2015 Pathfinder to Kimberley?

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 19:12
ThreadID: 136309 Views:1292 Replies:6 FollowUps:18
Hi newbie here,

Just wondering if Pathfinder is up for the challenge for a trip to the Kimberley through Gibbs River Road? We are thinking about traveling in mid May.

Thanks
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 19:29

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 19:29
There is only one Gibb in the Gibb River Road and pretty much any car (2WD included) can be driven along it if treated appropriately.
I was serving fuel at Kalumburu in 2006 when a BA Falcon pulled into the bowser. The young French bloke leaned out of the window and asked "Is this Kununurra?"
I replied "No, you missed it by about 600km" He said "Bother" (or something similar, in French), refuelled it, turned around and headed south.
He was having no vehicle problems at all..... :)

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome.
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Follow Up By: Ju-Kai - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 19:49

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 19:49
I’m more concern about the river crossings though. Not quite sure where the water level will be in May as it has been a really wet season.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 20:03

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 20:03
Fair question....
There are only two that need any serious consideration.
The Pentercost can back up due to a high tide and you might need to time your crossing appropriately, but personally I have never seen it deeper than 300mm, but it is a bit "wobbley" due to the size of the stones.

The Durack might be deeper, but generally they don't open the road until it is drivable. Same goes for the rest of the road, so it is possible that you won't start on the Gibb and so not get to the Durack until it is crossable. Luck of the draw....

This is the deepest we have seen it, but no doubt it would be deeper sometimes.
A nappy and a snorkel would be useful.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 09:37

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 09:37
Peter, as you corrected the OP, I am able to tell you that there is no ‘r’ in Pentecost.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 09:53

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 09:53
Thank you, ..... accepted....

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ju-Kai - Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 19:06

Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 19:06
How about King Edward River Crossing? Saw few photos of tyre high water during dry season
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 19:21

Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 19:21
Yes, the King Edward crossing can be deeper and quite rough, but it is not on the Gibb River Road, it is on the road to the Mitchell Falls (via the Kalumburu road).
This is back a bit......fairly early in the season and flowing quite fast.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ju-Kai - Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 20:10

Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 20:10
We would like to go to Mitchell Falls and camp there for few days, maybe it will be too early in the season for my car I reckon...
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 20:26

Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 at 20:26
My advise would be....
1. Keep your options open for as long as possible.
2. Don't accept other people's opinion of road conditions. Go and look for yourself.

Let's face it, if you can't get through somewhere, what did you loose? A couple of days max. If you can, find a diversion and come back in a week or so. Better than not trying when you could have gone. The best experiences in the Kimberley come from being there as early as possible.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:08

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:08
Go for it,

When you get there and see some of the cars the young people (I hesitate to call them backpackers anymore) drive you will wonder why you were worried.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:21

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:21
Yeah I'll second Rocco on that one.

The Gibb, like any outback road needs to be treated with respect. It is rough, it is rocky, corrugated in places and it has the potential to do untold harm to any vehicle ill prepared or driven with disregard for the conditions.

Good tyres and appropriate pressures for the conditions are essential as is driving to suit the conditions (read 'speed' there). Having said all that, your pathfinder should be equal to the task but remember, the worst conditions are usually that first 40km from Kununurra way towards El Questro. If the river crossings are deep, know where your air intake is. (The 10 km either side of Mt Barnet roadhouse can be a bit iffy as well).

Buy yourself a compressor and a puncture repair kit (plug type). If you can afford it, a tyre pressure monitoring system would be a distinct advantage to give you a heads up. Most importantly, drive to the conditions.

Cheers

Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:53

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 21:53
It's all bitumen now from Kununurra to past the El Questro Turnoff.

However the track in to El Questro is very corrugated usually, and there is a river crossing just before reception .

You should be careful in the river crossings as there are large stones in the Pentecost and at El Questro.
I can recall seeing a pathfinder on a flat top near Boulia which had attempted the Plenty Highway and from the oil trail had broken its sump. Maybe a sump guard would help as would a snorkel but really should be OK if you are careful and always think of the clearance between the wheels. of course new or newish tyres that are deflated a bit are recommended.
Regards Philip A
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Reply By: gbc - Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 10:41

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 10:41
How's your gearbox and front end? It seems to be a question of when rather than if with that model.
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Reply By: mountainman - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 02:27

