Canning Stock Route experience with family in Pajero

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 20:12
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I am planning a trip up the Canning Stock Route for Aug 2006 with wife and 2 children (14 and 9) in an unmodified 9/2005 Platinum Pajero DID Auto (tyres changed from Bridgestone HT to Cooper 265/65/17 112T ATR).

I have some relevant experience from our recent Five Corners family holiday. This 42-day trip took us over, at times, very rough roads but through some remote and fascinating parts of Australia including, Cameron Corner, Innamincka, the Cordillo Downs shearing shed, Haddon Corner, Birdsville, Poeppel Corner and across the Simpson on the French Line, Finke via Mt Dare, Lambert Centre, around the Alice and home on the Great Central Road via Surveyor Generals Corner.

Our car performed flawlessly with the only damage being slight displacement, backwards and upwards, of the Mitsi protection bar at the passenger’s end, from punching into the wall of sand at the top of many of the dunes encountered when crossing the Simpson, the impact point being predominantly on this end of the bar.

My main concern now though is that while for the Simpson total non-passenger cargo weight was about 235Kg (we travel light and cull the in-cabin baggage if it gets above the height of the back seats and use a Thule Ocean 200), for the CSR it looks like being about double that, allowing for extra food, fuel and water.

I would very much appreciate specific tips from anyone who has experience of the Canning relevant to our situation – particular preparations/any essential vehicle mods or useful additions etc. I am a bit worried about the weight of fuel, food and water needed for this trip!
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:17

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:17
Jonathan,

You are going on the biggest adventure, I believe, a person can do in a 4WD in Australia if not the world. Planning for this trip will take from now until the day you leave. The pace notes from this site are great and very accurate.

Setting the vehicle up is the most important thing, having maps and pace notes will not do you any good if the vehicle breaks down.
First up have the vehicle checked over by a 4wd mechanic, not the dealer, but by some one who knows about 4wding. If you do not know where to go, see a 4wd shop and they might do that type of work or put you on to some one.
Have the suspension up graded to carry the extra weight and also carry at least one spare front and rear shock plus bushes for same. Next is all the belts for the motor. Have the belts changed before you go and keep the old ones for spares, if they are not too bad. The same with radiator hoses. Don't forget the coolant, engine oil, and diff oil. you only need enough for a top up 5lt of each should do.Tyres, have 6 all the same tread pattern and make with 2 tubes just in case and make sure the tyres are new. A puncture repair kit should also be included. A good compressor that will re seat a tubeless tyre on a rim is a must. Tyre pliers and knowing how to use them. All this should be done before you go at home. No good trying out the compressor on the track and finding it will not blow up a tyre.
A good jack and jacking plate or a exhaust jack, don't bother with a high lift jack, too heavy and no where to carry it. A good set of tools, electrical tape, fuses,spare nuts and bolts and cable ties.
UHF radio, EPIEB, and a Sat phone and/ or HF radio. Again know how to use them before you go.
As far as water goes there is a few wells that have good drinking water, fill all your drums or tanks when ever you can. We found good drinking water about every other day so it was not a big problem but you can not rely on there being water good enough to drink at every well. Carry enough food for the whole trip. We were going to top up at well 33 but after the locals had finished there was not much left. We were asked to wait until they had finished because it was pay day there and they stock up then.
Fuel is the next big thing. 270lts from Wiluna to well 23 is what we carried and the convey all had big 6 cyl diesels. Fuel was dropped off and we took our own hand pump to get it out of the drum. 200lt was then enough with what we already had to get us to the Tammine Track. In 2005 we paid $2.00 a litre for the fuel to be dropped off at well 23. At well 33, the only other place to get fuel it was $2.20 a litre. BTW they don't take credit cards at well 33 cash only and get there in there working hours or it is $15 per vehicle to open the pump.The same applies at Billuna

I think there are two important things that you must do.
Don't rush, we took 20 days from Wiluna to the Tammine Track with at least 4 rest days. We only travelled about 3 well per day or 100 klm.
The other thing is don't travel alone, go with at least another vehicle.

This as well as the other post should give you an idea of what to take and expect.

This may sound like doom and gloom and I am trying to put you off, but where you are going is the most remote 4wd track in the world.
I lead a convey for the first time last year and we had a ball, and can't wait until this July when I will take another group of thrill seekers for the adventure of there lives.

Have a good trip, take heaps of photos and enjoy.

Wayne
AnswerID: 150054

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:51

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:51
img src="http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f204/Troopie52/5.jpg" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket"

A sunset on the Canning

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:55

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:55
That didn't work.

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:59

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:59
Pretty good advice from Wayne

The only two things different we did was to travel alone and not have an EPIRB or a Satphone but had HF radio.

Go to my website below. Click on 4x4 and then on Canning Stock Route.
We did the trip in 1994 in a 1979 Toyota(petrol)

Did some of the Canning last year and will be visiting some wells this year as well.

