Mazda Tribute across the Simpson

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 13:52
ThreadID: 22026 Views:6955 Replies:16 FollowUps:25
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Hello all,
Is anyone able to offer any advice as to the suitability of Mazda Tribute to cross the Simpson. We leave in early June and intend going West to East. Vehicles in party include Suzuki Grand Vitara, new Toyota Hi Lux turbo diesel and possibly??? Mazda Tribute.
Any helpful advice or warnings would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks
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Reply By: Member - David 0- Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:19

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:19
Dare I say it even two wheel drive sports cars have driven across the Simpson, including at least one Porsche . Now I am not recommending that but notwithstanding the lack of low range may be a serious handicap should you come across some difficult stuff, with some common sense, correct tyre prssures etc it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
AnswerID: 106528

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:31

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:31
David O
Thank you David. I am in the new Hi Lux and have had adequate desert driving experience but a friend wishes to accompany us in the mazda and I did not know whether it was suitable regarding ground clearance & suspension links etc, etc. As you say, with the right vehicle prep and attitude, many things are possible, even if not ideal.
Anyway, thanks again.
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FollowupID: 363556

Reply By: Member - David 0- Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:21

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:21
why don;t you load it up with some geqr and take it to some beach dunes somewhere and give it a go?
AnswerID: 106530

Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:25

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 15:25
Kalahari

Kalahari....nice name that. Been there too!

Can't see why not.

I saw a Mercedes 270 towing a trailer doing an East/West crossing not so long ago. West to East is easier as the slopes are more gentle on the western sides of the sand hills. Just make sure that you carry enough fuel as your consumption will double from normal offroad use. Keep your tyre pressures down to around 20 to 15psi and you should do it OK.
AnswerID: 106531

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:37

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:37
Willem,
Thanks for your input. I will steer my friends eyes to these posts and let him make up his own mind.
Thanks again
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Reply By: flappa - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 16:08

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 16:08
I think there is a SUBSTANTIAL difference between . . . suitable vehicle . . . and whether the Mazda can do it.

I would suggest it is FAR from suitable (no low range , questionable ground clearance etc) , but , I would have little doubt it would be POSSIBLE to do it , with help from other vehicles in the party.
AnswerID: 106539

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:41

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:41
Flappa,
Thank you to you also. All your comments are appreciated.
Obviously, if we had the Mazda accompany us we would be prepared to assist him but it does look a little questionable.
Thanks again.
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FollowupID: 363558

Reply By: signman - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:20

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:20
Even a SUZUKI Might Boy has done that trip- from Dalhousie Springs to Birsville. It was in convoy with other vehicles and did chicken out and went around BigRed.
With sensible attitude- good preparation- low tye pressures- and a capable vehicle to snatch when required you should have no probs,
It's not an enjoyable trip in the WET though, achievable but....
Try a bit of beach driving first (like Stockton in NSW) although it is different to desert driving.
Don't forget your Desert Pass- the pack has heaps of info to make the trip more interesting. Allow at least 3 days.
AnswerID: 106549

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:46

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:46
Signman,
Thank you to you also for your feedback. I will suggest to my friend that he try some more beach driving with a bit of gear on board to see how the vehicle handles.
Thanks again
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FollowupID: 363560

Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:24

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:24
At the present time it would be a definite NO, having said that by June things could have changed. There will always be the problem of low clearance. At the moment the dunes are too soft, far too high and a challenge to most vehicles due to the winds in the summer - this year the dunes are difficult coming west to east due to the prevailing summer winds. There has been no rain whatsoever and very high temperatures which makes it even more difficult. Again, however, June is winter time and lots of people will have bellied the tops of the dunes and graded them due to unsuitable tyre pressures and low vehicles. The very best of luck to you.
AnswerID: 106551

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:53

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 17:53
Ruth,
Thank you for your feedback as well. Your resounding NO has been taken as gospel but by June... who knows.
With luck, you will have three vehicles staying fora brief visit on or about the 8th/9th June.
Thanks again.
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FollowupID: 363562

Follow Up By: Member Eric - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 18:17

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 18:17
Great time of the year that 9th of June lol .

cant answer till the time comes , but in good conditions it will do well . In wet conditions , it will struggle
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FollowupID: 363566

Reply By: Casnat - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:15

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:15
Hi Kalahari,

you might want to have a look at my prior post #18821 which was a similar question when a mate of mine with a Tribute (and by chance another with a Vitara) wanted to tag along on a trip down the Border Track.

The main problem is the Tribute has no recovery points. My mate has been making enquiries as to having one fitted but so far hasn't found a solution.

