Imagine driving a 4WD up a near-vertical cliff face, having to slowly crawl over huge boulders and deep ruts and defy gravity to get to the top. This is the world of the Tuff Truck Challenge which began back in 2001 in which off road machinery is pushed to the limit. Over three days the vehicles negotiate jagged rocks, mud, giant holes and embankments. They are purpose-built and one of these, a Jeep TJ Wrangler, belongs to the Anglomoil Superior Lubricants team of driver Shane Bakes and navigator Mick Chote.
“We started competing in 2008 with the Jeep”, says Shane, “It first started with a very modified Jeep with all the regular bolt on gear that’s available for Jeeps but that wasn’t going to cut it as a full time competition rig pitted up against the toughest trucks in the country. Very little of the original TJ remains. The Anglomoil Jeep got a completely new drive train and is powered by a 327 cubic inch small block V8 which runs on LPG. This is an advantage because gas pressure remains constant at all times even if the Jeep is on its side or upside down, whereas it is harder to keep fuel pressure up when using petrol.”
Shane has found himself with his tyres pointing at the sky a few times.
Along with the new engine, power from the V8 runs through a GM Turbo 400 automatic gearbox with a custom torque converter and 2 speed transfer case by Atlas. The differentials are low profile Spidertrax axles with Ford 9-inch centers fitted with spools. Steering is heavily modified to be able to turn the big tyres on the spot and full hydraulic front and rear steering was utilised, capable of 45 degrees! Coil over suspension all around and BFG Red Label crawlers finish it off.
“To do well in this type of competition you to have high performance with good reliability, you only get one chance in competition. Right from day one we decided to use Anglomoil lubricants for the engine and drive train. They are extreme performance blends which are known to work well in harsh conditions. One day we might be rock crawling and at night doing Mudrat’s Revenge where we are buried in a metre of mud. Extreme 4WD’ing puts a massive amount of stress on the working parts.”
“Most of the time you are stationery or just crawling along. This leads to a lot of heat build-up which is why, for example, the engine has dual thermo fans to pull air through the car and there is an oil cooler for the power steering. When we’re competing the gearbox temperatures usually sit around 90-100 degrees, the engine temp’is between 90 and 110 degrees and the power steering fluid is at 80 degrees. You need lubricants which won’t lose viscosity or break down in these conditions. I use Anglomoil products for the gearbox, differential, engine, radiator coolant, all my fluids.”
“My Jeep has never had a mechanical failure or premature wear of any kind and I seldom have to do any work on it. It has taken a little while to sort the bugs but it’s been great driving it without the hassle of pulling it apart during the last few comps. I come home from an event, leave it on the trailer, go for some practice runs, check some bolts then it’s off to the next round.”
Shane’s introduction to Anglomoil came through a totally different sport – Thundercat racing boats.
“Thundercat racing is an inflatable tunnel boat class in the surf and flat water with two stroke outboard motors reaching speeds of 90 kilometres per hour. My boat had a Yamaha 50 horsepower engine and it was widely known that the best oils to use in this sport were Anglomoil. The big Formula 1 boats which accelerate and turn with more G forces than an F1 car all use Anglomoil. I never had any issues with my oil then so it made good sense to stick with them.”
Shane has announced that in 2015 he will also compete in the Werock Extreme Rock Climbing series which is on another level to the Tuff Truck Challenge.
“We also are looking into Ultra4 racing which is gaining popularity in Australia. This is completely different from the low speed short courses of the Tuff Truck Challenge and it tests the endurance of the off roader and its crew.”
Ultra4 tracks combine long straights, obstacles and rock crawling. Laps can be 20+ kilometres long. One minute you’re flying along in the outback at more than 100 KM/H and the next you are slowly scrambling over jagged boulders.
“We have had a few goes and it is addictive! This is a whole new ball game and it is going to require a revision of our engine/suspension/tyre set-up which can cope with the vastly different scenarios.”
Shane says he is confident that the Anglomoil lubricants will go the distance.