A very interesting article I stumbled upon and wanted to share. Check it out.
Getting around on Antartica certainly has it's challenges. For the past years the most used method of transportation has been the traditional tracked vehicle. Now modified 4x4s are being used with impressive results. The Arctic Trucks modified Toyota Hilux on 44 inch tires is a great example./attachment.php?attachmentid=346849[/img]
Tell us a little about your company.
The origin of Arctic Trucks can be traced back to 1990 when Toyota in Iceland started to modify 4wd Utility and Sport Utility Vehicles. This business has over the years taken us a long way, building up great experience and knowledge that has given us a world renowned expertise in the field of 4x4 modifications. Arctic Trucks now operates independent from Toyota distributor as an international company delivering many different products to both the private and professional sector.
How was the idea about building a 4x4 for use on Antarctica born?
For over 25 years, Icelanders have been modifying vehicles to improve their performance on difficult terrain in severe climate where the roads are often unsafe, difficult and even dangerous. The strongest motivation is the desire to enjoy Icelandic nature in winter as well as summer. This core nature of Icelandic soul is deeply rooted in our companyâ€™s soul. Arctic Trucks is in a way an extension of deciding where to go and then taking the challenge of solving the issues of reaching that goal, always with safety and respect for the beautiful environment that surrounds us.
The idea of using 4X4 vehicles on Antarctica comes from the experience gained by using our cars on the Icelandic glaciers. Arctic Trucks first expedition on Antarctica was in 1997 and since then we have been adding to our experience and developing our modifications in order to provide vehicles that can better handle the difficult terrain on Antarctica.
What are your main goals for the extreme 44 inch tire upgrade?
The main reason for the 44x18.5-15 tire upgrade is to create a vehicle that can go anywhere. With the large tire contact area we get low ground pressure, especially while running only 3 psi tire pressure. This means that the vehicle can carry more loads on soft ground and has extreme off-road capabilities.
Describe the modification necessary?
In order to fit 44 inch tires on the Toyota Hilux we have to relocate both the rear axle and the front suspension system. We use a 90 mm suspension lift and 60 mm body lift. The wheel wells and fenders have to be cut up and made larger in order to fit the tires and maintain reasonable turning radius. And the fiberglass fender flares are fitted to cover the tires.On the expedition vehicles we upgrade the rear suspension by fitting stiffer leaf springs and heavy duty KONI shock absorbers. The rear axle is fitted with a larger differential and the axle housing is reinforced.
On the front suspension we use the basic independent suspension system but upgrade it with stiffer coil springs and KONI shock absorbers. Parts of the front suspension system are also reinforced.
We fit the vehicles with crawler gears, lower gear ratios and ARB differential lockers. Other accessories include; Viair air compressors, ComeUp winches, a front mounted crane to lift oil barrels, roll cages, extra fuel tanks, Webasto engine heaters and many more.
What are some advantages you get with the final build compared to a stock Toyota Hilux?
It is a totally different vehicle. The Hilux AT44 has much better off-road capabilities and can handle more loads. However it is street legal in Iceland so it could be use for everything that a stock Hilux is used for, but also much more.
Why do these extreme 4x4s work better than traditional tracked vehicle on Antarctica?
The Hilux AT44 is much lighter than the traditional tracked vehicles that have been used on Antarctica before. It can travel faster and carry its passengers in more comfort. But the main reason is fuel consumption; the Hilux AT44 uses about 1/5 of the fuel that is needed for the traditional vehicles and does not emit as much pollution. That means that the Hilux AT44 is one of the most environmental friendly motorized vehicles used in Antarctica.
What axles and gear ratio do you use for the upgrade and are there any issues you have to deal with?
The rear axle is a reinforced Hilux axle fitted with a larger 9.5 inch Toyota differential and ARB lockers, standard axle shafts and hubs.
The front differential is the stock Hilux unit fitted with ARB lockers.
The gear ratio is 4.88:1
Why do you choose the Toyota Hilux?
Arctic Trucks has a long and good experience with the Toyota Hilux. It is a strong and simply vehicle that can take a lot of beating. It is a light vehicle that can still handle high load and carry passengers in comfort.
I know Arctic Trucks have done a number of extreme off road expeditions. What are some of the most memorable journeys?
Arctic Trucks has participated in some major expeditions on Antarctica, Greenland, the Magnetic North Pole and Iceland. All these expeditions are unique since it was the first time 4X4 vehicles were driven in these regions. They are all memorable in its own way, ever since the first one in 1997. Maybe the most exiting one was the expedition to the Magnetic North Pole. Arctic Trucks modified two Toyota Hilux vehicles for an expedition with the well known British television show Top Gear. They decided to make a competition between a dog sled and a Hilux about who would first get to the Magnetic North Pole.
Needless to say, the Hilux won! A special edition of Top Gear was made about this expedition and was watched by hundreds of millions all around the world. Three of Arctic Trucks employees joined this expedition as drivers and mechanics. Expeditions are of great importance to Arctic Trucks, enabling us to increase our level of knowledge and the overall quality of our modification work.
Tell me about the current adventure to the South Pole.
For the season 2010/2011 Arctic Trucks has modified eight vehicles for three expeditions in Antarctica and will provide drivers and mechanics for all three expeditions. The first one started on November 13th and a week later they arrived at the South Pole. This expedition is for the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR). Four Arctic Trucks vehicles will be driving the very challenging 4600km back and forth. All the vehicles are AT44, three are vehicles from 2008 and one new one also AT44 with number of upgrades that Arctic Trucks made for the NCAOR.
The primary object of this project is to make number of scientific research and the secondary object is to identify a location, in the vicinity of South Pole, for a fuel drop, gather the fuel drums and make the area tidy. From Arctic Trucks there will be three highly experienced drivers/mechanics Freyr Jonsson, Eyjolfur Teitsson and GĂ*sli Karel ElĂ*sson.
The other two expeditions will start in the beginning of December. You can follow all the expeditions on http://www.arctictrucks-expeditions.com
Can you give us an idea to what use the Arctic Trucks vehicles are built?
The Arctic Trucks vehicle are mostly used by private outdoor and off-road enthusiasts and many of them use their vehicle every day to drive to work and take their children to school. Many professionals use the Arctic Trucks vehicles, such as power and mining companies, scientific institutes, police and defence forces, construction companies, search and rescue teams and then of course for remote expeditions such as the polar expeditions.
I heard you are trying out some 6x6 modification projects - tell me a little about that?
Yes, we did build two 6x6 Hilux AT44 for this season. We have been working on the 6x6 version for a few years now and we had already built a test vehicle on 33 inch tires.
The 6x6 vehicles are fitted with all the same modifications and equipment as the 4x4 AT44, but the chassis has been extended and reinforce and the 3rd axle fitted. The axle comes from Oberaigner, a partner of ours in Austria.
The 6x6 offers even more load capabilities and better traction, so it should perform really well on the snow. The extended chassis also allowed us to fit the 6x6 vehicle with more fuel tanks, so one vehicle can carry about 650 liters of fuel in its tanks.[img]https://www.pakwheels.com/forums
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