AFTER FITTING our Hilux with a disc-brake upgrade from Marks 4WD and a secondary fuel filter from Terrain Tamer last month, the next step to transform it was to start improving the exterior. And what better way to do that than with some protective barwork from TJM, a Mean Mother ‘Edge’ electric winch and some LEDs from Lightforce.
Yep, it’s starting to look like the expedition rig we planned it to be, and it’s only going to get better. We’ll be giving away the completed truck to a lucky reader in 2016, so watch this space over the coming months.
Aside from the factory accessory canopy, our Lux looked sales-rep stock when we first picked it up, so some fresh barwork was needed to toughen it up and to protect it in the bush. We wanted a different look for the front of the car and elected for a steel bar without top hoops. Sure, it doesn’t offer the best level of animal-strike protection for the radiator, but it’s the lighter look we wanted for this rig.
TJM’s ‘Frontier’ winch bar fit the bill, but the catalogue only lists it as suitable for the 2011 ‘facelifted’ model (and onwards). But the 2011 model is basically the same car as our 2010 model, so the guys at TJM said they’d make the bar fit.
The car went to TJM Airport West for the fit-out, where James managed the job. The steel Frontier bar offers better frontal protection than the plastic OE bar, and it allows a
better approach angle. With integrated fog lights, LED indicators, high-lift jacking points, and provisions for light and aerial mounts, the ADR-compliant bar gives the Lux a smarter and tougher look.
The TJM bar is rated to take a 9500lb winch; perfect for the Mean Mother Edge 9500lb unit we had. TJM Airport West fitted the winch to the bar before installing the whole assembly.
Just about every one of these Hiluxes we’ve off-road-tested over the years has gone back to the company with bent or damaged factory aluminium side steps. So, on our car, these were turfed in favour of TJM’s 50mm tubular steel steps that offer genuine sill protection.
They mount directly to the chassis for extra durability, plus they offer the option of fitting TJM brush bars (with a different bullbar) should the lucky owners want to add them down the track.
That same durability carries through to the back, where James fitted a TJM rear step tow bar. 63mm tube steel, high-lift jacking points, alloy tread plates and a rated class-4 tow bar all add up to deliver protection, functionality and good looks.
With bigger tyres coming soon for the Hilux, we wanted a set of SR5- style flares for it and chose the TJM fibreglass reproduction items.
These fit like factory, but if you look closely they don’t quite meet the front bar as they should, but that’s the price we paid for electing to fit a later-model front bar. They’ll nicely cover the set of Cooper Tires we have ready to fit next month.
The Mean Mother ‘Edge’ winch is rated to pull 9500lb.
Its 4.8hp motor delivers through a planetary gearbox with hardened steel gears, while the remote-control box is connected using tin-plated heavy-duty copper cables for the best conductivity.
For the sake of safety and the benefit of lighter weight, we asked for the winch to come with synthetic rope rather than steel cable – the fact that MM use genuine Dyneema rope on its synth models supported our choice. 30.5 metres of the tough, blue 9.5mm Dyneema rope fits to the drum of the Edge and exits the bar through an alloy hawse fairlead.
The Mean Mother Edge 9500lb winch with Dyneema rope and hawse fairlead retails for $999.
Tough sill protection (right) and a light, heavyduty winch (left).
Also mounted to the bar is a pair of Lighforce’s new LED 180SD spotlights.
These little wonders impressed us with their performance when we tested the originals last year (See the video at www.4x4australia.com.au/lightforce) and the new SDs are ever better. They offer 58 per cent more distance, are 33 per cent slimmer and 31 per cent lighter than the previous LED180 model, so it was a no-brainer to fit our Lux with some Lightforce lux.
Using 20 x 3W chips installed in deep reflectors for 20W total output, the LED180SDs punch above their weight and outshine many bigger, cheaper LED products. With military-spec Gortex water and dust protection, they are durable, too, so they cope with the hazards that come with being on the front of a Toyota.
Lightforce also supplied us with a pair of its LED ROK lamps, which we will be mounting in the back as camp/work lights once we get to that part of the rig.
WITH THE TJM bars, Mean Mother winch and Lightforce LEDs fi tted, our Hilux is starting to look the part, but those old steel wheels are lost inside the new fl ares. Next issue we’ll look at the EFS suspension install and get the just-released Cooper STT Pros fi tted to the ATX alloys to have it really riding right. Stay tuned to the build of the Loaded Lux to see how you could have a chance to win it in 2016.
TJM 4X4 EQUIPMENT Available at TJM stores nationally www.tjm.com.au MEAN MOTHER WINCHES Available in leading 4x4 accessories retailers www.haigh.com.au LIGHTFORCE Available in leading 4x4 accessories retailers www.lightforce.com