Simpson Desert

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:40
ThreadID: 65380 Views:2774 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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We are travelling west from Toowoomba to Perth with our Kimberley Camper and Nissan Patrol in April/May. We intend to travel the Simpson from Birdsville with friends with a similar rig. We have allocated 4-5 days for the crossing via QAA Line and French Line. We are experienced 4WD folks and have read all the advice on crossing the Simpson.

One piece of advice is that trailers are not recommended on the route. We note that there is no ban on trailers. Thus we would appreciate any feedback from those who have pulled campers across and any particular problems they encountered.

If you have some experience to pass on, we would be most grateful.

Trevor and Penny Fuelling 07 46350516
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:43

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:43
A member of this forum did the Simpson last year with his Kimberly Karavan and TD 100 Series so I would assume that with the right preperation and adjust tyre pressures as required to suit the conditions then I don't think you would have any issues.

Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 345766

Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:05

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:05
Trevor and Penny

No there isn't ban on trailers. Parks authorities discourage the taking of trailers due to the fact that many travellers are inexperienced in this kind of terrain and may come to grief(as some have over the years)

My experience is to take each dune crossing on its merit. Almost invariably there is a hump or a bump at the bottom of the dune on approach if you are doing the east-west crossing.

Lower your tyre pressures on your Nissan to 18psi and on your trailer to 14psi

Approach each dune from a stopped or very slow position and use Low Range 2nd gear and feather foot it over the dune applying just enough throttle for constant momentum. Do not rush over the top of a dune as most dunes may be severely chopped out on the western slope due to traffic over the years.

In April/May you might still find some drift sand on the crest of dunes so care must be taken.

AnswerID: 345782

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:06

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:06
Can you practice some downhill reversing around a bend in very soft sand ? You may have to do so a few times till you get 'in the groove'. Personally I would not take a trailer but lots of people do.

AnswerID: 345783

Reply By: Member - John R (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:09

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:09
Can anyone provide guidance as to whether the Eyre Ck crossing will be open by then, with all the flood water coming down at the moment (and still raining in the headwaters)? Maybe a detour will still be required?

Cheers, John

AnswerID: 345790

Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:51

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:51

Who knows. If it keeps on raining until the end of March then there is a likely chance that ponded water will remain in the creeks and on the salt pans for a while. It is possible the Simpson may not open until sometime in May.

FollowupID: 613807

Follow Up By: Member - John R (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 16:43

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 16:43
Yes, my thoughts as well, Willem. In 2007, the normal crossing wasn't open until August, though only a short detour was required well before then. (and I think the floods came later, at the end of summer) Rig Road affected too, I imagine.

Cheers, John
FollowupID: 613874

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:41

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:41
I note in another post you intend doing the Canning with your trailer. The Canning is incredibly rough at this time, and though it is possible to tow a trailer, it is not something I would recommend.

Last year there were many damaged vehicles including my own (Nissan Patrol) which had a broken chassis. The track was not in good condition, and the corrugations horrendous. Despite traveling very slowly many vehicles we met along the way had broken springs, broken shockies and we heard of another broken chassis on another Patrol.

Some of the sand dunes on the CSR are more difficult than thos encountered on the Simpson tracks, depending on time of year and traffic. Personally, I would not take a trailer on the CSR.

AnswerID: 345816

Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 12:13

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 12:13
Yes I would agree description of the CSR. Last year was my 4th crossing of the CSR over a period of 15 yrs. It was by far the worst conditions we have encountered with the constant corrugations ranging from bad to horrendous. many vehicles and trailers suffered from structural damage. I don't think I will be doing the CSR again as I cannot see it getting any better over the years. Cheers
FollowupID: 613844

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:34

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:34
David and George

More and more vehicles seem to succumb to the rigours of the CSR. Maybe this is because they are utterly and totally overloaded.

I swore black and blue that I would never tow a trailer out bush, but guess what, it happened and I couldn't be happier(well I could if I had the right truck...but what is the right

OK, it takes more driving skills to negotiate rough terrain with a trailer in tow. Usually my GQ was loaded all up to 3500kg which is 700kg over the GVM limit. Now, with the weight in the trailer the GQ is under GVM of 2800kg while the extra weight is in the trailer. I added a set of Polyair Airbags and pump them no more that 10psi just to take some of the spring out of the trailer on the back of the tug.

I think too, that many people do not realise, as you two have pointed out, just how rough the desert tracks may be. Invariably I have been stopped by dunes especially when the sand was hot. Some times I have been down to 12psi on the GQ and 6psi on the trailer. If a dune is problematical then I take a drive and look for an easier way over.

I suppose now that the CSR is getting so much traffic the track is deteriorating fast. Even when we did our first crossing in 1994 the old Tojo shook to pieces on some

FollowupID: 613859

Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:47

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:47
Hi Willem, You are right, even 15 years ago there were some rough sections, but we did not mind that. All part of the course and we adjusted tyre pressure and speed accordingly. However at present nearly all of the CSR is in a poor state and badly corrugated for nearly the full length. Does take a bit of the fun out of it. A legacy of poor driving skills from many cars along the CSR, i.e. speed and tyre pressure too high. Cheers
FollowupID: 613863

Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:55

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 15:55
Just looked up my diary, my first CSR trip was 21 years ago 1988. Wow, no wonder I feel old, tired just thinking about it. Will go and have a little siesta now. Cheers
FollowupID: 613865

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:53

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:53
This year I tried towing two old tyres in the wheel tracks using a rope that would break if load too high. It did wonders at flattening the corrugations. I am recommending every group that travels the CSR drag something similar. When we broke the chassis, we dragged tree tops and these did an excellent job.

FollowupID: 613906

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 13:19

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 13:19

4WD's on the Canning and other remote routes overloaded??? Are you sure ;-)

FollowupID: 613980

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