Has anyone ever had a puncture on the Simpson Desert?

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 08:32
ThreadID: 134683 Views:5398 Replies:14 FollowUps:3
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Nick b's thread on preparing for the Simpson got me thinking about tyres and spares.

I have always taken 2 spares, 2 tubes and a repair kit. But in the 3 times I have crossed the Simpson, neither I or anyone I have gone with, has had a puncture. That's about 56 tyres that have made it across the desert without one puncture. Even had no casualties on the Hay River track.

It would be nice to get rid of that second spare and the 40kgs next time. I know it's tempting fate but one spare and a repair kit may be enough - unless solo of course.

Have many people had punctures crossing?
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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 08:54

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 08:54
Hi Tony,
Had one at Purnie bore, turned off the track and clipped a small bush about 300mm high, a green stick about as thick as a finger went strait through the tyre wall, down to one spare for the rest of the trip. 17 vehicles and 15 T-vans that trip and only two punctures between us.

AnswerID: 610337

Reply By: Old 55 - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:16

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:16
We had seven vehicles and three punctures between us on the Simpson. Some only took a cover (tyre) but I carried 2 spares. I staked the sidewall of one of my tyres but did a tempory repair and continued to use it for the crossing but changed it as soon as I got back on the high speed road. I still think 2 spares is good insurance.
AnswerID: 610338

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:17

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:17
3 crossings 2 vehicles on one crossing no flats .

I don't know if I would brave enough to only carry 1 spare but the possibility of tyre damage these days are fairly slim , tyres are so much stronger .
As you know there will be some differing opinions on this subject for sure .

AnswerID: 610339

Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:30

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:30
I know what you mean BB.

We have carried two spare tyres for years. Two flats in 50 (YES 50) years. One near Wilpena Pound, tread peeling off, coming home from seeing Lake Eyre full and the other was a cut sidewall last year in the high country. It really makes you wonder doesn't it. But that's what planning is all about. To weigh up the risks and take spares accordingly.

We also went cross country a bit, on the Madigan crossing, through an area that had been burnt. Asking for trouble, but no issues. Just drove very carefully, staying away from anything that looked likely to stake a tyre.


AnswerID: 610340

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:44

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 09:44
Never on any of the normal Simpson SA crossings mate.
That would be 5 full or part crossings, sometimes with 10 vehicles . . . I can't recall anyone else having punctures / staking either.

Now coming up the BV Tk, that's a different story, had one bad blowout myself, and same time pulled over one of our party when they came back had a slow leak (tek screw) requiring wheel change too !!
I reckon Phil at Mungerannie must have spread a box of teks out there as this was going through past his place :D

Anyway, although a side wall gone about 30mm long gash, I managed to plug it in the desert camp first night (for 2nd spare backup), and it held 60psi for the remainder of the trip.

As mentioned, the most likely place to get stakings is when you go off any of the formed track lines, either for stops and camps, so care with spotting is good practice.

Only other stakings I have had have been trip Mirropanga Pongunna Lakes to Geo Centre all off track / old shot lines, had about 5 personally (I was up front a lot), all plugged, and two in another partys tyre, again plugged.
I had one that trip that I just couldn't find, and had to air up every 5 or 6 hours a little, found at home in the wheel barrow filled with water.

We did Madigan last June, 9 vehicles, not one puncture.
Was quite impressed our group managed to get 36 tyres across without issue.

I usually take 2 spares anywhere desert, 1 tube, 2 tyre kits with plenty of plugs.
AnswerID: 610341

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:00

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:00
Ahh yes getting there and back...

I had a blow out on the old Ghan road north of Finke. Dammed rail spikes everywhere.
FollowupID: 880257

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:11

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:11
Ha ha, me too !
On the old Ghan road near Mulgrave.
Bad one too, VERY much tyre shredded.
Was running 14psi and shocks set to 2nd lowest soft setting, keeping to 70ks.

Was on a mission though, after a repair to torsion bar mount at Mt Dare, left there at 2pm, caught up with others in group at Chambers Pillar getting there around 7 from memory.

Corros were pretty bad, was a month after the Finke races 2015, and I was trying to keep to the side to avoid the worst of the shaking.
FollowupID: 880260

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 12:36

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 12:36
I blew a tyre to pieces on the Oodnadatta track not far north of Marree on my first 4x4 trip, New vehicle with the standard Bridgestone tyres R/Ts. Had to turn off at Willliam Creek and head for Coober Pedy and no spare till then, towing an Off road trailer. A bit scary with no spare for that few hundred ks. That was 20 years ago, tyres 50psi, driving too fast, knew nothing..... Thats how you learn i guess or learn from others mistakes, like mine.. Regards, Michael
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FollowupID: 880269

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:26

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:26
For remote work I take 1 spare and 1 casing, makes it lighter without the additional rim.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 610343

Reply By: gbc - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:50

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:50

Always happens going 'orf piste' going around breakdowns or boggings.

I carry an extra carcass only for remoter stuff.
AnswerID: 610347

Reply By: Blown4by - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:53

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:53
I'm a strong believer in the old adage: "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best and you won't have a problem" I would be worried with one spare only if you stuff a tyre to the point of irrepairability then you have no spare for the rest of the trip. A few hundred bucks for a TPMS providing an early warning may assist the problem of unknowingly continuing to drive with a partially or deflated tyre leading to its destruction which with modern suspensions and severe corrugations is a real possibility (no matter how experienced a driver you are)
AnswerID: 610348

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 12:34

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 12:34
Been out there about a dozen times over the past 30 years.
Punctures in the desert depends on where you go.
Only seen one puncture on the french line/ WAA/QAA and that includes convoys.
First Madigan Line trip in 2004 the group of 7 vehicles got 12 punctures - almost all successfully plugged on the vehicle by a leader who was good at it; but that trip includes a significant amount of cross country.Madigan Line is a lot easier now.
Seen plenty of tread punctures on the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks from too much weight, too much speed, and too little tread.
A spare casing is good insurance if travelling solo.
AnswerID: 610349

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 14:17

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 14:17
Hi Tony

We have done countless Simpson Crossings ( normal tracks ) including the Hay River Track back in 2005, when it had had very few vehicles and never had one single flat,..............but then again when we did a complete cross country Simpson Crossing over pure virgin county and no wheel tracks for nearly 400 kilomtres, I suffered 17 flats, mostly all side wall punctures.

I carried 2 complete spares and towards the end, I was worried I was going to run out of repair strings, having gone through a new box, the the biggest puncture requiring 5 strings.

So in general Simpson terms, which is a walk in the park.....zero for normal travelled tracks, which is the way most normal people travel.


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AnswerID: 610352

Reply By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 15:29

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 15:29
What about taking 1 spare and a versatile DIY repair kit.? We recently came back and got 1 puncture but the DIY plugs did the job. I would think most punctures can be repaired with these? I suspect it always depends on where you are going and how far from the next town etc?
AnswerID: 610354

Reply By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 18:44

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 18:44
slightly off topic
but on our last set of tyres on the land cruiser ( dick Cepek) over 100, ks with no flats at all
trips including GRR kimberlys & numerous in the out back .

but as we get older we get more wise !! .....lol
Cheers Nick b

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AnswerID: 610356

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 19:43

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 19:43
Two Simpson crossings - nix. Lots of other routes - same. But scored a pinhole on the Stuart lol.
AnswerID: 610357

Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 22:26

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 22:26
I carry an extra tyre off rim because I've done a couple over the years on the roads on each side of the desert but not in the desert. I've had tyres fixed, changed or patched at Mt Dare, Birdsville, Oodnadatta and Marree.
AnswerID: 610365

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