D-Max 2wd for off road

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 09:35
ThreadID: 109805 Views:2531 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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Any thoughts on just how capable a d-max 2wd might be for off road? I'd reduce tyre pressures to assist in difficult terrain?
I will be travelling to Arnhem Land and doing Gibb River/Mitchell Plateau, Mereenie Loop, Oodnadatta track type travelling. Maybe the Gunbarrel. I wouldn't be using it for Simpson Desert type work.
I need to do quite a bit of long distance highway travelling carrying gear and my beloved 60 series Toyota is both a bit heavy on juice and not really for this kind of running. But I still want to go off road. Not sure however that I really need 4wd with the d-max.
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Reply By: Freshstart - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 09:51

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 09:51
It would be fine for where you mentioned. I would have taken the old Kingswood without hesitation if we still had it. But I wouldn't take the Maxima. They don't build them like the Kingswoods and Falcons any more.

The d-max should be fine. You don't need 4WD for those places. They aren't really off road. But I agree - No Simpson. Having a 60 series I gather that you are familiar with all the usual practices so enjoy!!
AnswerID: 540315

Reply By: bigden - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:36

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:36
my old dad drove his wb ute towing a camper up the strezlecki tk across to birdsville and on another trip did the gibb river rd
it went around the country twice and thru the centre twice.
so if you drive to the conditions you should? be fine
AnswerID: 540317

Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:54

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:54
There are a few water crossings in Arnhemland that may bring you undone, this all depends on what time of year as well.

If you are buying it new there is only $3000 difference between the two.

D Max price list
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Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:03

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:03
2wds, can be quite surpising where you can get them.
I used to run bushwalking and other such tours, used a 12 seat Toyota Commuter bus, and we took that on some pretty radical trail tracks around the country.
Tyre pressures will help with comfort, tyre protection, as well as general traction in sandy surfaces, firm beaches, etc, but nothing too soft, fluffy, deep.

Seriously though, how many interesting side tracks, nice camp sites, beach access points might you have to avoid by trimming a matter of a few grand from a new purchase price, and if buying second hand much the same ?
2nd hand 4wds will usually have many more suitable touring options fitted too, like susp upgrades, barwork, and so on.
AnswerID: 540321

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 16:32

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 16:32
I'd go along with what Les has said. We travelled the GRR in May this year and only put the Landcruiser into 4WD when getting out to the side tracks to the gorges. We would not have gotten to many of them in 2WD and that's with the extra ground clearance of the Cruiser.
Most of the main tracks are fine for most 2WD vehicles as long as they have good ground clearance. Some not so much.
It depends on where you want to go, are you happy to miss out on a lot of the interesting bits.

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:56

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:56
As said above yes they are very capable but there is no comparison to a 4x4 with low range 4wd.

In a 2wd you have to drive more aggressively and in most cases faster to get where a true 4wd would get with ease.

4wd adds safety and capability that no 2wd can match.

The other thing is in a 2wd you would have to run a rear diff lock and in a 4wd it's not necessary for most off roading.
AnswerID: 540325

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:57

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:57
BTW every one thinks the Simpson is hard going and only a true 4wd would make it...... the Simpson is a super highway and most people who do it will only use 2wd high.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 15:21

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 15:21
Ummm, call you on the Simmo comments just a little.

While it isn't the toughest of going, there are plenty of sandhills that will stop a 2wd dead in it's tracks, at least on our crossing late April.
We had many very experienced sand drivers in our group, all running ~ 15psi pressures (and 4wd engaged :/), and a few dunes on that run needed some 2nd / 3rd attempts by quite a few drivers.

Sure, there have been some 2wd crossings in times gone.
I have noted stories / posters at places regarding a VW Beetle and the HQ Holden (with a pic on Big Red after a crossing) that have done so, imagine quite a few others too especially with the oil rig sites in the early days.
Eg. Rig Rd before clay cappings deteriorated would have been an easy 2wd apart from in wet conds.

At times you might be lucky and find negligible recent traffic / firm-ish sand, no mud about, have dunes slightly damp from recent rain, or maybe you can wait until next morning and do a tough dune when the sand is firmer, but really crazy to do the Simmo in a 2wd nowadays.

