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Simpson Desert.

PKDreamers

Adventurer
Hi,
We are planning a Simpson Desert crossing in May 2021 if all boarders are open etc. Birdsville to Mt Dare up to Finke not sure from there.
Canter FG649 4500kg , 2 Patrols and 2 or 3 Bikes.
Just want any tips , advice on tyre pressures etc.
Problems people had.
Must see ?
Any thing you forgot to take and needed , anything you took that was a waste of time stuff like that.
Thanks
 

Bris31

Adventurer
We in 3 canters (+2 Prados) did the same in year 2017. Birdsville, QAA line, Poepple corner, French Line, K1 Line, Approdina Knoll , WAA line, Lone gum tree, Purni Bore, Dalhousie springs & Mt Dare. About 8 days but now wish we had spent more time.
My FG649 2003 was just about 4500kg and burned 120L for 660km. Tyre pressure about 25PSI, drove mostly 4WD on Low range (until just before Purni bore when the flat run started till Mt Dare). Initially it took a while to get the right pressure to go up the dunes.
My front leaf spring rubber bushes (rear ones) started melting out but I had a spare set to swap. Needed one small jack to lift the leaf spring which luckily one of the Prado had. Fly/mozzie cream didn't work much for us but we had the net covering the head/face.
If possible, spend more time on the way to see flora, fauna & astronomy if interested. We had full moon on the first night, in desert it is amzing to watch moon rise. Look out for camels, which are usually shy away in this part of the Simpson. I found everyday crossing the 1200 dunes on some rotten tracks is tiring, needed few chill out day on the way.
From Mt Desert some of us travelled to Lambert Center, Chandlers Pillar, Rainbow valley, Painted Desert and others back to Birdsvill via Madigan line.
Wish you good luck, you will enjoy the trip in Canter.
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
We crossed the desert last year in our Montero (solo) West to East. Take a dip at Dalhousie Springs - really enjoyable, and from East to West you'll really appreciate it. We were very concerned about fuel, and the advice was to plan on the longest distance, so we took a lot of reserve. In the end we drove 610 Km and used 135L of fuel (petrol), which was a lot less than we carried. We started from Dalhousie Springs with 22 psig, and dropped this to 18 psig once we reached the softer sand - didn't change the pressure after that. We carried 44L of water (plus a bit more in bottles). Zero problems with the vehicle or the terrain. We were conscientious with the radio - saw one vehicle a day for the first 4 days however arriving at Etre Creek there were several and at Big Red the crowds showed up (I think 6 vehicles in the same direction, about 10 plus 3 bikes in the other direction). Knoll's Track was interesting - somewhat different from the French Line. Camping was outstanding - wonderful stars! We weren't troubled by mosquitoes/insects at all, although at Eyre Creek there were a few. The guide you get with the desert permit is very good.
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
What tyres on the Canter?
Basically, keep letting them down until it goes up without ANY wheel spin or bogging. Then keep the speed low enough to stop over heating (which is the big risk).
East to west will be harder than west to east.
Take as long as you can (controlled by water carried and how you use it) and spend a few nights at a time on the WAA or Rig Road where there will be less traffic. The local critters all bugga off when you arrive and take a couple of nights before they start coming back. Most people never see them.
Avoid before and after the Finke race and the Big Red Bash. The traffic during those times will drive you mad. Also, you will be going in the opposite direction to most traffic, so take care as that increases the risks somewhat.

A selection of short video clips...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7y61s_2vP0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX2bqM8VSZE
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

PKDreamers

Adventurer
We are leaving June 2021 so we should miss Finke River traffic.
Worked out with amount of people also carrying fuel and fuel for the bikes we have 7 days easy of food and water .
Fly nets are the good thanks for that.

Running 285 70 r19.5 toyo.
I thought about 25 psi would be a good start point for tyre pressure.
I have a watched a few of your videos Peter looks like low and slow is the go.
Keep the tips coming in thanks .
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
Running 285 70 r19.5 toyo.
Same as Julian's Canter in the vid. (on ATW 8 1/4"rims). At 4.5T you will be fine, but I suggest that next time you buy tyres, go up one size to 305s, and I prefer the Michelins. More flexible side walls and they stay cooler at low pressures.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
re East-West or West-East (not that it matters since I think your decision is made), we were driven (pun intended) by the overall route we took and not by the advice that it would be easier West-East (we went West-East). We found that the dune slopes heading east were more chopped up than on the other side - perhaps because of having had more traffic eastbound (?). COmments at Mount Dare were that by this time in the "season" there's not much difference. OP will be travelling earlier I realise.

Take care looking out for bikes - we saw three - they didn't have sand flags, are lower to start with, and were not using the radio, although to be fair they were accompanied by people in 4x4s who were using the radio to alert oncoming travellers.
 

PKDreamers

Adventurer
I am not sure if in QLD you can get 305s pasted for compliance on a Canter ??

Yes we will be going East to West simple reason that we are really doing Byron Bay to Steep Point.
We all apart form the bikes have radios and sand flags.
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I am not sure if in QLD you can get 305s pasted for compliance on a Canter ??
I would be surprised if that was the case. The 8 1/4" rim is the optimum size for the 305s. I understand that ATW only did the engineering for the 285 but it is generally OK to go up one size anyhow, without extra engineering. Worth asking.
We see OKAs on 265s, 285s and 305s (which are the most common). OKA tour busses report 100,000km from Michelin 305s. I can get 80,000.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

PKDreamers

Adventurer
I will have to look into 305s in the furture but i think i would have to see the clearance with A/c condensor , left hand step etc because now on full lock on the steering and full compression on the springs there is only a few mm of clearance.
 

Bris31

Adventurer
I have Thuraya. Reception was excellent in Simpson - no different than normal mobile phone in the city. Price of handset was about $700 with $15/month with 10-15 free SMS and abt $2/min call and $25 one time connection fee in the beginning. It has 04xxxxxxxx mobile number, good thing is if people call this number, charges for caller is just like normal mobile number (or free if under a plan). I would send them SMS to call me whenever I needed to talk.
But in my opinion better option maybe to hire a sat phone (I believe $40/day) from Birdsville or Mt Dare roadhouses and drop on the other side. Divide the cost among the group. Their plans maybe different than above Thuraya.

Hope this will help.
 
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