AnswerID: 515260 Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013 at 18:53
Winner W replied:
I repost my post from the Ranger forum> Photos on link
Just returned from 6000km round trip with Ranger in 9 days with my two uni sons.Was in Sydney for a week then to Adelaide,Port Augusta,Coober Pedy,Oodnadatta,Mt Dare ,Dalhousie,French Line,Birdsville,Quilpie to Brisbane .
Single vehicle trip so I trusted the little Ford. First desert trip for us.
Cooper Pedy to OOdnadatta was 100kmh dirt road and pleasure to drive.Oodnadatta to Mt Dare via Dalhousie ruins was a nightmare. Corrugations that will shake any dead bones to life. Bloods creek rd is apparently better to Mt Dare so take it!Got sat phone in Mt Dare and filled up as I used about 30 l from Oodnadatta. Got a fourth jerry can at Mt Dare to total my fuel to 160l..Mt Dare a lovely place because of the people working there. Honest advice, good food and service. Please support their business as they help us all to do this trip.Started to drizzle on arrival at Dare.Got a cabin to keep swags dry and was glad we did as the next morning still raining.Fuelled up ,breakfast and left for Dalhousie springs, 2 hours of mud,rocks and those bloody big corrugations and still raining.Dalhouse camping area a mud bath. Stopped for a swim and as we got in car to leave for the Simpson the access was closed as some fella rolled his car on the clay in the first marsh onto Purni Bore.Stuck in Dalhousie as raining in Birdsville too .2 Days of sitting and waiting for news and having a hot swim in the springs and watching the dingos a few metres from your food..The ranger at springs made a bypass(thank your very much Sir) around the swamp for 5 kms and we got the green light.Two angelic volunteer rangers kept the camp toilets clean and informed us of progress As they predicted more heavy rain for Birdsville in 4 days we changed our planned route which was to follow exploroz Simpson trek that combines 4 routes. We were advised to avoid Rig road as it was very much under water.........and clay.So the French line was our only option and we were 3 days late.
Took it slow and saw a few groups overtaking us at flying speed into the desert. About 25km later we saw one group of them next to road and their chatter mentioned failed suspension and back to MT Dare for a $2000 fix. The failed vehicle was clearly overloaded.A single cab with a closed box and half a forest of fire wood right at the back and in Dalhousie this fella left his rubbish bag right at his campsite which was immaculate and set up in military precision style but not so his other skills.We never heard of this group again on the track.
The dunes were rutted to the max on both sides and seeing that we had to cross more than a 1000 of them we had some shaking to do..The track was rutted deeply by trailers and high tyre pressures. Where there were no ruts the sand was corrugated !! The ruts must be 30cm deep in most spots so we did 15-17kmh.Saw dingo track almost continuously as if they patrol the track .No camels seen but lots of fresh tracks and dung. Very few birds but lots of beautiful stars.Saw only 8 vehicles over 3 days.Drove 18 hours one day at walking speed and swapped drivers every 2 hours.Boys loved to drive the Ranger so no begging there...Photo shots at Poeppel in dark and did another 40km closer to Birdsville until midnight.
Had a good sleep next to fire and felt safer with the rain prediction.Early rise and skipped the Apro Knolls .Eyre creek dry but this is a beautiful part of the track.Got to Big Red at lunch. Son was driving so he had first go with all of us and gear and made it.
We could see the storm and rain front far southwest of desert. Wind was sandblasting us but what a beautiful sight from there and a sense of relief. Spent 30 mins there.Curry camel pie in Birdsville, fuel up ,drop the sat phone off, beer in Pub and hit the road before the rain.2 days to Brisbane.
Now the reflections
RANGER WAS AWESOME and gave not a single problem.The power in the dunes is just awesome with low down torque. We stayed in high range with traction control off.
Standard suspension was more than enough just lower your tyre pressures. On road I run 46psi,gravel 24,and sand 18.
No rattles in car
Dust proof cabin
Battery didn't die but I had a second and the battery jumperpack.Seats were comfy with all the rocking and bucking but we rotated.
The Simpson red sand is the same colour as the Wildtrak chilli orange seat inserts.
Tow bar spare carrier did a top job. TheTow bar bolt tightening the tongue broke free .
Roof racks did well but seeing the road In Dare we moved the 4 diesel jerry cans to on top of maxtrax and next to swags on tub racks.
The Summit Mudhogs were impressive. No flats,no cuts or chips. We used them on wet and mud and they still look new apart from the mud stains now.I run 46 psi on bitumen,24 on rock and gravel, and 18 on sand.
I used the TYREDOG tyre pressure monitors for the first time and they were very assuring and accurate. They clearly show the difference in temps and pressures when some tyres were getting sun or the rear right closer to exhaust.
