Trailer etc in the Simpson

Submitted: Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 12:04
ThreadID: 12544 Views:1779 Replies:12 FollowUps:7
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I have just got up enough courage to "tackle" the Simpson from Birdsville to Dalhousie.

It would be graet if anyone could advise on
1. Is a Camper trailer a PITAss to tow over the dunes etc- would a tent set up be preferable.It will in all likelihhod be towed by a HiLux V6 so power will be on tap.
The weigt of the trailer fully laden will be < 750 Kgs if that is any indicator of whether it makes it easier or harder.The trailer has a one piece chassis - so it is up to the task i suspect (But am i ??)
2. Is the drive really "hard" as i understand it changes from Month to Month .
3. .Naturally we will have maps etc .... BUT is teh track hard to find/follow?. Are there tracks going in all directions that if one took one you would well be STOOFED.
4. roughly how long would it take to do this distance.

Thansk in advance to all that offer any advice i am still in 2 minds about it all BUT the unbiased assistance on this forum is to say the least- SPECTACULAR.

PS wish i could buy all respondents a beer (Cheers)

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Reply By: ross - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 14:47

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 14:47
Have a look at the top of the page and click on vehicle requirements/trailers.
There is a paragraph that says trailers are not welcome in the Simpson.
I havent done the trip your planning but I would hesitate about trying to tow 750kgs through soft sand and dunes.I think overheating and massive fuel consumption would be the biggest problem.
Also sand dunes require a run up which is difficult and dangerous with a trailer.
I think a quick erection tent would be best .(I mean a tent that goes up quickly;)
AnswerID: 56921

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 15:04

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 15:04
Have toi agree with ross, the trailer would be a pain methinx. I have seen a cruiser with a trailer struggle thru the Big Desert in Victoria and well, if that was multiplied by the Simpson then it would be a horrible trip. Trailers are just like a big sand anchor, leave it at home i reckon.
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AnswerID: 56923

Reply By: GeeVee - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 15:34

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 15:34
Agree with the above comments. While we were crossing we encountered a Patrol with a small off-road trailer, also travelling from east to west. He was doing it tough and axle-tramping up the dunes. Made a mess of the track - corrogations. (No comment on driving skills !)

Greg
AnswerID: 56929

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 17:04

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 17:04
1. Practice towing your trailer somewhere easier to gain some experience. Tent it.
2. Yes it changes & yes it's hard at times towing a trailer.
3. No the main tracks are not hard to navigate if you can read a map & hold a compass. Not all intersections are sign posted. Use your odometer to measure your turns from known points.
4. 3 days from Dalhousie to Birdsville. Allow 4 to look around.

PS. If you're in the Birdsville Pub on the the 3rd & 4th of July I'll keep you to that drink. Cheers Craig.........................
AnswerID: 56940

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 18:11

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 18:11
Yes, be careful with the trailer....8-)

Now he owes me a beer if there 3rd-4th of July too.....8-)
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FollowupID: 318714

Reply By: Member - JEFF - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 19:19

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 19:19
G'DAY MATE

I have crossed the desert twice before and will do it again in june, I would suggest that you leave the trailer at home. You will have enough to contend with negotiating the many sand ridges(they are not dunes)like every 3-400 metres.
I mean its not really difficult but very demanding on vehicle and occupants. Besides the extra damage done by trailers is not good. If you can read the Westprint Map of the s/desert you'll be o.k.It's not difficult If you have your act together you will set up your tent almost as quick as the trailer thing...Leave the trailer at home

regards jeff
AnswerID: 56946

Reply By: ianmc - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 20:13

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 20:13
Did it 3 years ago solo with Triton 2.5td travelling light but with extra fuel & water & food just in case.
Due to the above I averaged about 9 km/litre between Oodnadatta & Birdsville on French Line.
Take you time & enjoy the solitude. Your trailer will not help the track. Adjust your air pressures to suit, I used 20psi but could have gone lower & only had to do a rerun on a couple of dunes to being in the wrong gear.
Lift your right foot near the crest of each ridge & slow before dropping over the other side as its BLIND. Must use a red flag on a pole for security as thgere are some who dont & a few clowns around.
AnswerID: 56952

Follow Up By: Wombat - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 12:01

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 12:01
Did you have diff locks (or any other modifications) on the Triton Ian?
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FollowupID: 318760

Reply By: Member - Landie - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:31

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:31
Another option is to take the trailer on your travels, but leave it at Birdsville while you travel into the Simpson for a look around.

There are a number of options available to you.

Good luck
AnswerID: 56956

Reply By: Richard - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:53

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:53
Just crossed from west to east via the WAA line. Track was rough. Would not recomend a trailer. Just do swags or a tent. Doing homework for our trip noted in the fuel consumption area on this site a vehicle with a trailer was only getting 50l/100K. I got 20l/100K.
AnswerID: 56958

Reply By: Member - Bob - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 09:46

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 09:46
While the Simpson poses no problems for an adequately set up vehicle/trailer combo it is not the place to gain experience if you haven't used the trailer extensively before.
AnswerID: 56987

Reply By: flappan - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 13:57

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 13:57
Thats probably correct.

Reports are that trailers aren't welcome , but I understand thats more as a result of inexperienced and badly setup Vehicle/Trailers , rather then the towing of a trailer itself.

Someone who has it setup well , and knows what they are doing would have little to no problem.

