Gravel Roads 4 HIGH, advantages around the Flinders

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 17:58
ThreadID: 32684 Views:2084 Replies:15 FollowUps:37
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We are off to the Flinder's for the Anzac long weekend leaving Friday coming back back Tuesday. The question is whilst driving around the roads up there do u use 4 High or not , i have heard it's a good idea but what are the advantages.cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:13

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:13
You tend not to skid off the road as often :)

Two extra driving wheels = more traction just ensure you don't stay in 4WD on sealed roads (in most part time 4WDs) or you will damage the transmission. On dirt roads it's OK usually although I have had transmission wind-up on good dirt roads once or twice.

Just cooking a beautiful cream of chook soup with pots, celery, carrot, mushrooms, onion, parsley, spring onion, sherry, nutmeg, yum... :)

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:18

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:18
Thanks Mike for the advise mate i'll keep it in mind , and i'm caming around your place for tea sounds good cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:20

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:20
If it gets really rough or steep use 4 LOW
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:11

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:11
Thanks Mad Dog i'll keep it in mind cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:49

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 18:49
Greetings

My practice is to lock my front hubs in if I know I am going to travel on dirt roads. This enable the selection of high range 4x4 at speeds up to 100kph.

I travel on loose surfaced dirt roads regulary in 4H. It makes for greater stability and all round better handling, particularly if towing.

Regards

Paul
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:17

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:17
Thanks Paul i'll give it a try when i'm up there and what about tyre pressure i've got A/T Bridgestones 693's fitted to the paj i run them at 35 psi on the the hard stuff if i was to drop the pressure what is a good figure to run them at on the dirt just thought i'd ask cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:31

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:31
Try around 28 psi
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:33

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:33
Shaker is that front and back mate sorry to be a pain
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:39

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:39
Yes.
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:53

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:53
Tyre Pressures

I run BFG A/T's on my Nissan. Dirt I run 28PSI front and 34/36 rear as I am usaully laden and towing. I also adjust according to vehicle feel going down to 26 PSI front and 32PSI rear but I keep around 80kph at these pressures and watch temps carefully. (275/70x16s on 8 inch steel rims. The PAJ will be different)

Two things - as a guide

Tyre temperature - If the tyres get too hot they will fail. Tyres pressures directly affect running temperatures. As you lower the pressures keep an eye on tyre temperatures.

Tyre sidewalls - As you lower pressures the sidewalls bulge. Tyres become more prone to sidewall damage.

Tyre pressures are always a delicate balance. If the ambient temperatures are high you really have to watch tyre temps so may be unable to lower pressures at all (may have to increase to decrease heat build up).

If its gibber country na dor sharp stones I go higher in presurres to minimize sidewall sag. BUT this can encourage tread fracture and or stone cuts/punctures in the tread area.

Everytime I stop I always do a visual inspection of my vehicle (walk around). I place my hand on each of the tyres to feel the temps. I have a good look at the sidewalls looking to see any evidence of scuffs or developing damage.

Your Ks may vary:-) Its what I do.

Regards

Paul
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 20:59

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 20:59
Thanks Paul for such a great detailed input on tyre pressure mate sounds like you know what your talking about,i should of said that i would'nt be towing a C/T so it's just vechile weight and fridge and roof rack on board,you've given me a rough idea any way on what i should set them at,thanks very much Paul much apperiated cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Footloose - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:06

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:06
If on the loose stuff, 4 high is the way to go. Loose stuff can throw up surprises a lot faster than tar :)
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:19

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 19:19
Thanks Footloose i'll keep that i mind,thanks for your reply cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 07:54

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 07:54
Greendog, let me give you an example. I was once driving a dirt track with a car load of noisy people. (I love my peace and quiet :) . I had driven it a few times before, the last about 2 weeks before. A little rain but not enough to worry. I'd always driven in 2wd and not thought about it. There were cars doing the track two weeks ago. Worrying about the passengers etc I'd forgot to put the hubs in when leaving the tar.
The council had clayed a couple of corners since my last trip. Came up to one and managed to lose all directional control. Ended up off track, badly shaken and about 1m from a tree. Nothing but my ego damaged. I was lucky.
I'd made a few very basic mistakes, even though I wasn't all that new to it.
Lack of concentration
Going too fast ..."I know this track" syndrome
Not locking the hubs in when leaving tar
etc etc.
So my advice is based on what I now call experience.
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Follow Up By: bombsquad - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:44

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 09:44
Good way to get your peace and quiet back!
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:15

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:15
Yes, the only sound for the rest of the journey was my knees knocking together !
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Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 20:06

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 20:06
I cannot believe that you asked that question.

