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Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

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Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby NarendZORCE » October 25th, 2018, 10:38 pm

The decision of a non-commercial vehicle owner to purchase a pickup or SUV, is usually born out of necessity. In Trinidad & Tobago, potholes and roads in various states of disrepair are commonplace as are unpaved gravel and dirt roads, and pathways. Land owners, developers, farmers and nature seekers regularly traverse these areas where obstacles, undulations, hills and slippery surfaces would render regular cars useless. And as seen in the last week, we have floods, where the height and the engine’s ability to breathe moved to the top of the priority list in terms of passing through flooded areas.

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In the view of the current law, it seems that owners should anticipate all their needs at the time of purchasing such a vehicle, and if the factory doesn’t supply it, they should simply buy a different vehicle or suffer. They should also ignore the fact that there is an entire aftermarket industry dedicated to solving the issues of individual owner needs. It is rumoured that licensing officers have been detaining owners of modified pickups, requesting that they be re-certified for road-worthiness, or in some instances actually issuing tickets. The 4x4 and off-road associations, fraternities and communities have been under scrutiny after helping those under water, just days after the devastating floods hit various parts of Trinidad & Tobago. In our eyes, these actions are herioc and exemplary, they really deserve our thanks instead.

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Popular modifications include vehicle lift kits, larger wheels and tyres, off-road tyres, snorkel breathers, engine power enhancers, light bars, aftermarket lights and low-visibility and fog lamps, racks, tray covers, over-fenders, brush bars, winches and more. While there is no denying that many owners also add items that enhance their vehicle’s style to their personal liking, the overwhelming majority of modifications are indeed functional in terms of upgrading the vehicle's capabilities. None of it is rocket science and most modifications can be performed by regular mechanics and off-road vehicle specialists. The one complaint that I have heard of from car owners is the kicking up of pebbles and debris from off-road tyres, resulting in windshield damage– mud flaps and larger fenders could easily solve this one.

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Add to this larger picture the dynamic of competitive off-road events, where at the owner’s expense, their off-road vehicles are tested to and beyond the limit. At these events, competitors vie to see who can make it through various man-made and natural courses, and shorter more specific challenges against the clock. Think about that from a research point of view– a self-regulated test of operator and machine that provides evaluation, excitement, entertainment, and sponsor and spectator value. Events like these put owners that much closer to knowing exactly what the limits of their vehicles are.

Organised 4x4 groups include:
• Side B Offroad Group
• Trinidad Trail Seekers
• TrailBlazers Offroad Club
• Hilux Club of Trinidad and Tobago
• Ford Ranger Club of T&T (FRCTT)
• Mudaholics
• Team Torque
• Abs Offroad
• Mud-outlaws
• Isuzu 4x4 Club
• L200 Group of Trinidad and Tobago
• Gear Tech
• Out a Control Off-roaders
• Jimny Club TT
• Navara Club TT

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Many owners of vehicles fitted with many of the aforementioned modifications are facing a serious dichotomy. They have taken it upon themselves to form self-regulated groups via social media and coordinate their efforts to make a difference in areas where there is a real need. This isn’t a new trend either as many owners have been involved in voluntary rescue for more than five years. Flooding has literally been on the rise– coinciding with global sea levels as the polar ice caps melt due to global warming and climate change.

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The seeming inevitability of floods in low-lying areas of Trinidad has prompted some on social media to refer to them as “lagoons” only to be hit themselves as waters rush down from the mountains, causing flooding and damage in their areas too. The issue is bigger than internet trolls, political parties, race, and perceived social statuses. Some have even cried out against the posting of rescue and aid-related activity, citing vanity and self-service. Others have praised the efforts of off-roaders, government agencies and other helpers. Those in affected areas see such posts as rays of hope and use the very same social media entries to post their pleas for assistance, which cycles back to those willing to help. Their immediate needs at times like this are real, as are the catastrophic effects of such events on their families’ micro-economies.

