What's the go for driving through bulldust?

Submitted: Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 19:59
ThreadID: 67614 Views:8586 Replies:17 FollowUps:15
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A question for the luck (unlucky) one to driven through bulldust ...

I was reading Mick O Vic's blog on travelling along the Donohue Hwy heading west from Boulia, with some heavy patches of bulldust, up to 60-70cm deep.

I was interested to find out what the issues are driving through bulldust that deep. I would think that the radiator would clog up a big ?,or is the dust soooo fine that it passes straight through the fins?

I would think that slow and steady is the go but does the bulldust slow the 4wd down much ?

Interested to hear from those in the know ...

cheers Anthony
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Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:21

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:21
Anthony,
your biggest worry is what is under the, always large potholes or severe corrugation's, nothing worse than coming over a hill and finding a sharp bend or narrow bridge, you try to wash off speed but all you do is bounce over the tops of the unseen corrugation's.

In my book slow and steady wins the race, also the dust is very, very fine.

Have a good one
AnswerID: 358453

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:45

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:45
Rockape, I could just imagine that a hole or large stones sitting under the bulldust, waiting to greet a tyre and rim.

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Reply By: Member - GREENDOG - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:29

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:29
Momentum is the key,stick it in 4H,and keep moving,well thats what i've done in the past, Dust Holes up to 200 m wide i have experianced and that was up around New Crown Stn goin into the Finke communitiy,just have to be carefull of the ruts at the bottom of the bull dust hole so do'nt go to quick.cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:50

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:50
Greendog, did you find the bulldust slowed down your 4wd much?
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Reply By: Louie the fly (SA) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:51

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:51
My advice is drive with care. Years ago we nearly rolled our Toyota on the Henbury - Kings Canyon road. We went round a bend and the outside wheels hit a deep rut that was filled with dulldust. The car dropped about a foot on one side and lurched up in the air. Me & the missus nearly bleep ! You never know whats under it till you get in it.

Louie
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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:53

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:53
Good advice Louie ... to take care.

Hitting bulldust and deep ruts while towing a trailer could end a holiday a bit short.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:53

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:53
Keep the windows wound up ;-)

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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:58

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:58
John, you even got a laugh out of the wife with your reply ....

I would hate to think what the inside of the 4wd would look with leaving a window down !
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:59

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 20:59
Anthony

This was the Connie Sue in 2007

it's up to 40 meters wide for a k or 2 and around 8 to 10 inches deep

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I've never seen that bad it was coming over the bonnet like a bow wave, and I only travel at 20 km/hr.. :-)

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:02

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:02
Richard, looking at your pics I would think the bulldust wouldmake the corner a bit slippery.
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:12

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:12
Anthony

On the top pic you can see our wheel track heading off to the right, we were glad to get off it. some holes where that deep the bullbar hit the ground.

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we were glad to get back on to the good OLD Connie Sue Hwy

Cheers

Richard
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:19

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:19
I would further add to have your air on recycle, not fresh from outside. I recall hitting a deep patch in Victoria and had a lovely stream of brown talcum powder flying into the cabin in a torrent before I was able to switch the air to recycled.
The whole cabin was coated with the stuff that took a good morning of work to clean up.

Funny to watch, though!!

Jack
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:23

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:23
Jack

every time we now turn on the AC we get the sweet smell of red dirt. :-)

Richard
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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:56

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:56
Jack, on our last trip it was very hot and we kept the air in recycle to give the air con half a chance to cool us down.

You would never get all the fine dust out if you didn't recycle the air and shut the window.
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Reply By: Kim and Damn Dog - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:31

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:31
Anthony

Bull dust holes have all sorts of configurations, so no single rule applies.

A long shallow hole requires some measure of momentum, and the car can be thrown around a bit.

The worse ones in my view are the deep buggars, which may only be 20-50m long. The first thing that happens is a compete obliteration of view. All of a sudden you won’t be able to see anything for a number of seconds.

Some of them have what I call Bull Dust Cliffs. This is where the dust bowl meets solid ground again.

Sometimes they can be up to 12” high and you can imagine what happens to the front suspension when these are hit at any speed.

The last one I came across was on Halligans Track back in 2002 and I finished up losing a tooth.