Take your time. It is a great trip.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 22:02

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 22:02
Wayne

Tanami Track...sorry but you posted Tammine twice....LOL

We were able to payfor fuel and goodies by EFTPOS at Kunawarritji(Well 33) in April 2005
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 08:25

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 08:25
Willem,

It is a good thing that Vic employed me for my good looks and not how I spell. Thanks for pointing out my error.

You are right about the EFTPOS. A lot of people just have a credit card that they use for ever thing and have no way of paying cash, a sign of the times. I would hate to see someone get there buy $400 worth of fuel and can't pay for it. Bit hard to do a runner.

I will have to get a BLogg or Web site up and running. It seems the way to keep a record of all the trips that I do. Now where is Eliza?

Wayne
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Follow Up By: kimprado - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:07

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:07
Hi Jonathan,

The other thing I would add to Wayne's post, is vehicle keys. The lost of an ignition key in remote areas can ruin a trip.

I always carry two. I tie a piece of ribbon to the main key. The colour of the ribbon is in contrast to the colour of the country I'm crossing. This makes it very much easier to find if dropped (particularly in sand).

The back up key is either attached to my belt, or on a chain around my neck.

I know this may not sound important, but I have come accross individuals in the bush who have lost their keys. Some of whom have been quite distressed. Have a good trip.

Regards

Kim
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:24

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:24
Kim,

I have seen this done so many times. The vehicle is packed and ready to go and no keys. Ask the question, Where did you have them last night? The answer goes like this, Took the keys out of the ignition, put them in my pocket, got ready for bed, empty pockets and put the keys in the tent. After unpacking the tent, keys found.
I always, unless in a caravan park, leave the keys where they belong, in the ignition.

Wayne
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Reply By: RustyHelen - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:17

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 21:17
Hi Jonow.
We meet again.
Do a search on CSR on this forum and you will find at least 2 recent threads, plus the DVD I talked about on Paj.com
Rusty
AnswerID: 150055

Reply By: Member - Mike H (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:27

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:27
G'day Jonathan,
You will have a great trip.
First time I went, in 87 I too drove a Pajero, a 3Ltr V6 auto and it was stock standart but with a long range tank, a roofrack and 2 spare wheels..
I too was a bit worried about the weight of the loaded car but all went well.
You will find that with the auto it will be much easier to get over the dunes, just let the auto do the gearchanges. Anyhow, you would have experienced that in the Simpson already.

Since the mid 90's I take a tag along groups that way about every 2 years.

Wayne already told you about what to take etc.
Fuel at Kunawarritji at present is $ 2.20 but expected to rise this coming season ( I phoned them about 2 weeks ago ).
One of my passengers on the 2002 CSR trip wrote a journal, it's here:
2002 CSR Journal

Take your time and "smell the roses",
Mike
AnswerID: 150089

Reply By: Old Bushie - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:47

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:47
Gday Jonathon

Wayne's advice is spot on.

As a minimum upgrade your shock absorbers but I would really recommend springs as well especially since your Paj has already done a bit of work. Go and talk to ARB at Osborne Park.

The CSR is a great drive, you wont have probs if you take it easy and don't hurry, 100kms a day plus a coupla rest days is a good plan.

You are a long, expensive way from anywhere if things go wrong so don't do it "on the cheap", especially with your family on board.

Comms are important, an EPIRB plus HF or Sat phone are a must. VKS737 HF Radio Network is the cheapest and most reliable way to go.

Regards
OB
AnswerID: 150090

Reply By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:21

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:21
To help you with your planning and to tell you what you might see or miss if you dont know about it I strongly suggest a copy of of "Canning Stock Route" by R & E Gard. They have done the CSR over 40 times. Its an excellent read and guide.
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AnswerID: 150097

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:56

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 14:56
And interestingly recommend standard shocks for suspension setup.

Reading the article in the latest 4wd Monthly where they tested some of the aftermarket ones I can see why.

We did it in a GQ Petrol with OME's though and it was a well maintained truck owned by a mate who is a fairly meticulous mechanic. No problems.

Ronelle & Eric recommend a 5 litre garden sprayer (new clean one) for putting out a spinifex fire under your vehicle (dry chem extinguishers are useless for that) and we carried one.

Fortunately it didn't get used for that but it made a great everyday shower and we only set up the glind every few days or so for a really good scrub. But the cold showers under that little doover were sensational....got used every night for the likes of toothbrushing or whatever else required a bit of a squirt.

It's also another 5 litres that's easily accessible if you need it. It has to be easy to get to though or it's not much good if the spinifex starts smoking.

Take a long sturdy wire hook to clear out your undervehicle cavities as it packs in tight. Also a good thickness of shade cloth to make a bonnet to ground level blind on the front.

Fly screen gets torn to shreds.

Dave
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