Not the place to "practice"
AnswerID: 57015

Reply By: ianmc - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 15:39

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 15:39
Hi Wombat. Only mods were non standard shocks in good order and at the rear there are 3 main leaves then two thick overload leaves.
I removed the top overload leaf but then inserted a fourth normal leaf (ex Tojo)
which I cut to length a bit shorter than leaf three.
This gives me a higher ride height but when loaded with what I usually take, a reasonable clearance & very good rear end ride over most tracks.
I think I may have had my foam air filter on before the trip.
Since then I have adjusted the inj.pump myself as it was blowing too much black smoke. Now runs better & with a couple of minor mods goes harder & is more economical.
AnswerID: 57024

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen (Melb) - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 16:01

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 16:01
FYI from Aussie outback Publishing. Came in an email to us today.

There are some places due to LAND OWNERSHIP that requests have been
made to the public if they could refrain towing their trailers into.
Two such areas are the Simpson Desert and the Canning Stock Route.

The South Australian Dept of Environment & Heritage 'ADVISE' that
trailers are not to be towed through the Simpson Desert. This is an
environmental/recovery issue rather than a safety issue.

The risk of bearings and axle failure is high due to the difficult
terrain & the risk is further compounded by the lack of support
facilities and services in the desert. Consequently trailers are
frequently abandoned at great expense to owners and conservation
groups.

There is currently NO FINE for towing a trailer through these areas,
but it is your responsibility to retrieve your camper if a breakdown
does happen & the cost is enormous.

They ask if you must tow a trailer across the Simpson the best option
is the RIG ROAD ONLY.

Along the Canning Stock Route, you may not use the section of track
that is now owned by private pastoralists - Cunyu Station. There is
an alternative route for travellers with trailers but there is a
charge to use this track to cover track maintenance.

AnswerID: 57027

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 18:02

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 18:02
I might add the reason Cunyu don't allow trailers is they have 20 or so rocky creek crossings with steep approach's & want trailers to detour to avoid getting hung up.
By the way, what is this "environmemtal issue" with trailers anyway? I'm yet to see a trailer digging up the sand ridges. Craig.................
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FollowupID: 318792

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 21:52

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 21:52
I concur with this post. Just got back from the SD and would not recomend the WAA nor especially the French line unless you have heaps of sand dune experience. The Rig Rd was built on a harder base to transport heavy mining equipment.
Besides the usual allowances for fuel and water, tyre management is cruicial. Max 20psi including the trailer. You should take 2 spares for trailer + 2 for the wagon, hoses, belts, axles, springs etc. Use the "what if" factor - what if this breaks, or what if...... etc. You don't want to get stuck out there. It's a great trip and half the fun of the trip is in the planning. Go steady and good luck.
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FollowupID: 318830

Follow Up By: Robert - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 09:22

Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 09:22
“The risk of bearings and axle failure is high due to the difficult
terrain & the risk is further compounded by the lack of support
facilities and services in the desert.”

This equally applies to vehicles, you couldn’t possibly say only trailers are prone to mechanical problems. If anything vehicles are worse, because they are far more complex.

“Consequently trailers are
frequently abandoned at great expense to owners and conservation
groups.”

What sort of trailers are we talking about here? The ordinary garden trailer or an offroad trailer?
At the cost of purchasing an offroad trailer, I really find it hard to believe that people, in the event of their trailer breaking down, would just abandon it with no thought of returning to retreive it.

“trailers are frequently abandoned”

If this is the case , why don’t we ever see pictures of these abandoned trailers? Would it be that any abandoned trailer, is only the ordinary garden trailer?

“There is currently NO FINE for towing a trailer through these areas,
but it is your responsibility to retrieve your camper if a breakdown
does happen & the cost is enormous.”

Doesn’t this equally apply to vehicles, or is the cost of retrieval less for a vehicle?
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FollowupID: 319021

Follow Up By: Tuco69 - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 10:37

Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 10:37
The context of posts and follow-ups on this thread shows that many have not ventured into the Simpson.

I have crossed the Simpson 3 times - in 89, 91 and 95 and my advice to anyone contemplating towing a trailer is 'forget it!' - at least on your first trip. Tent it the first time, and you will see the damage caused and problems that trailer towers have.

We have a custom built all aluminium camper trailer with a tare of only 420 Kg, and there is no way that I could enjoy a trip across the Simpson with it dragging me back on every dune. It certainly would be nice to have the convenience that the CT offers - but not worth the hassle.
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FollowupID: 319029

Follow Up By: Robert - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 12:17

Wednesday, May 05, 2004 at 12:17
“It certainly would be nice to have the convenience that the CT offers - but not worth the hassle.”

Isn’t that for the individuals to decide for themselves? What you consider a hassle, may not be for others.
The real issue, of deciding whether one should tow a trailer, is whether it is risky, or a cause of damage to the track or environment.

“The context of posts and follow-ups on this thread shows that many have not ventured into the Simpson.”

Okay, your saying from your experience don’t take a trailer, and you may be right. But also there are people who have travelled with a trailer, who say the opposite - that a trailer is fine. Who do you believe?

I ask this:
If towing a trailer is as bad as some say, then WHY haven’t the authorities already banned them?
And what is the actual damage that ONLY trailers cause?

I think Flappan and Bob have replied with the most useful, and realistic advice:

“Not the place to "practice"”

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FollowupID: 319040

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