Canning May 2012

Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 23:34
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Have just completed Canning from Wiluna to Halls Creek - a 2011 Lancruiser 76 series and a 2012 200 Series GX Landcruiser - both V8 diesels, long rang tanks, ARB suspensions, Mud Terrains - very well prepared trucks, with no trailers!!!

It is tough and it is long – 1800 km, one fuel drop, one fuel stop and one place to buy anything – Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community where Mr and Mrs Grumpy run the store......

The literature says 16 to 21 days – we did it in 10 driving days plus one rest day, without pushing too hard – a tribute to the trucks. 200 Series averaged 22 litres per 100 kms. The 76 series averaged 18 litres per 100km

Long days, early mornings, up at dawn, driving by 7.15am, usually off the road by 3.30pm, beer in hand at 4.00pm! Very hard to average any better than 30 kph. The track itself is predominantly sandy with some nasty rocky sections, constant dunes of up to 18m high and heavily corrugated tracks that simply go on and on and on........

The dunes basically all run east/west and most of the traffic comes from the south so the “south face” of every dune is a real mess – heavily scalloped with ruts of 18” or more. North to south would be a much easier drive, the downside is that you are far more likely to have a head on over a blind dune. Constantly on the radio notifying our position to avoid that very issue but there was a nasty one last week...

Technique for us, was High range second gear and hard acceleration with a pause on top of dune to see where it actually goes, rather than launching yourself into the mulga! Given the ruts, the truck was bucking and kicking all over the place and while your instincts are to back off, if you do, or try to change gear, you are stuffed and stuck.... We only got caught a couple of times, back down the hill and go again, different line and a bit harder – no problem. Many dunes managed to have a “S” bend in the run up which made life much more interesting.....

The two trucks were unbelievable – a tribute to the initial build by Toyota and the subsequent modification by ARB. Those big 4.5l diesels, tyres at 25 psi, we could power over the dunes and relatively comfortably run the corrugations at 55-60 kph where everyone else we saw out there, was running them at 20 kph and shaking themselves to bits

Just about every vehicle we saw was underprepared. Some Swiss idiots tried a 4wd motorhome – stuck on every serious dune, and very real danger to themselves and others. A number of vehicles with off road trailers – totally nuts in our view. To get over dunes they are using extra long run ups, hitting the dune at much high speeds and risking breakages every time. A number of vehicles abandoned, Rangie Defender, Prado burnt when spinifex caught fire, two Jeeps burnt out and one 2008 Jeep abandoned just last week. Just sitting there, radiator stuffed with seeds, engine seized, full of the guys clothes, tools and a small sword ! Rescued by chopper. They say it is not worth recovering as cost would be north of $10,000. For the underprepared driver or crew, it is very dangerous. Mercedes took 9 of their G Wagons out there and every single one had a shocker or suspension problem............ Buy a Toyota – they own the outback.

The guys we travelled with were terrific – 2012 200 Series Cruiser, had a very similar view to us as to appropriate speed, preserving the trucks and covering the miles. Apart from both breaking wing mirrors and multiple scratches, neither of us had the slightest problem with tyres or shocks.

As to the drive itself, it is truly stunning, the desert, the dunes, the mountains, the extraordinary bird life as a result of great seasons, the Milky Way and stars at night like you have never seen them. Of the 51 Wells that Canning dug, only a few are restored and very few now have good water – what extraordinary men they must have been

Now, where to next.......................
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Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:13

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:13
It is certainly an adventure and an eye opener about what you get to see on route.
I went from north to south. Steeper approach but nice and smooth, then just doddled down the other side, plus no sun in our eyes which was a complaint from all travelers that we met....may have just been that way in July. Scenery is stunning, and some of the places you can camp are quite good.
Economy was much lower at 15.5 to well 33, then 15.3 to Wiluna. We were pretty heavy....over our GVM initially, until food, fuel and water dropped. We went in the year of no fuel drop in 2008, but still managed to have enough fuel to also visit the Calvert ranges while it was open. Taking it easy, took us 13 days including two rest days. No hurry just long days. The trip was easier than what others led me to believe. Good planning and sensible driving is the key.
We came across all models with problems, including the aforementioned brand, probably more so due to high tyre pressures and no understanding of self preservation.
Going again in 2 years...can't wait.
AnswerID: 487223

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 04:11

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 04:11
Congrats Ken

We would love to do it again. but there are other tracks we want to cover fist.

AnswerID: 487229

Reply By: Fab72 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 05:31

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 05:31
G'Day Ken,
Thanks for the trip report...loved reading it.
Haven't been down (or up) the CSR just yet but it's most certainly on the "to do" list.
AnswerID: 487232

Reply By: Member - John - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 06:51

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 06:51
G'day, thanks for the report, heading North - South end of June. Just a quick question, you say, "but there was a nasty one last week... " about an incident on a dune I presume, can you elaborate please.
Thanks in advance. John
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AnswerID: 487233

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:17

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:17
John - we were told of a head on.

