If you’ve never had something knicked from your 4WD, chances are you know someone who has – tell ya what, it’s not a nice feeling. Heck, most of the 4WD Action boys have had stuff taken off their 4WDs. There’s nothing worse than coming out to your truck one morning to see bits taken off it, parts damaged or even worse than that, when it’s not where you parked it – god forbid.
“Ever wanted to make it hard for those lowlife grubs that take stuff off your pride and joy? Check out a few of these must do mods to thief-proof your 4WD”
The problem these days, is that if someone really wants something off your truck, odds are they are going to get it eventually. Most of the time all you can do is slow them down, or make it frustrating for them in the hope they will bugger off – or even better, if you then catch them in the act… There’s a theory going around 4WD Action HQ that if something on your truck takes more than 10 minutes to remove, the mouth breathers are going to give up – For the most part.
In this issue we are going to show you a few of the mods that we reckon will go a long way in protecting your pride and joy, and hopefully stop the grubs from getting away with your hard earned mods. We have categorized them into different areas of protection, so you can figure out exactly what you need, and take the steps to make sure your truck and everything on it, stays where it belongs.
PROTECTING YOUR TYRES
This one is pretty straightforward; you can buy special wheel nuts from your local auto parts store with a matching thread to your studs, the idea being that you need a special tool to remove them. This is particularly handy for things like spare tyres on the back. Having said that, make sure you chuck the special tool to remove them in your vehicles toolkit – as the last thing you want is to have to change a tyre on the side of the road in the middle of the night, and realise that you don’t have the right equipment to get it off – believe us, we know…
PROTECTING YOUR 4WD
One of the best bang for buck mods for protecting your 4WD is an ignition kill switch. This one is relatively straightforward if you’re handy with a soldering iron, and can be very effective if done right. Basically, it involves wiring a simple isolating switch into the ignition wiring circuit, so you can cut off the power signal to the starter.
To wire it up, remove your steering shroud so you can get to the ignition wiring. Use a multimeter to find the wires that send power to the starter motor. Using a factory wiring diagram for your truck will come in handy here. Once you’ve found the wires that you need, splice a minimum of 25Ah wire between them (as it needs to carry enough current for the starting circuit). Run your wiring to an area of the vehicle that the thief isn’t likely to look for a killswitch. For example, avoid placing it in the dash or under the instrument cluster – use your imagination here.
Make sure you make the wiring look as factory as possible too. Reason being, if old mate pulls the instrument cluster apart, it will be easy for him to trace the switch if there are two big red wires running somewhere. Use heat shrink, solder, perforated tubing etc, to hide the wires as much as possible. We ran our switch to behind the kick panel. It’s a bit difficult to get to, but it means it would be for them too. Then we ran the wires with the factory loom so it looks neat.
PROTECTING YOUR GEAR
For the most part, if it has the word ‘lock’ in it, it’s a pretty good thing to use for your gear. For example, having a few bike locks and padlocks in the back as spares pay for themselves when you head out on a trip, as they are versatile. For example, chucking a simple bike lock on your Maxtrax or your jerry cans means you don’t need to worry when you pull into town for supplies. If you’re a keen surfer, you may be familiar with those reinforced lockable straps you can buy too, for strapping down your board. Getting yourself a set of them for things like your swag will pay for themselves.
Another piece of kit that every 4WDer should have is a lockable recovery hitch pin. How many of you have had your recovery hitch stolen while you’ve been parked at the local to stock up for your trip? Obviously the simple solution is to remove it when you’re not using it, but when you need it, a simple 20 buck locking hitch pin can keep it safe. Just make sure you take the recovery shackle off if you’re not using it, and just leave the block in the receiver. Remember though, if you lose the key, you’ll need to grind the pin off!
More often than not, if a thief sees a sophisticated security system, they are more than likely to leave the vehicle alone. Vehicle safety cams are great here, as they record the vehicles surroundings when it’s parked. And for some reason, thieves don’t like showing their face… For the budget conscious DIYer though, even investing in a small red LED blinking light for the dash might help in deterring thieves.
All they do is flash intermittently when the vehicle is parked up, making it look like there’s a top notch security system installed. If you’re looking for a bit more assurance though, aftermarket immobilisers are getting pretty flash these days, with some coming with GPS locating systems and even fuel cut functions.
PROTECTING YOUR MODS
For things like lightbars and driving lights, a lot of thieves remove the light off the bracket, leaving you with a space where the light should have been. There are a couple of ways to slow them down here. Locknuts on the brackets themselves means when they fail to remove the entire light, they will most likely turn to taking it off the bracket. This also works well if you have fitted an awning to your 4WD. If you’re handy with a welder, sometimes you can tack-weld the adjusting nut to the bracket. Be careful though, as it means you can’t really move it either, so make sure you are happy with its position.