Cape York Corrugations - how bad???

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 22:18
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Hi All,

I've heard all the legendary stories about the roads in Cape York, but I'm wondering just how bad they are.

I'm heading to the Cape late August in my FJ60 for around 3 weeks, and having never been there I'd like to know what to expect. Three years ago I was in Central Oz and travelled to Chambers Pillar and the Mereenie Loop (which I was told by the woman at Glen Helen was not being used at that time by the Tour Operators because of the condition it was in). Parts of these roads were pretty badly corrugated I thought, but how do they compare to the Cape York roads?

I plan to travel the Telegraph Rd there and probably back to minimise the corrugations (just fitted a snorkel this weekend for the expected river crossings). I'm worried by all the stories of things like cracked diff housings and broken suspensions I hear from every person I seem to speak to lately.

Any info and tips for my upcoming trip would be greatly appreciated...

Cheers,

Tom.
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Reply By: GO_OFFROAD - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 22:59

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 22:59
Ahhh the joys of the internet.....bad news now travels 50 times faster than good news...

Doesnt matter how bad the coorogations are, they wont hurt the car if the tyre pressures are right, and the driver looks after the car.
AnswerID: 54109

Follow Up By: Slammin - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 23:40

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 23:40
Well put.

There must be a scientific formula that proves that there is a maximum size to a corrugation.................... Unless driver is propped at the bar of course.
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 23:29

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 23:29
As long as your teeth are in good shape you will be OK.

Correct tyre pressures and common sense driving...then again...my snorkle fell off on the Gunbarrel Hwy due to the corrugations and the winch rattled apart...but I was driving at 80 clicks to stay on top of the corru's. Had two stuffed front shocks at that stage(busted them on the Canning) and the continuous corrugations took their toll.

If you drive where everyone else drives you can't avoid corrugations. Take the back roads and you might find easier surfaces.
AnswerID: 54117

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce (San Diego) - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 00:19

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 00:19
As Willem says drive to the conditions.

Last year we had no problems apart from a front indicator light which fell out (gaffa tape fixed that) and a broken side mirror (gaffa tape fixed that also) from hitting a tree trying to avoid the corrugations.

Taked to a couple of Swedes in a Britz who were having all sorts of trouble. They passed us a couple of hours later going about 120k's and we saw them again at Archer River with broken front shocks and stuffed dif.

Bruce
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 06:08

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 06:08
Tom they are music to my ears.
When the dash rattles of and lands in your lap thats when there bad.
As said above tyre pressures are the key.
The speed thing is always a big issue some say 80ks is a must to get on top of them I find in my truck its around the 65 k mark and every truck rides different.
You will work it out as you get going.
You must take care on bends as some clown will be coming at you at about 100k side ways on your side because some one told him theres less corrugations on the opposite side of the track be carefull.

All the best
Eric

www.capeyorkconnections.com.au
AnswerID: 54125

Follow Up By: Cruisin - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 06:59

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 06:59
Hi all

So what are the correct tyre pressures for travelling on corrugated roads in a fully loaded vehicle for speeds up to 80km/h with some cornering involved ??

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Graeme - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 18:28

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 18:28
I'd also appreciate people's opinions on the 'right' tyre pressures? - Are we talking xxlbs less than on hard gravel/bitumen?

Thanks
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Reply By: Bros - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 08:02

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 08:02
Tom,
Our party (5 vehicles) visited the Cape right to the top in August 02. We travelled on the telegraph track on the way up and the development road on the way back. The telegraph track is rough but very easy because of the terrain being traversed. (may be harder this year due to the rainfall) On the way up only one flat for the group, but doing a vehicle check on my HJ 75 at Seisia i discovered that the L/H engine mount had cracked off the chassis rail. Welded back at the local engineering shop and no further problems to this day. After finding this the other drivers decided to check their rigs thoroughly. One of the rigs was a 2 year old hilux and all the radiator bolts had vibrated out. Most of the rigs had loose screws or bolts of some description. Due to inexperience no one had let their tyres down. On the way back the Ford courier cracked it's long range fuel tank and he had to head for home. (the only petrol rig and warranty claim) We travelled all the way to Musgrave on the development road and then across to Lakefield, Bathurst Bay and via the Starcke track to Cooktown. You can't stay on the telegraph track all the time. In conclusion, letting the tyres down would have saved us a fair bit of worry.
Cheers,
Bros.
Work is the curse of the down and out bludger.

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AnswerID: 54132

Reply By: Troopie - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 09:42

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 09:42
Heya
So - in case you didn't get that. Tyres and speed - right pressures, right speed, and don't rush. There is no one answer to these, it varies from vehicle to vehicle and day to day in my opinion. it's a feel thing - don't be afraid to lose a bit of time and experiment early in the trip, or on other trips before you go.

The only thing that ever happened to my vehicle on the Cape was one flat tyre, which I discovered in Bamaga and suspect it was from broken glass. I do give everything the once over with spanner and bar regularly though. There is something to be said for sticking your head under the bonnet/truck for a few seconds every so often. When on bad corrugations, I'll have a bit of sticky beak over the truck each moning, and also when we pull up for breaks (lunch etc).

Like Eric says also - watch out for the clowns travelling on the wrong side of the road because they think the corrugations are better.... You'll see what I mean!

I wouldn't bother with the Bypass roads - stick to the Telegraph in both directions, that way you avoid the worst corrugations, and get to watch the motor sport as various people attempt the crossings (entertaining in it's right).....

Have a great trip.

Cheers
AnswerID: 54142

Reply By: Moose - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 13:39

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 13:39
How bad are the corrugations? How long is a piece of string?
Mate don't worry about what others tell you about road conditions unless you know them and their capabilities and experience. What to one is bad may not be for you. Just go and enjoy the trip. As the others have said tyre pressures and speed are the important things to remember. The worst corrugations are on the bypass road so avoid it as much as possible (some bits you can't avoid). Make sure your shockies and exhaust are in good nick - one mechanic up that way told me they are the most common items to fail.
AnswerID: 54172

Reply By: Foss - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 15:32

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 15:32
G'day Tom

If your lucky enough to travel soon after the grader has gone through you can get along the bypass pretty quick( 80kph v's 10kph). However, as that only happens once every six or so years due to council funding and the general lack of want to maintain that particular road the bypass track is usually a bad place to drive in comparision to the telegraph track. Telegraph track is more senic anyway. I was up there a few years ago, the bypass track was close to undrivable, in my opinion.

as everyone else said so far, pressure and speed are the key if you must.

cheers


AnswerID: 54184

Reply By: Tom - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 18:46

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 18:46
Thanks for all the replies everyone.

I have 33" Kumho Mud Terrains on my car and had planned to run about 25lbs front and rear and adjust these pressures as I saw fit during the trip. Would this be a ball park figure for tyre pressures to at least start with. These are roughly the pressures (occassionally lower) I use whenever I head up the Victorian High Country, and what I have used on a couple of trips to Central Oz. They seemed to work quite well for these trips.

Cheers,

Tom.
AnswerID: 54224

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 19:49

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 19:49
tom as they say suck and see. You will find the right combination.

Have a good one.

Eric
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