So to the first outing of the Jimny. Thames Valley 4x4 Club run monthly off-road days around the Thames Valley area. Speen is a small wooded site to the north of High Wycome. The events are designed to be suitable for all comers and all vehicles. The TV4x4 club website has a gallery of pictures from the event.
Once on site we charged up the air tank to supply the locker and selected two wheel drive. The immediate difference between this and my old SJ410 is the suspension. The coli sprung Jimny ate up the bumps in the ground. The only downside is the noise that the coils make as they move around on the mounts which is a litle disconcerting at first, although I had already experienced this in various lifted LandRover Discoveries.
The picture below shows a bit of the articulation possible, I have yet to explore it fully.
The site contains many small bombholes which twist the axles in and out of the dips.
There is a small pool at Speen that provides some wet entertainment!.
The ARB difflock is also a new feature for me. We tried out an number of different challenges to see how it would perform. On simple hill climbs you can feel a real difference with the grip available. With the locker in there is lots of grip at low revs and the Jimny motors calmly up the hills. But if the hill is really slippery or too much power is used instead of sitting on the spot with the wheels spinning the locked diff encourages the rear wheels to wiggle and shift sideways. It takes a bit of judgement when to use it and how much. Too much power and it skips the rear sideways, often into the grip of lurking trees!
Here you can see a tree exerting its magnetic attraction on the front of the vehicle.
But choosing a better line and cooling the revs retains control.
And inevitably the deeper holes proved to be attractive by the end of the day!