Spending hours cooped up in the car while cruising the highway can be a fast track to eroding your sanity, which only gets worse when passenger boredom levels start to reach dangerous levels.
Avoiding playing the ‘are we there yet' game with the kids sitting in the backseat by pre-loading everyone's entertainment. Streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora supply you with endless new music and playlists, while downloading a couple of new podcasts can keep you engrossed for hours.
Make sure to get a multi adaptor for your car charger so that everyone can keep their devices charged at once, as a kid with a fully-charged iPhone is a kid that's not getting on your nerves. 4WD
XTRACKSIDE MECHANIC REAL ADVICE FROM OUR MECHANICAL GURU
What the hell is a DPF? H Diesel Particulate Filters, explained. Emission controls have pushed the modern diesel motor to become more efficient with less pollution.
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This has meant a trend for smaller turbo motors, leaving just a couple of larger 4WDs on the market with bigger diesel motors.
To go with this trend, in recent times we have seen the addition of DPF's or Diesel Particulate Filters.
They have been around for some time now in trucks and with the passenger car market (such as the Volkswagen Tiguan we have in our workshop at the time of writing). But we are now seeing them come out in the 4WD industry, with them now being standard in the 2016 LandCruiser.
Firstly, what is a DPF? Well, it is basically a Alter in the exhaust system. It is made up of lots of small tubes, that are each blocked at one end. There are tiny holes on the outsides of the tubes for the exhaust gases to pass through.
So the exhaust passes through the system going IN the DPF through these tiny tubes and OUT the holes in the sides of the tubes.
Any soot particles will get caught in the tubes and stay there. The DPF Alters any larger particles of soot from the exhaust system and collects them so as they are not released into the atmosphere. Pretty neat really!
But then what happens to the soot as it gets collected?
Well, while driving, the vehicle's computer system will automatically go into what is called a Regeneration or a DPF burn. This is when the vehicle's computer chooses to heat up the DPF to extreme temps and actually burns the soot and turns it into ash.
The ash is then collected at the back of the DPF Alter and, of course, is a lot smaller than the soot.
Eventually the DPF will become blocked and will either need to be replaced or cleaned but the proper use and operation of a DPF should see good use out if it for years before you run into any problems.
Problems occur when people do short trips in their vehicles or modify the vehicles which can cause premature soot build up.
The vehicle's system monitors the DPF via a number of sensors and it will automatically put itself into Regeneration mode, but it requires certain parameters to do this and if you are not giving the vehicle the correct conditions then it won't be able to do so.
It needs a longer consistent speed to get started so longer trips will be required. Using the vehicle for just shopping or soccer drop-offs unfortunately won't help anymore.
When the vehicle goes into its Regeneration, the driver will actually not even know.
These days there are all sorts of exhaust and chip upgrades. As such, we are seeing a number of exhaust systems coming out with what is called a DPF Delete.
Some places are doing ECU Flash tuning and deleting the DPF in this way. Yes the DPF Deletes are just that: a section of exhaust replacement where the DPF is removed and the computer tricked to be told that it doesn't have one. All of this is highly illegal.
It will be very interesting to see the future of these 4WDs equipped with DPFs. With the addition of chips or ECU flash tuning and the addition of more fuel into the systems the DPF may not like it.
We are seeing that the top exhaust companies haven't really developed any systems for these as in most cases there are not really any major gains to be made, and chips are not yet advised for them either.
On the other hand maybe Toyota has got it right with the DPF button where the owner can press it to activate the Regeneration. In theory, the system should sense that the DPF needs a Regeneration and it will be carried out more often.
As vehicles become more and more controlled by computers I sometimes wonder where we will end up in 10 years time.
Yes, these new 4WDs are still as capable as ever and are a lot more comfortable than the rigs of the past, but for really remote travelling who knows? Maybe the old GU diesel or the 80 Series oil burner in those situations is the way to go.
Food for thought.