On the advice received to that post, instead of the Border Track we went for a run around the Big Desert State Forest and the Mazda handled it reasonably well but if it does get stuck you can't snatch it out, at least not forward (The Hayman Reece towbar pin can be used from the rear if rated high enough).

Cheers
Trevor
AnswerID: 106566

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:03

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:03
Casnat,
I am surprised at what information is being posted and your point about the recovery points is very helpful.
I will make sre my mate sees all of these posts.
Thanks again.
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FollowupID: 363639

Reply By: time waster - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:20

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:20
is that the new, new hilux? have just traded my 03 td on the new sr td d/cab auto,unsure of the auto always been the manual man,but could not go past how nice it drove any how to your question the tribute will do the trip in convoy,just make sure it has RATED recovery points front and back,lower tyre pressures to around 16-18 and careful of clutch
AnswerID: 106567

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:07

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:07
Time Waster,
Yes it is the new new Hi Lux. I too have ordered the SR T/D Auto but don't get mine until Mid May... Boo Hoo Boo Hoo.
I'm not sure about the recovery points but will certainly check.
Thank you for your advice.
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Reply By: 80scruiser - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:33

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:33
Try a lift kit.
King springs make a raised option. Part numbers are
Front - KMFR54
Rear - KMRR55

Also strongly agree with recovery points.
And watch your fuel consumption. My wifes goes through the juice just driving around town let alone sand driving. Only had it out in the bush once and handled it fine. It is common sense on the drivers side of things.
BTW ours is the v6 stock standard and heavy on fuel.

Best of luck and go for it.
AnswerID: 106569

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:10

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:10
80scruiser,
I'm not sure my mate would go to the expense of altering a standard vehicle for what will likely be the one trip and i will have hime do the fuel calcs carefully before he decides.
Thanks for the advice.
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FollowupID: 363642

Follow Up By: Mandymaz - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:01

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:01
80scruiser,

The lift kit for the Tribute V6 interests me as I am in search of much needed ground clearance. I have done Fraser (once), Moreton (four times) and Teewah countless times. When the sand gets really thick the tribby sits on its belly and yells out like a squealing pig. What is your suggestion of shocks to compliment the king springs. OME do a 30mm lift. Would the kings be a better option?
Kalahari, one thing to remind your mate is that the V6 Tribute has a payload of only 375 Kg. The other is that when the transmission oil gets on the warm side, no drive is transferred to the wheels and although you might be doing many thousand revs, the wheels and the vehicle just stay put. It has only hapened to me twice, after some real soft thick sand.
Good luck to you all and enjoy the trip.
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FollowupID: 363718

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:25

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:25
Mandymaz
Thanks for the tips. 375kg sure isn't much when fuel has been suggested as a bit of a problem. How do you find consumption in heavy going? The Mazda people tell me that the towbar can be used as a rear snatch point and the forward transport tie-down hook for the frontal assist. Have you had any experience with these points?
I have to say that losing drive to the wheels would be scary if you had no idea what was causing it. Any info you can give would be greatly appreciated.
If this forum is not the place for chit chat of that nature, I can post an email address so as not to overuse the resource.
Many thanks.
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FollowupID: 363726

Follow Up By: Member - Landie - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:33

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:33
Hi Kalahari

I wouldn't use a tie-down hook for snatching unless Mazda confirm it is rated to withstand the load that a snatch will place on it. It is almost certain it won't be suitable - be skeptical if a sales person gave this information.

Something you should consider is having a chat to a couple of the Tag-a-long tour groups that do the Simpson. Ask them have they taken any Mazda Tributes across the desert and if there were any problems.

A couple of the Tag-a-long guys often post in here and can offer some great advice.

Cheers
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FollowupID: 363728

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 18:10

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 18:10
Landie,
It was a Mazda service person passing on advice from the Mazda technical dept regarding the tie down hook and the service person is well known to the owner of the Tribute so I would place a reasonable amount of store in it but just the same, I am sending off an email to Mazda to confirm. Thanks for the tip re Tag-a-long. I will give them a ring.
I can't believe how much information has come back for my original question. This is the first time I have used a 'forum' and I have to say, I am mightily impressed with the system.