It is the whole point of having a 4x4!!!!
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:08

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:08
He simply doesn't know - and he's asking for input,
that's not a problem, it's sensible.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:12

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:12
No harm done by asking Willem if you don't know mate.espeacially if you haven't had the opertunity to use your vechile off road,When it came's to driving off the bitumen i'm a novice cheer's GREENDOG p.s i have alot to learn yet about 4x4 ing cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:24

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:24
Good grief

Howcome your rig pic shows you driving in some deep ruts offroad-ish. Or is it a digitally enhanced photo....LOL
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Follow Up By: AdlelaideGeorge - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:36

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 21:36
was that picture taken a training long weekend at Robe with David Wilson (Adventure 4 WD) et al???????????

George
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:35

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:35
Training weekend with VOXSON they mad me do it,lol
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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:42

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:42
hehehe...
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:45

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:45
Hi Grant tell them i had no choice please,how are you mate gettin closer.
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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:50

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:50
I would like to add to the tyre pressure comment...

I once watched a video at a training session for search and rescue and it showed 2 senarios..

1) A tyre going over bumps and rocks at 60kmh @ 38psi.
2) A tyre going over bumps and rocks at 60kmh @ 28psi.

The exact same amount of sidewall met the obstacles,,, the pressure didnt make any difference to the sidewall flex or compression.....
BUT what did make a difference was the pressure (28psi) made a crapload of less damage and cutting to sidewalls and tread area...

Same as a balloon with high pressure another with less pressure...
The one with less pressure is quite a lot harder to pop... Same theory with tyres..

Such a simple rule...

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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:56

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:56
MMmmm tyre pressure, thanks Grant for that i'll keep it in mind bloody talk about conflicting reports cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:56

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:56
Well,, you didnt have much choice since i was telling you how easy it was hehehehe...
But you had a ball that day...So it cant be all bad..
Getting closer yep...
Going through Kowanyama and Pompuraaw are going to hard yakka we think...
We heard from the Sarge up there that we will be probably going through 1.5metre river crossings with no way of walking them first because the crocs are too cunning...
He said we will have wait for locals to cross then do as they do...
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 00:00

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 00:00
Yeah mate had a ball that week end it was great we loved every bit of it plus meeting great people like your self ca'nt bet that cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:16

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:16
G'day blokes,
Voxson, we came back through Pormpuraaw and down to Kowanyama on our last trip to CY in 2004. We did it later in the season, so bulldust was our main enemy. We crossed the big river (Mitchell?) when it only had a small amount of water (about 400mm max). It had a very firm rocky bottom, but was about 100 meters wide with some sections in the middle not being under water at all. I'd be bloody petrified if I had to try and cross it with those middle bits totally covered......the bits that we experienced @ 400mm will be the ones you say will be 1500mm and even with a snorkel I'd be chitting myself......the ol' sphingter valve would be as tight as........ hahahahaha

BTW, I agree about locking in the hubs on gravel and using 4H.....gives you much more control. I cannot understand why some blokes refuse to do this........I think they are same blokes who say things like..."I've got a big powerful V8 donk, so I don't need to drop my tyre pressures to get up Big Red and do the Simpson...." etc. These are the blokes that destroy tracks......
Using 4x4 is far kinder to tracks and also to the overall wellbeing of your vehicle as it spreads the load over both axles etc.
I also agree withwhat Voxson said about reduced tyre pressures NOT adversely affecting sidewalls as much as a lot of people mistakenly believe. Reducing tyre pressures tends to lengthen the foot-print of the tyre; not broaden it.

