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2017 Tours & Expeditions

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   Well this year we carried out another four commercial trips, a recce’ & a private trip. We often do little runs on our own or with friends when we have time. It’s our time off & we enjoy poking around quietly in the country we think of as home.

   Anyway, things went well this year or at least we had a normal run with flat tyres. We also ran an experiment this season with tubes, a flow on from the trouble we had with tubes last year during the expedition. I’ve written a separate report on this and it is posted onto our website ( Tube Problems & Repair Experiments 2016-18 ).

   So have a read about our 2017 tyre happenings and see what you think.


2017 Season Tyre Troubles in Brief

Type of Travel Month Distance Vehicles Tyre Problems Mick's Tyres
Recce’ - Coober Pedy area March 1,650 kms 2 0 0
Tour - Series in the Scrub May 1,070 kms 7 2 0
Tour - Anne Beadell & Connie Sue Hwys June 3,112 kms 7 6 2
Expedition – Carnegie, Wells & Hann July/August 1,488 kms 5 14 ½ 4
Private trip including some off-track August/Sept 2,528 kms 2 1 1
Tour - Beadell Tracks Wanderer September 2,310 kms 3 5 1
  In desert 12,158 kms 26 28 ½ 8
  Full season 29,856 kms      



TRIP #1 – "Series in the Scrub II"

   May - Off-Road Tour of 1070 kms for 14 days
   1 flat tyre & 1 badly fitted tube – 7 vehicles


Vehicles & Tyres Problems Cause Fuel Consumption
Land Rover 130 – 7.50R16 All Steel Radial 0   11.14
Land Rover S1 1950 & Brockhouse Trailer – 6.00-16 tubed 2 Tube issues 17.6
Land Rover S1 1954 – 205R16 tubed 0   14.1
Land Rover S1 1954 – 235/85R16 tubed 0   15.9
Land Rover S1 1955 – 235/85R16 tubed 0    
Land Rover Defender 90 – 235/85R16 tubeless 0   10.3
Land Rover S1 1950 – 6.00-16 tubed 0    


   The single flat tyre or slow leak was a simple tube pinhole. When the tyres & tubes were fitted whoever did it didn’t know much about the art of tubes. The tyre had a bit of grit and rubbish in it & I would guess the other 3 would be the same. Anyway it is to be expected in these modern enlightened times.

   The second tube problem was also poor fitting. In this case when the tube was fitted the valve stem wasn’t lined up properly. It was kinked & crooked and not very satisfactory at all. So muggins volunteered for another job. Pulled the tube and cleaned the tyre out, powdered the sidewalls and put it back together.


Tiny fitting damage

Tiny, tiny tube damage from poor fitting at a professional tyre shop, it’s almost too small to see



The owner of the tyre having a go at putting the tyre & tube back together, I don’t mind


TRIP #2 – "Anne Beadell & Connie Sue Highways in Full"

   June - Off-Road Tour of 3112 kms for 26 days
   6 flat tyres – 7 vehicles


Vehicles & Tyres Flats Cause Fuel Consumption
Defender 130 - 7.50R16 All Steel Radial – split rim 2 Sidewall stake & old damage 10.82 Lts/100
Toyota FJ – 265/70R17 – tubeless alloy 0   15.19 Lts/100
Toyota Prado – 265/70R16 – tubeless alloy 0   16.86 Lts/100
Toyota 78 troopy & Camper – 265/75R16 – tubeless steel 0    
Isuzu D Max – 245/70R16 – tubeless alloy 0   12.68 Lts/100
Toyota 70 wagon – 265/75R16 – tubeless alloy 1 Sidewall stake  
Nissan Patrol GU wagon – 275/65R17 – tubeless alloy 3 Sidewall & shoulder stakes  


   The sidewall & shoulder stakes were quite normal, except one, it was a bit out of the ordinary. A large long stick was thrown from the front tyre into the rear after driving over a few sticks on the Connie Sue Highway. Not much you can do about this apart from stop & pick up every stick on the road.

   Our flat tyre due to "old damage" was the normal thing we have had happen over the years. The tyres we were wearing had some battle scars from off-track work & a fair bit of remote touring. What happens is that a cut in the outside of the tyre grows and gets deeper with time because the tyres are at lower pressures and the extra flexing causes the rubber to crack further. Eventually the crack gets through the tyre and rubs the tube, finally the tube gives up and you have a slow leak in that tyre.

   Here’s a question for modern 4WDers, having explained the above, what do you think could happen if you have a cord plug in the sidewall of a tyre........

   All tyres were repaired and ready for use or put back into use.