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The reality is, most of the photos posted just show one minute, after hours and in some cases days spent tirelessly rendering assistance. Most of the real stories aren’t retold on social media. And it’s even tougher to face the prospect of ticketing just days after a disaster. Even drivers of vehicles fitted with modern factory headlights lights and fog lamps that use newer technologies have been known to face misinterpretation by the authorities.

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How can we move toward regularization? A team of aftermarket/mechanical specialists with special training at the licensing offices? A registry of emergency volunteers who have special permits that allow such modifications? Could the existing off-road clubs and associations be granted special permission while providing access to their membership? Should we be making it difficult for those who are selflessly and thanklessly risking their lives and their vehicles to rescue others, especially when the government agencies seem to be at or beyond the limits of their capacity?

The time has come for restraint and constructive consultation, not draconian thinking. Our laws need updating. It’s time to wash the mud off on both sides of this conversation. The heads of all the off-road associations are ready to work with authorities towards finding a resolution. For everyone's sake we hope that they do.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby VexXx Dogg » October 25th, 2018, 10:49 pm

Just curious, what are some of the charges that they've been getting?

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby aidan » October 25th, 2018, 11:01 pm

VexXx Dogg wrote:Just curious, what are some of the charges that they've been getting?
I didn't get charged but was told my tyres were not covered by my fenders and if they see me again with it I will get charged

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby streetbeastINC. » October 26th, 2018, 2:06 am

Yes i was told in manzan last year to never come.license office with my past truck...

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby streetbeastINC. » October 26th, 2018, 2:07 am

I now drive a nissan note that can float

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby hong kong phooey » October 26th, 2018, 3:35 am

VexXx Dogg wrote:Just curious, what are some of the charges that they've been getting?


All kind of things you get charged for, and most people dont have the time to fight it in court so they just pay the fine
from unauthorized lights , to incorrect weight , to tires exceeding wheel well. T drivers have to put up with the sheit if you try to explain they will find a reason to impound the vehicle for weight test blah ,blah blah.
they still following some laws from 60 years ago.
they want to see vans with abs burning tires.

But licensing officers are not only the ones to be blames. To much people out there is doing sh1t which can endanger the lives of ordinary citizens.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby shake d livin wake d dead » October 26th, 2018, 4:22 am

ah brethren get charge for a winch...he gonna fight it in court doh cuz is the same winch he used to help people last week..

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby hydroep » October 26th, 2018, 4:34 am

NarendZORCE wrote:... The one complaint that I have heard of from car owners is the kicking up of pebbles and debris from off-road tyres, resulting in windshield damage– mud flaps and larger fenders could easily solve this one. ...


Never suffered windscreen damage, mostly paint chips, irritating as hell.

WRT the tyres, if off-roading is a hobby and you need the protruding tyres then why not just slap on set when you're ready to engage in that activity?

Otherwise there are probably off-road tyres that fit comfortably into the wheel-well of the vehicle. It would make sense to use those especially if the vehicle is being used as a daily driver, that way you adhere to the law and have the security of performance in case you encounter floods etc.

Methinks this issue is more about "looks" than functionality though...:|

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby skylinechild » October 26th, 2018, 6:28 am

for everything theres a time and a place.

the thing is all the modifications listed by OP is just simply for OFF ROAD USE ONLY.

our laws are there just to simply protect us- from ourselves.

yes i agree 1000% that our nation roads are deplorable and high cost of transport etc etc etc.
but on the flipside you cant be driving the NCC 1701 outfitted with everything under the sun and claim its necessary or functionality.