. . . and bloody irresponsible to have a 4wd and run 2wd on such terrain . . . not to mention plain crazy for putting your vehicle under so much more stress.
I hope I'm right in saying from my observations a very small minority would have a 4wd running in 2wd out there.

Have heard a few do this on crossings for some strange reason, making a mess of the tracks and what's the point ??
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 15:52

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 15:52
Hello Olcoolone,
Not sure about which route across the Simpson you went or what the conditions were like. I've done it a few times including when very wet and when very hot and dry. I have done it in a couple of different vehicles, always fully, and I mean fully, loaded up, so that might make a difference. Not sure what sort of a run up speed you take at those dunes or how much ground clearance you had if things got sloshy, but I am very sure I couldn't do it in a 2wd. Which isn't to say that others couldn't do it, just that I am sure I couldn't.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 23:20

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 23:20
Many have done it in 4wd high without the centrer diff locked or front hubs locked in making it basically a 2wd.

Plus most 4wd theses days have an open rear diff and open front making them in theory 2wd.

Have you tried it in 2wd?.... seriously have you?

And no it is not irresponsible to have a 4wd and run 2wd on such terrain.... the Simpson if travelled on the common tracks is not that difficult in good conditions.

When we had our Hilux we had a disconnection switch that would disconnect the front diff when in low range...... we found this set-up and running a rear diff lock easier then running 4wd and in some instances less an impact on the environment by not digging the sand up.

Go and ask Joel Fleming from Direct 4wd about 2wd vs 4wd and how capable a well set up 2wd with a competent drivers is.





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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 06:02

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 06:02
We have very different opinions about this obviously, but to call any part of any Simmo crossing route 'a super highway capable of being driven in 2wd' is just plain bad info to put out here.

I'll leave my vehicle in 2wd until I feel the need to go 4wd . . . and the torque of the 3.0 TD would get me a long way in 2wd, a lot further than when I do normally go 4h or low, but why run until you totally need it ?

That environment and remoteness, you shouldn't be putting any extra stresses on your vehicle than necessary, and running a 4wd in 2wd mode is just ridiculous and increasing risks of something failing.

Yes. It IS irresponsible to do what you said.
I wouldn't contemplate crossing the Simmo in anything but a 4wd IN 4wd mode.

'the Simpson if travelled on the common tracks is not that difficult in good conditions.'
If it had recently rained and the dune sands were dampened and hard, sure it would be a cake walk then in any mode (even on a pushbike or on foot, if fit enough).
But again, you should still run 4wd, why possible reaon can you have to not do so ?

It's just plain common sense that running 4h or 4l the front and rear drives working in unison will pull you over dunes much more easily, why bother having a 4wd and not using it where it's designed for ?
Why degrade those tracks in any condition by hitting them harder ? (And you will hit them harder.)
There's enough volume of traffic to do that without people unnecessarily churning things up in 2wd, and of course it would be destructive.

Joel Fleming Direct 4WD ?
If Joel recommends running a 4wd on a Simmo crossing in 2wd mode, then I don't hold him in much regard as an industry expert.

'. . . how capable a well set up 2wd with a competent drivers is.' ?
So now if I or others don't (can't) do it in 2wd, you're suggesting we're not competent drivers ?

No, my reply was to ' the Simpson is a super highway and most people who do it will only use 2wd high.'

Open diff / lsd / hubs unlocked ? Running 2 low rear drive only via an override switch across the Simmo, why ?
I bet you a slab the great majority are doing the right thing on the crossing are running 4wd engaged, not 'most people who do it will only use 2wd high' . . . that's completely unfounded.

That's all my opinion, but I suspect many others.
It's also my last input on this thread about it.

If you differ, then so be it but I wouldn't consider doing a run across with someone in those dunes and sensitive terrain (that has to be shared by many others) and they were trying to be . . . well, I'm not sure what or why, but with anyone wanting to use 2wd through the Simmo on any route, for no good reason apart from 'it can be done'.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 13:50

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 13:50
Whats this thing about...... "doing it right and running 4wd"

It's simple if you do not require 4wd you don't have to use it, there is no law saying other wise.

