You can read in the previous two blogs how we refurbished the bathroom and the interior of the 4×4 world tour camper, and which gadgets and upgrades the living unit of the camper has received to increase living comfort. That's all wonderful, of course, but without a decent car we won't get all those beautiful things anywhere.
In the third and last article about our camper we will therefore show you what we wear the technique of the car. It is quite a bit of weight that we carry with us, so it had to be upgraded to improve safety and terrain skills. We have also given the lighting a significant boost so that we can confidently take to the road, even in the middle of the night.
Table of contents
Missed the first two articles?
Missed the first two articles? Then read it back! In the first article about our 4×4 world trip camper you can read all about the bathroom and the interior† In it you can see what we have changed in the optical sense on the inside of the motorhome. We also tell why we chose this 4×4 world tour camper and what it looked like when we bought it.
In the 2nd article I'll show you what gadgets and upgrades we have added to the 4×4 camper to make it living comfort to increase and how we extra storage space have created.
Upgrades to the car / 4×4 pickup
So, fully informed by the first two articles? Then we continue with the upgrades to the technology of the car / 4×4 pickup. In short, this is the list of upgrades we've added over the past few months.
- Alarm system installed
- GPS tracker installed
- BFgoodrich All Terrain, All Season Tires
- Tough Dog rally shock absorbers
- Reinforced rear suspension
- Air suspension installed
- Lighting upgraded to LED
- 32.000 lumen LED bar installed
- etc. etc.
Below I will go into more details about each upgrade.
Alarm system, immobilizer and GPS Tracker
Because we also wanted to do something about the safety of the camper, we have installed an immobilizer and an alarm system. In addition to the alarm system, a GPS tracker from Tracemaster is also hidden somewhere in the camper, so that we can see where the camper is at all times.
Tracemaster's GPS trackers are available from 89 to about 150 euros, depending on the options, range and battery size. They are for sale via the order button below.
This reliable and accurate GPS tracker ensures that your precious possession is always immediately traceable, easy to use and without cables.
You can immediately see in real time where your vehicle is via the free App. You have a direct overview with an accurate location via a clear Google Maps map.
In addition, you can look back on routes driven up to 3 months ago, so you can also trace afterwards where a vehicle has been and which route has been taken, even the speed driven can be viewed.
- Free app
- Easy in use
- Highly accurate
- Good battery life
- Can be connected to 12v from the car
- 12v cables not included
For all the specs and details of the GPS tracker, read the blog about the Tracemaster GPS via the link below:
BFgoodrich Ko2 All Terrain, All Season Tires
Without good tires you don't have to think about off-roading. That's why we chose the best all-terrain, all-season tires on the market. They are not cheap tires (about 200 euros each), but it is not for nothing that army units all over the world drive these tires… They are strong and suitable for any terrain or season but not unnecessarily bulky and also very suitable for highways . It is by far the most popular tire in the entire vanlife / overland culture for RVs / 4×4s and overland vehicles.
The fact that the BFgoodrich Ko2 All-terrain tires also look super cool with those white letters and coarse studs on the side (which are very valuable in sand and mud), is an extra plus in my opinion!
Tip: Because they are also all-season tires including the necessary winter quality marks, you can also use it well through the snow and you can just drive in Germany in the winter.
Tip 2: If you consider mounting these tires under your own camper or bus, order them well in advance via TyresCompetitor and have them delivered to a garage of your choice. Do this on time because the tires are difficult to obtain in the Netherlands (we hardly see all terrain vehicles here…).
BandenConcurrent is one of only a handful of suppliers that BFgoodrich Ko2 All Terrain, All Season Tires can deliver in the Netherlands.
Wereldreizigers.nl asked in one of the largest Overlander groups in the world via a poll advice... What is the best world tour band? The results don't lie. Whopping 93% of the 700 votes chose this band!
World travelers, vanlifers, overlanders and even army units around the world agree: the BFGoodrich Ko2 All-Terrain, All-Season is the best band for your caravan, camper, 4x4 or camper bus.
The band is widely used by army units anywhere in the world. They are also known for being extremely strong, ready for any terrain in any season.
- #1 choice for overlanders worldwide
- very strong
- All Terrain + All Season
- Great snow tire
- incl. all winter quality marks (snowflake, etc.)
Tough Dog Shock Absorbers and Air Assist Suspension
A necessary upgrade for this camper was that the rear had to be considerably strengthened. The previous owner had actually not done anything to the suspension for years and the camper therefore sagged considerably at the back. Not surprising in itself, after all there is 800 kilos on the back of the pickup! But the whole thing was also worn out and that really did not help the handling at all, it was even dangerous.