Thanks again Landie and to all else who have contributed, thank you all.
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FollowupID: 363750

Follow Up By: 80scruiser - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 18:14

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 18:14
mandymaz
I won't comment on whats better or not as I run a proffessional business and stay impartial however I will say I use King springs as I find they are better value for money and leaves some leftovers to buy shocks and other assortment items. I have been using kings for many years and have had no problems.
Shocks could be problem.
Monroe do a sensatrak for the front but I would be wary of these (I don't use sensatrak) and they are only for standard height.
Monroe do a Gas Magnum for the rear for raised. Part number is 16-0521 and these should be no dramas.
Fronts are a prob as pedders have no listing, Koni have no listing, Lovells have no listing as of 2004, tough dog have no listing.
Maybe Gabriel or Bilstein.
My preferred option is King and Koni. Both work well together and very durable.
Just the spring uprate will see a dramatic improvement with OEM shocks.
Best of luck
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FollowupID: 363751

Follow Up By: 80scruiser - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 21:01

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 21:01
Mandymaz
I failed to mention that if OME make a lift kit (in which I am familiar with) then Monroe should have the shocks as well. Probably do but just aren't listed yet so give your local store a phone call and get them to ring monroe. We use Monroe and they are a great product.
FYI

80scruiser
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FollowupID: 363770

Follow Up By: Mandymaz - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 15:37

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 15:37
80scruiser,

Thanks for the info on the King Springs and compatible shocks. Sorry for the delayed reply, but I have been away since Thursday. I have however done some preliminary investigations and I have found a local suspension specialist that can supply the springs and shocks. I look forward to my next beach/Island adventure after the 35mm lift. Thanks once again.
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FollowupID: 364202

Follow Up By: Mandymaz - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 15:52

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 15:52
Kalahari,

So far I have had no need to use the towbar as a recovery point. (Only the spade method used to date) There are two towbars available and mine is the lighter of the two. (Dealer mistake at time of purchase). Fuel consumption is anywhere between 22 and 30 litres per 100/km depending on how hard the sand is. As for the lack of drive situation, I will be fitting an additional transmission oil cooler to see if it will rectify the problem. I know that I should just get a Prado, but I don't feel like another 5 year investment at this stage.

Mandymaz
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FollowupID: 364204

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:42

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 19:42
NO NO NO NO

These are a sexy little car for driving on the black top.

Are not suitable for any long distance towing, and the rated tow of 1600 KGS is too much.

We had one and did only 4000 Km towing when the transmission failed completely.

Mazda did replace the transmission, but I received information from the Ford engineer that this transmission is a dog. Ford in the USA have been changing transmissions at around 8 to 10 thousand Kms, when they were only towing a jet ski.

Also you will find the Tribute will realy chew the fuel.

As a Ford guy here said to me, the CD4 transmission was bad enough as 2WD, let alone letting it go 4WD.

We shed our Tribute at 40,000 kms, and traded it on a diesel Prado, which walks our tasking in.

Regards

Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 106570

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:14

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:14
Herkman,
What can I say. That NO NO NO NO is pretty emphatic.
I will certainly show this post to my mate who owns the Mazda.
It does seem as though it may possibly have some questions about it's suitability.
Thank you for your advice.
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FollowupID: 363643

Reply By: Crackles - Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 21:21

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005 at 21:21
Gaday ?? The problem with driving a CAR accross the Simpson despite what the adds show on TV, is they really aren't designed to carry heavey loads over rough terrain. My first car was a Subaru & although it had no problem at the time driving over sand & up the high country I ended up putting 3 clutches in it over 70,000KM, smashed the exhaust off it numerous times, tore CV boots & generally shook it to bits. Cars like the Tribute are missing many of the offroad features that are standard on a regular 4x4. Things like heavey duty suspension to take the pounding of the corrugations & carry the additional weight of extra fuel, water, spares & camping gear. Cyclonic air filters to cope with the dust & tough tyres to withstand side wall damage. I couldn't be sure but does the Tribute even have a decent front tow point??
David O has the right idea being take it for a practice run to see how it performs fully loaded. The Vic / SA border track is ideal. If it can't handle the 6 big dunes on it then give the Simpson a miss.
The time you have chosen should see the Simpson at it's easiest so it is more than possible for the Tribute. Best advice would be pack very light, drive a little slower & avoid stopping in the soft stuff so they wont need to ride the clutch as much to get going. It wont be easy but if it was there would be no point in going.........
Cheers Craig.........
AnswerID: 106595

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:28

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 08:28
Craig,
The points you make about the actual damage sustained to your own vehicle are very good food for thought. The clutch is no great drama because it is an auto but an earlier reply decried the Mazda transmission so it's a bit hard to know which way to go. I will certainly give my mate all the posts and he will have to make up his own mind on the trip. I have driven back and forth and round about in the Simpson back in the early 70s with seismic crews and a lot of the time it was in Landcruiser traytops, puttering about in two wheel drive only but times have moved on and the shot lines have had zero maintenance over the years, so it may well be too big an ask of the Mazda owner to voluntarily take his vehicle on the trip and potentially do a lot of damage to it.
Thanks for your advice.
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FollowupID: 363645

Reply By: Member - Landie - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 09:28

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 09:28
Hi Kalahari

I think Flappans earlier comment is a critical one - many vehicles could do it, but is it suitable?

