Great Central Road with Toyota Estima?

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 19:35
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Hello. I'm looking forward to drive the great central road from Uluru to Perth with a Toyota Estima 2wd. Beside the weather condition do you think it's possible to do it in that kind of car?
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Reply By: Zippo - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 20:40

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 20:40
IF the vehicle is in good condition, IF the tyres are ditto, and IF you drive to the conditions (such as adjust speed on corrugations) then yes you could do it. Weather aside, there is nothing especially daunting there other than corrugations and isolation.

Would I do it in that vehicle? I don't know an Estima from an eskimo, nor how old the vehicle is or its maintenance history. If I were across all of those I would be able to tell you.
AnswerID: 589529

Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:42

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:42
The corrugations and rocks will belt your car around, especially the tyres. Does your car have a full size spare?
AnswerID: 589542

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:49

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:49
According to Mr Google an Estima is a Japanese grey market import Tarago.

Geez I think you would be brave, as if you have a problem you may have trouble finding someone who would go to the trouble of finding the correct part numbers etc. Apparently there are a couple of Sydney Toyota dealers who will find import part numbers.(according to the blurb of an importer)

Also the suspension would be Japanese settings which are usually limp and depending on how old they may be near their life.

I saw a 2005 on carsales for 13K . If yours is that old , you would have to have it thoroughly serviced and replace hoses and belts and maybe shocks before the trip to be sure of reliability.
I don't know how vulnerable the sump is on them, but a look underneath will reveal that, and whether you think a guard is necessary.
Regards Philip A
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Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:11

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:11
What year is it. One of the old mid engine ones or a later front engine???????
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:27

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:27
We travelled the GCR in May this year. The WA side is generally in good to very good condition. The NT side is poor to average with corrugations and sand in places. The entire road is very isolated and mechanical services are limited. This is not to say that a normal vehicle could not safely travel the distance, however is the risk worth taking. Certainly normal road tyres present a potential problem remembering that lower tyre pressures will be of benefit to your suspension. With lower tyre pressures normal road tyres are more prone to sidewall damage. If you lower tyre pressures you need a compressor to re-inflate once you reach the bitumen.
Communications are problematic with a sat phone being the only 100% reliable option. Of course depending on the time of year you travel intense heat can also be an issue.
I would certainly be considering these and other issues mentioned by others very carefully before making any final decision.
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AnswerID: 589551

Reply By: 671 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 12:39

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 12:39

A point to keep in mind when driving in those conditions is roads don't break cars, drivers do. Excessive speed, too much weight and trying to keep to a tight time schedule are the big killers out in the bush.

The road is marked on Hema maps as a major unsealed road. It gets its fair share of traffic and many would be 2wds. I have driven over it recently (in a 4wd ute) and I am sure I could have taken a sports car over it if I had to. That would be with extreme care though but then I have the patience to drive all day at 20 kph if the conditions demanded it. Many drivers would go mad if they had to spend more than ten minutes below 80 so it is all up to you.

Tyres are one thing that could be a problem on your type of car. I looked up a few Estima photos on the net and noticed they all had large diameter alloy wheels with very low profile tyres. If yours are like that then leave them at home. If you already have something that looks suitable then give the tyre manufacturer (not a tyre dealer) a ring on their customer info. number and discuss using them in those conditions. You won't get a better source of information than the company that designed, tested and manufactured them.

Another issue is where to stay for the night. Driving steadily to the conditions can take a long time when covering vast distances. You may not be able to get to the next road house or whatever each day. My wife and I just drove off into the bush a couple of times but the ground was usually very sandy. Your car might have a few problems handling a surface like that.
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Reply By: wombat100 - Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 14:50

Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 14:50
Hi Alex
Just back from the GCR from Ayers Rock to Laverton WA then onto Geralton etc.
Vehicle is a Mercedes Benz Sprinetr camper.. Had no issues. Permit allows 3 days from border to Laverton- we took 5 with some excellent remote bush camping.
AnswerID: 589601

Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 20:30

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 20:30
Alex R3 - You need a minimum of 180mm ground clearance to traverse the GCR - because it is deeply rutted in some sections, and many of the ruts contain rocks.
Driving on top of the ruts is tiring and a recipe for a rollover, unless you are a very experienced driver, and you take it slowly.

If you load up an Estima with a lot of equipment, it may not have enough ground clearance to safely traverse the GCR without incurring damage to components on the underside, such as suspension, fuel lines and exhaust.

If you break down out there, you could be in serious trouble if you need parts.
There are plenty of wrecks along the GCR that never made it due to damage taking its toll (2WD campers, regular 2WD cars, and numerous caravans).

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 589905

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