Crossing the Simpson

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 15:59
ThreadID: 104436 Views:3026 Replies:14 FollowUps:11
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Hi all,mate n I considering crossing the simpson,towing Jayco hawk and swan,both outbacks,any gurus that have done same,any comments by the experienced trekkers,looking forward to what some may say,regards,Mike
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 16:54

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 16:54
Before all the nay sayers jump in I will , It's Not illegal , It is doable , It is not however recommended , and if utterly determined to do so at least know your vehicle's limitations and practice your combination reversing skills on sand down hill [dunes] because you will be doing a lot of it.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 08:50

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 08:50
I towed a small off road trailer behing the Daihatsu Rocky I had 1997. I found it no problem reversing , the trailer followed the wheel ruts .

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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:12

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:12
I've just completed the CSR and came across two Jayco's at Kiunawarritji. Both were stuffed and were being dragged into Newman for repairs. Not sure I'd be taking a Jayco anywhere offroad. I've crossed the Simpson and yes, you could get across with a c/t but I wouldn't do it. Nor did I take my offroad camper on the CSR.
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Reply By: rescue134 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:12

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:12
at the moment it is rough with corrugations,around 20 to 30 Kph, are you a good backer of your jayco? think you will need to back down sand dunes that you don't make first time (and around corners as well) just got back from there.
Kevin
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Reply By: Ozrover - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:45

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:45
Mike,

Count me in as one of the "Naysayers".

By all means take your Jayco's across the Simpson, but take into consideration that it will be difficult regardless of the time of year as well as the fact that the DEWNR "Strongly recommend that you don't take trailers across the Simpson Desert", no it's not illegal, yet!

They are looking closely at this subject with an eye to banning trailers altogether.

You will get stuck on multiple dunes, you will probably break something on either the trailer or the tow vehicle.

If you do have a serious breakdown, not only will it be very expensive to get the broken vehicles out of the desert, but imagine the strain on all of the parties involved.

Yes, a well built "Serious" off road trailer with a good tow vehicle & an experienced driver will be able to be towed across the Simpson with few problems, I do not consider any of the "Jayco" type trailers as "Serious off road".

Personally, I would leave the trailers at either Birdsville, or Mt Dare & do the crossing with the 4wds only, you can leave them here at no cost!

My 2cents worth!

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Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:38

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:38
G`day Mike,
I hope you are not serious, however if you are thin about ... What if ....
If I remember correctly the charge for Tilt Tray rescue from the Simpson back toBirdsville starts at $4000.00 and goes up to $12000.00 depending where you need to be rescued from. These were the 2010 prices so probably a tad more these days.
I respectfully suggest that you do as Jeff from Mt Dare says and leave your vans either end of the desert.
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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Follow Up By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:41

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:41
... however if you are, think about..
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:51

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:51
Hi Mike, talk about history repeating itself. LOL. Go back to Thread 61427 which is when I posed the same question as you in 2008. Read all the replies then make an informed judgement as to whether to tow the Jayco's. Best of luck. Try Goog's Track from the northern end and see if you can get over the first big dune. Big balloon tyres, low pressures and hope that the sand is wet. Or get out the shovel and fill in the scallops in the tracks over the dunes. If you start at the eastern end with Big Red it will only get easier as the dunes get lower going west. Should be a grand adventure....W
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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 14:28

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 14:28
To complete the rest of the story. After taking the old '79 Jayco Swan - it's the one in my thumbnail pic - to Kurnell then Stockton Beach it was obvious that soft sand and it did not agree - even with 12psi all around - car and van now with 245/70 x 16 tyres. It was 1200kg loaded. We still did our Central Oz trip in May 2009. Came into Dalhousie Springs via Mt Dare. Left van and went eastwards to just past the Rig Rd turnoff east of Purni Bore. Piece of cake in R50 Pathy not towing over the 100+ small dunes at W end of Simpson.

