Avan thru The Painted Desert

Submitted: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 06:52
ThreadID: 140016 Views:1145 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
Hi all,
I am looking for some up to date information (last 12 months) on towing an Avan from Cober Pedy to Maree via the Painted Desert and down the Oodnadatta Track. I travelled this area frequently some 20 - 25 years ago in an 80 series a very rarely engaged 4wd - Is it still the same??
Tow vehicle this time is a 2016 Prado.
Looking forward to getting back outback after C19.
Cheers 4 now
Mike

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 08:02

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 08:02
Mike, if the track is dry, it’s a dead easy drive, just drive to the current road conditions.

You would be better to head up the bitumen and the turn off will be about 5 kilometres south of Cadney Park. That way you then just head east and straight to the Painted Desert.

If you take Kempe Road from Coober Pedy, just keep going until the Mount Barry turnoff, then left there and again straight through to the Painted Desert.

As you know, any outback road will change due to many factors, so use your experience and drive accordingly
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:34

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:34
Hi Stephen
Yes forgot all about the Cadney Park option - your right about it being a more straight forward trip - Thanks for that
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Mike

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 08:06

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 08:06
G'day Mike,
You should be fine as long as it does not rain.
The most important thing is to slow down & reduce tyre pressures. When I used to tow a camper trailer I often would be told "dont go down there or you will ruin your camper". I got to the point I would not ask because I always came back without a scratch by driving according to the conditions & adjusting tyre pressures.
What seems like a challenging drive to one is not to others.
When I worked in the Kimberley the station owner gave me his vehicle to access a particular gorge because he said the track was so bad my then Hilux would not make it or sustain damage.
I did use my Hilux & came back without a scratch & said to him that the track was fine I just looked out for the wheel placement & I had driven much worse before.
So no harm in asking but just drive according to the conditions.
Cheers
Stu
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:29

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:29
Thanks Stu
Good advice for all to follow
Mike

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:46

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 09:46
Lots of Avan models from campers to vans. Owned an on road Erin once and it was NOT dust proof. LOL.....W
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 10:52

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 10:52
It is about 2 years since I last travelled it, towing our Tvan, it was a bit rough & rocky & I recall turning off & finding the Halligans Bay track quite a pleasant relief, but have been on far worse than the Oodna. A friend towed his off road Jayco Adventurer single axle up there last year (around August I think it was) & his description of it was horrendous, far worse than I experienced. I think it had seen more than usual traffic & when we met him & his wife a a few weeks later at Lawn Hill , Qld he described it as the worst road he'd ever driven on & she vowed 'never again' (& they had seen plenty of other dirt roads between the Oodna track & when we met up so had experience to compare to). He talked of road trains travelling at under 20kph & their drivers swearing about how bad it was compared to normal it was on the UHF. It would be wise to enquire nearer the time, especially if there has been any likelihood of water in Lake Eyre attracting folk up there.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:02

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:02
I had an Avan Cruiseliner for a while, a 2007 model. I did a fair bit of work on it to reduce dust intake.

If yours is a camper you may have to do the same, depending on design changes in the intervening 13 years.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 17:03

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 17:03
G'Day Frank
My Avan is exactly the same as yours 2008 Cruiseliner., so any advice or suggestions on dust sealing would be most welcome.
Thanks again for your reply

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Mike

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 17:45

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 17:45
Mike,

It's hard to remember exactly what I did. I'll have to set up an old hard drive to see if I have photos, but here's what I remember;

I made dust proof covers for all the external vents and for the bottom of the lower door. They were a bit fancy, but at a pinch you could use cut-to-size-and-shape corflute and gaffer tape around the edges. Take lots of tape! because you'll be taking them off and replacing them every stop. Mine were thin ply cut to shape with a 10mm square wooden bead around the edge to stop warping and then some foam to make a seal. Fastened with wingbolts into nutserts.

I forget what I did with the Truma gas exhaust. Probably similar.

YOU MUST NOT FORGET TO REMOVE THE COVERS FOR THE FRIDGE AND THE TRUMA BEFORE YOU LIGHT THE GAS!!!!!!!!!!

I taped up the full length of the long hinges with duct tape.

The roof panels have a foam perimeter seal when they are down. I can't remember if I had to augment them. I think not, but have a look on yours for gaps when the roof is down.