Yes owners should be allowed to modify their vehicle due to personal taste / liking however when that vehicle has to operate on public roads then the laws that govern road use and safety come into play....

i also agree that we still follow laws from 60+ years ago...

to summarise we all need to come together to sort this crap out to determine what is allowable and what isnt
and if necessary issue a special license / designation for vehicles to be modified with said bolt ons / additions and be regulated accordingly.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby toyota2nr » October 26th, 2018, 7:43 am

All of a sudden these vehicles getting looked at. This is politics at work here.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby tr1ad » October 26th, 2018, 8:05 am

toyota2nr wrote:All of a sudden these vehicles getting looked at. This is politics at work here.



they were always looked at... more so now because you have a lot of 4x2 men and non offroaders that pretty up, mostly warnings in the past for everything, but now with so many might as well collect money from it

there was always a community, and just like skylinechild said... time and place with them

laws are old, over time just like the speed limit they will change

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby Ben_spanna » October 26th, 2018, 9:05 am

this sh1t has been going on for YEARS and YEARS now.... 24 years ago my pickup was too low to go over the stupid inspection pit, so they failed me, I was told that once they cannot get below to inspect that my vehicle cannot pass, so I brought 4 lengths of 2x6 lumber placed it on the ground along the pit and drove my van on the lumber over the pit so they could inspect- still the idiotic officers refused to inspect it. .. all they wanted in the end was fr1gg1ng BRIBE!, they wanted me to paint back my bumper to the original color, I had hydraulic suspension - they didnt understand it so they wanted to fail me for it...……. this country is soooo Fr1gg1ng BACKWARDS when it comes to its licensing division... in Developed countries men driving anything they could HOME BUILD, they allow you to inspect and license them, here we cant even get a car older than 5 years imported legally.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby Average » October 26th, 2018, 9:13 am

So in closing, if it were not for the illegal modifications of off roaders, many people would not have gotten assistance.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby toyolink » October 26th, 2018, 9:48 am

The question remains....should the administration of laws be tempered with a sense of reasoning?

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby ismithx » October 26th, 2018, 9:53 am

toyolink wrote:The question remains....should the administration of laws be tempered with a sense of reasoning?


Damn straight

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby Ben_spanna » October 26th, 2018, 10:02 am

ismithx wrote:
toyolink wrote:The question remains....should the administration of laws be tempered with a sense of reasoning?


Damn straight

HOW many years now they have been ATTEMPTING to computerize the entire operation, and what is the outcome???? think corruptly like one of "them" and you will find your answer.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby whizzard » October 26th, 2018, 10:07 am

streetbeastINC. wrote:I now drive a nissan note that can float

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby VexXx Dogg » October 26th, 2018, 10:21 am

I think a lot can be sorted up front.

For lights, you can apply to Transport commissioner for approval. Not sure how long it would take, but there's a mechanism to apply for it at least.

For big tyres, you can get fender flares to make sure they don't poke too much.

What are the laws pertaining lift?

Some T vehicles have winches (eg Wreckers) - are approvals required for this?

Not sure about the weight re-classification tho.

Interesting that this came up, read an article recently that Australian police were actually seizing illegally modded trucks.
https://jalopnik.com/australian-cops-ar ... 1828889920

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby VexXx Dogg » October 26th, 2018, 10:22 am

* disclosure, I have a stock van, and wish I had all those mods. :)

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby *KRONIK* » October 26th, 2018, 10:39 am

VexXx Dogg wrote:I think a lot can be sorted up front.

For lights, you can apply to Transport commissioner for approval. Not sure how long it would take, but there's a mechanism to apply for it at least.

For big tyres, you can get fender flares to make sure they don't poke too much.

What are the laws pertaining lift?

Some T vehicles have winches (eg Wreckers) - are approvals required for this?

Not sure about the weight re-classification tho.

Interesting that this came up, read an article recently that Australian police were actually seizing illegally modded trucks.
https://jalopnik.com/australian-cops-ar ... 1828889920
1) the transport commissioner doesnt approve any additional lights.
Even wrecker men getting trouble now for strobes and additional lights.

2) agreed on fender flares.
Some company make flares up to 6” wide.
If you tyre sticking out more than that, you on chupidness

3) never heard any issues with lift...yet
Even tho, i does see some kinda van looking like if a breeze blow it go fall over.