Long stake in tyre

Well, you don’t see that every day…… repaired & OK
Connie Sue Highway June 2017


Stake inside tyre

A different bit of wood, as you would expect this tyre leaked a bit of air.....Repaired & put back into use
Connie Sue Highway June 2017


TRIP #3 – "Carnegie, Wells & Hann" Expedition

   July/August - Off-Track Expedition of 1488 kms for 26 days
   14 ½ flats - Five vehicles

Off-road distance = 806 kms
Off-track distance = 682 kms (no road or track at all)


Vehicles & Tyres Flats Cause Fuel Consumption
Land Rover Defender 130 – 7.50-16 Bias 4 Sidewall stakes & tube experiment 19.06 Lts/100
Toyota Hilux ute – 7.00-16 Bias 5 ½ Tread & shoulder stakes + 1 false alarm  - 
Toyota V8 ute – 7.50-16 Bias 4 Tread & sidewall stakes + 2 tube problems 20.63 Lts/100
Toyota 75 ute – 7.50-16 Bias 1 Sidewall stake  - 
Toyota 75 troopy – 7.50-16 Bias 0  -   - 


   Well, we had a much better expedition this year. Barely any tube problems compared to our last off-track outing. In regard to tyres we had several sidewall stakes which due to the construction of Bias tyres are normally quite rare.

   Two of the tube problems were unusual. Both tubes had tiny little punctures in amongst some funny looking imprints in the tubes surface. I hadn’t seen this before & I didn’t know what it was. The fellow who had this problem told me that the imprint came from the edge of the rust bands. I didn’t see the rust bands at that time but I did see them last year, because I was the one that fitted them on last year’s expedition. I make a point of checking the rust band edges and I’m at a loss to explain what happened in these two instances. I’m sorry we didn’t get some pictures of those tubes & rust bands.

   The tube experiment mentioned in the table above is an attempt to beat the problems we had last year. I have to say we are making progress as I ran two tubes in the rear of our bus this year with patches on them that are a bit different to the normal tube patches. The failure above was part of this experiment, an interesting result. I have written a complete report about this, have a look on our tyre website page ( 2016 & '17 Tube Repair Experiments ).

   Another slight problem we had was the breaking of a rust band when it was pulled from a flat tyre while dismounting for a repair. What had happened was that the freshly put together tyre, tube & rust band had no talcum powder. The rust band had cemented itself to the tube and when we pulled it out it tore into strips, bugger. Lucky I carry a spare! Anyway we talced the components when it was remounted and next time it should be fine. We have learnt to never trust professional tyre shops with tubes and/or repairs.

   All tyres were repaired and serviceable.


Stake in Bias tyre

Shoulder/sidewall stake in a Bias tyre while off-track, no big deal – repaired & OK


No talc in tyre

Very poor fitting from a professional tyre joint, but that’s not uncommon these days.
Not a dribble of talcum powder anywhere and the rust band was bonded to the tube and tore when being taken out.
Rust bands, tubes & tyres have mould release, wax & preservatives all over them. Under pressure they tend to stick together.


Torn rust band

Torn rust band, you can see the tears and at the bottom you can see a fold in the edge.
Very poor fitting
Great Victoria Desert – August 2017


TRIP #4 – "Beadell Tracks Wanderer"

   September - Off-Road Tour of 2310 kms for 18 days
   5 flat tyres – 3 vehicles


Vehicles & Tyres Flats Cause Fuel Consumption
Land Rover Defender 130 - 7.50-16 Bias – split rim 1 Shoulder stake 12.48 Lts/100
Toyota FJ – 265/70R17 – tubeless alloy 1 Sidewall cut  
Nissan Patrol GU wagon – 275/65R17 – tubeless alloy 3 Sidewall & shoulder stakes  


   Nothing particularly out of the ordinary with this off-road trip along Len’s roads in September, but I was a little surprised to pick up a shoulder stake in our Bias tyres. Oh well, just not my lucky day. A couple of the punctures were hard to find, which is often the case with tiny tubeless punctures and also very slow leaks with tubes. With tubeless you have to find the hole before you take the tyre off the rim. Quite simply just pump the tyre up to its maximum pressure. Then listen very carefully all around the tyre. Sometimes it’s best to do this in the morning when camp is pretty quiet. If you can’t hear anything then you may need to go over the tyre slowly with soapy water. It is slow tedious work but often the only way to do it. When the tyre blows bubbles you are on the money.

   All of the above tyres were repaired and ready to go back on the road.


Bubbles from hole in tyre

Slow leak in the sidewall of a tubeless tyre, took a while to find this one
Gunbarrel Highway September 2017


Customer fixing his tyre

Once again I don’t mind if fellas want to have a go at fixing their own tyres
Gunbarrel Highway September 2017


Observations from 2017

    A reasonable year for tyre problems & tube problems, we had only 28 flat tyres during four trips in the western deserts including 682 kms off-track. We didn’t have any run-flats this year and all of the tyres were repaired and serviceable. As usual we did learn a few things along the way. Below are a few thoughts about what went on with tyres & tubes and how we managed with the problems in the bush at the time.

