too big to prevent stone damage; the rear ones aren’t prone to damage in the first place unless one's reversing is suspect!
Steering guard; track rod protector; front differential and rear differential protection; fuel tank protector – these items protect the more vulnerable items underneath when traversing rough terrain, bearing in mind that the fuel tank is plastic on a TD5.
Me trimming the way for a friend's brand new Mitsubushi L200 Barbarian whilst greenlaning in Oxfordshire