As for putting less stress on stuff when running 4wd...... sorry there is no right or wrong and no real evidence to say one is better or worse then the other.

"Yes. It IS irresponsible to do what you said."

What did I say?

If you think you need to use 4wd thats fine so use 4wd....... I do exactly the same thing if I had an option.

You have an opinion and so do I, forums would become very boring if everyone had the same opinion.

And I did not say anything about not using 4wd when needed.....but according to you I did.

You drive to the conditions and use available aids when needed.

We did a big trip into the Simpson exploring the many clay pans some years ago, a person traveling with us damaged his transfer case so he only had 2wd, he made it through with little effort and applied a bit of common sense.

Can you show me where the information is saying 2wd causes damage to the tracks?

So when do you need to use 4wd and when do you need to use 2wd..... and when do you use low range.

And does it apply to everyone.






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Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 at 20:26

Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 at 20:26
.....and now boys and girls that's how the tracks get so chopped up.
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 13:33

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 13:33
With a 2WD, to gain effective traction, you need to get weight over the drive axle, and off the steer wheels.
Thus, an empty 2WD will bog on a highway shoulder, with no weight in the tray.

If you load up with a good load in the tray, and ensure that the load is not increasing the weight on the front wheels - and even slightly lessening the weight on the front - then you'll have a vehicle that will go 90% of the places that a 4WD will go.

A limited slip or lockable diff will also assist in loose conditions.
I used every model of Holden ute from the EH onwards in my rural contracting business which involved a lot of paddock work.
The only 4WD available in the early days was Landrover - one of which I also owned.
However, the Landrover was only called on when ground conditions became exceptionally sandy and boggy, or consisted of deep mud - or when a heavy load such as a 1000 gallon (4500L) fuel tanker needed to be moved from soft ground.

A reasonably well loaded (not overloaded) 2WD D-Max will do almost everything you want to do - except climb very steep slopes, go through deep boggy ground, or traverse deep soft sand.
AnswerID: 540330

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 13:52

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 13:52
Mike,

What about a Falcon RTV ute? Might be bigger than you want, but heaps of clearance, grunt and room. And already got a Hydratrak rear diff, or is it an option?

When I worked on Barkly Tablelands, during '60's & '70's, utes were all the go, and there was only one 4wd on station for wet times. Trouble was the 2wds suspensions couldn't handle the black soil roads, once the roads cracked up. One of the 4wds, an International Scout, couldn't handle the roads, or anything else much, and spent most of its life in the workshop. Was replaced by a 1965 model Landcruiser.

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 540331

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 16:15

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 16:15
Thanks everyone,
Much to chew over. I was considering a 4wd and began to think about the legendary Jol Fleming who I used to know in Alice (he was the long time Director of the Finke Race among many other claims to fame). Jol always reckoned he could go pretty well anywhere in a Falcon ute. He lost the use of his legs in a car crash yeas ago. He used a ute because it was easier to carry his wheelchair in the back and get it in and out on his own. Impressive stuff. I am damn sure I don't have his off road skills however.
AnswerID: 540342

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 23:24

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 23:24
Yes Jol is a remarkable guy and have done more then a few trips with him over the years into some very remote and harsh areas.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 06:06

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 06:06
Ok, I see now Joels relevance in the post higher up . . . he HAD to go 2wd for a logical and practical reason.

Apologies for not knowing of him or that relevance, not big on competition 4wdn.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 07:20

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 07:20
That's OK Les. He isn't just into racing, Jol also does 4wd training in Alice. He used to have a mate, also wheelchair bound, with MS. The two of them would take off on trips in a 2wd ute with two wheelchairs in the back that most able bodied would think carefully before attempting in a regular 4wd. Jol is a great believer in low pressures in tyres outback to get you through.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 07:46

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 at 07:46
Sounds like a legend :)
Yep, tyre pressures make so much difference in pretty much anything off the blacktop, one of the easiest ways to make offroad more enjoyable / safe / do-able.
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FollowupID: 826204

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