ByUnsealed 4X4April 5, 2018


The unofficial unit of measure for ‘when I get around to it’ seems to be about two years. That’s how long the framed artwork sat in the spare room before I managed to have it hung; it’s about the time I waited to clean out the garage this time; and it’s also the amount of time that passed between picking up my new GU Patrol and actually reading the Owner’s Manual!

There is no question that trawling your new vehicle’s Owner’s Manual is about as fun as a boys’ weekend with no beer… but I’d be outright lying if I told you I learnt nothing from the process and wasted my time. New technological trickery and further mechanical advancement (not entirely evident on my GU, mind you) mean that the things you knew about your previous vehicle cannot necessarily be applied directly to your new one. If you are like me and took a trip ‘back to the future’ with your latest vehicle purchase, you may need to freshen up on what your new rig doesn’t have moreso than what it does. Here’s 10 things I never knew about my Patrol.


  1. Pre-Tensioner Seat Belt System

The pre-tensioner seat belt system tightens the seat belt the instant the vehicle becomes involved in certain types of collisions, thereby restraining the seat occupants. The pre-tensioner system is encased within the seat belt retractor and upon deployment it releases a puff of smoke and emits a loud noise. In the unfortunate event that the pre-tensioner system is deployed, it can only be replaced by the manufacturer.


  1. Window Antenna

At various times I had wondered why my vehicle had no visible antenna – but the radio worked OK so I figured it was in there somewhere! Contained within the rear side glass, this antenna doesn’t take too well to ‘metalised’ objects stacked against it… so the packing regime has been adjusted accordingly.


  1. UHF CB Radio Installation

Without doubt one of the most regular and routine aftermarket upgrades made to a four-wheel drive; but how many of us know that UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency? The combination of electromagnetic signal and the frequency of the waveform can play havoc with electronic devices and systems that utilise dissimilar voltages and frequencies. Keeping your aerial cable at least 8cm away from the main computer and associated wiring loom is a really good idea.


  1. Automatic Gear Shift Lever

If the shift lever cannot be moved from the Park position while the engine is running and the brake pedal is depressed, the brake lights may not be working. I have now added a couple of spare tail-light bulbs to my onboard spares kit for just such an eventuation out on the trails.


  1. Shift Lock Release

Everyone in my circles seems to have an opinion on the precise function of this button located adjacent to the gear shift; but the official word from Nissan is that if the battery charge is low the shift lever may become stuck in the Park position. To move the shift lever, push the shift lock button and the shift lever button while the ignition switch is in the ‘ACC’ position. This will allow the lever to be moved into Neutral.


  1. Automatic Transmission Mode Switch

My very own ‘push to pass’ button! Auto mode is used for economy driving and is responsive to accelerator pedal depression speed. Power mode is used for rapid acceleration (two words not normally associated with a stock GU) or uphill driving. This mode will help the vehicle hold a gear for overtaking duties or towing uphill.


  1. Two-way Lock Free Running Hubs

Those wise old heads at Nissan have fitted combination manual/auto locking hubs to the front end of the GU. For convenience and those unplanned situations, the hubs can be locked automatically using the transfer case lever by shifting into 4H or 4L. For heavier off-road work or where the constant disengaging and re-engaging of the hub set with forward and reverse directional changes could become an impediment, the hubs can be manually locked with a quarter turn of the wheel brace.


  1. Tyre Chains

Whether they be for mud or snow, they should be fitted to the rear wheels only. Simple stuff.


  1. Parking Brake

For the alpine adventurers it is interesting to note that use of the parking brake is not recommended at ambient temperatures below 0ºC to prevent it from freezing. Select Park mode for automatic transmissions and first or reverse gear in the manual (with wheels safely chocked) in lieu of.


  1. Towing Point

Who would have thought that the steel hoop protruding from the rear bumper was both decorative and functional? Nissan states that this towing point can be used for vehicle recovery (presumably winching only) – but that the recovery cable should be straight; i.e. limited angle between the vehicle being recovered and the recovery vehicle.