Jayco Outback - in the Outback

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 at 19:23
ThreadID: 133191 Views:3958 Replies:5 FollowUps:16
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I intend to travel from Birdsville (having driven via Marree) to Innaminka and onto Tibooburru and White Cliffs, heading eventually to Melbourne with a Jayco Outback, with the new independantsuspension.
My tow rig is a Ford Ranger 2013 dual cab fitted with air bellows to rear and running on new Toyo tyres.
What is the best road to travel on, to Innaminka and White Cliffs. Seems to be a heap of tracks around but unsure of the quality.
Leaving Perth in a couple of weeks to make it to the Birdsville races.
Cheers
Capnbazz
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Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 at 21:36

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 at 21:36
There is no reason why it wouldn't work....providing you drive to the conditions.
But a word of warning tho ....airbags installed in the middle of the back springs makes the vehicle very susceptible to extreme chassis damage. This is well documented.. just google bent chassis...and prepare yourself for a fright.

Cheers Keith
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Follow Up By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 04:08

Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 04:08
I agree with Keith about the airbags.
Personally, I bent a Mazda Bravo about 8 years ago with a heavy trailer on. That was in the Bungle Bungle. I had to get lifted out and repaired in Kununurra. It took 2 weeks before it was fixed.
Never again would I use airbags except inside coil springs.
The Bravo was later fitted with a set of Aussie Super Springs which worked really well.
I now have a BT50 with heavier OME springs. The Aussie Super Springs were not available when I bought it.
Do not use airbags. You will be sorry.
The roads you ask about have been subjected to recent rain. You would have to get local information to be sure of the correct roads. I have been on a lot of those roads but it was very dry when I did, a couple of years ago.
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Reply By: 08crd - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 at 22:04

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 at 22:04
Most of the tracks around Innaminka are on the gibber plains, sharp rocks about the size of a golf ball. Be prepared for punctures and reduce speed and tyre pressures.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 05:54

Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 05:54
You didn't ask the question but can I point out that the Outback range is made for graded dirt roads? You might benefit from taking along a kit to refix panels, cabinets, brackets, handles and so on.
There are I think 3 routes Bville to Innamincka. With that rig take the Arrabury Rd, not the Cordillo Downs track. And Walkers Crossing is a track as well, prone to closure due to rain.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 21:27

Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 21:27
Last November, I travelled up the road from Innamincka past Arrabury, and it was in pretty good condition. The worst section would have been the first few kms from Innamincka to the Qld border. Didn't head for Birdsville, but continued over onto the Diamantina River road.

Interesting route, though it is pretty quiet. Don't think I saw another vehicle all day, except for an abandoned camper trailer thingy. Road surface ranged from excellent gravel to stony surface. No worries in a van, just taking your time.

Worth travelling the 20 odd kms out to Hadden's Corner if you go that way. Could park the van in off the main road.

Incidentally, did meet a senior couple at Innamincka, who were intending to travel up past Cordillo. They had a pop top van, tandem, towed by a smallish Jeep. Often wondered how they got on, as temps were into the mid 40°s by then.

Bob

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Follow Up By: 08crd - Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 22:22

Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 22:22
Walkers crossing, when dry has long sections of deep bulldust, that drag hard on the vehicle.
If towing a caravan, speed will be reduced considerably and fuel consumption will rise a lot.IMO
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 09:32

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 09:32
Few photos I took along Arrabury road........





This jump up is on Saint Ann Range, and is the only bitumen after leaving the Bulloo Developmental Road.



Bob




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Follow Up By: ian.g - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 12:49

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 12:49
Agree with Bob and Sigmund that the road up past Arrabury is the only way I would tow a caravan, generally this road is not too bad and only a real concern if there has been rain, couple of spots get very boggy. Take your time and enjoy your trip and everything will go well for you. Regards Ian
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Follow Up By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 07:19

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 07:19
And the countryside along the Arrabury Road looks fantastic right now! Toni
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Reply By: Member - Ray C11 - Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 20:00

Thursday, Aug 11, 2016 at 20:00
Hi Capnbaz, I'm with Keith with the Air bellows, I just did a trip from the pilbara to birdsville, via the Gunbarrel hwy. I fell victim to the bent chassis in day 2 of a 4 week trip. I've learnt if I run another dual cab ,I will put up with harder rear springs .
I was lucky it wasn't that bad. I monitored it and babied it from then on. I was running 20 psi at the time.

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Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 09:05

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 09:05
Ray C11,
With all due respect, the problem of a bent chassis is not due to air bags being fitted but the fact of the load in the tray being so far behind the rear axle.
It matters not whether you fit heavier rated springs or air bags, the load is still behind the axle.
The correct way to fix the problem is to lengthen the chassis to get the rear wheels under the approximate centre of the load in the tray. It does compromise the ramp over a bit though. On a typical dual cab the cost is about $7000 in Sydney.
Bent chassis ONLY happen on dual cab utes. How many big trucks do you see with the rear axle in front of the load?
Food for your thought.
Ian
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 13:12

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 13:12
Maybe but it is no coincidence that bent chassis mainly happen to vehicles that have had airbags fitted - they exacerbate this issues you mention.
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Follow Up By: capnbazz - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 17:54