I made a wooden shaped filler with foam seals glued on to fill in the gap between the top of the lower door and the roof when lowered, so that the perimeter seal of the roof would work. That's a major dust ingress point. I can't remember the details of how I held it in place. If I have any photos I'll let you know.

Can't remember if I did anything with the factory hatches. I think the front boot was ok - yes it was, I remember now, I had a padded vinyl stone guard made up for it that enveloped the whole front of the boot up to the front roof hinge. It had a sail track just under the hinge and tonneau loops elsewhere to hold it in place.

Can't remember what I did with factory side hatches, though. Will try to find pics.

We liked that camper, but it couldn't do what we wanted it to do. We drag our Kimberley Karavan, which replaced the Cruiseliner, into some pretty rough stuff requiring high clearance and short rear overhang. Cruiseliner's weak spot, IMO. I've heard they have a lifted off-road version now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 17:52

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 17:52
Hi again Frank
Wow a lot of good info there - I'll follow up on your suggestions.
Agree about the limitations of the Cruiseliner but I don't go on very rough stuff much anymore and if I have to I leave the van behind.
Thankyou very much
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Mike

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, May 15, 2020 at 18:58

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 18:58
Some short video clips....

Approaching the Painted Desert from the east in October 2016.
3 minutes of slow TV. :)
https://youtu.be/3JkbPSXkKiI

West of Arkaringa, October 2016.
https://youtu.be/_ScBK7JgSTQ

Travelling south on the Oodnadatta Track June 2019.
https://youtu.be/3-Q2JOvkoiw

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 17:54

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 17:54
Hi Peter
Thanks for the links - it certainly has changed since I was there - can't remember seeing that many passing vehicles in 2 days!!

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Mike

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 18:03

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 18:03
It was very busy in 2019 because people thought they would be able to see water in Lake Eyre.
We manage to drive the Oodnadatta Track most years. It is one of our favourite routes north/south.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 07:54

Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 07:54
Same here Pete, less traffic than the Stuart Highway, and not as many trucks [:-)

Macca.
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Reply By: Alan H11 - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 07:47

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 07:47
We drove from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta in August last year. As far as the Oodnaddata Track the road was perfect; from the junction to Oodnadatta was a bit corrugated however overall this was one of the best unsurfaced roads we found in Australia. We also drove from Cadney Homestead to the Painted Desert and back - a very good road, with a few patches with minor corrugations but hardly noticeable really.

We were not towing anything, and didn't take the Oodnaddata Track to Maree, however others whom we met said that it was fine. We saw several caravans being towed (obviously) and they were travelling at about the same speed we were.
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Reply By: rumpig - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 07:57

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 07:57
The Oodnadatta Track these days is no track, it’s a 3 lane wide graded road.....not likely what you’ll recall it once being. Unless it rains there will be zero reason to engage 4wd when driving the main “track” itself, we passed probably 6 on road type caravans being towed along it and a couple of 2wd Hiace type vans also when we last drove it 2 years ago. Yes it can get abit bumpy in places depending on when last graded and it’s stones can cause damage, but it’s pretty much a gravel highway these days. I’m not familiar with Avans to comment on how it’d handle the bumps, rocks and dust, will leave that for others to comment on, though would recommend fitting some good stone protection like a Stone Stomper to your set up if you don’t already have it
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 10:49

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 10:49
X 2 with the Stone Stomper or other protection like the bra I mentioned earlier.

Also, watch the dips on the Oodnadatta track. If the track is smooth (as it often is, lacking only the colour of a tarred road) you can hit a dip too fast. Some of them look benign but will break something if you're not attentive.
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Reply By: Mike & Kendra Cruisn1 - Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 19:40

Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 19:40
Hi Mike,
you might find my video useful. We travelled the track a couple of years ago. It varies - the bit between Oodnadatta and the Arckaringa was rough as was the road into the camping grounds. We were towing an off road camper (Follow Me) so can't give an opinion about your rig. However as you will see in the film , there were tourists on push bikes doing the main track.
Cheers
Mike. H
https://youtu.be/Y3GqJK3Mejw
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Friday, May 22, 2020 at 07:10

Friday, May 22, 2020 at 07:10
Hi Mike,
Great video wish I had a camera so clear back in the day!!.
Great memories also from your Cape Arid video - I was there some 25 + years ago, camped at Port Malcolm & Isralite Bay, the fishing there was awesome.
I still have nightmares about that track back up to Balladonia
Cheers 4 now
Mike

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