To: birding Aus <>
Subject: birding-aus FOUR WHEEL DRIVES
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 08:43:18 +1000
I agree that a competently managed 2wd will go most places a birder
needs to go. By management I mean both vehicle and trip preparation, and
the way the vehicle is treated once away from civilization. And I
suspect that women, being free of machismo, will do a better job than
most men. The only advantage men have here is that they MAY have learned
about cars (not just how to make them go faster) and sometimes a bit of
strength is needed - as when you discover that the garage used the
rattle-gun on "truck setting" to do up your wheel nuts.

The comment about ground clearance is completely valid. Long ago we
started birding with a Pug 404 station wagon; plenty of clearance and
excellent poor road ability.

In our drive is a 1999 vehicle with better manners than most; it has
about half the clearance that the wagon had. When it went for its 2000
km service it was suggested that perhaps a sump guard might be a good
idea as it had obviously been off the bitumen (finding Hooded Robins at
Redcastle). That of course would lose another inch of clearance!

I did hear of a Honda which went up the Strezleki Track - $8000 for
panel beating the floor and $20,000 for a new engine as the sump and
conrods wanted to use the same piece of space in the engine. (But this
may be an urban myth!)

Brian Fleming
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