Canning - Spinifex problems with Prado 90 series Petrol

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 22:50
ThreadID: 94924 Views:4825 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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Hi All,
My wife & I are doing a 3month trip in June which includes theCanning Stock Route, Gunbarrel Hwy, Karijini, Ruddall River & the Kimberley. We aim to start the Canning around June 24th & spend about 30 days on the route.

We will be taking a well prepared 90 series Prado Petrol 4wd, but due to time constraints will be going by ourselves. We are used to outback travel by ourselves & are well prepared with satphone, recovery equipment etc. so the trip doesn't worry me - what does is the horror stories of 4wd's catching fire from spinifex on the exhaust - particularly with to petrol 4wd's.

I have read many articles and Eric Gard's Canning Book and will be taking a water sprayer, a large fire extinguisher and stopping regularly to check for spinifex, but considering we are travelling alone the thought of watching our car burn with no backup is a major concern.

I have heard that later in the season the spinifex has been dispersed by other travellers and is not so bad - Is June 24th late enough or we would be better to delay it till later, perhaps doing the kimberley first and doing the Canning on the return trip north to south (around Mid July)

I have heard of using fiberglass/ceramic exhaust bandages to insulate the exhaust and reduce the risk of fire from spinifex - are these worthwhile and how far down the exhaust would you go.

Also considering removing the bash plate from the engine bay/ gearbox and possibly around the sub tank components.

I know most of the 4wd's that do the Canning are diesel (perhaps we should have kept our beloved 60series) but for those who have done the trip and who have petrol 4wd's am I being paranoid!!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


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Reply By: Shaker - Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 23:47

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 at 23:47
I think you will find plenty will have been through before you, we did the CSR in late June & were fully prepared for spinifex & there was virtually none left on the track itself. If you leave the track, that would completely different of course. The only thing you didn't mention was to have length of strong wire with one end bent in a hook shape to remove anything that may accumulate under your vehicle.

AnswerID: 483238

Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 01:19

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 01:19
Andy, I'd be very reluctant to travel alone along the CSR, and I think you'll find every piece of advice is to hook up with at least one other travel partner for the duration of the trek.

I've heard all the horror stories first hand. The bloke in the convoy around 1988 with the F100 ute carrying all the fuel (6 drums), and he was the one that lit up.
He had to bale out so fast he never even grabbed his wallet, that had $300 in it.
They couldn't put the fire out and the Effie and all the fuel (and the wallet) went up.

There's only one way to stop underbody fires, and that's to stop on regular 20-30 minute occasions and physically check the exhaust system.
The number of vehicles I've seen fried in farmers paddocks from straw buildup runs into dozens.

At least with a partner vehicle, they can possibly see smoke before you do - by which time, it's often too late.

Carry a 5 litre garden sprayer full of water for fires.
The problem with spinifex is that when it burns, it creates a sticky, burning resin, that is so hard to extinguish.
The 5 litre sprayer is more effective than anything in this situation, you can keep soaking the spinifex, whereas an extinguisher is usually empty in 10 or 15 seconds.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 483244

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 05:46

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 05:46

Just go for it mate !
Just get a "super soaker" water pistol, keep it in a handy place, and a bloody good fire extinguisher.

Every time you stop, 2 hourly "smoko", have a look underneath, that's all we did and never even looked like any build up. Remember that those catalytic converters placed on petrol exhausts get fairly hot, so keep them clean, with a decent hook, and pull out any spinafex with it.

I have posted on this Forum, many times, how easy the Canning is, if you do your homework. ie.......Spares, Tyre repair kits, Vehicle preparation, tyre pressures and aproaching the dunes, Use, and calling forward, of a UHF radio (don't just sit there waiting, YAK ya head off)

Click here, you may get some hints., (and laughs)

Cheers Bucky

AnswerID: 483246

Follow Up By: Member - DickyBeach - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 06:42

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 06:42
A bottle (or two) of soft drink can also be used: shake it well and it'll deliver a (brief) forceful stream - a strong thumb over the hole can narrow the stream and thus make the liquid last longer.

FollowupID: 758491

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 07:18

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 07:18

End of July should be OK, as said most of the grasses have been mowed down by then.

Personally I would not take any bash plates off, they have a reason to be there but will also catch the spinifex. Cleaning the grass from under the vehicle is the only way to stop any build up.