Hooked up and drove to Oodnadatta to Marree and up to Birdsville. Unhooked and did Big Red at 20 psi and the biggest 15/20 dunes through to the flooded Eyre Creek. Another easy as pie trip. So from our perspective there's about 285km of mid sized dunes in the mid Simpson that we haven't done - yet. Who knows for the future?
So perhaps this could give you a few ideas to make the trip successful...... W
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:57

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:57
G'day Mike

In mid Sept 2007 we crossed on the French/QAA lines, west to east. It was hot and dry and the tracks were well used by the time we got there, much as you'd expect they are now. (Perhaps we're all jumping the gun here - you haven't said when you propose to do the trip.)

We were three vehicles, a 100 Series Cruiser and two 120 Series diesel Prados. The middle vehicle (Prado) was towing a lightly loaded Trak Trailer. That trailer is a real off-road item and with the same wheel track as the tug. (Unlike your proposed wide Jaycos.) His trailer wheels were in compressed wheel tracks. Yours will be in looser sand, increasing drag and the load on the tug.

He had 12 or 15 recoveries, both forward and rearward, and multiple second and third attempts at multiple dunes with much reversing.

His Trak Trailer made it ok, but his Prado had a stuffed clutch (for obvious reasons) and cracked inner guards because he had to make excessively fast run-ups through the dug-up tracks to have any chance of getting over most of the dunes.

We agreed after the trip that we'd not take a trailer again, and that we'd discourage anyone who asked. We don't care what you do to your tugs and trailers, but trailers cause too much damaging to the track, simply spoiling it for other people, not to mention the environment.

If you need a recovery from outside the Simpson have a bank account with 5 figures in it - to the left of the decimal point.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:39

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:39
Watched too many digging holes as they put the foot down to struggle the trailer over the top. Most thought they weren't causing any damage...they just couldn't see behind them.

Yeh you can do it..but its difficult, and there are dangers, and it stuffs up the dunes for everyone else.

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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 07:57

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 07:57
From the opening post:

"looking forward to what some may say"

I think we have all been suckered. The post is a troll and Mike S2 "n his mate" are sitting back having a good laugh.
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Mike S2 - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 08:38

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 08:38
Frank you are a dill,how did you want me to ask for information,please can some one of experience, aka Frank the moderator,comment on this trip,thanks to everyone else for their positive replies we are still in prep mode,regs Mike
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:28

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:28
I may be a dill for thinking you were trolling, but my reply two posts up was serious.

I think we made a mistake taking a trailer with us, and it was a capable trailer (Tvan). If you take your Jaycos I think you can look forward to big issues, certainly on the French/QAA lines. You're going to be in soft hot sand, trailer wheels sinking in uncompacted sand and if your Jaycos have beam axles they will be dragging in the crown.

You're 100% certain to get both vehicles bogged multiple times. Are there other vehicles without trailers in your group to recover you? If not, have you thought about how you will manage recoveries when both vehicles are seriously encumbered with large trailers?

Late Sept-early October temps out there are going to be up to and into the 40's. Pretty exhausting shovelling sand in those conditions, and you'll be doing a lot of it.

You will need to take a run at each dune. The track will be full of holes from a season's worth of previous vehicles digging it up with wheelspin. Your rigs will cop a hell of a beating and to be honest, I don't think your trailers will survive.

If you must do it, have you considered the Rig Road? It's supposed to be easier than the French/QAA lines. I haven't done it myself but maybe someone who has can give you some specific info and advice.

But I think the best advice has already been given - leave your trailers at Mt Dare or Birdsville and enjoy the trip in tents or swags.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 09:42

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 09:42
I have travelled the Simpson numerous times, usually without a trailer. In 2010 I towed a mates offroader camper, as his rear diff had busted (separate issue from towing). Both vehicles were diff locked 105 Landcruisers. His vehicle traversed in front wheel drive only, with a few tugs from me on a few dunes. His trailer was fine behind mine. Regardless of the vehicle type and running specs, smart application of tyre pressures are key to preserving the track and vehicle.

