I've been a fan of ARB gear for some time now and enjoy using their well-made products when travelling both in the bush and up the beach.
The company has a huge range of off-road accessories, recovery gear and other equipment, and from time to time I'm going to feature selected products for our Fishing Monthly readers’ benefit.
In this article I'll look at issues with beach travel, particularly the vital matter of tyre deflation, and how ARB products can make such tasks easier. And, to look a worse case scenario – tackling a puncture a long way from home – I’ll review the company's Speedy Seal puncture repair kit.
It's a given that tyres on vehicles being used on a beach need reduced air pressure to maximize their footprint, thereby reducing the chance of bogging. That's not to say you’ll never get bogged, but expanding the footprint will certainly reduce the number of occasions you’ll get stuck.
The question always arises as to how much the tyre should be reduced in pressure. The reality is that different tyres share different profiles, so there is no hard and fast rule. Still, a pressure of around 18lbs per square inch – 120 kPa – is universally accepted as somewhere near the ideal. That’s strictly for the beach though. Once you’re back on a hard surface you’ll need to inflate those tyres quick smart to avoid rolling a tyre off a rim and causing an instant flat tyre that will be mighty hard to rectify.
Correct inflation, then, is paramount – and this is where three ARB products really excel. The first is the E-Z deflator, second is the Low Pressure Gauge, which precisely gauges tyre pressure when there is a need to deflate or then reinflate tyres at a later time.
This compact yet handy unit simply screws onto the tyre valve stem via an adaptor and, as per instructions with each unit, the valve core is removed into the deflator unit and at the same time you can view the existing tyre pressure on the E-Z deflator's gauge. All it takes to remove air slowly but carefully is to pull on the deflator's slide valve. A quick check with the in-built gauge (with the slide valve pushed in again) will show if the correct amount of reduction has been achieved. If so, you just retighten the tyre valve to its original position. If more air is to come out, just activate the slide valve again.
When you’re done, you can remove the unit via the adaptor. A final check can be made with the Low Pressure Gauge.
This large gauge is designed to read tyre pressures between 0 and 50 PSI (350 kPa), the beauty of the unit being its big size (leave the specs in the car) and accuracy. How many times have we fiddled with those skimpy looking tyre pressure gauges that resemble a biro and are about as useful as one? The ARB LP gauge is a beauty and will come into its own when used in conjunction with the ARB Aussie-made Portable Air Compressor.
Once tyres are down in pressure they sooner or later need to be inflated, and this is where the 12V ARB compressor comes into its own. The unit is a top quality effort from ARB, of a solid construction complete with 3m long battery leads (with in-line fuse) plus a 6m long air hose for those difficult situations. The compressor is very fast acting, too, and will get the tyres back up to scratch in record time.
No job is too large for this compressor, nor too small either, as there's a multiple use accessory bag that has inflators for kid's toys, footballs and the like.
The entire kit comes in a solid carry bag strong enough to have other gear stacked on or around it with ease. As a one-off lifetime purchase the ARB high output compressor is a great piece of kit to always have on hand.
A brilliant bit of gear this. I once had two tyres punctured on my 4WD in a space of hours and was a long way from help. Without my Speedy Seal Kit there would have been no return home that night, with a long walk to the highway for assistance thanks to lack of phone coverage in that area.
The kit works in steps as per instructions on tubeless tyres, using the components provided. The first job is to remove with long-nosed pliers the cause of the flat tyre, bearing in mind that the kit repairs holes made by nails or other sharp objects and cannot repair a slash in a side wall or major rupture. It repairs punctures, not tyre failures.
With the cause of the puncture removed, the next job is to use the reamer in the kit with a bit of the kit's lubricant on it to clean up the hole, making sure there are no sections of steel belt or other objects in the way to prevent the repair from being effective. The repair itself involves the insertion of a self-sealing cord on a dedicated applicator.
After you have cleaned up the hole and put some air in the tyre via the quick-acting ARB compressor, the special applicator tool (looking much like an oversized bait needle) is utilized to push the lubricated self-vulcanizing cord into the hole. The idea is to have equal parts of the cord each side of the needle's end.
The needle-like insertion tool has an outer sleeve on it and the idea is to push the end of the big needle plus the cord right into the hole until the sleeve sits flush on the outside of the tyre.
To remove the tool, hold the sleeve against the tyre as the central section is withdrawn, thus lodging the cord firmly into the hole. Then you can reinflate the tyre and check it for leaks.
Note that the Speedy Seal, while quite effective, is designed as a temporary repair and the tyre should be professionally repaired when you get back to civilisation.
I see a lot of vehicles with a high-lift jack on the roof rack or bullbar up the beach these days, and I often speculate as to how they might use that big quick acting jack if they need to in a hurry. Maybe they carry a block or two of timber with them? That’s fine – if someone hasn't used the blocks in the fire the night before.
To my way of thinking, the ideal jacking base is the extra rugged Off-road Base which ARB stock. At some 31cm square this high impact plastic base will sit right on top of the sand while the jack is in use to lift the vehicle, and is designed to fit any size high lift jack.
|Low Pressure gauge||$48|
|High Output Compressor||$349|
|Speedy Seal kit||$59|