Simpson crossing August 2007

Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:27
ThreadID: 45693 Views:1943 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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Hi All

We are in the middle of plannig our trip across the Simpson from East to West,
we have been told by a lot of people that we should be doing it from West to
East. We are not going to be taking our camper, we are swagging it, our vehicle is a Nissan GQ 4.2 Diesel. Any feedback greatly appreciated.


Matthew & Julie

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Reply By: Member -Signman - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:38

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:38
It's just that the dunes (sometimes) are a bit easier to attack from the West !!
But you should have no probs. from the East...plenty have done it..
AnswerID: 241223

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:39

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:39
Matthew & Julie

There is nothing wrong in going from East to West.

It is a bit easer going from West to East, but that will depend on the sand and which way the wind blows.

What is the main track that you will be using? French, WAA or Rig? This can also make a difference.

AnswerID: 241225

Follow Up By: MATT DAY - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:44

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:44

We haven't decided which track, what do you suggest? This is our first trip

Matthew & Julie

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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:54

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:54
Matthew & Julie,

The French would be the most used, it is shorter but can be chopped up by so many vehicles using it.

The WAA is the one that I have used (13 times now). It is a bit longer but with a little less traffic. It is also close to the Loan Gum Tree.

The Rig is a lot longer but is used by camper trailers because it still has a lot of clay caps over the dunes.

I did use the Rig for part of the crossing last year because of the wind and sand making the dunes very hard to cross.

Have a look at the Trek Notes on this site for more information.

FollowupID: 502122

Reply By: Member - Jiarna (NT) - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:39

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 18:39
Hi Matthew & Julie

I have crossed the Simpson in both directions. East to West is certainly easier, but not by much. The key is to lower your tyre pressures for sand driving - we ran at 18psi with the 80 series heavily loaded and had no trouble at all East to West. We heard on the radio that others were having to take 2-3 attempts to get over some of the dunes, but it seems they were running 28psi so I'm not surprised. 18psi sounds low, but remember your average speed will be about 25 km/h if the going is good (much slower if you don't run low pressures LOL). Staking tyres is a risk, that's why you have 2 spares for this trip. Having said that, I didn't get any flat tyres on either crossing.

You will use a bit more fuel for East to West, and the recommendation is for 160L for a diesel. You should end up with quite a bit of the 160L left over, but the safety margin is in case you have to return the way you came. It's not unknown for people to have to turn back 3/4 of the way across because a storm has closed the track ahead.

Have fun preparing for your trip,and even more fun doing it.

Those who say something cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AnswerID: 241226

Reply By: Holden4th - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 19:55

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 19:55
East to West does present steeper dunes on the run up but a gentler let down on the other side so whether one way or another is easier is a moot point. Your 4.2 Patrol will just love the Simpson and you'll cruise over those dunes no problem at all. We went E/W too

18 psi is too low IMO. Last year the sand was the softest it has been for a long while yet 22 psi in my Paj was adequate for the task. You can go lower if you have difficulty but with the rain the Simpson has had recently you'll find the going 'relatively' firm. 4HLC was sufficient for all dune crossings

My Di-D Paj used 95L from Birdsville to Mt Dare and if you use much more than 125L I'd be surprised. Carry 150L anyway.

I passed a group who had crossed the Simpson a week ago and they talked about the wet conditions between the dunes. Go for it, your Pootrol will thank you for it!
AnswerID: 241242

Reply By: Dirty Patrol - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:07

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:07
We have just compleated an East - West crossing, 18-22 psi seems to be the normal range for tyres, as for fuel use " Holden 4th" your paganero may have only used 95 lt, But a 4.2 patrol will use a fair bit more fuel you should be thinking 20- 24 lts per 100km for a 4.2, good motor but has a serious " Drinking Problem",
As for the dunes east - west you can have drop offs like we did on the waa line all good fun.
AnswerID: 241247

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:36

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:36
Dunno mate. My 6th trip into the Simpson was in April last year. Came in from Dalhousie and threw a left at Erabena Junction and north to Geographical Centre. The sand was very soft and I was towing a trailer as well and returned 20/100 for the Offtrack bit and 18/100 for the French Line and remainder of Rig Road. I suppose its driving styles. These days my 4.2 drinks around 12.5/100 on the blacktop without a trailer and around 16.6/100 with a trailer on dirt roads. Engine has 334K on the clock.

