Trek Comment: Simpson Desert French Line

Hi there, novice here but full on nerd. Had experience in sand driving but never this level. Over prepared to be honest because I couldn't find a group to join. So traveling a bit heavy. Keen to hit up Simpson French line+slight detours on Monday June 17/2019. Would love the company or advice. I'll be in a funky looking orange jeep called cheeto, I'd love to join a convoy.
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 07:17

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 07:17
At that time of year it will be a busy place. You won't be alone. We did it solo without problems.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 07:30

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 07:30
Correct, it might be remote from shops and garages, but certainly not remote from people.
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 08:03

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 08:03
Keep your weight to a minimum ..weight is a killer.
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Michael M34 - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 09:36

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 09:36
As you say your're inexperienced with remote travel but have the sense to ask questions.
Get your fuel, water and food issues sorted then develop a list of all the gear you think you 'need'
Then throw half of it out. Don't take this as a literal interpretation but an attitude that critically looks at the difference between what you want and what you need.

Overloaded vehicles are a recipe for disaster

Cheers
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Reply By: OBJ - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 18:05

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 18:05
Not quite what you want as an answer, but you may like to consider a tag along. You pay, but you travel with experienced guides. People like Ron Moon, Trent Moon and Vic Widman run these fairly often. Might be a safer option.

I am crossing the Simpson via the Madigan Line on such a tour later this year.

If this contravenes the advertising rules here, feel free to delete.

OBJ
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 20:18

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 20:18
Hi

The Simpson drive will be as easy or hard, depending if you are willing to listen to experienced desert travellers advise.

For anyone that has driven it many times, they will all advise that tyre pressures will be the secret to an easy drive, go high and will will have a trip from hell.

For a first time driver, I would advise running 16 to 18 psi all round. Do not let anyone tell you any different, or else you will fall into the “getting stuck on the countless dunes” category.

Speed is not the answer, just slow and easy, and you will be fine., you next best companion will be a long handle shovel, and if you want extra security, a set of Recovery boards, ie Maxtrax of a cheap knock off Type from eBay set for around $80.

And a little secret for Big Red that has never let us down.....drop down to around 10 psi and you will walk over it.

Swagging is the best experience for the Simpson, and make sure you have good quality sleeping gear, as minus degrees will be encountered in the desert.

The solitude of the desert will get you in, so take you time, drive slow and experience the worlds largest parallel desert system.


Enjoy your trip.



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 20:26

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 20:26
"Speed is not the answer, just slow and easy, and you will be fine."

Exactly....

People get the word MOMENTUM horribly confused with SPEED.

Speed will simply cause you to get a "Power Bounce" up which will churn up the tracks.

Tyre pressure, correct gear and momentum will get you up and over (almost) every time.

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 23:22

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 at 23:22
.
Hi Anthony,

I even tire of the frequent expression of "MOMENTUM" which, in physics, refers to the quantity of a moving body defined by the product of mass and velocity.
So there again is the 'elephant-in-the-room'...... velocity. We are stuck with the "mass" from when we load up!

Recommending "momentum" is always interpreted as "speed".

Momentum also appears as energy imparted to a bullet as it leaves the barrel which must then carry it all the way to the target. However, a vehicle climbing a dune typically consumes much of the initial momentum before reaching the top of a difficult dune and then relies upon wheel torque alone to proceed at a constant rate. That the vehicle is capable of achieving this procession is demonstration of its ability to do so from the very start of the climb, so a high approach speed is needless. It is 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'.

Striving to gain maximum momentum invariably results in reaching a speed greater than required. It is only necessary to select the correct gear (and thus revs) to enable the vehicle to climb the grade. Much more comfortable and better for the track...... but not nearly as gung-ho. I gave up throwing my vehicle at a dune years ago and enjoy a more comfortable ascent.

As demonstration of the above, observe vehicles climbing Big Red. No vehicle gets far up before resorting to grinding up on power with all initial momentum extinguished. If the vehicle can transit the second half using power alone it may as well have done so through the first half.

The situation where momentum is vital is where the vehicle is incapable of climbing a steep slope by power alone and the climb is short enough for momentum to contribute all the way. But that is not the tough sand dunes.

I agree with your... "Tyre pressure and correct gear".... but believe the only speed necessary is to reach the correct point in the power curve before the climb. And having to change gears under threat is not good. I presume automatic transmissions should look after you nicely, but I wouldn't know about that.