One vehicle apparently had a tow bar fitted on the FRONT of his truck and it speared through the radiator of the other vehicle.

Presumably it was for manouvering a boat or something - why you would leave it on is anyone's guess...........!

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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 07:06

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 07:06

Sounds like you had a good trip and well done.

A few more days on the track would have been nice instead of the early starts. The average speed is very hard to explain to other drivers, it is less than a school speed zone. Try driving at that speed all day.

You technique for crossing the dunes was good, how ever I use 1st high and 18psi in the front and 20psi in the back. With that pressure I found that I can go over the dunes much slower.( Limited to first gear in a Troopie, speed is not achievable).

The 200 Series tend to be a bit on the thirsty side, but that is normal for that vehicle in sand. I have had a few 200 Series away with me and that fuel consumption is average.

The number of vehicle left on the track is getting to be a worry, just leaving the vehicle because it cost too much to recover?
Being better prepared is one answer but how prepared some drivers are does make you think, is vehicle bound for the "Canning Wreckers".

The scenery out the is truly amazing and it is different over every dune.

AnswerID: 487234

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 18:20

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 18:20
So Jeeps don't have to carry as many spares? :-)
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Reply By: andoland - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:15

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:15
It's always good to hear other peoples experiences.

We drove the CSR last June/July in our 2010 Prado. We took 18 days and I could have happily stayed out there for 18 more.

Fuel consumption was just under 14 litres/100km (13.8 I think) fully loaded with 2 adults and 2 kids.

We took a different approach to the dunes. We could get over them in high range but as you experienced it was very hard on vehicles and people, so we used low range just to slow down and it made a huge difference. We also only has 16psi in the tyres. Not being critical but I reckon you would have been more comfortable and used less fuel with a bit less than 25psi.

It is a wonderful trip though isn't it!!
AnswerID: 487239

Follow Up By: Bush Wanderer - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:16

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:16
I took the same approach. Due to such a slow speed the lower tyre pressures made it very comfortable. We went through a burnt out section, and the lower pressures handled the sharp burnt bits well. No flats, but had the opportunity to help out a well know tour operator telling her people they needed 35 in their tyres. They had continual problems, but she would not have it that lower pressures were better.
Never had an issue with any altercations with oncoming traffic even though we headed north to south. The radio is your friend. Was slowed up a number of times with vehicles having problems going over the dunes from the south.....mostly tyre pressure issues, and then trailers.
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Reply By: PJR (NSW) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:44

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:44
Thank Ken

Excellent report. I am planning for a half drive Billiluna down to either Jenkins or Talawana Tracks next year then back east. Maybe around July or August. Let the spinifex be mowed down a bit by the earlier drivers. Only have four weeks away from home so cannot do it all. But your report inspires me. I am part way through my bucket list with the Kimberley in 2009, Cape York visited last year and the Simpson next month.


AnswerID: 487243

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:51

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:51
Good luck

The spinifex actually was not a problem if you stayed on the track! It had certainly been mowed down but the fact we had 50mm lifts on the trucks plus bull bars which are well shaped underneath meant we had zero seeds.........

Slightly lower vehicle, early in the season, reckon I would run a cover over the radiator and check regularly underneath. Seeds can and did stop the 2008 Jeep which looked very standard and under prepared
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:06

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:06
We only have a 50mm lift as well. But I made a stone guard out of 1/4 rod and stick 10mm square chicken wire on it. It is simply attached to the front of the bullbar as required before any trip. When needed a bit of plastic flyscreen is dead easy to attach it to the center of the stone guard with a few cable ties. Just a two minute job. Cheap as chips and doesn't look to rough either. Looks even better on the steel winch fitted bar as well.

We have travelled the Hay plains enough to experience locust and bug plagues with to be forwarned. Same thing stops all grass seend. We had 1/4 inch of mossies on the front last easter after a drive to Adelaide.

But your warning is a good reminder.

The boss is just makinga new flag for the car also.

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Reply By: GT Campers - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:53

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:53
Glad you had a good time! And yes from what is often reported, there are plenty of horror stories...

You mention 25psi in your muddies... a bit high? Or was that just your 'road'(!) pressure?

It is significant your Toyotas were both modified; those Benzes you mention were *absolutely* factory standard and Benz has now revised the damper specs for Australia (previously they were an AMG sport spec).
AnswerID: 487248

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:23

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:23
We played around with the tyre pressure and 25 psi seemed about right - we were not getting stuck on the dunes, never needed low range, never engaged diff locks

So seemed to work ok for these trucks - lesser torque or towing a tralier would be , sub 20 psi I imagine. The problem is that you come out of the dunes all the time, sometimes onto salt pans where 70/80 kph is easy, sometimes onto nasty sharp rocks where I personally don't like exposing the side walls too much and sometimes into wash outs. You need to pick a compromise

Interestingly, my truck ran BFG Mud Terrains and the other ran Mickey Thompson - the BFG's showed no damage at all while the Mickey Thompson's showed damage from chipping - both sets virtually new prior to the trip
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:11

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:11
We stuck our nose into the eastern side of the Simpson for "what is it like very short detour on a trip to the gulf and found that 25 was fine apart from Big Red. Down to 15 and from a dead stop at the bottom did all three tracks.

