Preparing Vehicle For Fraser Island

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:18
ThreadID: 80071 Views:8699 Replies:12 FollowUps:5
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Hi All,

I'm heading up to Fraser Island on Saturday in my '03 Mitsubishi Challenger. Haven't taken it offroad yet, but it's got the LSD and a 2" lift so hopefully everything goes OK.

Just a few questions. Has anyone been up to Fraser lately, and can tell me what Dundubara is like? That's where I'm planning on staying for 5 nights.

Secondly, should I rust proof with Inox before or after the trip? I've been told it's best to just give it a real good wash with water after the trip, then coat with Inox. Apparently if I put the Inox on before I go up, all the sand will stick to it. Tips would be great.

Thirdly, I plan on heading up to Sandy Cape. Any tips on getting up there at the moment?

Lastly, any essential items I should bring for the vehicle? I'm heading up with a mate so we've got the snatch-strap and shovel, but if you could suggest to me what else that would be great.

Thanks all. This forum is such a great place for information.

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Reply By: Sea-Dog - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:28

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:28
I was at Fraser about a month ago and the driving was easy... no huge preparation other than what you would normally do to go four wheeling anywhere.. fluids etc.. just run your tyres at a good pressure to bag them out (18psi on my 80 series with 33" Mud terrains) and drive sensibly.

Rust proofing is something that shouldn't be taken lightly in my opinion. Beach driving is very corrosive to car parts in general so if you are planning to keep the car a while I would recommend getting it rust proofed professionally before you go... Inox and Lanox etc is all well and good but has its limitations as far as where you will get it into the small cracks etc.. but if that is all you are planning to do then I would advise to put it on "before" you go and do a drive along a nice dusty road to give it a coating of dust rather than salty sand... then make sure you give the car a good wash down when you get home again and reapply afterwards again.

Of course everyone has their own ideas but that is my 2 cents :)


AnswerID: 423993

Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:32

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:32
Take a compressor and be prepared to lower your tyre pressures and you should be fine. I generally start at about 22psi and that gets me most places.
AnswerID: 423994

Reply By: chisel - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:37

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:37
You should be ok without special preparation. Make sure you drop your tyre pressures though. Dundubara has an easy track in and out. Should not be too busy at the moment.
Sandy cape - might be interesting past Ngkala rocks and browns/north ngkala although I think it isn't too bad at the moment. Just make sure you are going up at low tide ... ie. aim to get to ngkala an hour or so before low, and come back an hour or so after low.

Just make sure you give it a THOROUGH wash all over and especially underneath when you get back. The underbody wash at rainbow beach is good but it'll never get all the sand from all the nooks and crannies. I usually spend close to another hour under the car with a hose after a trip. If you haven't been on the sand before then you probably won't find all the nooks and crannies during the first wash unless you take ages.
AnswerID: 423995

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:44

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 09:44
I agree with the advice you have been given, another thing I do when we get home from a beach trip is, give the vehicle a good wash down, hose underneath the vehicle and then put a Garden Sprinkler under it for a couple of hours moving it from time to time, making sure you have flushed out all the sand ect, you would be surprised how much extra sand has been washed out.

AnswerID: 423997

Reply By: StormyKnight - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:11

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:11
Just got back from Fraser on the weekend.

Prado 90 Auto with BFG MT's 265.75R16's - dropped pressures to 25 rear & 22 front & had no issues. I was able to drive over the soft sand at inskip point (where a few towing caravans got bogged) & at Eli Creek without difficulty all in high range.

Extended runs in the soft sand at mid to high tide however did have the water temp running at close to 100 deg C, however even at this temp the original temp gauge had not moved.

We also went to the lighthouse which took us 2 hrs from Eurong at low tide & 2hrs drive back only got us to K'Gara camping area due to the amount of soft sand we had to run thru as the tide was on the rise.

Something to keep in mind is that the sun sets at 5:30pm & the inland tracks do take a long time to travel over even though they appear short on the maps. The inland tracks often contain large potholes & also often have tree roots running across them making them very rough to drive on at times.

South Ngkala Rocks bypass was easily the softest sand, but luckily it is relatively flat so it in itself wasn't too difficult - just dont try & get out to take a photo as you will sink quite quickly into the sand trying to stand up!

Indian Head was no trouble at all.

We had had rain each night & some thru the day on friday so the sand was relatively packed down. We were staying at Central Station.

You can do a pre-wash at the rainbow beach car wash for $4 & I would suggest strongly to do a post wash there too on your return ($12) - I went back thru a second time to be sure! You can also put your tyres back up to road pressure here with the air compressors & you can vacuum out the sand from inside the car as well. Expect a line of cars though as its very popular.

The shell servo in rainbow beach offers discounted fuel with a ferry ticket too. It was worth $5 for me. The Diesel on the island was up around $1.90, so I would suggest you fill up at rainbow beach as much as possible first.

Other than that the kids saw a couple of whales off the coast & we caught some dingoes fishing in the surf & we got to see an aircraft takeoff from the beach.




AnswerID: 423999

Reply By: Signman - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:50

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:50
A (local) Tide Chart !!