The key is to have a good vehicle, traction control or diff locked. The 2nd is to have a well constructed and independently sprung trailer/camper. Outside of this your going to be busting ass running up dunes, digging, reversing and possibly repairing....and bleep off the few that are apparently out there to set time records between Birdsville and Mt Dare.

The Jayco campers are not in my opinion a well configured/constructed van/camper to be lugging across the Simpson. In a 2009 trip, I saw a 3 litre Patrol skull dragging a Jayco Eagle across the Simpson. It wasn't playing pretty.

I have a Tvan camper, and with a traction controlled or diff locked 4wd, I would take it across.

If you have not travelled the Simpson previously, I would not recommend to do the maiden trip towing. Seriously think about the Jayco capability.

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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 19:48

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 19:48
Hey Andrew, I wouldn't have thought it, but maybe I am in the "trying to set records" camp, having been caught behind a group of 5 vehicles, with a couple of camper trailers getting stuck on every dune. This is not much fun for a single vehicle if that group is not observant enough to let those that aren't a constant obstruction get through.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 18:57

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 18:57
Andrew,
Traction control is the first thing you need to turn off in sand.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 21:03

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 21:03
Vicki..did you or them have a UHF to communicate to each other...particularly while you were sitting their waiting at each dune.

Sure would be annoying wouldn't it. ;o)
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Follow Up By: Off-track - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 22:38

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 22:38
I wouldnt have thought an independently sprung trailer would be of any benefit over a beam axle through the desert?
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Reply By: yorkie2 - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:40

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 10:40
i did west to east in early july, prior to the trip was thinking of taking the trailer, like people say it can be done, we decided as first time would leave it at home.
having done the trip i would not take a trailer across in the future, thats my personal opinion of course.
one sight which was funny was as we came over the last dune before big red there were two dualcabs towing just at the bottom of the dune as we came over the crest, took them a few goes to reverse out the way and that was only their first dune!, would have been a fun trip.
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Reply By: Member - Michael A (ACT) - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 19:40

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 19:40
I for one will be glad when camper trailers are banned on the Simpson as the damage over the dunes is getting worse. At the moment only tour operators are not allowed to take trailers but after doing the trip it should be the privateers.

M

PS swag and comfy camp chairs are the best way to see and experience the desert.

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 12:23

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 12:23
Recently my friend and I went to SA with Googs track on our agenda. He has an outback Swan and considerable sand experience without a trailer, and I have a Tvan and have towed across the Simpson and a few other sand tracks.

Googs track would be about half as difficult and half as long as the Simpson. We decided to do a small test trip for about 50km in the Victorian Big Desert to test out if the Swan would be suitable.

For him it was too heavy and a lot of work up the dunes, he got stuck up a lot, many times without enough grunt to get it up the dunes after a tight corner.

It was pretty obvious that it was a lot of work, and simply not suitable so we had a plan b for the trip.

Based on that experience I would definitely not recommend it. Trailer arguments aside, you will have a terrible trip at best and an expensive trip at worst.

The upside was that the Big Desert was a great experience and I will definitely be back there.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 12:48

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 12:48
This is the sort of thing that can happen to trailers in The Simpson.




But don't worry, this will rescue you......... at a price!!

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 19:05

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 19:05
No mention of your towing vehicle. If its a dual cab then forget it - ask the Birdsville roadhouse how many bent chassis they see on dual cabs from towing trailers over dunes.

I own a Tvan. I tow it behind a turbo diesel Landcruiser - previous vehicle was a factory turbo 79series, this vehicle a 200series. We travel the Simpson regularly - have done for the past 25 years. Would I tow the Tvan over the Simpson - simple answer - NO WAY!

Too much stress on the driver - I like to go out there and enjoy.
Too much stress on the tow vehicle - that's at least an extra ton your vehicle is expected to pull over the dunes.
And finally I respect the opinion of the SA National Parks people who have their heart in the right place and want to keep these tracks open in the face of increasing numbers of tourists.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 05:59

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 05:59
Great advice!

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