It is not only the exhaust that can cause a problem, your front axles and the tail shafts will also create heat by rubbing on the collected grass.

A pair of gloves, tarp, long wire hook and a spray bottle of water with detergent added. The soap will act as a wetting agent.

I am not a big fan of doing this trip single vehicle but if you must nothing, I say will stop you.

Have you got your fuel requirements sorted, a fully loaded petrol will go through the fuel real quick.

Another tip, put your UHF on scan, not everybody runs on Ch 40, but also call from the well that you are leaving and say what direction you are travelling or the next well that you will come to.

AnswerID: 483253

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 08:32

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 08:32
The only thing I would add to what has been said is the suggestion of shade cloth on the bull bar and then draped underneath the front of the vehicle. Yes it will get torn a bit but I have found in the past that it does reduce the pickup of grass.

I would also have a careful look underneath from the perspective of grass coming from the front. Are there gaps around the crash plate etc which invite pickup? Look especially near the exhaust which is your main worry.

We also tend to be solo travellers and whilst the Canning and Simpson are probably better done with others, if you are well prepared then I would just go.

AnswerID: 483260

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 16:49

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 16:49

While a petrol powered vehicle is, in my opinion, the less practical option compared to a diesel from a number of perspectives, I would say go for it. We did the CSR north to south in June 1998 and even back then most of the spinifex heads had been mown by previous travellers. As has been said venturing off the stock route, which we did at many points is a different matter. We took the precautions as others have said regarding a wire hook, water spraying unit of some type, a couple of fire extinguishers and a shade cloth zip tied to the top of the 'roo guard (sorry but I hate the expression "bull bar"). Also if stopping make sure you do it on a clear patch of ground. Vehicle preparation before you go is the single most important item you can attend to. Adequate water, fuel and food will of course be important and with the amount of reported traffic a breakdown along the CSR at that time of year will not be the life threatening experience it once was but could mean the loss of your vehicle.
Personally I would remove under body bash plates as it makes getting to any grass seeds or fires a lot easier, unless your vehicle is already lower than most. If this is the case I would look at a suspension lift and maybe a strengthening to cope with the extra gear you will be carrying.
Don't try to rush it, look around and enjoy.

AnswerID: 483290

Reply By: P2D2 - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 17:54

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 17:54
Putting a good squirt of Cousins Morning Fresh dish washing detergent improves the put out power of the water in your sprayer.
AnswerID: 483300

Reply By: Nimbus - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:16

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:16
Hi Andy,
We are crossing to Coober Pedy from Yamba, then Anna Beadell, Connie Sue, Gunbarrel and should be at Wiluna and start of Canning about the same time. We are a couple in our 60's who do a lot of remote 4WD on our own and I am sure that you will have ample company on the CSR.

AnswerID: 483487

Follow Up By: AndyMort - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:38

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:38
Hi greg,
Thanks for the post. Are you interested in travelling together? Maybe we can chat more - our email address is .
Cheers Andy
FollowupID: 758743

Reply By: Nimbus - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:23

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 20:23
Hi Andy,
We are crossing to Coober Pedy from Yamba, then Anna Beadell, Connie Sue, Gunbarrel and should be at Wiluna and start of Canning about the same time. We are a couple in our 60's who do a lot of remote 4WD on our own and I am sure that you will have ample company on the CSR.

AnswerID: 483490

Reply By: AndyMort - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:47

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:47
Thanks Everyone for all your useful advice and suggestions.
The exploroz website is such a great forum to get assistance and advice from others.

Its now 6 weeks away from starting our trip and we cant wait - we are lucky enough to have 3 months off so have plenty of time for the regular stop to check for spinifex!!!

Great suggestion of the super soaker and using morning fresh in our garden sprayer. We also use our garden sprayer as a shower - a great way to shower in a couple of litres of water when water is so scarce.

Would love to have a diesel (should have kept the 60 series!) but unfortunately are stuck with a petrol.
Have a long range tank fitted - 160l +70l sub tank & carrying about 100 l of water. Have a satphone & considering doubling up by getting an epirb as well ($300 well spent).

Enquired about the ceramic bandages and was told by a reputable exhaust place that they corrode the exhaust and the best way to prevent fires was just to stop and check all the time.

Once again thanks all for your advice


AnswerID: 484153

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