That is why I decided to enlist help from Overlander expert Pier Kerkstra (his website and adventures here) and his colleague Michael. Pier becomes in the overlander world really seen as an Expedition camper guru. Pier has been building custom expedition camper units on 4×4 vehicles for decades.
After a short check, Pier was soon able to tell us that the air suspension had run out, the leaf springs had sagged and that the shock absorbers had long needed to be replaced. Whoops!
This is what it looked like before we started. You can see that it all had to be replaced…
We decided to get it right in one go. We have the standard shock absorbers replaced for a professional rally sport variant, we replace the leaf springs for a 'heavy duty' variant and we rebuild the air suspension, including brackets and accessories.
To give you an idea of the quality of upgrades we've had installed under our car, below is a photo of the original Mitsubishi shock absorber (right) and the new Tough Dog Foam Cell shock absorber (left) it will be replacing. It's a little sturdier
Below that is another photo of what it looks like after all the upgrades (shock absorbers, heavy-duty leaf springs + Dunlop air suspension) have been installed.
If you want to know exactly what these new shock absorbers, heavy-duty leaf springs and Dunlop air suspension cost including installing them, read the full blog via the link below:
NOVSIGHT LED H4 headlights
You don't necessarily need super good lighting in the city. The streets are usually lit and the roads are paved. But if you choose to drive to remote places in countries where road maintenance is not so good, you would do well to give your lighting a big upgrade. Large holes and potholes in the road are a great danger to your motorhome because your braking distance is longer due to the higher weight and swerve by definition will be a challenge. It's not a sports car after all!
And that's especially true when you go off-road. On unpaved roads you run much more risk of suddenly driving into a large pothole or having to avoid large pieces of stone or branches. It's just important that you spot those dangers in time and good lighting definitely helps you with that.
That's why I gave the lighting a huge boost quite shortly after I bought the camper. Firstly, I immediately replaced the standard H4 halogen headlights with a modern LED variant and shortly afterwards I also mounted an LED bar. I chose the headlights for the American brand NOVSIGHT because they have been rated very well in reviews. For only 5 bucks you can replace your standard lighting and you will immediately see a huge boost in the amount of light your headlights generate.
NOVSIGHT LED bulbs for cars and motorcycles are the ultimate upgrade for your vehicle. The American brand is known for performance and quality. The reviews of the brand are good to very good.
- Super white 6000K light
- Big upgrade compared to halogen
- Very affordable
- Cooling element sticks out slightly
You install these lamps just like any other headlight, just plug and play. These lamps replace both your low beam and your high beam and they turn your standard 1200 lumen headlights into 5000 lumen headlights. What is also good to know is that the lamps have a quality mark and I do so got through the APK without any problems.
32.000 Lumen SKYWORLD 22″ LED Bar
Then I added another LED bar. Headlamps have a focused light image. This image faces the ground (and a little to the right in the berm), so you don't dazzle oncoming traffic. But those who drive or go off-road in remote places will probably encounter more potholes in the road or verge than oncoming traffic.
In such situations you can certainly use some extra light to see and avoid all dangers in time. That is why I chose an LED bar that I mounted on the front of the car.
You have them in all shapes and sizes. Some are up to 1,5 meters wide and produce 50.000 lumens! That's a really ridiculous amount of light I can tell you. I chose the 22 inch SKYWORLD LED bar because it mounted nicely, unobtrusively, on my chrome bull-bar. This is how it is currently mounted on our car:
It may not look super fancy or powerful but this LED bar produces a whopping 32.000 lumens! That's about as much light output as 25 standard halogen headlamps?. The LED bar is a combination of focused (beam LEDs) in the center of the beam and unfocused (flood LEDs) in the sides of the beam. This LED bar thus functions as a high-beam headlamp and roadside light in one.
You will not miss a hole, branch or animal in the roadside with this amount of light on your car. You have to see it to believe it!! The first time I put it on at night I really didn't know what I was seeing. Just bizarre!
The 22 inch version of this LED bar will not cost you anything. It costs about 65 euros and is for sale via Amazon Netherlands, see info below.
This LED bar produces a whopping 32.000 lumens! That's about as much light output as 25 standard halogen headlamps?. The LED bar is a combination of focused (beam LEDs) in the center of the beam and unfocused (flood LEDs) in the sides of the beam.
- 32.000 lumens
- Sturdy aluminum housing
- Easy to connect
- Supplied switch rather fragile
⚠️ I don't think I need to say it, but I'll do it anyway... That you like this beam absolutely should not turn on on the highway or in the city† You blind everything and everyone and that is life-threatening for both yourself and other road users.
In terms of legality of these beams, you have to take into account that you can have it on your car provided it is switched separately so not via the standard headlight / high beam switch in your car. I mounted it on my dashboard with a separate cable and switch and that's OK for the MOT.
That's it for now! The camper is finally ready, the adventure in America will start soon!