Simpson crossing - WA fuel test

Hi all
A slightly unusual request - we are planning to cross the Simpson later this year, in about the third week of July. I have looked and researched everywhere I can think of to get an idea of possible fuel consumption (for a 07 Prado, V6, auto, 2 people, well loaded) Vehicle has the 2 x 90 litre tanks and I will be carrying at least 20 more in jerries, maybe 40. I plan to have the tyres around 20 lbs max, and go lower if necessary.

My query is this - does anybody know of a trek or day trip reasonably close to Perth that would be similar to what might be encountered in the Simpson? Something reasonably long that would enable me to accurately judge fuel usage in soft sand and sand hills. Even if I have to drive the same route 3 or 4 times to do enough mileage to get a reasonably accurate idea of what the vehicle would likely use.

Or - if I carry a spare 40 litres, do you think I really don't need to worry too much?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Reply By: Russell P1 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 18:39

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 18:39
Sorry, forgot to specify - we will be taking the WAA Line route, West to East. I believe that will add up to approx 560 kms Mt Dare to Birdsville
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Reply By: Travis22 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 18:55

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 18:55
You should be able to get a GOOD idea based on the data here.

Hope this helps.

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Follow Up By: Travis22 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:02

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:02
FWIW, IMO if you allow 20L/100km for the expected distance then x2 you will be as well prepared as you can be.

With 1 Jerry bringing your total to 200L you should make it easily.

There are many places were it is simply impossible to carry "X2" and one needs to be much more precise but if you can "X2" then good. Crossing the Simpson in your car with 200L, no worries.


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Follow Up By: Russell P1 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:07

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:07
Thanks Travis
Yes I have looked long and hard at that, but my idea was to get a far more "personalised" estimate based on my exact vehicle and driving style. Being a bit pedantic I know, but my one failing is being as well prepared as possible (drives my missus mad....)
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Follow Up By: Travis22 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:50

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:50
G'day Russel,

No worries mate. I understand exactly where you are coming from and am very much the same. But honestly the only way to know Exactly what you are going to use crossing the Simpson is to cross the Simpson.

Exact vehicle a little but driving style is going to play the biggest part in how much fuel is used.

Without going overboard i think you would be better off carrying an extra 20L of water then fuel. Provided you are conservative and dont drive it like you stole it (all the time!), 200L is more then enough fuel, id hazard a guess to say you will use 60% at best so you still have plenty of extra fuel should you wish to go a little further but again... water, you can never have enough if you know what i mean.

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Reply By: equinox - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:16

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:16
You could try Wilbinga just up Wanneroo Road. If you go in at the rest area to the coast, there's some tracks along there that go up and down a bit for a while.

If you want Red sand I can only think of the Kennedy Range top track; that's very desert like there some bits, though probably a bit far away.

You'll be alright by the looks, you could get half way back too I would think.


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Follow Up By: Russell P1 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:20

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 19:20
Thanks Alan
Yeah, I might be worrying too much I know, especially if I carry an extra 40. But hey, with my plan, I get to play in the sand even more.
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Reply By: Member - David P (WA) - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 22:05

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 22:05
Hi Russell,

I had more problems getting over Yeagarup dunes than I did going across the Simpson a couple of years back. We went from west to east and I found Big Red a bit anticlimactic after all the other dunes we crossed.

Sorry I can't hep you with the fuel consumption as I have a Subaru Forester and my fuel consumption was 14.5lt/100 km (normally about 10) from Oodnadatta to Birdsville.

cheers David

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Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 22:37

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 22:37
G`day Russell,
If you go into Blogs on the blue line above and then enter Scrubby in the "Find Blogs by Member" block, there is an account of the Simpson crossing I did in 2008, it has info that may help with your fuel calculations.

I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 07:55

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 07:55
Hi Russel

Can't help with perth track , but we do just that sort of thing , there are good local dessert runs in Vic.

From our experience I believe you will be safe by planning for 50% more usage than your standard around town.

So if your average over serveral tanks has been 14/t/100km then plan for 21lt usage and carry double i.e. carry 28lt/100km which on that trip is 157lt.

So no need at all to carry a jerry - espically as your fuel is in 2 tanks in case one leaks.

Weight and overloading are more of a problem and using the above riule and our own tests we have reduced fuel load we will carry in our coming Madigan line trip.
Water is heavier than fuel so don't carry excess either - we plan and monitor a usage of 2lt per day per person - of which all that water is consumed i.e. not for washing up etc.

The ability to monitor these things and know when you are using to much is just as important if not more so as it allows for sensible descisions to be made in advance.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Russell P1 - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 08:36

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 08:36
Thanks Robin
However - The Prado is kitted out with roofrack, second spare up there as well as 30 second tent and a small pod for campchairs etc. Full set of drawers and fridge slide in the back. For water, I will be carrying a 100 litre tank (remove second row seats and use seat bolts to anchor firmly) Long winded reasons for that amount of water, won't go into them here. Plus of course, all the other bits and pieces.

