Simpson & Roof Rack

Gday all,

Were heading off to the great Simpson Desert on the 27th leaving from Adelaide and ive got a few questions.

1. Jerry cans to the front of the roof rack or at the back and vise versa with the spare wheel? My theory would be jerrys t the back as your load will be decreasing with the topping up of the Fuel Tank and the spare wheel stays at the centre of gravity.

2. What are the conditions like? Would love to hear from someone on first accord who has just returned. Have been keeping a closefull eye on Explore Oz aswell as the Mt Dare website. Were planning on taking the French Line Across.

3. Who else will be travelling through? I figure it will be like a hwy as the Birdsville races are at the start of September. Hence our journey through there.

Really cant wait this will be a four car convoy and were all 1st timers through there! so were all pumped!! Were all sufficent and weve all done quite a bit of 4wding before so we have a bit of experience.

Look forward to your thoughts, ideas and recomendations

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:03

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:03
Don't put any weight on the roof at all , many of our modern cars are already only marginally stable , and it just isn't worth the risk.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: RobAck - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:07

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:07
Got back from a Simpson and Hay River crossing two weeks back. French Line is as usual pretty chopped up as the tyre pressure lesson has still to be learnt. So I recommend you use no more than 18 psi and be prepared to go to 16 psi. If you don't have any sand driving experience this will be a steep learning curve, if you have plenty of sand driving experience it remains a learning curve as every ascent and descent is different. Momentum is important and that does not mean driving flat out up every dune as with the correct tyre pressures you should make it easily at around walking pace for many but certainly somewhat quicker on the steeper and softer ones and there are plenty of them

JC at the rear for access is the go but make sure they are either strapped down and in something like a 52l plastic crate or well strapped to whatever roof rack you will use and check the fastenings every day

If you are not comfortable with safe snatch recovery then I suggest you get that side of things sorted before you go. Ensure you have rated recovery points front and rear and take a long handled shovel of course

Sand flags are mandatory and you will of course have purchased your desert parks pass for each vehicle which is required to legally cross both deserts

You do not mention vehicle type(s) and fuel but for the French Line you will be using more than you may expect. If you have been to Beachport then use that sand consumption as your planning figure. Our fully loaded Prado diesel towing and Ultimate XTrak used 18.7 l per 100km for the 1100km between Oodnadatta and Jervois

I hope all that makes sense and enjoy the trip as the desert is the best I have seen it in 15 years of crossings


AnswerID: 462886

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:16

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:16
One of the trips we did across; there was a lady in a 80 series who tried to catch a group of 4wd's in front of her...... we heard across the UHF " I have big problem I've lost my roof rack" in her strong european accent.

We were in the next group of 4wd's through and sure enough her roof rack complete with swags dislodged off her 80 series roof and landed right side up square to here vehicle.

The main cause was she had Rhino type racks and a cage on top, one of the arms for the racks broke causing the others to move.... speed was a factor as well over the dunes.

Some bolts, a bit of grinding and drilling and 1 hour later she was off.

The worst part was we had to do it in a very bad sand storm, the one in 2008 that browned out Birdsville, Broken Hill and finally Sydney.

Make sure you roof rack is good quality made for extreme off roading, your weight is kept to a minimum and you take it easy.
AnswerID: 462888

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:27

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:27

You never mentioned what make and model vehicle you have ?
No. 1 rule in desert travel, is let your tyres down.
Start at 20psi, and be prepared to go as low as 12psi, so I hope yor have BFG's,
Goodyear mtz, Micky T's, or a good reputable brand in LT rating, as they will handle the low pressures much easier, with their thicker sidewalls

Drive slowly, ie when we did it in 04 or 05, we averaged 20km/hr and in a lot of cases, got down to 5-10 km/hr if the conditions needed that speed. We still did it in 4 days.
Used 95 lts of diesel, with a 3.0 td Navara
Not sure what the Pootrol would use but I would work on 4 km/ lt, and anything better than that, would be a bonus.

We only carry spare tyres on the roof racks, but we have a camper, and we can carry 10 Jerry's on the side pods. And we averaged just under 5 km/lt in the Canning, so I can only judge the Simpsonmon the same fugeres.

Sor safety sake carry as litle as possible on the roof racks, as it really stuffs up the vehicle's centre of gravity.

AnswerID: 462890

Reply By: hunty01 - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:44

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:44
Cheers all

Ive got a 95 2.8td pajero. Very recent had a major service and evrything given a good onece over, There is also a Patrol, BT50 and a Holden D/C.

Have done the Robe to Beachport b4 so know about tyres and driving in the sand. Some Goodyears have been installed 4weeks ago. Done snatching b4 and the long handle shovel is already on passengers side. Ive already got a sand flag and Desert Park Pass has already been purchased and stuck on the windsceen.

Old Madge has a 92ltr tank and was thinking about another 60 on top. Obviously filling the tank as soon as can fit another 20 more ltrs in. Im thinking/ hoping the economy would be somewhere around the 16lt/100.

Cheers peeps!!

Cant wait to see a green deset!
AnswerID: 462895

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 20:57

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 20:57
Hi Hunty01

We were out there less than 2 weeks ago and it is fantastic as usual. The Simpson dunes are back the way they should, nice and soft and like above do not start at anything higher than 16psi tyre pressure, or else you will bog down. Only pack lights weight items on your rack and make sure that is a quality built rack from the major suppliers, e.g. TJM or ARB or else you will find that it will break and collapse within the first few rock and rolls of the dunes.

When we were out there, we were surprised that there were very few vehicles out in the desert proper, with lots of want a be Simpson Desert drivers doing the day trip out from Birdsville.

One tip that I can tell you and wins hands down every time.....10psi for Big Red. Has worked every time for me and I do not have any run up at all. From a standing start at the very base in 3rd low and if you have to change down, into second and you will have no problems. You will see the day trippers with high pressures and hitting the base at speed and only getting a few metres then bogging down...some people you can not tell.

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Have a great trip



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AnswerID: 462904

Follow Up By: hunty01 - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 23:13

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 23:13
Thanks for the info Stephen. Have read your posts and threads. The pics you have posted from Big Red and the cooper creek has made me want to pack up a diapear already. Looks great!
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:35

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:35
Hi Stephen.

Am in Alice after travelling the Simpson following your tips; thks.

Great experience. The 200 just eased up those eastern faces at 14psi. Just a dream run. Those turbos are awesome.

Off Papunya way tomorrow; have run out of time to do Uluru and Mereenie - another time.....

And, re the thread, the Rhinos and basket were not an issue, but they weren't overloaded either, at about 50% of ratings. Also the low pressuers meant that they were never under any strain thru having to gun and brake. Really, what a crooze...

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:52

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:52
Hi John

Great to hear that you were able to include the Simpson leg for your great trip. You ran the correct tyre pressure, but try telling that to some people and the east/west crossing is always our preferred route.

Safe travelling for your next leg of your holiday..


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