Project budget 4×4: Stuck in the mud

I seem to have found the limits of the Maverick, in some very muddy woods in Carmarthenshire.

Maverick off-road

Oops. Maverick gets stuck!

I had concerns about taking the Maverick to a Pay and Play site. I’ve been to a couple before and found them rather a challenge for vehicles in stock form. Bodywork damage seems inevitable, as does getting stuck as a lot of the trucks there are very much modified – which means deeper ruts than a stock vehicle can cope with.

And that was the undoing of the Maverick. I was amazed about how a friend’s near-stock Defender coped in the same conditions. That extra ride height, axle articulation and some proper mud-terrain tyres kept it going where the Maverick failed. Which was good as it rescued me several times!

But, it’s ok. I accept that the Maverick was always a compromise that put road manners ahead in priority terms of something as skilled off the road as a Land Rover. I found the limits, scratched the bodywork in quite a lot of places and impressively filled the front end of the Maverick with lots and lots of clay! I also learnt a lot about vehicle recovery…

But, the Maverick is happily proving more than just an off-road toy. It’s also been busy hauling wood about. It’s nice that I can chuck 300kg of wood in the back and it barely notices. If anything, it stops better because a load sensing valve increases rear brake pressure – which makes the rear shoes work harder. That has to be good for them. A loss of brake fluid, which stopped the rear brakes working altogether, has caused some concern. I’m monitoring to see if it drops again, in which case I think one or both rear wheel cylinders could be to blame. There was so much mud and water in there when I cleaned it all up at the weekend that I couldn’t tell if there was a leak or not.

I still plan to take it laning later in the year too, though I might pass on any more Pay and Play action for the time being…

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