Many have covered the issues, the key thing you must ask yourself is what are the risks involved, what could go wrong and how will you deal with them?

Importantly, even stock standard vehicles designed for the task, the Toyotas, Nissans and of course, the Landies, are put to the test in this type of terrain especially if they have not had suspension modifications. You've indicated that the Mazda is unlikely to have any modifications done so you are disadvantaged before crossing the first dune.

Something you should consider is what you will do if something goes wrong with the Toyota. It will be the lynch-pin for your trip. If it suffers a mechanical failure will the other vehicles be suitable for assistance, whether it be for towing the Toyota or getting you out of the desert. I doubt they will be.

It is the Murphy's law theory, when something goes wrong, it all goes wrong - the recent tragedy in the West Australian desert highlights this. How you will deal with something going wrong is what you need to look at, not whether it can make it under normal conditions.

Good luck.

AnswerID: 106669

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 10:54

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 10:54
Landie,
Ahh, the cold, hard voice of reason. 'Tis true, Murphy can and does show up and things can and do go wrong.

I guess a flippant response would be, "where would we all be now if we didn't take risks and extend ourselves to a challenge?"

The conservative response would be "you're right, what the dickens were we thinking"

My considered response is: Landie, thank you for your advice. we will make enquiries about all the other points bought up eg, recovery points, fuel consumption, clearance, tire pressures, packing light etc, etc.
As sensible adults, we will take all advice given and consider all the potential hazards and what ifs and even the potential cost of repairs to either the Grand Vitara, Hi Lux & Tribute should something go wrong. We have no desire to see one of our number end up with a trashed vehicle and rest assured the whole trip will be very carefully considered prior to a final 'to be or not to be'
Thanks again for your input.
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FollowupID: 363659

Follow Up By: Member - Landie - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 11:34

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 11:34
Hi

Someone once said to me, nothing wrong with driving fast cars fast, just make sure you've the right brakes to stop it.......

Sounds like you have it covered, have a good time.
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FollowupID: 363664

Follow Up By: flappa - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 15:40

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 15:40
The advantage you have in THIS instance though (as apart from the WA one) , is that the Simpson is quite likely to be almost a highway. You would be unlikely to NOT see someone for days one end.

So IF Murphy's law arrived . . . so would other vehicles.

The thing with that though is . . . IF , it broke down , and IF , you couldn't get yourself out , and need outside assistance (other then from folks coming along ) $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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FollowupID: 363714

Reply By: time waster - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 15:34

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 15:34
hi kalahari on the hilux topic where did you buy yours and how much did they slug you on road with accessories?
AnswerID: 106736

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:03

Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 at 16:03
Hello Time Waster
I made the purchase at CMI Toyota Adelaide
SR 4 x 4 Turbo Diesel Pickup - Auto - Dual Cab - Aircon - Towbar
Very Basic but it should serve the purpose for a few years at least.
All up $44k even on road for twleve months.
Please don't tell me I paid way too much.
Cheers
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FollowupID: 363719

Reply By: time waster - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:24

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:24
hi kalahari,no around the price i got mine on road auto,colour,s/bull bar t/bar,air for $45,ooo but the best thing was they gave me $33,000 for my 03 which i paid new $35,000 i went to peter davey 8th of may mine due can't wait
AnswerID: 106826

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 09:51

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 09:51
Time Waster,
I don't think I would like to be up against you in a bargaining comp. I think you made an exceptionally good purchase, particularly the trade in value.
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FollowupID: 363816

Reply By: time waster - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:25

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:25
no sorry $44,500
AnswerID: 106827

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:56

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 07:56
Kalahari,

Landie, in a reply to your question said that a Tag-a-long company might be able to say if we would take a Mazda Tribute across the Simpson Desert. The answer is no. It is classed as a "all wheel drive" vehicle, no low range. We would take a Mazda B Series ute but not a Tribute.

It would be like taking a trailer across the SD, it can be done but what about the dunes getting chopped up unecessary.

The back up vehicles that are with the convoy are also a bit light to do any type of recovery. The Suzuki will only be able to get through by itself but not towing a 1500kg Mazda. The Hilux would also have problems because it would be over loaded with all the extra gear that could not fit in the other vehicles. This sounds harsh but I think that trying to get a "all wheel vehicle" across the SD is going to be a trip wait for a disaster.

Wayne
AnswerID: 106838

Follow Up By: Kalahari - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 09:46

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 09:46
Wayne,
I will take what you say on board and pass it on to the Tribute owner.
I believe he will give very serious consideration to all the points raised in this forum before making a decision.
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FollowupID: 363815

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