Whew!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 09:53

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 09:53
" that tyre pressures will be the secret to an easy drive, go high and will will have a trip from hell."
Yep, but then comes a caution to avoid overheating your tyres. Do that and you can destroy them all in a very short time.
Overheating is a direct result of gong too fast for the load/pressure, so keep a good watch on tyre temperatures.
Low pressures and low speeds and it will be easy.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 12:28

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 12:28
It pays to remember at all times, that with any decrease in recommended tyre pressure, comes a resultant decrease in the load-carrying capacity of a tyre.

Conversely, an increase in tyre pressure means an increase in load carrying capacity - up to the tyres limit.

But the over-riding factor is exactly what Peter says - tyre operating temperature.
A good rule of thumb is, feel the tyre sidewall with your hand.

If it's comfortably warm to the touch, that's a good temperature limit.

If the rubber is too hot to keep your hand there for any more than a couple of seconds, the tyre is too hot, and you're risking carcass separation - whereby the natural rubber/styrene-butadiene mix that the tyre is made from, starts to "unvulcanise" from the polyester, rayon, aramid, and steel tyre cords, and the steel bead.

Carcass separation is identifiable by bulges appearing in the tread or tyre wall, as the air leaks into the space created by the separation of the rubber and the cords.

If you want to be really technical, take along an infrared heat gun and utilise it (as per manufacturers instructions) to get definitive tyre temperature readings.

Tyre rubber is capable of working satisfactorily at rubber temperatures of 225 deg F (107 deg C), and up to 250 deg F (121 deg C) for short periods.

However - be aware that rubber is a very poor heat conductor, and the outside of the tyre sidewall or tread is usually quite a bit lower temperature than the inside of the tyre.
The main heat buildup area is in the sidewalls, as the sidewalls generally flex a lot more than the tread.

Cheers, Ron.

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 12:47

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 12:47
Hi Guys,

Perhaps a better word is Traction. The moment you get wheel spin, you are losing traction.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:25

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:25
Allan, you've broken my head...

...time for a Bex and a good lie down LOL

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:14

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:14
"As demonstration of the above, observe vehicles climbing Big Red. No vehicle gets far up before resorting to grinding up on power with all initial momentum extinguished. If the vehicle can transit the second half using power alone it may as well have done so through the first half. "
Climbing Big Red from the west.
No screaming engines and no spinning wheels.
https://youtu.be/T7y61s_2vP0
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:29

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:29
The Perp ....being a self proclaimed nerd will be ready to take on Mount Everest after reading all that jargon LOL :)))

Like I said somewhere... go and enjoy.....plenty of others more than happy to help you ...
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:07

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:07
My last crossing of the french line, i saw 1 triton with a broken chassis (overloaded) he had 4 ratchet ties from bullbar to ute tray holding it together. 1 patrol ute with top coil saddles broken off (overloading) his towbar was ploughing away...1 OKA with a broken axle, who probably had the best simo experience, sitting atop a huge dune camped out....the trick is to have mechanical sympathy when in this sort of terrain, least amount of weight, low tyre pressure, and....a sane itinery....after 2 hours, you need to stop and have a cuppa, let the shocks cool. same for lunch, same for afternoon tea. The speed you need to travel at is 18 km/hr, because at 20km/hr, you are bouncing from hole to hole. I did the trek in 5 days, 6 hours a day, (3x2hr stints) and believe me, i needed the camp chair after 6 hours of punishment.
There is the rig road, that you could cross in 2 days, as an option to keep in mind.
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:31

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:31
"1 OKA with a broken axle, who probably had the best simo experience, sitting atop a huge dune camped out."
Yes, we had a great time camped there for 8 days until the new axle arrived in Birdsville and was delivered by friends.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Michael M34 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 15:50

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 15:50
Hi there Alternative Mind,
Mate; I think by now you have two things happening. Basic ABC's of do's and don't's along with Allans physics lesson which I thought was brilliant (retired Grad Mech Eng). If you didn't comprehend that go to the back of the room ;)

Just enjoy the adventure and think about all the advice given. I'll be going west to east in July so if you get stuck we will be there ;)

Cheers
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 16:57

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 16:57
.
By the way, there was earlier reference to using the "correct gear" for Simpson dune crossings.

The correct gear is of course a khaki shirt with the sleeves ripped off. lol
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: George_M - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:31

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:31
And a fly net:-)
Come any closer and I'll rip your throat out!

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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:37

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:37
... And Japanese "Safety Boots"

Cheers

Anthony
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Work - a 40 hour interuption to my weekend!
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 20:00

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 20:00
The flies were biblical just after Easter. Don't go without a fly net for your head.
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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 18:01

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 18:01
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbTwq3LGkQE
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