Simpson Desert

I currently have a standard Navara 4x4 3.0l dual cab.

Looking at doing the Simpson Desert in September 2011.

Been advised that I need a long range fuel tank along with a belly lift.

Need new shockers as the other are a little too soft.

Any suggestions as to the configuration?

Also need to purchase appropriate UHF/Am radio

Travelling with 4 other vehicles.

Other people very experienced and have travelled the Simspon before.

Just need advise

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Reply By: Member - Tezza Qld - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:58

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:58
Hi Drew

I take it that you have a d22 Navara.

For the Simpson and most outback travel a 50 mm suspension lift using good quality springs and matching shockies would be sufficient.

Extra fuel is always best carried in larger fuel tanks but if this is a one off trip then 3 jerry cans would suffice. Being a ute you should be able to find space in the rear somewhere. In reality you would be carrying the extra for a short time as you would resupply the main tank as soon as room allowed

A basic uhf radio would take care of your communication needs.

As you are travelling with other vehicles a snatch strap and rated shackles would be mandatory but if the budget can stretch to a set of Maxtrax it would be money well spent.

If looking for a complete package then an ARB or TJM outlet would be a good start. There are other suppliers around so check out who is closest.

Hope this helps

Cheers Teza
AnswerID: 452637

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:26

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:26
Thanks for your advise.

Appreciate the feedback


FollowupID: 725322

Reply By: Member - RobnJane(VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:01

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:01
Hi Drew,

We also have a D22, and have toured/towed pretty extensively with that set up.

We have fitted Koni shock absorbers all round, adjusted the (std) torsion bars to about 30mm over standard, and had the rear springs reset (by about 30mm) with an additional second wrapper spring leaf.

We tried a couple of other rear set ups and finally did what we should have done in the first place.

I would recommend good quality light truck spec tyres. In respect to fuel, I would give some thought to how often you will need to call on the additional fuel capacity provided by the LR tank. Why not consider a couple of properly secured jerry cans ilo of the LR tank.

You will need the UHF as you suggest as well a sand flag. Your travelling companions will give you additional tips.

Hope this info is useful to you.



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AnswerID: 452639

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:27

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:27
The responses I have recieved have been extremely helpfull.

Appreciate your input


FollowupID: 725323

Reply By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:10

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:10
Hi Drew
The Navara will be fine the way it is.
Just a UHF a sand flag and take 2/3 20litre jerry's of fuel.
Some decent all terrain tyers at least 2 spares a compressor and plug kit.
Some appropriate recover gear.
As your travelling in a group you will have back up.
Seach exploreoz treks lots more info.


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AnswerID: 452644

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:29

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:29
Thank you

Interesting the differing opinions.

Appreciate the input.


FollowupID: 725325

Reply By: SIF4X4 - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:34

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:34
I wouldn't be spending heaps of money on your vehicle just for a Simpson adventure. Your Navara in standard form will do OK. The Simpson is only a bush track across a 1000 or so dunes. If however you were intending to go offtrack then better preparation will be needed.

For comms a handheld UHF will be OK and you can buy a set(2) for under $100

Correct tyre pressures and the right gearing will suffice. Once in the desert you will soon get the hang of it. Some jerrycans for extra fuel will do as others have stated(don't forget to take a funnel). Don't overload your vehicle. A dune flag is a must and an old fishing rod and a piece of material will do the trick.


AnswerID: 452646

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:09

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:09
Thanks Spero

I intend to do the Simpson as a test for further trips in similiar terrain.

Just want to set up the vehicle to ensure future trips are successful.

Appreciate your feedback


FollowupID: 725340

Follow Up By: rainbowprof - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 03:16

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 03:16
In the same vein, I'm wanting to do the same trip in a 1998 Troopie hitop (bushcamper). It's got a 2" lift and dual fuel tanks. Shouldn't be too much drama?
I like SIF4x4's idea:

A dune flag is a must and an old fishing rod and a piece of material will do the trick.
FollowupID: 725362

Follow Up By: sweetnam - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 07:57

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 07:57
As always there is a variety of advice and suggestions.

We are doing the Simpson in July and have been planning it for a while.

I agree that Jerry's are fine - no need to spend $$$ on a long range tank. The Boab tanks sold by Dollium are also a good option and affordable.

I disagree with the handheld uhf's though. Although they may be ok for the Simpson actual, alot of other tracks around getting to the Simpson can see you spread out for a number of K's to stay out of the dust.

If you are looking at future trips, get a decent UHF & Aerial, money well spent.

I agree with two spares (light truck a/t's) , compressor, tyre repair kit, sand flag.

Again, if you are looking at future trips, a 50mm lift is a good way to go.

One thing to consider, even if you don't know how to use some kit, or repair certain things, having the stuff their - someone in your group or someone coming past has a better chance of helping you.

Carry basic spares - hoses, belts, filters etc.

And have fun - touring is great

FollowupID: 725365

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 05:38

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 05:38

I have done the Simpson in a standard D22 Navara 3.0TD Dual Cab

Easy as

No long range tank fitted. ( not needed, but carry 1 Jerry can of diesal)
Origionally we were only going into Poepell Corner, but the Boys from The Yorke Peninsular 4x4 Club, threw me 1 Jerry can of Diesal, and we went thru with them.
Really glad we did.

Not sure if the shockers were any good before we started, but they were stuffed when we finished.

The Navara dragged her belly on a few occasions, but not too often.
We were bog standard height, and the rear springs were on the bump stops, all the way up the Track, and across the desert.
Japanese 1 tonne capacity is really about 300 kg's

Had fitted Cooper ATR's previously, and run them at 15 PSI.

As far as a UHF goes, er had a Uniden 013, back then, but now have an Icom 400 Pro.

