Best way to Birdsville

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 17:08
ThreadID: 136188 Views:1836 Replies:3 FollowUps:8
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We are planning a trip to Birdsville in Jul for the Big Red Bash. Travelling from Melbourne with a standard Jayco 17 caravan which wouild be the best way to go? I am aware many take their vans via the Birdsville Track but not sure about that.
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:35

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:35
If you follow the blue line you will have less than 270 km of good gravel road.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:59

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:59
We travel that way a bit starting in Ararat.
Melbourne to Bordertown, up to Pinaroo, then to Loxton/Berri on to Morgan. From Morgan you continue to Burra then Peterborough then up to Hawker and onto Lyndhurst on the start of the Strezleki Track. Things get a little rough from here but you head to Marre which is the junction of the Birdsville and Oodnandatta and if you have time duck into Farina on the way and check out the underground bakery that still operates. Then straight up the Birdsville track
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Follow Up By: Member - Supersi - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 20:27

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 20:27
And reduce your tyre pressures when you hit the dirt so you don’t shake your van to pieces.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 09:29

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 09:29
Good thought.
How much would I go down to starting at 40 psi for the vehicle and 60psi on the van?

Not a big van (2500kg) but 16" tyres.

Thanks

bill
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Follow Up By: Ozi M - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 15:56

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 15:56
I drive a Prado as well, I do the BT with 32 in my AT tyres. The main thing is to have a bit of a belly in the sidewalls so they can flex when they hit the rocks.
I was not heavily loaded so if you are full, then you could try a bit more pressure say 34, you don't want the side walls getting cut by a rock.
If you have LT tyres then you could go lower as they have stiffer walls.
Can't help with the van but others will or maybe have a look on a caravan forum.
If you are going just before the BB then the track should be in good nick as they want the tourists to come so they make it so a sedan can cope.
I have even seen an ancient Mazda bongo van acting as a back up vehicle for some off road bikers. It really is just a gravel highway when the events are on, easy as !!
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 15:23

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 15:23
60 psi in the van seems a very high pressure for normal running, particularly on a “normal” van. I would have thought that 40 psi would be better as a “normal” operating pressure. Having said that, as someone else has posted, LT tyres allow you to drop to a lower pressure without compromising the side wall.
I have a 200 series LC & tow a 2.5 T single axel Off Road caravan. Both have LT tyres, I start with 38 psi all round on the car, & 40 on the van. When I have travelled the Oodnadatta Track in the past, I have dropped the car to 28 psi all round, & 30 in the van. If corrugations are heavy/extreme, then 24 on the car, & 26 on the van.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 20:03

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 20:03
The van pressures are for carrying the rated load (2500kg). It is printed on the tyre.

I have weighed the van and it is 2500kg (single axle).

No one seems to be able to give a definitive answer about van pressures (everybody has an opinion) so I tried to come up with a calculated answer. The top pressure on the van is 80psi and went for 80% of the maximum. Hence, 60psi.

Too little pressure and the side walls will flex, developing heat. Not good.

But, no definite answer that I can reference, so I go with my calculations.

Cheers

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 20:46

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 20:46
Bill, when you talk about tyres & tyre pressures, you really open a can of worms, because everyone has an opinion.

IMHO, each wheel will be sharing the load, this includes the ball weight which is transferred to the car or jockey wheel so you don’t have the entire weight of your van on each wheel. So if your van is 2,500 kgs, then each wheel will be carrying something like 1,200 kgs.

Also, I think you will find that the pressures imprinted on the tyre are maximum cold inflate pressure, and not “working” pressures. As your tyre heats up its pressure will increase by something like 6 - 8 psi.

The other thing to remember is that your car when fully loaded weighs more than your van, yet you run your car tyre pressure lower than your van.
Most tyre companies will have a tyre pressure guide on their websites. I think you will find that they will recommend something around 38 - 40 psi for your tyres.

Please take my comments in the spirit they were given, I am not intending to offend.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 08:52

Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 08:52
Thanks Macca.
I appreciate your thoughts.

Good point about the relative weights - car to van. I can see the logic.

I run the car at 40psi so now I will adjust the van too. I have 16" wheels and tyres and the tyres are like a mud/rock pattern with a large load index and hence strong sidewalls.

I am thinking 50psi may be a good compromise and lower for the gravel roads.

Cheers

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 17:48

Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 17:48
Bill, remember the higher the pressure in the tyres, the harder the ride. To avoid damage to the suspension components, you need a lower pressure so that the tyre can “flex” & absorb some of the impact of a gravel road. This will also help to limit the effect of corrugations on the contents of the van as well.

My van is 2,500 kgs, I run 40 psi on the highway, & down to 30 psi on gravel/corrugations. Lowering the pressure will also increase your “footprint” on the road, thus increasing your braking capability & increasing your tyre life.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Feb 03, 2018 at 13:43

Saturday, Feb 03, 2018 at 13:43
Why not be adventurous, Johno, and travel via Cameron's Corner & Innamincka, to Birdsville, or return that way?

In Nov, 2015, while returning home from a Simpson Desert trip, I met a couple in Innamincka, maybe in their early '70's, driving a smallish Jeep and towing a pop-top bogey axle van. They had come up from Cameron's Corner to Innamincka, and were heading up the Cordillo Downs road and into Birdsville.

Was pretty hot weather to be out there, 40° plus, but they didn't seem too fazed about it. No doubt they were driving to conditions, and stopping to smell the odd rose. The Arrabury road, to the east of Cordillo road would be another alternative. Maybe get to see The Dig Tree, and the bridge over the Cooper.

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