VW Transporter AWD

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 16:16
ThreadID: 6264 Views:4963 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Could a VW Transporter AWD with skidplate protection underneath, driven very conservertivly, a Tirfor winch, exhaust jack, plastic tracks( for soft sand), make a Simpson Desert crossing ? This vehicle has poor clearance, no low range & only standard light truck tyres, but, drivers have patience, persistance & previous experience in taking 2wd vehicles in places that should have been impossible. Also, can anyone tell me how long the flowers last after rain ?
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Reply By: flappan - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 16:27

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 16:27
Can it be done . . . probably.

Would I be doing it. NO WAY.

I haven't done the Simpson, but with all the reports of people getting upset about trailers and inexperienced people doing damage, I would be discouraging this type of thing . . . big time.

Hey, My opinion only though.
AnswerID: 26358

Reply By: Member - David - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 16:27

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 16:27
I know of a 'Mighty Boy' ute- those l'il Susukis or Diahatsu- that crossed the Simpson (East to West). It was in convoy with other vehicles and had to get snatched over a couple of dunes, but no great dramas.
I don't think its wots underneath the vehicle that counts- I think it's wots between the ears. A bad days sailing sure beats a good day at work
AnswerID: 26359

Reply By: Member - Willem- Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 19:09

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 19:09

Mini mokes have crossed the Simpson, in a convoy, however. Lots of hard work too.

Your biggest problem will be the front end body overhang. The VW is quite a capable vehicle in certain respects but crossing the Simpson you are asking a bit much of it. Another problem you will face is wheel ruts in sand. Once you have bottomed out and bogged the VW you won't be going anywhere. A Tirfor winch will keep you fit!! You will have to take travelling companions so that you can winch off their vehicle. Having single range means that you will have to flog the vehicle to get over the dunes.

Mate, its not impossible but it will be far cheaper renting a Toyota or a Nissan from the rental Companies and taking that over the dunes.

The flowers should last 3 to 4 weeks.

Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 26371

Follow Up By: Paul - Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 10:43

Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 10:43
Thanks very much for your kind advise, I must admit to asking the question, tongue in cheek !. Our plan A, is just to drive out from Birdsville, as far as we can comfortably go, then camp for a week or so to just enjoy the desert. we would like to go round Big Red & ideally try to make Poeppells Corner, but, we have nothing to prove & everything to enjoy, so distance is low on our prioities, then return to Birdsville. How far would we need to go, from Birdsville just to experience the beauty & unendingness of the desert ?

Any others with comments ?

Thanks again
FollowupID: 18039

Reply By: Mick - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 21:05

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 21:05
I crossed the Simpson in a Prado and didn't use low range at all so lack of it should not be a problem. The key to sand driving is to have momentum and flotation - that is a bit of speed and wide soft tyres. Low range is likely to get you bogged. There was a group of 4 old Ferguson tractors crossing at the time I did it and they weren't able to get over Big Red - they had low gears and heaps of grunt but couldn't get the momentum to get over it and just got buried in the sand. I think your most likely problem is lack of clearance and perhaps lack of horsepower to get over the steep ones. Good luck if you try it!!
AnswerID: 26387

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:06

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:06
Mick, you can't compare a sophisticated Prado with a Veedub. The more modern 4by's have far better drive trains and power plants than older vehicles. If I did the Simpson in my old Nissan I would have to use Low Range as that is what gets it there.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 18013

Reply By: Mick - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:25

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:25
Sorry Willem but if you used low range with your narrow tyres you would dig into the sand. I repeat that momentum and flotation are the two key requirements to traversing sand and if the 4wd vw can get up a bit of speed it'll do it. Believe me if you attack a dune slowly in low range you'll sit on it with wheels rotating and going nowhere.
AnswerID: 26395

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 10:27

Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 10:27
Yeah well' Mick.....depends on the softness of the sand. On hard sand dunes High Range is OK in my truck. In really soft sand I rely on 3rd gear Low Range with tyres down to 15psi. Then my truck is unstoppable. I have done two parts of the Simpson. One part in a Suzuki JX 1.3lt. We crossed from the Plenty Highway to 27km west of Poeppel Corner on the French Line. Had to use low range virually all of the time(rough going over the spinifex) until we got to the French Line. Drove 7/8 of the way up Big Red but the sand became too soft. So I turned to the right at the top and at an angle found a way across with plenty of wheelspin and redlining the tacho.