When we eventually fixed the shockers and height, we went for Ride Pro Heavy duty rear springs, 50mm lift with extended shackles, Canadian version,
with Ride Pro shockers .....(beware of Chinese imitations)
Genuine 1 tonne capacity, when set up.

The torsion bars were reset 28mm higher, and that really made the vehicle.
She sat high and proud.

I also put 2 sandbags in the rear tub, (up under the rear window), and this improved the handling out of site, as all 4 wheels were the same weight, and it did not effect the fuel consumption at all.

Hope this helps

AnswerID: 452676

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:40

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:40
Appreciate your comments


FollowupID: 726094

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 06:41

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 06:41
No need for a lift, No need for a tank if you can carry enough diesel in Jerry cans. Use a UHF radio hard wired not handheld. Have 6 really good tyres, and travel as you are with experienced travelers. If having trouble deflate, if having more trouble deflate. if in doubt deflate.
AnswerID: 452680

Reply By: Ozrover - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 09:34

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 09:34
Hi Drew,

All good advice, except for the one about the Simpson "just being a bush track with 1000 odd dunes", yes in a good season in a well prepared vehicle & the appropriate attitude it can seem like "just a bush track", but add a bit of rain or a big wind storm & all that goes out the window.

Prepare for the worse & it may not happen, your D22 Navara will be fine even in standard trim, we have taken one out & it was fine, did need the long handled shovel a couple of times but that's ok. I even recovered the Mt Dare recovery Patrol with it when Dave got it stuck between two sand ridges!

If you do fit a long range tank get a good one, we repair quite a lot of fuel tanks due to the roughness of the conditions.

Good tyres are a must have, with the pressures set as low as needed, we had 10.5r15s on at 14 psi cold. Only had one spare but carry a good compressor & plug kit.

AnswerID: 452699

Follow Up By: SIF4X4 - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 20:41

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 20:41

Originally the tracks across the Simpson were graded roads. To date they have detriorated into 'bush tracks'. Rain and sandstorms can come at times and change the scenery and make driving a little difficult.

The thing that one has to bear in mind is that the desert crossings are normally not difficult. They only become difficult when people go out there with fixed ideas especially about tyre pressures. I had a quick discussion once with some oldies who had a serious bog on one of the dunes and when I gave advice on what they should do, I was told where to

There have been many 2 wheel drive crossings of the desert (with a little help and support) so its not that hard a drive.

Don't overload the vehicle
Run tyre pressures that suit your vehicle for easy dune crossings
Stay calm and don't try to rush the trip
Tow if you must but be aware that this will make your journey harder
Prepare your vehicle well but don't overdo things (like twin wheels hanging off the



FollowupID: 725476

Follow Up By: Ozrover - Saturday, Apr 30, 2011 at 09:28

Saturday, Apr 30, 2011 at 09:28

Yep! know all that, The problem that I have with experienced people describing a Simpson Desert crossing as "easy" or "only a bush track" is that it gives the impression that it's always that way.

Every single crossing of the Simpson is different for any number of reasons, be it vehicle choice, amount of preparation, driver ability/experience, choice of tracks or weather conditions.

We continuously see people heading out with a blasé attitude because the Simpson is so well known all around the world & frequently travelled that it must be easy eh!

On the other side of the coin we also recover vehicles that are ridiculously overloaded because people think that they need everything in the catalogue to enjoy their trip.

What I'm trying to get at is to treat it with respect, otherwise it'll turn around & bit you on the rear.

FollowupID: 725521

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:49

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:49
Thanks Jeff,

That is probably why I am seeking quality information.

Whilst I am somewhat inexperienced at the desert I have have extensive experience in water & snow.

I have had a month on Fraser Island and experienced a little difference between the sand & snow.

Always prepared to listen to experience within the approprate areas.

Thank You



PS: Mt Dare is a place on the agenda
FollowupID: 726096

Reply By: coley62 - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 15:48

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 15:48
Hi Drew
have done simpson twice, first time with 3.0 second time with 2.5 both diesels, used 119L. both times accross. That's from Oodnadatta to Birdsville.
Both utes were standard as far as suspension and tanks go, we just carried jerries. We went down along the rig road both times, to knolls track and then the french line to Birdville. Did it in 2008 and 2009.
cheers and have a good time, I might go next year to hay river
AnswerID: 452739

Reply By: DaveO*ST-R - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 16:30

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 16:30
We did the Simpson in our ST-R 3.0 D/Cab Navara (east to west) in 2008 and found the stock suspension just OK, but since I have upgraded it with a 50 mm lift, the ride and handling is so much better - so my recommendation? - get it done. I replaced the rear leaves, new shockers all round and wound the torsion bars up a tad, rather than replacing them. I wish we had done it before the Simpson trip, but in any event, it got us through without any dramas - no damage or blown shocks etc. As it was though, the back end, (with the load in the back, including roof rack etc) was hitting the bump stops quite a bit which is a disconcerting sound and feeling when climbing steep dunes. It does not come anywhere near hitting now. Seeing the bum was doing it tough, (the "scallop" effect on the dunes makes for a pretty rough ride - particularly in a leaf sprung Navara) we reverted to the slow and steady approach/climb on most dunes and had no issues. Only had to reverse down and have a 2nd go a couple of times.

As for fuel, we used from memory 95 litres from Birdsville to Oodnadatta, carrying 3 20l jerries. Enough to spare and no need for a long range tank. As a comparison, the other vehicles we were with - a Disco 3 used about 98L & 2 x 3.0 TD Patrols about 115L.

Enjoy the trip - fantastic & I hope to go back for another go some time soon.


AnswerID: 452749

Follow Up By: Member - Drew P (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:53

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 21:53

Thanks for the info

Much appreciated

Decision time.


FollowupID: 726097

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