So when we're fully loaded for the trip, the car will be heavy, but not overloaded. The Simpson is only part of an overall much longer trip, so we need to carry a fair bit.

Now, I have a Scanguage fitted which when compared to calcs at fill up time, is proving to be pretty accurate.

Last big trip was 2500 kms out from Perth, through Lake Johnston, then down to Israelite Bay, then back around the coast to Perth. Lots of sand driving, though none particularly soft or difficult. Also lots of 100 to 110 kmh runs on gravel and bitumen.

Scanguage showed an overall average of about 6.4 km / litre. (Which I was pretty happy with, actually) The car has 2 x 90l tanks, but I am working on getting an absolute max of 175 litres out (I figure at least a little bit at the the bottom of each tank is unavailable)

So - 175 x 6.4 = 1120 kms. Halve that - 560 kms. Which is almost the exact distance between Mt Dare and Birdsville. And that leaves no margin for detours, extra soft sand, etc etc.

So I think I will definitely carry at least 20 spare. If I get better than half my normal consumption, I'll be laughing. But if not....

Hence my reason for wanting to do a good test. I've been a diesel man for 20 plus years and while I am loving the smooth, instant, quiet power of the V6, I am still getting used to its quirks in regard to mileage. Watching the Scanguage is very interesting at times. Put your foot down and watch it report 0.8 km / litre!! Must remember to go easy....
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 09:39

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 09:39
Hi Russell

Weather permitting we expect to get to Mt Dare 16th july.

I have always been concerned about Prados tip over angles so I wouldn't carry
any weight up there - do you need a second spare ?

Still an advantage of needing so much water is that if stored well it can keep
your centre of gravity down.

I couldn't quite follow your figures but it looks like you are carrying twice your normal
usage just in your main tanks.

A little advantage of the petrol cars is that you can drive them till they actually
run out.
I did this early in my cars life so I could see what actually happens and be sure of tank capacity and how to restart. (Patrols manually dump sub-tank into main - also mine has drain plugs).
Also a spare fuel pump is a relatively low cost item to take as spare.

In ThreadID: 85015 I tested my cars out and as a result determined that heavy fuel use in the auto more or less relates to how many times the auto changes gear - doing whatever you can to drive in a fixed gear helps - don't know if Prado's can have a lockup mod done but if possible do it.

Worth doing a post trip analysis also - my guess is your Simpson crossing will use close to 120lt.

Have a good trip.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 14:29

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 14:29
I know the feeling about trying to estimate something you have never experienced. We did a tagalong with 6 other vehicles through the Strzelecki and Simpson May last year. I have a 95 series Prado 3.4 l V6 petrol with 90 litre main and 70 litre sub tank. When we set off from Cameron Corner our plan was to travel through lindon station across its southern border then out into the Strzelecki and Gps it through sand moguls and other terrain including some dunes ias we approached the Birdsville track from the west . Our leader estimated 500km- turned out to be 650 km as it was all previously untravelled territory. He reckoned my 160 l would be fine but I ended up taking an extra 20 in a jerry ( had another 8 for the Simpson route we were planning) and got into Mungerannie with less than 10 litres on board!. Through the hardest sand mogul terrain I reckoned I pushed up towards 30 l / 100 km. Average ended up being about 26l per 100 k. Being petrol it seems consumption does tend to skyrocket through the harder stuff. I reckon you will do better with your consumption on tracks as we were really bush bashing a lot of the time . By the way my vehicle is auto
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Follow Up By: Member - Robbo (QLD) - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 14:32

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 14:32
Sorry- mistake we approached the Birdsville track from the east ( obviously)
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Reply By: Gossy - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 15:39

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 15:39
Crossed fully loaded (carrying gear for motorbike riders) in our 2.8td Patrol and used 14 litres / 100km. Really comes down to the basics of letting your tyres down and driving wisely without a heavy right foot.
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Reply By: Russell P1 - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 15:54

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 15:54
Thanks to all who have replied, some real good help here as usual. As I said above, the Simpson section is only part of a much bigger trip. I have also been looking at fuelling points along the rest of the way and I am starting to think that if I just bite the bullet and carry 4 x 10 litre jerries on the roof rack, I can also probably bypass a lot of places where I can't get Premium ULP. I know the Prado V6 will run just fine on 91 or Opal, but I prefer Premium whenever I can get it.

I know all about the issues of extra weight up there and believe me, in the Prado it's hard to forget. Its certainly a bit more "rolly" than my previous 100 series! But I believe in taking it easy and don't expect any trouble.

Thanks again, guys. I'll let you know how it all goes.

AnswerID: 455442

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