   These are the topics covered;


Leaking Tubeless Repairs - another trick

   Over the years we have had trouble with tubeless repairs leaking. I’ve written about it quite often in these yearly reports. I’ve worked out a few things such as leaving the repair to cure overnight & making sure the glue is quite dry before putting the patch on etc. After a discussion with a mate of ours who recently went to America we’ve added another trick for tubeless repairs. While in the U.S. our mate had a puncture and took it to the nearest tyre joint, the same as we do in Australia, (well most people anyway). The guy repaired it and then immediately inflated the tyre to 70psi. When asked why he had done that the fellow simply said it makes the patch seal and it did. OK, I needed to try this; I had thought about it over the years but just hadn’t bothered as my other methods seemed to be going really well.

   Two of the tubeless repairs listed above I tried the over-inflation method. The first tyre I inflated to a bit more than 70psi as soon as I had put the tyre back on the rim. We racked the tyre as a spare overnight and in the morning we checked the pressure, it was sitting nicely on 70psi. The next tyre repair I did the same and checked next morning it was the same and over the coming days it never moved, & neither did the first repair, very interesting. OK, that’s only two repairs so there is some work to do yet to see if it is a solid, reliable way of treating tubeless repairs in the bush. Time will tell.

    Now for anyone who says you can’t overinflate a tyre to some degree, not true. Over-inflation is possible and it’s in regard to speed & load. In this case there is no speed and there is no load, so some over-inflation is OK. It is the rim inflation limit that can’t be changed apparently. I’ll need to chase this up further to be sure.


Experiments with Tube Repair

   After the trouble on last year’s expedition with tubes I decided to experiment with repairing tubes to see if we could find a way around the problems that dogged us in 2016. The details are below. You can see we had a lot of trouble with tubes "breaking" in the sidewall and also tubes splitting under the repair patches.

2016 Off-Track Expedition (Website Report   2016 Expedition Tyre Report )

Tubes splitting

   This seemed to be a quality issue as pretty much all of the splits were in the cheap Korean tubes. The better quality tubes barely had any problems in the regard. So the splitting problem was easily solved by using better tubes in general.

Tubes Splitting Under Repair Patches

   My theory about this problem was pretty simple. I reckoned the tube patches were allowing the tubes to stretch underneath them when in the sidewall area. What I decided to do was repair the tubes with "rubber only" tyre patches which are barely elastic. I tried it during the season and found that the tyre patches were much better but still allowed splitting while doing off-track work, however off-road was perfect. The next move was to actually use full blown "reinforced" tyre patches & I have already started experimenting. By the end of 2018 we should have some good results.

   I’ve written a full blown report about our tube experiments, please look it up on our website on the tyre page.......Tube Problems & Repair Experiments 2016-17


Tyre Pressure Monitors

   In July when we were home we ordered a set of Tyre Pressure Monitors (TPM). Bunged them on, worked out how to adjust them and away we went back to the bush. The first thing I noticed was that they are not perfectly accurate but pretty close, fair enough. I checked the pressures against all of my gauges (which read the same I might add) and found a 2-3 psi difference generally, all the time I have noticed they were above the gauge pressure not below. I can live with that as the prime reason for them is to let me know if they are losing air, the exact reading isn’t that critical. So, over the next few months we had the gadgets on our valves and the alarm went off to warn of punctures, I could read the temperature of the air in the tyres and also see how much the tyres increased in pressure when at running temperatures. I found it rather interesting. Here are a few things I noticed that I hadn’t given much thought to;

   Over the summer off-season I’ll run a few experiments with different tyres and see what results come up. Last year I had a list of things to try and they were the following;


Tag-a-long Tyre Results after 13 years

   Out of interest I collated our tour flat tyres for the last 13 years. Some 41 tag-a-longs and we had Bias for 20 of them. In all of those 19 trips we had only 3 punctured Bias tyres. Radials were run for the other 21 and there were 6 punctured tyres. Not a bad record for punctures. I’ll include a snippet of that report in this wash-up for 2017.

Mick & Connie's Tyres - Commercial Tag-a-longs 2005 - 2017

   As a comparison of our narrow heavy duty tyres to the modern tubeless in regard to punctures I have listed below some of our regular customers with tubeless tyres & the results they have had with their trips with us in the western deserts.

Tubeless Tyres on Customer Vehicles – Beadell Tours Commercial Tag-a-longs 2005-2017

We'll see what happens next year,
Mick Hutton
Copyright : October 2017





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