Tyres and sand driving

Submitted: Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 08:24
ThreadID: 21313 Views:6558 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Just about to drive from wollongong to fraser island for a two week break. Currently my tyres are in need of replacement (still legal but not much tread). It is advisable to replace before I go, or go on the ones I have? By deflating tyres will I get the traction I need or do I need all the tread I can get? Am I in danger of ruining new tyres when deflated on Fraser?
Any last minute tips on things to do/avoid!
Thanks SJF
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Reply By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 08:34

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 08:34
If your tyres are shot - I'd replace them now. Low tread means low grip - especially in the wet. Given that you're going from the 'Gong to Fraser and back - you're looking at around 3,000km - at least. Will your tyres be completely shot before you come back? Probably.

You won't ruin new tyres on Fraser - there's not a lot to stake them on, if that's what you may be worried about. Keep the pressure down to around 18 - and as low as 16 to get off the ferry and you should be OK. Just don't do wild circle work on the sand and you shouldn't pop a bead.

You don't need huge tread as such - and in fact, highway tyres work a little better than muds OMHO as they don't throw so much sand out the back - leaving you bogged at times.

Remember your snatchy!!! :)
AnswerID: 102871

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 09:11

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 09:11
G'day SJF,

Agree with the advice from Chrispy, its a long drive on the bitumen and I would replace them for that reason alone. As far as driving the sand don't believe the tread makes a difference but I have staked a tyre there a few years back on a dreadful track.

Mate, are you planning to be there over Easter? Planning to be there with some mates and families, we'll be beach camping on the lower half around Eurong just look for EO wheel cover and say g'day

Kind regards
AnswerID: 102878

Reply By: Davoe - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 12:38

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 12:38
If they are still legal they will be ok - the ideal sand tyre would actually be bald so if traction is lost it would dig in less. deflating new tyre should be ok but keep speed down and take regular stops if driving long distances on sand as heat build up due to flexing sidewalls is the killer. Having said all that if you think they need replacing they probably do
AnswerID: 102907

Reply By: floyd - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 13:13

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 13:13
In the Baja we used to use little dune buggys made from welded 2 inch tubes. Had VW motors in them. Tyres were always bald and low pressure. Never got stuck beyond salvage with 2 wheel drive. No tread actually means better grip in sand but just gotta keep a bit of momentum up. When parking always face downhill so starting off again is successful.

With your almost worn out tyres, drive up on them, let the pressure down when on the ferry and run them with low tread. They should go pretty well. When coming back through Brisbane drop in and get a new set of tyres and drive home with new tread. Brisbane would most probably be more competitive than Woolongong on price anyway.
AnswerID: 102913

Reply By: Moose - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 14:31

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 14:31
Agree with Davoe and Floyd. So long as tyres are legal and you don't intend to do other 4WDing along the way where rocky terrain is likely, I'd stick with the current ones. Balding tyres are really susceptible to punctures in rocky terrain - they should be fine on the blacktop and on sand. Take care if it rains as grip on bitumen will be compromised. On sand a worn tyre will not be a disadvantage - there's disagreement whether bald is better than treaded but I don't think there's too much in it. Pressure is the key, irrespective of tyre condition or make. Bad luck can lead to any tyre (new or old) getting a puncture but generally Fraser is quite tame.
AnswerID: 102920

Reply By: Willem - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 17:17

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 17:17
Get a set of Cooper STT's....they are absolutely brilliant in sand at 18psi
AnswerID: 102939

Reply By: Big Woody - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 22:39

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 22:39

I live just over the bay from Fraser Island and go there half a dozen times per year for as long as I've been driving.
A writer above mentions that bald tyres are best in sand. I agree with this statement as tread will tend to dig the tyres into the sand.
However, as you have so far to travel to get here, I agree with the other writers, you should replace your tyres first as your primary concern is your families safety on the highway at high speed. Any issues you might have with tyres on the island will be at low speed and will be less likely to cause a serious accident.
The secret is tyre pressure mate. While you are on the ferry you should drop your tyres to 15-18 psi and you should have no problems at all. Occassionally in the middle of summer in the extreme heat the sand can get really powdery and to get though some sections at the top of the island you may need to drop them to 10-12 psi. The width of your tyres will make no difference at all. When you drop pressures the footprint of the tyre increases more in length than in width. Staking won't be a problem and most of the "fun" bits have boardwalks to drive on now so you will have no problems getting around.
The only people that make visiting Fraser hard work are those that insist on keeping their tyre pressures high. They usually end up boiling engines, getting bogged, and screaming at their wife and kids. Nice relaxing holiday hey!

Have a great trip mate,

AnswerID: 102999

Reply By: Big Woody - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 23:02

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 23:02
Me again SJF,

I just saw the last bit of your question about tips on things to do/avoid.

Must do's (if you haven't been before):
Central station, Lake Mckenzie, walk in to Lake Wabby, Eli Creek, Champaigne Pools(low tide), Waddy Point, Sandy Cape Lighthouse

If you don't want crowds and amenities there is nice quiet camping (except around Easter) near Ocean Lake north of Waddy Point. Good for a freshwater bath every night in the lake.

Avoid the temptation of driving to the west side of the island. OK to do in a boat but restricted in a 4WD and usually heaps of sandflies etc... There are much better things to see.

If you've got spare time, Lake Allom is quiet and pretty and good for seeing the freshwater turtles.

One word of warning, lock your food in the car or bring very secure lockable boxes for your food and don't encourage the Dingo's to hang around. Especially with women or small kids around they have no fear at all and can be aggressive. Not quite as bad as it was though as the rangers remove the annoying ones now.

AnswerID: 103007

Follow Up By: Rob! - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 11:29

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 11:29
Yes, make sure you lock away your food or you might risk a fine from the rangers, which is fair enough i reckon. Last time we were there the dingos got into our dirty dishes that we left outside on a table in a wash up bowl. In the morning the dishes were all aver the place and the wash up sponge was half eaten.


FollowupID: 360855

Follow Up By: MrBitchi - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 11:38

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 11:38
Have to agree about camping on the beach near Ocean Lake. My favourite spot...

[ View Image]

Cheers, John.
FollowupID: 360858

Reply By: SJF - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 12:33

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 12:33
Thanks for your responses, opinions and tips, Ill probably go with the tyres ive got and replace when I return or if i strike a good deal in Qld on my return journey (Ill do my homework for prices before I go) Cant wait for the trip during NSW School holidays. What is the absolute latest on Fires? I was planning to take cut up fence post across with me!
AnswerID: 103276

Follow Up By: MrBitchi - Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 12:50

Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 12:50
Fires are banned except in designated fire rings, which means in designated camping areas. So you can't camp on the beach and have a fire :--((
FollowupID: 360869

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