AnswerID: 424002

Reply By: Atta Boy Luther - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:05

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:05
After returning to rainbow , go to the carwash and spend 20 bucks and use the high pressure hose . Then when getting home spend the next 3 days getting the sand out of everywhere . Dont use a sprinkler , thats rubbish . Invest in a staun massojet under body wand .
AnswerID: 424011

Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:26

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:26
Dont knock the sprinkler trick, we have been doing, it for over 25 years and never had any problems with all our vehicles, and I know a lot of people who do the same.
FollowupID: 694442

Follow Up By: phil300 - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:58

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:58
Go the sprinkler trick lots of sand and dirt on my lawn amazing how much comes out.

cheers Phil.
FollowupID: 694443

Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:49

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:49
There is a carwash at Rainbow Beach that has an undercar wash facility. I put mine over that twice.

When I got home I used a highpressure washer at least 3 times to do the underbody and suspension. I also take the nozzle off the hose, stick the hose in the chassis rail and let it go for about an hour then do the same in the other rail. As Phil says you would be amazed how much sand comes out.

When we were on Fraser last the vast majority of vehicles that were having trouble were Prados and Pajeros. It seemed to me that they have heaps of power and therefore people were not letting tyres down enough (somne at all). That is fine on the hard sand of the beach but once you get into any soft stuff and have to stop you will be stuck.

There were 3 vehicles stuck in front of the pub at Orchid Beach and they took ages to get out. I was the first vehicle through after they chopped it up and had no problems. Later that afternoon I came back the same way, stopped where they had be bogged and drove away without a problem. If you can't do that your tyres are too hard, let some air out.

Get a good compressor and tyre gauge and you should be fine.

FollowupID: 694451

Reply By: Member - Alex K (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 13:12

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 13:12
Take a map

There more maps available but this as a min.
AnswerID: 424015

Reply By: JonoM - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:11

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:11
Thanks for all the tips. I really appreciate the help.

I'm leaving early on Saturday morning so I won't have time to do a proper rust protection on it. I did put inox down inside the chassis rails about a week ago.

I'll just be sure to give the car a bloody good hose out when I get back next week.

By the way, what's it like at Dundubara campground? I was considering beach camping but decided to go into the camp ground for facilities, dingo fence (no eskies being tampered with!) and because I figure it will be very quiet when I'm up there next week. Is it forest like? Are mozzies a problem?

AnswerID: 424020

Follow Up By: age - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:42

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 14:42

Dundubara is not too bad but some of the sites get a bit worn as it is heavily used during recent school holidays and as the backpackers are no longer allowed north of Indian head, they go into the camp ground if it is windy on the beach. At times they place a Ranger in the camp to keep them quiet.

Also this week with the westerlies blowing, the Tailor season will kick off in earnest, so may be a few fishos in there as well.

Keep you options open as if the weather is good, nothiong beats a beachfront camp.

Usually no mozzies and sort of heathy scrub over the forests you see on the bottom of the island.

As others have said beach crossings are good and packed down after recent rains, heaps of beach at all but the top of the tide. Ngkala south easily passable at the moment, but will be a stinker when it dries out and Nth Ngkala and then Browns ok for your trip to the Cape (bit of rock hopping but you can see where everyone has gone.


FollowupID: 694450

Reply By: CJ - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 17:20

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 17:20
I agree with the chorus before me to wash thoughrorly and often after your trip

But I do not agree with Inox and other treatments (open hornets nest?)

Some of these applied treatments can actually assist to trap sand in the nooks, and if applied over a nook that already has some mud splatter on it, it can trap that moisture.

Personal opinion, much rather clean it properly afterwards without sticky residues

And I too is a yes for the sprinkler trick, AND the hose (not OR)

AnswerID: 424035

Reply By: Member - Ray C1 (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 22:25

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 22:25

I took my 02 Challenger to Fraser Island a couple of years ago, just let the tyres down to 18/20 psi and you will be OK.

I would recomend a set of Maxtrax BCF have then, they will fit behind the challenger back placed against the back of the seat.

Makes it east to get out if you do get stuck in sand.

AnswerID: 424070

Reply By: mikehzz - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 00:19

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 00:19
One thing I might suggest as it has happened to 2 people I know only recently- make sure your 4wd actually engages before you make the trip. Both had never been off road (1was a Challenger the other a Hilux) and they tried to go on the sand at Stockton and couldn't engage the hubs. Both had a disappointing drive home. The Challenger was booked on a tag along and had been given the once over by a mechanic but had to limp out before we started. Anyway I hope yours is ok. Mike
AnswerID: 424077

Follow Up By: StormyKnight - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 12:48

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 12:48
....this is a very valid point.....
Also you may need to get use to engaging 4WD. On the Prado for example, once the lever is in place you then often need to drive a bit so that the light comes on the dash before you are truly in 4WD. We had a couple of accents on the bypasses where the light would refuse to activate until we where up the track some distance. Luckily the Prado is a constant 4WD vehicle so it wasn't as much of a bother.
FollowupID: 694520

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