Have done the western side of the Simpson from the Colson Track intersection to Dalhousie in a FJ 55 Toyota. Here High Range was the order of the day. When we did the Canning( North/South) in the same vehicle we had to use Low Range on about 20 of the higher dunes.

Googs Track has 370 dunes. Can be done in 2wd in the more modern vehicles(as one can see from the chopped out approaches on the dunes)but for safety sake High Range is warranted in an older vehicle.

Personally I think that the VW will bottom out on the dunes and become stationary and cause no end of hassles. You and I may be old hands at this but the bloke in the VW may not be. I would discourage him from attempting the Simpson in his Veedub.

FollowupID: 18037

Reply By: Big John (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:27

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 22:27
You will also need a thick skin because you are going to have a lot of upset travellers waiting for you to get to get out of the way while you are trying to get out of the bog. Take you car up a soft dry rutted beach and climb a few dunes (on ready made tracks, don't make new tracks!) and see how the car fairs. When a car is flat on its floor pan I would not like to be on the other end of a tirfor. Not much to winch off in the Simpson you will need a sand anchor. What is it 1000 dunes?

Good Luck you'll need it,
AnswerID: 26396

Reply By: Dexter - Saturday, Aug 02, 2003 at 14:32

Saturday, Aug 02, 2003 at 14:32
Just got back. Did the French Line Eastbound in a Hilux.
I think that ground clearance problems will be a major, major concern for you.
Some of the dust/sand ruts are deep and some of the (dried) mud ruts are deeper. For example, I passed a vehicle refitting a fuel tank that got rubbed off by one of them.
Comment on front and rear approach angles. Although most off-road vehicles have adequate entry angle, some are a bit limited at the back. Saw lots of evidence of tow hitches and long range fuel tanks touching down.
Regarding the comments about using momentum, I idled up the last little bit of most of the dunes in high first, mainly for comfort and safety. They're often very rutted and bumpy near the top (ploughed I suspect by powerful vehicles towing trailers) and make the momentum approach a bit uncomfortable. Also, there's that nagging thought that some mug is coming up the other side of the dune with... well.... momentum.
With 18 psi max in the tyres, a light vehicle and a light touch on the pedal, there was no slipping or churning using these low speeds, except the last 10 metres or so of Big Red, which was so bloody loose, I think someone went down it, towing a disc harrow, just before I got there.
Big Red was a high range second gear run because although it's high and soft, it wasn't bumpy and with my passengers watching from the top, there are no safety concerns of on-coming vehicles.
Say hello to Ruth at the Birdsville Caravan Park for me. She's a great "ambassador" for the town and the region.
AnswerID: 26616

Follow Up By: Paul - Sunday, Aug 03, 2003 at 16:49

Sunday, Aug 03, 2003 at 16:49
Thanks for your comments Dexter, we have decided to use Birdsville as base, & make trips from there. Would you have an email address for the birdsville Caravan Park ? We will be there at Races time, hoping it wont be too "Over the Top", we are looking forward to the Desert
FollowupID: 18241

Reply By: Dexter - Monday, Aug 04, 2003 at 14:11

Monday, Aug 04, 2003 at 14:11
Try birdsvillecvanpk@growzone.com.au . Alternatively, try phoning her at Birdsville Caravan Park.
Birdsville during race week will be a very busy town, so book ahead.
AnswerID: 26758

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