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 02:27
I honestly wouldnt go off a forum on your specific vehicle is capable of such trip.
No one knows if your the original owner or 2 , 3 or even fourth owner.
I would find a decent mechanic shop that deals with offroad gear.
Like mitchel bros in sydney... ask a tour operator where is a decent place to get a vehicle going over.
Your suspension could be tired , or been upgraded let alone anything else on the vehicle.
Oil leaks or old heater hoses or radiator hoses could possibly be on their way out.
Its all an unknown as not knowing your driving style or vehicles previous history let alone the kms on the car and how hard of a life it has had.
If a turbo diesel i would seriously look into a 2nd fuel filter and making sure your insurance covers bad fuel.
Also are you planning on night driving or just day stuff...
How far off the beaten track you want to go...
A good inspection on the hoist will tell you whats needed and a great shop will tell you what is really required than a group i went to cape york with...
One went all out and spent over 15k on engine mods just soo his 4.2td patrol would drive on 35inch tyres and 200kw at the wheels.
Yet at low rpm the engine had serious turbo lag...ha ha

If it was my first big trip
Do the bare minimum upgrades required.
Going via a shop advice for reliability and if you keep on doing these trips...then look into the bigger expense of suspension. .. chips..barwork ... bigger fuel tanks...as you might not like the pathfinder after the first trip.
Lots of questions and options....
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Follow Up By: Ju-Kai - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 07:48

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 07:48
The thing is this is a 2015 Pathfinder, new model, and it’s more like a city 4WD. Been to mechanics and they haven’t deal with many of them therefore they are still not quite sure about the car...
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 08:05

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 08:05
I think they are all petrol as well. Will that be a consideration up there? From my experience your main weak point might be the tyres. The outback roads can be pretty tough on road tyres, especially low profile 19 or 20". You'll be ok if you go easy, but if you push hard tyre or rim damage is a real possibility. Speaking of tyres, are they a non common size? Outback roadhouses don't have a full range of tyres in stock so if you need some you could be laid up waiting.
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Follow Up By: mountainman - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 08:18

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 08:18
No.......
They also came in 2.5td and also the v6 550 TD which is a awesome donk for towing.
I would do a fair bit of ringing around if your getting a vague response like that.
Like maybe try a metropolitan region and go from their.
Plenty are towing the caravans
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Follow Up By: gbc - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 10:15

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 10:15
You are talking about an entirely different car mountainman. The old pathfinder was discontinued prior to 2015. Word is this current model is on the way out already and they are bringing back another Ute based version. The current one is about as off-road as my wife’s tribeca.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 11:12

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 11:12
The current Pathfinder, I'm pretty sure, doesn't have low range and is petrol only. Neither should be a problem on the outback main roads.
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Follow Up By: Ju-Kai - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 21:31

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 21:31
The tyres are 235/65R18 106T

Pretty sure it’s very uncommon and they do not make all terrain tyres. I’ve been wondering if the front cover used for blocking water while crossing river works or not?
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 22:36

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 22:36
The nappy certainly works.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 23:34

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 23:34
A water bra does work and helps stop the fan being sucked into the radiatior. You should be well aware of the car's wading depth and make sure you don't exceed it, bra or not. Water sucking into the engine is not the only issue, it can get into your diffs, axles and gearbox as well if you exceed the wading depth. There's an art in maintaining a nice bow wave in front of the car, too slow and you don't get a wave, too fast and you crash through it making the water act deeper than it actually is. If you can't get an answer on the wading depth then I wouldn't go higher than a little under half way up the wheels.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 10:17

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 10:17
Michael's advice is good - but another problem area to be aware of with deep water, is wheel bearings.
Water gets past wheel bearing seals and causes corrosion to bearing rollers.

This commonly happens when the hub is hot from travelling at speed, and is then suddenly dipped in deep, very cold water, which creates a vacuum inside the hub, drawing the water in.

If you then stop and let the vehicle sit for a period, corrosion starts on exposed roller and race surfaces in the bearing. DAMHIKT.

If you keep driving for a period after fording deep water, the heat buildup from travelling at speed will generally evaporate any water that has got into bearings.

In addition, many newer vehicles have very lightweight disc rotors. These disc rotors are notorious for buckling when dipped in floodwaters.

You're belting along the road, the disc rotors have built up heat - then a sudden dip in deep cold water - and you suddenly find you have developed a severe vibration when braking.
The costly cure is new brake rotors. Some vehicles have reasonably-priced disc rotors, Nissan aren't known for cheap parts prices.

Cheers, Ron
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 12:33

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 12:33
We have done the GRR 3 times in an ST Pathy - a '99 then an '01 model. The only mod was red poly bags in the rear springs as we were towing. Otherwise it was stock standard. Although it had LPG so 60 L of gas plus 75 of ULP gave us a nice safety margin. May is a nice time with some fun water crossings at March Fly Glen and the Pentecost. We ran on the 16 inch rims it came with with plain old ordinary Bridgestone Duelers 693 which are 245/70 x 16. So the comment re low profile tyres being riskier is valid. Go into places and check out all the GRR pix to see what you'll see...... W
Warrie

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