Monthly Archives: April 2011

JeepAprJeep is celebrating its 70th Anniversary with a new look website, which also coincides with the company’s UK launch of the newly redesigned Jeep Compass compact SUV.

At Jeep’s site (www.jeep.co.uk) you will be able to extensively explore the latest Jeep line-up with 360˚ images of the vehicles, specifications, features and latest finance offers. If you’re interested in trying out a Jeep for yourself you can now book a test drive online, download a brochure, find your local Jeep dealer and locate used car offers.

Keeping up with social networking, the new site will allow you to link to Jeep UK’s new social media profiles on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Definitely worth doing if you want to keep up with the latest news, pictures, videos and competitions from Jeep.


Anyone who has wrestled with a large alloy wheel after a blowout will know how difficult they are to fit back onto a vehicle. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many manufacturers have done away with protruding studs from the hubs of their vehicles – leaving owners trying to line a rim up with a series of holes, into which they must insert the wheel bolts.

That’s why E-Tech has launched this stud locator. It’s a deceptively simple device, which screws into one of the bolt holes on a vehicle’s hub. This enables the wheel to be mounted on the stud locator, thereby ensuring the other holes line up, and the bolts can be tightened with ease.

A pack containing two locators is priced £9.99. www.autoinparts.com


If you’re welding two panels together, these Intergrip Panel Clamps from Frost will be a considerable aid. They clamp flat, curved or pressed ribbed panels edge-to-edge, leaving just enough space between for the weld to take hold.

A set of five Panel Clamps costs £13.50. www.frost.co.uk

Panoramic_roofA recent discussion I’ve been having about buying a 4×4 relates to kit versus brand. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a budget to suit both your kit requirements and 4×4 brand then you might well have to weigh up whether you’d rather have a luxury brand with only a very basic level of equipment or more affordable 4x4s that will allow you to add a few ‘toys’ within your budget.

It can be a difficult decision to make, especially when you see the specification level of, say, a Ford Kuga Titanium (costing around £23,000), which includes as standard a panoramic roof, keyless entry, rear-view camera and heated front seats. However, to buy a BMW X1 (costing £24,000) would see you pay out an extra £1,500 as all those features come as extras (except the keyless entry, which isn’t availble on that model).

It’s an interesting comparison to make, and when you buy your next 4×4 is well investigating to find out exactly what you are getting for your money.

MayNewsAWDCThe first round of the All Wheel Drive Club’s 2011 Safari Championship turned out to be of one of the toughest courses in the AWDC’s calendar, with the conditions rated as ‘tricky’ to say the least.

Tim Philpott set a more than reasonable time in his Simbugghini and would go on to win in Class 8. Chris Hammond was to follow in his Milner Pro Truck but broke a front CV in the first few miles. He continued in two-wheel drive but lost over a minute. Chris went on to fix the CV, but it would prove impossible to regain his losses and he had to settle for a disappointing second place overall.

MayNewsClarksonThe Northern Off Road Club kicked of its 2011 season with the traditional trip to Wickenby, near Lincoln, and a dry and dusty event, writes Gavin Lodge.

Tim Sagar posted quickest time on the opening run, but went no further due to suspension damage. Robin Clarkson made the pace for the rest of the day, winning the event by almost two minutes. Reigning champion, Robert Simmonite’s bid to retain his title was hindered by a puncture on run two, and although he kept the pressure on Clarkson, was unable to improve on his second place.

NigelFryattNigel Fryatt – contributor

MayStaffRav8It’s quite odd letting a man you’ve never met start hitting your 4×4 with a hammer. Okay, so it was more gentle taps than full-blooded thumps, but it was still rather worrying. Did he really know what he was doing? Should we have taken the Toyota to the bodyshop?

Regular readers will remember that a few weeks ago we had the Toyota’s front bumper repaired at a cost of £370. The RAV was off the road for nearly three days; such was the palaver involved in removing the huge front bumper, prepping it, spraying and then re-fixing everything. Thankfully, the culprit had acknowledged the ‘bump’ and our costs were covered. The repair was excellently done, yet despite it not actually costing us anything, nearly £400 for a minor scuff seemed excessive.

You can imagine the language, therefore, when yet another errant parker, in the car park, sheepishly announced they too had ‘just nicked’ the front wing of the Toyota. So after a visit to the Tractor Show (pic above), off we went again to the bodyshop for an estimate; two days this time, at a cost of £367 (plus VAT).

HIlsEverittHils Everitt – editor

MayStaffJeep7Well, so far so good. After a catalogue of problems in 2010, my Grand has behaved itself very well so far. With my brand new set of General Grabber AT rubberwear we conquered the deep snow last December and since then the beast has not put a foot wrong.
So, it was with a little trepidation that when the annual service and MoT time came up recently I couldn’t help a real feeling of dread, just in case.

So, I dropped my 51-plate, 90,555-mile Jeep off at my mate’s garage and didn’t hang around to watch proceedings and dashed off in the hideous and ancient Fiat Punto that he had lent me for the day. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t hand me the keys of the Smart car that I usually get with its quirky sequential gearbox and left-hand drive. I love quirky cars and this one is the ultimate. The Punto was a poor substitute and I could feel the pitiful glances that were directed my way – everyone smiles at the Smart!

AnnLockleyAnn Lockley – contributor

MayStaff6Christmas arrived a month late here in Canada but I am not complaining – not one bit! TerraFirma and Rock Island Rovers stepped up to the plate and sent along the promised parts to get my poor stricken Kelsey up and running; without the wobble, I hope.

So my lovely package from Santa included included: Big Bore Expedition Shocks, Heavy Load Front & Rear springs, Rear Spring Dislocation Cones, Rear Top Shock Mount Relocators, poly bushing kit, all from TerraFirma plus all three ball joints and an ignition coil purchased here in Victoria, so how good it will work is anyone’s guess!

KevinBaldwinKevin Baldwin – contributor

MayStaffLand5I love cars, but the one thing I hate with a passion is the actual buying process, which is a big reason it’s taken so long for me to find a replacement for my 90 that was stolen in July 2010. Wasted journeys to look at glorified tat is no fun, but this time the delay in finding a suitable vehicle wasn’t down to a lack of interest but more the lack of choice available.

The 90’s replacement was always going to be a Defender, but this time I wanted to upsize to a 110, specifically the Utility Wagon model. The Defender 110 Utility Wagon was launched at the same time that the Defender range got its makeover in 2007. The new interior and 2.4-litre Transit engine and six-speed box were all new, as was the addition of the Utility Wagon based on the 110 Station Wagon, but with the rear windows and third row of seating deleted to create a more load-user-friendly and practical loadbed. The Utility Wagon is not a big seller, but is a hugely sought after secondhand buy; hence the reason it’s taken me so long to find a suitable vehicle.

Okay, so I’ll admit that, besides a strict Yorkshireman’s budget, my other exacting criteria did narrow down my choice of vehicles. It had to be silver, grey or black; I didn’t want the basic spec (there are three trim levels); the mileage had to be low-ish and, of course, it had to be straight and clean. The daily trawl of Auto Trader, eBay and various Land Rover-based internet sites became a tedious chore, but, in the end, a classified ad on the defender2.com website bagged me the 110 I’d been looking for.