Regards

Kim
AnswerID: 358476

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:06

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:06
Thanks Kim, it sounds like if a can avoid bulldust I should, ... you just don't what's under it until you hit it.
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Reply By: Willem - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:51

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 21:51
I try to give bulldust patches a miss

Got caught out around a corner on the Old Andado Road a couple of years ago. Was only doing about 70kmh. Dust slid like rain down the windscreen and we had a total blackout (brownout?..lol). After that I took to the bush until the next grid came up.


Cheers

AnswerID: 358484

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:15

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:15
Williem .... your experience is showing through ... with avoiding bulldust by going around instead of through, if possible.



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Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 22:35

Monday, Apr 06, 2009 at 22:35
Just like you can't see how deep a bog hole is, you can't tell what's under bulldust either so one needs to slow down to avoid dust coming over the window or rolling the vehicle in ruts. Deep holes like below can usually be tackled in 2nd gear. I haven't found the radiator to blockup despite many km's of roads like this but the main concern is obviously the air cleaner. A cyclonic pre cleaner on the snorkel is a good investment if often doing this type of track. One finds on higher speed roads like the Plenty Highway that short deep bulldust holes form in places up to 500 deep & feels like the suspension is going to be torn off the car when you take a chance & don't slow down.
Cheers Craig................
AnswerID: 358492

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:12

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:12
Thanks Craig, ... you answered my concern with the radiator. I would hate to clog the fins and overheat in the middle of no where. The pre cleaner on the snorkel is a good suggestion ... I check them out.
Cheers Anthony
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Reply By: P7OFFROAD Accredited Driver Training - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 06:02

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 06:02
momentum gets you into trouble.

Torque drives you through it.


sooo, slow down and be in a strong torque range.

as everyone has said, teh bull dust itself is not a major obstacle, but it does a great job of hiding other ones,
AnswerID: 358509

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:18

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:18
P7, ... less speed ... less hast ... thanks
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Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 08:10

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 08:10
Good replies above.
Worst I have seen is on the Plenty, most probably the same Georgina River clay as the Donohue.
It is fine, if not finer than talcum powder.
First small patch we hit a bit fast (50km/hr) and it was like water, went over the car (grey out) and tricked down the outside of the windows. Kids thought it was great.
Up to then had only seen small patches on roads.
It was as deep as the bottom of the bull bar in places.
Dropped down to 1st gear and took it careful after that.

Patches over 50m across, and potholes in the bottom.

Friend decided to go around it. He kept going left and ended up where he started! Drove through it in the end.

Pushing through, it feels lighter than water.
AnswerID: 358527

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:23

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:23
We did the Plenty & Donohue in Dec '07 and were lucky with no bulldust. The camper was still full of dust by Boulia. The laptop case was road dust colour!

I could imagine how much the bulldust would get into the camper. Hilary would really love that ... not.

Thanks John for the tips - cheers Anthony
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Reply By: austastar - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 10:36

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 10:36
Believe me it is Hell 2up on a motor bike, 10L water, 10L fuel + gear for touring for 3 months.
Biceps had muscles on muscles after the Gibb R Road in '76.
AnswerID: 358550

Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:28

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 13:28
I gave the bikes up long before I discovered 4wd's and dirt tracks. The Kimberley would have been a great tour in the mid 70's.

I have some early pics from my older brother from up that way when he was a bush pilot and based at Derby in the 70's.

cheers Anthny
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Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:41

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 12:41
As Oldplodder said .... there are good replies above.

Thank you all for the tips and good advice in tackling the old bulldust.

cheers Anthony
AnswerID: 358565

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 14:51

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 14:51
When we did the Plenty Highway last it was a corrugated mess with lots of bulldust holes. They were mustering in the district so there were many stock road trains also. We were towing the van pictured below so each bulldust hole was treated with a GREAT deal of respect even to engaging low range on one very deep hole that covered the entire road for nearly 500mtrs. It was akin to driving thru deep water. Had the air on recycle and air con on.
We had no trouble and when we camped near Jervoise station made sure I shook both van and Nissan before setting up camp. This was done by giving each end a violent shove and then running very quickly out of range from the dust.
At other times I have crossed the Plenty without a problem as it has been a good gravell road after grading.
Oh and make sure that you reduce all tyre pressures and travell slowly, after all you are a long time dead.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 18:02

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 18:02
Yes, I'm a believer in reduced tyre pressures. Thanks Dodger.
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Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:14

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:14
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Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:25

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:25
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Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:47

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 23:47
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