FollowupID: 502162

Reply By: jdpatrol - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:09

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 20:09
Hi Matt & Julie

We did Simpson crossing for first time a month ago and against what I had previously read it was unequivocally harder going west to east. As has been mentioned, the winds must change things from time to time.

But the thing I thought should influence your journey more is the experience. The dunes got slightly bigger and harder going east and then you reach the grand finale (big red), after which you wonder into the Birdsville and the pub. We were relieved to have completed our first Simpson crossing, and Birdsville was a great place to celebrate that, to clean up, do a few jobs on the vehicles, check the internet for things etc. After that we fished the Cooper for a few days - also great. Basically, we got the business (dunes!!) out the way then relaxed.

I just feel (now) that finishing at Dalhousie or Oodnadatta would be a bit of an anti climax. Terrain flat around there too.

Just my 2 bits worth.

AnswerID: 241248

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:00

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:00
Good to hear that you had a successful crossing JD. Marvellous expanse of green desert ain't it?

FollowupID: 502173

Follow Up By: jdpatrol - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 22:33

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 22:33
It was just great thanks Willem. Everyone had a ball. Just as you warned, sand was extremely soft, dry and challenging (and hence great fun). After my stressing about the weather and Eyre Crk in March, it was no worries.

I feel guilty I didn't do a trip report - but since getting back it's just been work work work.

Regards JD
FollowupID: 502220

Reply By: pling - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:17

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:17
We have done the Simpson 3 times to get to the centre, the last two in 2005 and 2006 from east to west.
We go via the QAA/French line and love the trip.
We travel in a GU 4.8 lt. Auto Patrol on petrol. (143 lt.main and 39Lt aux. tank)
In May 2006 it was cold and we only used 159 Litres from Birdsville to Mt. Dare, the previous year we used over 200 lt. as the sand was very soft and the temp very warm.
We were traveling with a Pathfinder and a Prado and all did the trip with ease using 20 lb in the tyres.

You will have no hassle with your Patrol, enjoy the trip.
AnswerID: 241262

Reply By: Member - beachbum - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:28

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:28
Matt, I and a group of friends did it East to West three weeks ago and it was boringly simple. i was driving a 4.2 TD Nissan and our son was driving a 2.5L Ford courier. He went to low ratio three trimes for the whole crossing and I went to low ratio twice and that was to pull a Prado over a dune. Other vehicles in the group were a Pajero ( which struggled ) a 75 series Toyota cab chassis which ate it. a Prado that struggled, a three litre Nissan that ate it and a 3 litre Hi lux that ate it In our opinion it is a vastly overrated trip. Our 4.2 averaged 5.7 Ks /L . After a few days in Alice we did the return trip and it was even easier but rougher on the French Line than the Knolls track, the Rig Road and the French line to Dalhousie. If you pay due attention to tyre pressures (around 22 PSI cold) you will have an enjoyable trip.
AnswerID: 241265

Reply By: wdric - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:31

Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 21:31
I think you will find most avid 4wder's will say that west to east is the go, not because it is easier, but because it presents more of a challenge most of the time.

Also as mentioned there is the Birdville pub to look forward to.
But there is Dalhousie springs & now the bar at Mt Dare if you head west.
Most modern vehicles with the correct low tyre pressure don't get to many problems, providing they are not to overloaded (don't let the misses pack:))

I headed west along the rig road at Easter and I dought anyone would've been able to head east until the tops of the dunes where knocked down a bit with more traffic as there were about 6 dunes at the bottom end that were quit high and simply to steep to get a run up or drive up.

No matter which way you go, you will make it to the other side (its not that far), you will meet lots of other people donig the same thing and above all you will have a great time.

AnswerID: 241268

Reply By: Member - Battlecat (WA) - Monday, May 21, 2007 at 00:24

Monday, May 21, 2007 at 00:24
Will let you know as I will be crossing a few weeks before you
AnswerID: 241321

Reply By: Gob & Denny - Monday, May 21, 2007 at 18:02

Monday, May 21, 2007 at 18:02
good evening all
what is average time you are all taking to do the crossing
and is it safe to leave a van in birdsville while doing a round trip ie travel to birdsville leave van do crossing(or double crossing)travel to marree and back to birdsville
dont get me wrong but ruth and ian are no longer at the park

AnswerID: 241427

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