The tub racks were more than up to the task.We used 140 litres of diesel for the 450km. Heavy going .
Our radio was a GME TK3100 5 watt plug and play with the antenna under dash mat. We transmitted on a 0.5 watt handheld on dune crossings otherwise the surrounding 100 dunes know you are coming if you use the 5 watt one.
We got stuck once at the top of a dune on a sand ridge just as we pulled off to camp . We got the chairs out , lit the fire, put the foiled potatoes in the fire ,had a drink watching the sun set . After dark we took 30 minutes to dig but eventually the exhaust jack did the trick and the maxtrax. Had a simple dinner .
Winching was not an option.
IPF spotlights were good and didn't break.
Take a sat phone.Take Telstra phone cards. We could phone from Dalhousie Springs to inform people of our delays using the public phone booth there that surely is a sat link.Our long neck shovel broke . Get a solid one.
No am/fm radio reception in desert so no weather reports and news can be good or bad.
Some people I know also did the trip in a 4 strong Toyota mob and were flabbergasted that we did it alone in a FORD !!!!!!!!!!
Second vehicle is better for peace of mind .Don't take a car with any mechanical defects .Skip the middle 2 thirds of the French Line as it looks the same as the end sections. Do the first trip the combined Exploroz Simpson track. . Because the roller shutter is NOT dust or water tight I suggest if you have a Wildtrak ,to have all the sensitive stuff like food ,cameras,cooking gear, clothes and sleeping bags in sealed containers .The tub stuff was covered with fine dust.Keep a little dust broom in each door well for the feet and swags. We took no canned drinks and wrapped the gas cannisters . The mozzies at Dalhousie are agro and lethal. As were the flies closer to Birdsville even in winter.The plastic coke and water bottles rubbed through from the corrugations.The empty jerrys ended up on roof rack .Our swags stayed dry in our system of tough bags and wheelie bin bags but putting them in tarps may work better. Take long life milk in smaller sizes . They are stronger . Don't loose your coffee powder........... Take some sort of tarp and poles and sunscreen. Get a shade screen type cover for the roof rack that is easier to keep things inside and remove than a net type cover.We took 60liters of water and used only 20 but will take that amount again. Big Red is such a highlight at the end I can spend a day there watching the action and views.A trip like this is not cheap with fuel and extras but it is a bucket list trip .If the thought of the desert expedition is too much just do a trip to Birdsville, do the Big Red thingy, drive the desert track up to the entrance of the Simpson national park past Eyre creek and still experience the dunes and part of the French line .Take some shade screen for a ground sheet.
Tyredog is the Tpms that I use. They survived the rocks, mud knee deep and sand traps . I didnt use them on the bitumen. They are made in Taiwan. Its more to warn of flats before a tyre is destroyed. They are accurate and simple and work.The sensors are actually on the tyre in mud shot.The monitor has a soft light for the night driving,alatms, temp display and small enough. It stayed on the windscreen through all the corrugations and has batteries or a sig plug. The radio is light and simple and antenna is magnetic but it stayed on the dash under the matt. It is powered by sig plug so no wiring needed. The radio rested on the dashmatt but its suction cup is strong. I used a hair elastic to keep microphone on base set. End of trip its all out and stowed under seats.I see there is a certain town between Oodnadatta and Sydney that is infamous for flat tyres and mysterious screws show up in tyres. My friends had 3 on their trip in that area last month. As for the desert tracks I dont want to destroy my daily drive so the Ranger is a very nice way of seeing remote places that may be difficult to access. If I want to play rough I use my old 1991 Pajero that even my boys cant break.
I dont have a trailer myself but I can understand the place for them and those caravans would look so nice behind the Wildtrak..... But I think any one contemplating towing a trailer on any part of the French line likes punishment. Getting bogged is always fun on a trip but with a trailer even that fun looses its appeal after a few bogs on a dune and hungry flies in your mouth whilst digging sand . Its not impossible but listen to the guys from Mt Dare . They see it every day. If the macho guys love proving they could do it with a trailer or did the French line in under 2 days good on them. We need idiots to keep the economy going.My biggest battle is time to get the boys together and to fit in as much as we can ,so a plane is a better option... But ooohhhh the Ranger is sooo nice and far cheaper. And whilst you save heaps by buying at home please do support the local shops , buy burgers and fuel and help them survive! The country folk have it really tough and in stead of a 1min cheeseburger drive 1 hour on to the small town and wait for their 30 min one which may be good or not so good.