Cheers

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07
Hi Roachie,,

Yep,, The Mitchell River...
Fingers crossed that the levels are down,,, but it is only 7weeks till we are there...
From memory can you tell me if the Mitchell is a straight across crossing in line with entry and exits or is it like Cockatoo Creek (a weaver)...??????
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:14

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:14
Mate, as I remember it, there was a bit of a curve in the middle bit, over some of the exposed rocks......if they are submerged it could get a bit "interesting".....

The southern exit (where you'll be entering) was a little jump-up, like a railway sleeper height. If the water is up higher than our crossing, you will probably already have your wheels in the water by the time you drop off it.

I hope it's not too bad when you get there....

Cheers mate

Roachie
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 22:43

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 22:43
Good question.

Theres been some debate that many of the 4wd rollovers on good gravel roads may have not happened if 4wd was engaged.

Given that wind-up shouldn't happen on gravel roads, theres no real reason not to be in H4.

Cheers
Phil
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:42

Saturday, Apr 08, 2006 at 23:42
Thanks Phil for your reply for the in experianced 4x4 driver your reply has helped
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Reply By: Leroy - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 07:51

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 07:51
Doesn't the Paj have 'super select'? This may be more appropriate than 4H.

Leroy
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Reply By: Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 08:44

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 08:44
Use 4wd on all loose surfaces.

If the back end starts to slide (hang out) the front driving wheels will tend to pull the vehicle forward and bring you back into a straight line.

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Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:01

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:01
Why use 4wd when it is not needed?
We did 500k's through the Flinders 2 weeks ago in a new Hilux 4x4 diesel, the only mod was Cooper ATR tires and we had no problems what so ever, we cruised on 100 to 110Kp/h. The roads up there are that good in dry to light rain conditions alot of people use standard cars to go up there.
Sure there are places where you have to use 4wd either for slippery surfaces or for maxium grip but you can get to most places using 2wd.
Isn't the first rule of 4x4ing is to read the road conditions and then drive to the conditions.
Be sensable when driving on dirt and do what you thing is best, drive to your capabilities and not your mates.
If you start sliding at 100Kph in 2wd don't think you will be safer in 4wd and still be able to 100Kph because that is where you become unstuck and nobody wants to be the next vehicle on the seen of an accident.( the other scary thing is very few people carry any communication equipment that is any good.)

Oh and another thing make sure you have good tires and ones suited to dirt driving and that by it self may be the best isuurance you can buy.

Anyway you will love it up there.

Regards Richard
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:52

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:52
Hi Richard,

I've been visiting the Flinders and SA outback since the late 70's and look at it a little bit different. There are heaps of rollovers up there on very good gravel roads. If you come across a rollover, you often ask how on earth it happened because its usually not obvious. I reckon the factors are speed and complacency.

I personally never go over 80kph no matter what the road is like. It only takes a dip in the road or an offcamber corner to cause the vehicle to start going sideways on the pebbles, or for a tyre to blowout, and over it goes.

Cheers
Phil

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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:09

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:09
Good follow-up Phil,

I've started to do a follow-up to Richard 3 times; but each time when I re-read it, I ended up deleting it because I thought it sounded like I was up myself and was preaching.
Richard asks: "Why use 4wd when it is not needed?"
I would ask instead......."Why would anybody spend $$$$$$$$$$ on a 4x4 vehicle and then proceed NOT to use the 4x4 feature they've just spent their hard-earned $$$ on?"
What is the downside to driving in 4H on gravel roads? Buggared if I can think of ANY downside. Some will argue that fuel consumption is a bit higher cos the donk is being asked to turn more moving parts....... To this I'd say "big deal, what's a few cents worth of fuel compared to the risk of a oversteer/understeer induced roll-over that could have been negated by using the vehicle in the manner it was designed?"

Here endeth the lesson......