So I was already thinking like you. 20 to 25 psi even though it sounds a little high it may be a good compromise for both dunes and flats. We also have a auto which makes sand driving a little easier. No sudden traction grab when changing gears with the almost seamless changes.

More good info Ken. Thanks

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Follow Up By: GT Campers - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:58

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:58
Good stuff Ken, as you know pressures are critical for sand driving and 25psi is on the high side - that is an Eastern States' gravel road pressure for me.And possibly why there is often rutting/track damage. On sand I'm down to 15 or so, and 8 or 10 when towing my trailer on NSW Stockton Beach: Cooper AT3 Light Truck. P-constructed tyres (eg OE Dunlop Grandtreks) are often OK at around 18psi on sand
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Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:28

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:28
Ken I was surprised at the relative fuel consumption between the 200 series and the 76 series.
I would have thought the 200 series would have used less as it is the same engine as 76 series but with twin turbo. AS the 200 series has more power it would be working less hard to do the same job.
Was the 200 series carrying a bigger load than the 76 series.?
AnswerID: 487250

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:04

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:04
The 200 series carried one more passenger so add 120kg, but it starts weighing in at some 500kg heavier than the 76 series if I remember correctly.

While they are the same basic engines, the 76 has less power but more torque than the 200 and is also manual

My guess is that the weight difference is the biggest factor
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Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:10

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:10
The 76 has more torque than the 200....what has he done to achieve that ? That's pretty impressive. Or did you type too fast ?
AnswerID: 487255

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:44

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:44
Nothing tricky at all - both vehicles unchaged in rehard to power

If you check the standard specs for both vehicles on the Toyota website you will see that the engines are configured differently in regard to BHP and torque

All make sense as the 76 series, troopy, farm and mine utes etc do a lot more heavy, slow and low range work vs 200, where my guess is that many never go off road at all!!!

The GX is Toyotas response to the market telling them that the "normal 200" had moved way too far from its roots as a stunning offroad utilitarian vehicle like the 100 series
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Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:51

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:51

Just went back to Toyota website:

200 - Weight 2640kg, Power 195 kw and Torque 650

76 - Weight 2230, Power 151kw and Torque 430

76 Series - lighter and less stressed
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:11

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:11
Even so the ADR 81/02 fuel consumption data is:

200 series 10.3 l/100km
70 series 11.9 l/100km

It just seems odd to me that when they start to do a bit of work the 70 series uses less when under normal driving conditions the 200 series uses less!

FollowupID: 762523

Reply By: IronMan - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:07

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:07
Nice trip, I am jealous!

Just curious, you mentioned a fuel drop. I have seen photographs of a heap of 44's pretty much in the middle of nowhere, the caption noted that this was a fuel drop (somewhere or other!). Is this what you are referring to? And which one did you pay for?

Or am I barking up the wrong spinifex bush?
AnswerID: 487258

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:30

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:30
We were a bit concerned about fuel, not knowing what we would use.

200 Series had long range tanks - 280 litres I think plus a 20l gerry on the roof

76 series has 166 litre main tank plus 4*20 L gerrys on the roof

Our aim was that we would have enough to get through to Kunawarritji from Wiluna and would have easily done so, but we figured we may as well organise a fuel drop from Capricorn Roadhouse as well - just off the track near Well 23. If there was a problem we could still get through to Kunawarritji, if it was all there as planned we would buy less at Kunawarritji and that is the way it worked out

When we arrived at the fuel dump, there were about 12*205l drums, all in good condition, all sealed and they had been there for about 2 weeks - cost delivered $3.00 pl for diesel. At Kunawarritji, we took on very little and cost was higher at $3.40 pl - bit of a rip off really

We took our own drum pump - there was one there but did not want to risk sand and rubbish in the lines...........
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Reply By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:56

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:56
Yes there was a fuel dump and you had to have the fuel in 205 litre drums but the fuel people truck caught fire and no more fuel dump that was about the time that Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community started to sell fuel funny about that
If you used low range 5th or so gear you may have got better fuel economy
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AnswerID: 487291

Follow Up By: Ken Rd - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 19:26

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 19:26
Don't think so unless you want to change from Low Range to High Range every 500 metres - reality is that you go from 10 kph to 40 kph and back again constantly - my truck is happy at 40 kph in 5th High doing less than 1000 rpm - pretty economical.................
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