simpson trip
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FollowupID: 794492 Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 07:18
Member - Neil B (VIC.) posted:
What an incredibly detailed and helpful trip report. It was a pleasure to read this. Do you have any more? Thank you!
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FollowupID: 794494 Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 08:05
Winner W posted:
Pleasure, also remember the clay pans are salty so wash the car well at home.And sand grabba mats help a lot.
If someone wants to add the above as a separate trip report on a new thread please do as I dont know how to do that and there is some good info from our trip for members here and other forums
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 09:49

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 09:49
Nice report Winner. You'll have to re-post the link to your photos as they didn't enbed in your cut and pasted report.


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AnswerID: 515290

Reply By: Winner W - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 12:24

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 12:24
See if that works for the photos
AnswerID: 515309

Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 14:41

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 14:41
Appears that you need to be a registered member to visit.
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Reply By: Member - ken m4 - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 20:31

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 20:31
Great report. I assume the Wildtrack is the 3.2 auto. Good to hear another statement on the Ranger
AnswerID: 515345

Follow Up By: Member - ken m4 - Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 20:33

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 at 20:33
Should have read positive statement on the Ranger's performance
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Follow Up By: Winner W - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 09:31

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 09:31
Sorry guys I cant post photos here as I am not a financial member and the ranger website is free to register.
The Wildtrak is an 3.2 automatic
Will see if I can do a photobucket or similar link.
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Reply By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 16:58

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 16:58
I definitely like the Ranger over the ugly Mazda and will be keeping an eye out the the Rangers in the years to come as a possible future car...

With a family of 5 (3kids) what sort of room is there in the back seat for the kids?
Cheers..... RobM
Defender PUMA 110 "New School Tourer"
Defender 110 Tdi300 "Old School Tourer for Solo Trips"
DiscoTDi for Work/Play

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AnswerID: 515363

Follow Up By: Winner W - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 18:14

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 18:14
On this trip the best seat was the one in the back ...........The seats are light years ahead of my 2011 Triton twin cab . For 5 big guys no twin cab will be wide enough in the back but leg space is good in the Ranger . Even a new Landcruiser or Patrol will have 3 adults rubbing shoulders.
Best is to take the whole bunch and sit them in for a few minutes to test.
At this stage only the new Land Rover Discovery has decent seats for 5-6 adults as the Prado and Pajero all have those Japanese midget kiddie seats in the third row now.
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Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 10:01

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 10:01
Winner W Hi,
Thanks for a great report on such a fabulous part of the world.
Your fuel figures 140 litres for 450 klm? Sounds a bit high even for tough going.
Regards Mike.
AnswerID: 515395

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 10:52

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 10:52
31lt per hundred kilometres ? and the report maintains it did it 'easy ' ... think I'll stick with my FJ Cruiser and the wifes Jeep Cherokee which didn't use that much between them on the same trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 09:43

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 09:43
Time to insert my brag .... Pajero io did the crossing from Mt. Dare via Dalhousie and onto Birdsville on 76 litres of ULP with the air cond going most of the way.
FollowupID: 794758

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 09:45

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 09:45
Damn fat fingers...should be 67 litres of ULP.
FollowupID: 794759

Reply By: Winner W - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 11:17

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 11:17
Good to pick that up gents.
The actual usage in the end was 15- 17l/100km. This included stationary running to keep the batteries and fridge charged for the two and a half days stuck in Dalhousie . If you can get better than that, with the load and vehicle we had, in your fourby I am impressed . Not many 4x4's will be under that number in soft sand and thick mud .
AnswerID: 515403

Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 15:37

Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 15:37
What size fuel tank is in these Rangers??

I assume u can get aftermarket long range tanks for them??
Cheers..... RobM
Defender PUMA 110 "New School Tourer"
Defender 110 Tdi300 "Old School Tourer for Solo Trips"
DiscoTDi for Work/Play

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Reply By: BuickM - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 09:46

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 09:46
Good report, thanks for that.

You mentioned the track was rutted deeply by trailers and high tyre pressures but don't you think driving in high-range contributes to that as well?

High-range will cause more wheel-spin so more damage, even that little extra wheel-spin you don't even notice. It's not like "my wheels don't spin so I don't need low-range".

Everyone recommends low-range, may I ask why you drove in high-range?

AnswerID: 517202

Follow Up By: Winner W - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:15

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:15
Good question! In these specific conditions on this trip we found First and second in the 6 spd High range in the new Ranger short enough and it felt perfect in the sweet spot on the torque curve at the speed we felt safe and still with enough momentum to just pop over the dune crest. In the manual PX Ranger most drivers use first high range only when on the boat ramp or so as it is such a short gear. I adapt my driving to the conditions on every trip and we were fairly heavy being a solo crossing with all safety gear, recovery stuff, water,food and spares on one vehicle so it worked well. With my older Pajero it is still 2nd low range and off you go with most tracks.
Prove that we didnt spin was that when on the few occasions we forgot to turn the traction control off we didnt activate it meaning we had no significant wheel spin on uphill dune spots.With the tyres down low it was easy . On Fraser and similar I use low range too but it all depends on the track conditions. When very rocky or slow crawling is needed the low range is brilliant. In the new 8spd auto Amarok there is no low range so I guess the mechanical side is changing our driving Rules. In the end the selected gear is so variable with different cars and conditions. One should not be a rigid and dogmatic driver. Adapt or die .....
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