Cheers

Roachie ;-)))

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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:00

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:00
Thanks Roachie and Phil you both have been a big help,thanks for your reply's,I hope by now that Willem has a better idea why i asked this in the first place going on all reply and follow ups.GREENDOG
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Reply By: Member-Neil & Margie-Cairns - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:15

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 10:15
G'day Greendog ,
we have pretty much the same vehical as you , when i hit the gravel i just push that transfer lever forward 1 notch ( 4 little green lights in the dash display thing ) don't go as far as the transfer lock ( when the orange light comes on in the middle of the green ones ) , also drop the tyre pressure to around 30 psi ( i might try 28 next time ) , you will find it makes a hell of a difference to the handling ,, have fun ,,
Neil ..

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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:05

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:05
Thanks Neil. I have a manual 5 speed so think the idea is just to put the gear stick into 4H and only 4 little green lights on ans tyre pressure sounds good cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Steve - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:49

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:49
I suppose it needs clarifying, given Greendog's limited experience, for Gravel go 4x4 but for firm dirt/hard dry surfaces, 2wd should be fine.
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Follow Up By: Disco Duck - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 14:27

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 14:27
Experienced or not 4H should be engaged to enable you to have control of your vehicle should road conditions change suddenly.
I believe if you have spent $$$$$ on a 4wd then you should use all it's attributes to ensure safe driving.

Mike
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Follow Up By: Steve - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 17:06

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 17:06
I'll clarify, as somebody said earlier, on a baked hard dirt road, (not gravelly) I'd be carefull about engaing 4x4 unless you want trans. wind-up.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 14:31

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 14:31
Greendog,

On the station, we have usually have good??? clay or loam roads, with occasional stretches of gravel. Our roads are flat graded, not cambered, as are public roads.

However, we run highway pressures at all times, unless it is wet, and rarely use H4 on these roads. Unless it's wet.

Have a station speed limit of 80kph, and to date, last 18+ years, have not had a roll-over. Most of drivers are age 18-24, so there's not a lot of experience here. Do emergency braking with them, which they enjoy, which may enhance their skills.

But if I were travelling on an unknown road, towing a camper, then would use H4. Reduces the wear on the rear diff anyway, on less than ideal roads. Talking to a copper at Dajarra once, and he said they were told to engage H4, once off the bitumen.

Hooroo...
Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 165949

Reply By: pjchris - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 16:05

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 16:05
One small point.

Your Paj looks like an NH GLS. If it is then it is fitted with the 'Super Select' system and can happily run in 4H on ANY surface, bitumen, gravel, wet, dry doesn't matter.

In the dry it will tend to understeer a little but it will not hurt the transmisson.

When we had our NH Paj GLS we would put it in 4H at the sniff of a damp or loose surface. As such it helps the handling (Reduces oversteer from too heavy a foot).

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 19:32

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 19:32
Found the same thing with our Paj.
Use super select to slip into 4wd high with the centre viscous coupling engaged.
Better handling and braking.
And the rear tyres don't chip up as much either.
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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:12

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:12
Thanks to every one that has replyed to my thread the information i have recieved has been a great help to me and i apperiate every one taking there time out to reply,cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: pjchris - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07
Be aware that only the NM/NP have a viscous coupling in the center diff. NH/NJ/NL have a completely open center diff (Except when it's locked of course!)

Peter
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Reply By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:59

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 20:59
Greendog,
Some good advice here.

Where are you going? Like Phil we have been travelling up there since the '70s, if I can pass on some info to help you out with anything would be happy to do that.

We are back up there in May to do a drive out from Quorn, staying in comfort at Rawnsley Park.

20 trips and still can see and do more.

Regards
Russ


Life-often hell but never boring.

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Follow Up By: GREENDOG - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:38

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:38
Hi mate we are staying out at Parachlina Gorge so i'm. just generally talking about the dirt roads between blinman and Wilpena and the gorge roads if you now what i mean cheer's GREENDOG
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Reply By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 21:11

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 21:11
Ok Greendog,

I know you are heading up that way for Anzac, busy at the mo preparing for Easter, so when I get back will check my notes etc for info for you have some ideas already.

A couple of PARs and a drive not too far from where you will be so that will keep you busy.

Have you been up there before and if so what have you done?

Will get back 2 U.

Regards
Russ


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