Falcon ute suitable for Vic High Country?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 10:56
ThreadID: 138005 Views:3893 Replies:7 FollowUps:0
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Good morning all,

Hope everyone is having a lovely Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

I just have a quick question on the behalf of a family friend, Randal, as I'm not familiar with the Victorian High Country... is a 2wd Falcon ute suitable for visiting some/all of the area? Perhaps certain times of the year are more suitable than other times?

Randal's Falcon ute is fitted with somewhat oversized all terrain tyres and has a 'Truetrac' differential fitted (whatever that is?).

He got the idea to potentially do the trip after seeing an online video of a 'Holden Adventra' doing the Blue Rag Range Track.

Thanks for your time!

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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 11:13

Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 11:13
A qualified "yes" to using a Falcon Ute in the Victorian High Country. However, it would be a very brave or stupid, or both) person to tackle Blue Rag. Yes - you would probably get there but the track, particularly the last bit, is very steep and has a rather loose surface. He would be really working the ute hard. Similarly, the other highlights of the high country - even 4WDs at times have troubles, especially if it is wet. But you can safely do 90% of the high country in a 2WD. What is more important for most cases is ground clearance. And what you will see is really worth the effort.

For the really rough stuff, you need clearance and low range. Depending on the falcon, it may lack both.
AnswerID: 624553

Reply By: Bushranger1 - Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 12:36

Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 12:36
Hi Ben,
Been going up the Vic Alps for 40 odd years & take the car if Backpacking & 4wd ute if getting off the beaten track.
There is everything from bitumen to full on 4wd winch territory. Of course its all weather dependant as well. Lots of closed tracks at present due to fires so check with Parks Vic.
Just depends where you plan on going specifically. Certainly would not take my regular car near Blue Rag.
Cheers Stu.
AnswerID: 624554

Reply By: OzzieCruiser - Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 13:34

Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 13:34
If it was a Falcon RTV ute with the standard lift, standard rear diff lock and standard underbody shielding I would certainly consider one in fair weather (maybe with a winch on the front)

Here is a Test Report on One
AnswerID: 624560

Reply By: splits - Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 21:49

Friday, Mar 22, 2019 at 21:49
I agree with Erad that you can see about 90% of the High Country in a 2wd ute. The other 10% will need a 4wd with low range gearing. Blue Rag is one track that will need low range.

I sat in a convoy about ten years ago and watched a standard Suzuki Grand Vitara climb to the top of Blue Rag. The car suffered some under body damage and I am sure that had I been close enough I would have been able to see sparks coming out from under it. I used first gear low range in my standard height Hilux and went up easily. The track was graded a few years ago and while the surface may now suit a Falcon, I would imagine the steep grade is still there.

There are plenty of tracks that have a surface smooth enough for a Falcon but they also have water crossings. That could be a major problem for him. Tell your friend to check with National Parks. They should he able to give him all the assistance he needs.

There is an excellent 110 minute DVD on 4wd touring in the VHC on this site.
It does not contain advertising or car technical information. Blue Rag and Billy Goat are included. VIDEO

It is a beautiful area down there. I lived on the south west slopes of the Snowy Mountains back in the 1990s. I am now 600 ks away but our house is currently up for sale and we are going back to the Snowy again. This time we are going to stay there.
AnswerID: 624570

Reply By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 09:17

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 09:17
They graded Blue Rag about 5 or 6 years ago and turned it into a doddle. I did it in a standard all wheel drive with no low range after the grading. Before it was graded it was a lot harder and unsuitable for an awd. I have no idea what it's like now though.
AnswerID: 624573

Reply By: Member - Allan L2 - Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 14:30

Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 14:30
We did the track in mid January this year in a 4x4 twin cab D-max with 50ml lift. It was very cut up & loose at that time. My friend that lead us on the trip said that track was in the worst condition that he had seen it in over his past four trips in a similar number of years.
I feel ground clearance would be issue at the moment particularly on the whoop de doos around the lower end of the track. A couple were quite high with wash outs on one side.
On the steeper sections in a two wheel drive one would need to rely on a fair bit of momentum which I wouldn't recommend due to the safety of others & yourself. Wheel placement would be critical in vehicle without high ground clearance.
It is a single track a lot of the way with two way traffic climbing & decending.
AnswerID: 624616

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 at 21:15

Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 at 21:15
The Truetrac differential is a limited slip diff, patented and produced by Eaton.
Ford manufacture it for their vehicles under licence to Eaton.

The Truetrac diff is a clever piece of work that utilises spiral carrier gears to prevent excessive wheelspin on the wheel that has lost traction - and while it's doing that, it's delivering more torque to the wheel with traction.

Older style limited slip diffs utilised clutch packs each side of the carrier to prevent wheelspin, but the Truetrac is an improvement on the clutch-style type of limited slip diff.

Detroit Truetrac LS differential

2WD utes suffer from two major drawbacks in rough conditions -

1. Excessive weight on the front end, which means much less weight on the drive axle, and a corresponding willingness to lose traction quickly.

2. A lack of ground clearance which ensures the ute bellies out quickly in very uneven ground - or it suffers underbody damage due to rocks, sticks, stumps and other impediments buried in the track.

In the case of (1), you can improve the weight spread effectively by placing some serious weight in the tub or tray, right over the back axle, or even slightly behind it.
You will need at least 250kg, preferably about 350kg.
This will then balance out the weight spread, and give the rear wheels some adequate gripping ability.

In the case of (2), this is the reason the RTV Falcon was produced. It has vastly improved ground clearance, and underbody protection on the vulnerable drivetrain and suspension areas.

The oversize tyres are a definite advantage, and even more so if they are not low profile tyres. You need at least 75 series profile tyres and more preferably 85 series profile.

A 2WD ute with a decent amount of ground clearance, a limited slip diff, oversize tyres, and a decent amount of weight over the rear wheels, will go a long way in rough conditions.
Very steep terrain is where it will not be able to match a 4WD.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 624645

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