Tanami & 2007 Pajero

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:10
ThreadID: 97829 Views:2392 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Hi All,

Well as a novice 4WDer I thought we might jump in at the deepish end.

Myself and the family and planning a trip from Adelaide up to Alice, Tanami to Kimberleys/Broome/Gibb River Road and the make our way down the coast and back across the Nullarbor to home. Looking at June/July next year with a camper trailer in tow.

A couple of questions that I hope you "experienced" people might be able to answer for me.

Not having done any 4WDing before am I biting off more than I can chew?

We are allowing 5 weeks for this trip, is that enough time or not? We hope to do a big push at the start and at the end to give us more time in WA.

Looking at buying a 2007 Pajero for this trip (our first 4WD) and was wondering if a stock standard car would be capable of this trip or are mods required?

Thankyou in advance, Lloyd
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Reply By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:16

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:16
I can help you with the Tanami Road as we were there a few months ago

There was a fair bit of work going on and I'd say they are preparing it for tar soon, we sat on about 100km/h for most of it slowing right down for road conditions, corrogations, dust and road trains.

Our tyre pressures were set at 32psi

Fuel is available at Tanami Roadhouse, Yuendemu and then a big stretch to Billiluna so you'll need to take this stretch into account as Rabbit Flat has been closed for some time.

Hope this helps a little


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Reply By: Outbackogre - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:54

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:54
Paul, during a 5 week period in June/July 2011, I traveled from Melbourne - Alice Springs - Halls Creek and Purnalulu (via Tanami) - Broome - Wyndham (via Gibb RR) - Darwin - Alice - Dalhousie (via Finke Track) - Oodnadatta - Flinders Ranges - Melb in an NP diesel Pajero towing a Cub Supamatic CT. The Pajero and trailer performed without fault. The Pajero had 2inch Lovell springs with Bilstein shocks and added underbody protection (intercooler and sump). It did the trip easily and is still going strong. Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Paul W15 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 20:14

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 20:14
Thanks guys, they are both encouraging replies, from what I can gather the tanami isn't as scary as you first think, some common sense and good planning sounds like it will go a long way, outbackogre you certainly covered some kms and went through some pretty remote spots so it sounds like we should be ok, with your springs and shocks was that more for ride comfort or for off road durability? I've read on a couple of forums under body protection sounds like a must give the consequences of something going through the inter cooler not being good.
Cheers, Paul
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Follow Up By: Outbackogre - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 20:25

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 20:25
Careful planning is certainly required Paul, especially fuel stops as already indicated. Soon after purchasing the vehicle 2 years ago I was on Fraser Island and quickly discovered the limitations of the ground clearance (especially up front with the underslung intercooler). I decided to upgrade the suspension based on my research of the areas we intended to travel on the Kimberley trip - river crossings, corrugations, etc. Having travelled all that way, I didn't want to be limited by a poorly prepared vehicle. regards, Rob.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:21

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:21

Can't help you with the roads, as any info I have would be long out of date.

Re the Pajero, I'd suggest a 2" lift, a snorkel and a dual battery set-up, if you're towing next year. Also upgrade the tyres to LT type.

What's probably more important, as this will be your first 4wd, is to get some reputable training for both you and your wife/missus/partner(can't be too careful after that other post) This course will give you better understanding of the vehicle dynamics, and the different handling characteristics to a sedan. I'd also be doing, if the course doesn't provide it, some slow speed(60kph) emergency stops, both with and without the camper. Pick somewhere quiet, with plenty of room, and somewhere that won't have you head butting a gum tree or two. Many people have their first taste of emergency braking in a real emergency, and it often finishes badly!!!!!!

And about the "big push" at the beginning and end of the trip. Just make sure you get plenty of sleep before, like 8-9 hours, and get some good rest in between the 2 big pushes. You don't want to stuff the 5 weeks up by going too hard, and always playing catch up with rest, and other breaks.

Hope you enjoy it, haven't got a spare seat have you?


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Follow Up By: Paul W15 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:19

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:19
Thanks bob, all your advise sounds spot on I think some 4WD training will be invaluable, I just need to find that right balance between a great adventure without jeopardizing anything and being put off by all the unknowns. Our family went so to Vietnam/Cambodia earlier this year and then in the school holis went up to the flinders for a few days and we we more inspired by our few days in the flinders than our is trip hence the urge to spread our wing a bit further and what better place to do that than the Kimberley
PS I think we'll need to remove the spare seats in the back to fit everything in sorry
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:36

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:36

Not been on the Tanamai or GRR in over 25 years. Had a mate do those tracks in a Disco 2-4 weeks ago. He thought The Oodnadatta track was the worst, 4 years ago I thought the Oodnadatta track was a breeze. Road conditions change
However we do have a 2007 Pajero diesel and have done a number of tracks over the years in the eastern half of Aust towing a heavy Camper Trailer.

In short you will do it easily provided you adjust tyre pressures and drive/ manage speed accordingly. Just because someone passes you doing 20km/hr faster, don't think it is wise for you to do it.
Biggest sin we family people make is that we overload our vehicles. Heavier springs/ airbags won't enable you to carry more, but will make them ride better.
IF I was doing that trip I would firstly consider new or near new Light Truck tyres, then heavier springs, new and possibly 2nd battery set up but that is about it.
For that trip alone, no need for snorkel, bullbar etc, as creeks should be well down and you shouldn't be travelling after dark or in roo hours.

5 weeks is grossly inadequate, you will be travelling almost every day.
Bear in mind that in those months you should have pulled up by around 3.30PM in order to make camp and start food prep in daylight hours.
Otherwise you will make it into one of those "been there/ done that/ tick it off the list" holidays. Yes possible but torture on your family.

Have a great time

AnswerID: 494265

Reply By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 07:06

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 07:06
I've just returned from a 12 week trip from Brisbane to Coral Bar and return and whilst you could do your planned trip in 5 weeks, I reckon it'd be a rush. We did a lot of the roads you mention and can assure you that while you won't need a lift, a suspension upgrade might make the corrugations less noticeable. Our standard Pathfinder handled it quite well and at no time was it hard to control but my wife did have sore stomach muscles after one particular day.
We found sone of the roads off the main roads much rougher than the GRR or Tanami.
In 18,256 klm, we hardly used 4wd.
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 07:07

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 07:07
Oops - should read Coral Bay
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Reply By: i'machocoholic - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 13:54

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 13:54
Hi Lloyd,

Personally, I think you're trying to squeeze too much in if you're allowing 5 weeks.

Earlier this year, we went from Adelaide up to Ayers Rock, Alice Springs, up the Tanami, and into Kununurra. Then out on the Gibb River Road for 3 weeks, Derby, Broome, back to Kununurra and across to Katherine and down the middle back home. Just that alone took 6 weeks and I wouldn't say that we went slow.

It's up to you, but perhaps you should just concentrate on one section (like the Tanami and Gibb River Road), then perhaps do the west coast another trip. Otherwise your trip seems a little like a "tick box" action (yep, we did it), but did you really enjoy just passing through without having the time to stop and truly appreciate what you're visiting.

For a newbie to 4wding, I would suggest learning some basics, eg tyre pressures, how to drive on dirt, driving speeds, what to have in a basic toolkit, etc. The Tanami can be isolated, so you also might want to consider communication of some sort, eg hire a satellite phone. In Adelaide, the guys out at Adventure 4WD offer great training.

My blog for this trip isn't finished but if you'd like any ideas of the trip you are embarking on, click Kimberley 2012.

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