Why Weight Matters
We took The Ox to Katherine's public weigh bridge: Here's why you should too.
The Ox was a bit concerned about her weight (no matter how much we tried to tell her that media driven societal beauty standards are bullshit) but when we took her to a weigh bridge, she felt like a supermodel compared to some of these big rigs… But I digress, let's talk about vehicle weight.
Weight is critical for an overland vehicle, and we think it doesn't get talked about enough. It puts so much more stress in EVERY component, it will wear your tyres faster, your transmission, brakes, clutches, CV joints, axels, suspension components… I mean literally everything. And on top of that it's going to make your fuel consumption shoot up.
So it's all well and good carrying all the spares you need, water, fuel, all the things that are essential to going to remote areas where you need to be self reliant; but the flip side to that is that it must be balanced with how much everything weighs, because the fact is, more weight means you're more likely to break something.
How do you manage complete self sufficiency with respectable weight targets? Gotta be honest, we're still trying to work out the answer to that! You can't economise on important things like fuel, water, spares, and tools (within reason) so the reality is that you have to cut back on creature comforts instead. How many vehicles do you see loaded up to the nines because they have the space (though surely clutter and accessibility should be a consideration in your living space, who wants to dig through piles of junk every time you need to find something?), but are clearly not thinking about how much weight, and therefore stress, they're putting on their vehicle?
With that in mind, we decided to take her to the free public weigh bridge in Katherine. It's a great thing for anyone to know how much your vehicle weighs, especially as they'll tell you the individual weights for your front and rear axles, as well as combined, which means you can set up your vehicle better, set your suspension and tyre pressures more accurately, and giving you a better idea of how evenly (or not) distributed your weight is.
We were pleasantly surprised to find her 1.25 on the front, and 2.3 on the rear, so 3.5 tons total. Still, we admit, quite portly, but within her legal GVM, and also completely loaded with three weeks worth of fuel, water, food and supplies for our Canning trip, so as heavy as she would ever be, and obviously quickly decreasing as the days went on. We were also relocating so had Jade's full aviation tool kit, guitar and case, work boots etc, that we wouldn't usually carry. Saying that, of course we'd still love to make improvements:
If we had a blank cheque, we would love to replace our current interior storage system with a light weight composite, and replace our three batteries with lithium alternatives, plus replacing Kate's DSLR camera gear with a mirrorless kit: All that might knock off 100kg, and every little bit makes a difference, but at a pretty substantial cost. Hopefully one day we'll be able to afford it, but until then, we think the Ox is pretty sexy as she is.