4) not sure what the deal is with a winch, i dont see how that affecting anybody.

5) additions which change the registered tare of the vehicle are supposed to have the vehicle re-weighed and the certified copy rectified. Remember, when you change the tare, the mgw stays the same, so the load capacity will reduce.

6) the thing is, in australia, they actually have systems to upgrade your vehicle and even increase the mgw (gvm) with the upgrades.
You have to actually register all the modifications and make the changes to the vin plate and making the changes legal.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby rebound » October 26th, 2018, 11:23 am

shake d livin wake d dead wrote:ah brethren get charge for a winch...he gonna fight it in court doh cuz is the same winch he used to help people last week..
I can somewhat understand the LO reasoning for tyres out of the fenders, the extremely bright light bars and even a lift if stability is their excuse, but whats the reason for charging a man for a winch?

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby *KRONIK* » October 26th, 2018, 11:38 am

rebound wrote:
shake d livin wake d dead wrote:ah brethren get charge for a winch...he gonna fight it in court doh cuz is the same winch he used to help people last week..
I can somewhat understand the LO reasoning for tyres out of the fenders, the extremely bright light bars and even a lift if stability is their excuse, but whats the reason for charging a man for a winch?
Agreed.

I was going to court too

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby sMASH » October 26th, 2018, 1:25 pm

I asked about bumper and winch, one said to go caroni to weigh over.

I removed the bumper and winch and lights, to reinspect, so the front is back to stock.

But I want to move the winch higher to allow a better angle of attack, cause it was too low before.

Probably then I'll weigh over and officialize the mods.


What I didn't find out about, is mud tires... If it's a problem as it's a t vehicle. Cause somewhere I saw that men get charge for low profile rims on panel van, cause urs not transport spec tires.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby shake d livin wake d dead » October 26th, 2018, 2:12 pm

rebound wrote:
shake d livin wake d dead wrote:ah brethren get charge for a winch...he gonna fight it in court doh cuz is the same winch he used to help people last week..
I can somewhat understand the LO reasoning for tyres out of the fenders, the extremely bright light bars and even a lift if stability is their excuse, but whats the reason for charging a man for a winch?


ticket read unauthorized fittings of some sheit so.... :?

reference the light bars I'd made a cover for my vehicle, so nothing is showing(maybe everyone can do this)?

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby ru$$ell » October 26th, 2018, 2:24 pm

stock crew checking in :/

i had to get a letter for my lights from MOT

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby sMASH » October 26th, 2018, 2:27 pm

Lights can't install unless u have a letter. And then it must be covered on road, only to be used off road

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby GVTrini07 » October 26th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Article is one sided. IMHO, not really a good write and should have made the approach in a holistic view. A view that shows the quick thing man who don't really care about how his modification affects other road users and in comparison to show the effort the guys who go the extra mile to do the right mods to ensure road worthiness and safety to all road users.

Ah know OP is long standing favourite, so I await the usual beat up!

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby Slartibartfast » October 26th, 2018, 4:23 pm

I'm not sure what the issue with the winch is but I know that the reason stock bumpers are made out of plastic that is easily deformed is to protect pedestrians that may get struck with it. It's the same reason why car hoods are higher. Car manufacturers have to allow more space between the bonnet and the engine block so that the bonnet can deform upon impact with a pedestrian.

I imagine getting hit with a winch would be a lot worse. If that is the LO's reason then it makes sense. But then they will have to outlaw the steel bumpers and bull bars which I don't see them doing so I am very cautious about giving them any credit for actually thinking it through. There should be acceptable places to install a winch. If they just dead set against it then they on sh!t.

Other than that I agree with everything Kronik said.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby sMASH » October 26th, 2018, 5:18 pm

restriction for the sake of having a restriction to enforce.

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Re: Off-Roaders under scrutiny– Helpful now helpless?

Postby shake d livin wake d dead » October 26th, 2018, 7:21 pm

Is kinda like charging men for some writing on deh car...kinda kakahole law is dat

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