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 17:54
Thanks to all those who replied. I hope I wasn't conned but I fitted bellows instead of air bags, under the impression that they were fitted differently and wouldn't cause the chassis damage as reported. Seeing as i am not carrying a full load in the vehicle, but have a 2400kg van on the back I guess that it means one needs to travel to the conditions, drop tyre pressures and keep fingers crossed. Too late now to change as we head off to Birdsville for the races next week.
Will travel down the Arrabury rd to Innaminka from there, then find the best route to Tibooburra.
Will let you know how I got on when I get home in November
Thanks again for the replies .
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Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 20:06

Friday, Aug 12, 2016 at 20:06
capnbaz,
If you have a 2400 kg caravan on the back you have probably got 240 kgs on the towbar which is as far behind the axle as it is possible to be. I would only a box of tissues and a Mars bar in the tray to have any hope of not bending the chassis.
I am not being negative, I have had a lot of experience with this problem.
When you are getting around town before you leave take note of dual cabs in the traffic. You will see many are bent and it is visible along the side when you look at the line of the cab and the line of the tray.
Be warned.... it happens and Murphy won't be far away!!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 13:13

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 13:13
The areas you would need to watch, Capn, both on dirt and bitumen, would be things like cattle grids, dips, even flood ways and any other "imperfections" in the road surface. Even culverts under the bitumen, in black soil country, that have been pushed up over the years, may be enough to cause chassis bending "porpoising" of the vehicle and van.

More conservative speeds through these hazards should go a long way to reduce or even stop the problem.

Re a route from Innamincka. The couple I mentioned in my other follow-up, had come from Cameron's Corner via the OLD Strezlecki Track. Due to all the gas/oil traffic, they said it was in excellent order, and had no problems at all.

Enjoy the Races,
Bob

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Follow Up By: outback epicurean - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 21:46

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 21:46
Hi Ray C11

Very interested in your experience with a bent chassis as going through the difficult task of looking for a new tow vehicle and Ranger/BT50's look good on paper. What was the setup that you bent? what were you towing if anything? Air bags? Load etc. Any information would be helpful

many thanks in anticipation
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Reply By: McLaren3030 - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 08:11

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 08:11
The problem with a lot of dual cabs is that while they may have a 3.5 Tonne towing capacity, they do not have a high AVM, meaning that you can not carry a lot of weight in the vehicle. Most bent chassis, airbags or not, tend to be as a result of being overloaded. I have to be honest and say I have a prejudice against Jaco off road vans, I know a lot of people who have had problems with them when taken off road. They build good vans for highway, and light gravel roads, but I would not take one off road.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 10:46

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 10:46
You are absolutely right about the dual cab weights and tow capacity.
When they are loaded to their max weight the rear springs can not hold the load and the rear goes down. Enter a couple of air bags or bellows (matters not which) and the rear springs go back up BUT the problem has not gone away, it just got a whole lot worse because the driver thinks it is all fixed. The load, being so much behind the rear axle, still wants to hit the ground and the engine at the front is trying to stop it. Any wonder the poor old chassis gives up and bends. It ain't rocket science!
All the while the load is pulling the back down it is also trying to lift the front wheels off the road. In one example I had to deal with (Ford Ranger, but once again it matters not which dual cab) the front wheels were more than 200 kgs UNDER weight which makes steering problamatical especially on wet roads.
The only answer is to lengthen the chassis to get the rear axle under the load and not in front of it but who wants to pay $50K for a new dual cab and then cut the chassis in half. Probably won't do much for the warranty!
The dual cab concept is good but the execution is very poor in all models that use the single cab chassis.
Anyway, that is my Sunday rant finished. Now, where did I leave the car polish bottle.......?
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Follow Up By: capnbazz - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 12:55

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 12:55
Thanks Macca. The Jayco Outback we have has been on a lot of outback roads. Up to Mt Augustus, Kennedy Ranges and a lot of the Pilbara and the South West. So far we have only had a few screws come loose. (no not mine) Having thought we sealed everything against dust we found the back around the ensuite was full of it, as were the wheel wells. Have since found a lack of sealing in these areas so now I am confident it will be as sealed as possible. My only worry is the problem we may face with the Bellows and the possible damage to the chassis. Having since read this forum and others relating to the chassis problem, and what I have done so far in dir roads I can only hope the Murphy decides he has better things to do.
I wonder if having the A frame on the van 300mm longer is a positive or negative on the chassis load. Maybe someone with a better knowledge of weights etc than this old fart can throw some light on this.

Cheers
Capnbazza
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Follow Up By: McLaren3030 - Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 15:21

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 at 15:21
Capnbazza, while lengthening the draw bar may help, it really depends on where the axel of the van is situated in regard to the centre line. The closer the axel is to the centre line of the van, the more weight is distributed to the rear of the van, thus lightening the ball weight. Of course how you load the van ( distribute the weight) front to rear will also have a bearing on ball weight. The more weight you can place over or as close as possible to the axel, the better.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: capnbazz - Monday, Aug 15, 2016 at 10:35

Monday, Aug 15, 2016 at 10:35
Thanks Macca. Looks like I have done all I can as to loads etc so all I have to do now is "hookup and go.
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