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Vehicle Problems

Vehicle Reports

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   Another four trips were carried out between April and September this year. As we have seen over the last decade the majority of problems were minor, things that could be done without or taken off.
A few problems needed a tweak but still that isn’t serious.
See what you think.......


Tour – "Sandy Blight to Emu" – 26 days

Alice Springs, Gary Junction Road, Sandy Blight Junction Road, Gunbarrel Highway, Connie Sue Highway & Anne Beadell Highway

   We had a normal amount of minor problems......


Problem Solution
Driving lights rattled loose Very common problem and an easy fix – took them off,
don’t need them in the deserts
Number plate rattled loose Took the plate off – don’t really need it in the deserts either......
2nd battery died – showing 7V New battery bought at Warakurna roadhouse
Noise from right rear wheel Hand brake cable rubbing – re-bent bracket to hold cable off wheel/rim
Loss of power to camper Anderson plug dodgy – plug pulled apart then tightened up – seemed OK
Tyre Monitoring devices leaking Monitors removed (an unusual problem we haven’t seen before)
Squealing fan belts Tightened belts – good
Engine oil leak Oil filter found loose – gave it a tweak – all good


Removing loose driving lights

Removing loose driving lights


Damaged hand brake cable

Damaged hand brake cable – bracket in the background was reshaped to hold the cable as it should


Tour - "Series in the Scrub" – 14 days

   A nice little jaunt around the eastern Nullarbor with a party of Series 1 Land Rovers (1950s vehicles). We had a few problems but enough spares were available within the group to fix almost everything. All of the vehicles finished the trip and everyone had a good time.


Problem Solution
Ignition light remains on after starting Generator tested & changed out – problem remained
Regulator suspected but no identical spare available
(only later model ones in group)
Vehicle kept going – battery should last a few days as it is getting some charge
Radiator fan very noisy One blade cracked & coming off – spare available –
changed out & problem solved
Water pump noisy Bearing failing - spare available – water pump changed out – problem solved
Engine cut out while driving Points checked & adjusted, condenser changed out – got better
Battery getting low Fridge switched off overnight – seemed quite OK
Fuel pump leaking Replaced with new spare – all OK


Looking for a charging problem

Looking for charging problem........


Cracked radiator fan blade

Cracked radiator fan – glad it didn’t come off and go through the radiator


Expedition - "Lost Waters of the South West" – 28 days

South of the Anne Beadell & west of the Connie Sue Highway

   Another in our series of expeditions searching for sites noted by our explorers more than a century ago, we had a virtually trouble free trip as can be seen below. These off-track jobs are very slow so the vehicles actually have an easier time than on the corrugations & wash-outs of a normal off-road trip.


Problem Solution
Rear leaf springs incorrect New spring packs fitted
(vehicle had to go to Kalgoorlie & return to catch up with us)
Transmission cooling fan failed Rewired with manual switch in the cab – worked well
Bent tie rod from stump Removed straightened and refitted – all OK
Rear brake pipe broken by scrub Rear brakes clamped off – front brakes was more than enough braking power
Suspension bushes worn out Replaced with new spares carried for just such an occasion
Radiator overflow hose leaking Hole worn through pipe – new hose fitted & OK
Flat tyres Refer to 2015 Tyre & Tube report


Springs too long

Incorrect springs – too long


Springs & Shackles correct

Springs & shackles should look like this when loaded


Bent tie rod

Hit a stump & bent a front tie rod


Fixing bent tie rod

Knocking it back into shape on a handy bit of Mulga


Straight tie rod

That’s a lot better


New & Old bushes

New bushes on the left – old bushes on the right


    We are seeing a bit of this these days, suspension bushes that are not lasting a great deal of time. Some folks will say go to the coloured "Poly" bushes, but I don’t like them as they have never been "soft" enough, which means that it is possible for the chassis & suspension parts to fatigue or crack under prolonged work, heavy loads in rough conditions. I’d rather change a few bushes than weld a chassis or wishbone. In time I may need to try Poly but not yet.


Sidewall split

One of 23 punctured tyres on this year’s expedition, but repaired (temporary)
and put back to work. Check the Tyre & Tube Report from this year.


Tour – Beadell Tracks Wanderer – 18 days

Gunbarrel Hwy, Gary Highway, Gary Junction Road, Sandy Blight Jnc Road & Great Central Road

   Only a couple of minor quibbles on this run.


Problem Solution
UHF not working Power wire broken at the battery terminal – repaired & OK
Bullbar airbag concertina straps cracked Ratchet straps used to hold bullbar firmly – worked really well for the rest of the trip


UHF problem

Looking for break in power wire for a UHF (wired directly to the 2nd battery)



One of the reasons things wear out if you do a lot of remote area touring



An Observation From Outback Touring

Off-Road "Pressure" – not the stuff in your tyres.....

   Once or twice a year we will have customers who find the conditions of the roads & tracks far different to what they imagine. The main concern is scratchy scrub on the narrow tracks. Dust & corrugations are also a worry but damage to vehicle paintwork appears to be the big problem. The amount of anxiety created by these conditions is quite staggering and unfortunately we can’t do much about it once the trip is underway, apart from getting busy with the axe and clearing a lot more than we normally would need to. It goes as far as folks waiting on the "main road" while the rest of the tour goes off on a detour to something of interest.

   During our pre-trip preparation we talk to folks on the phone and ask if they have any questions & also ask about their travel experience. We also send out a great many sheets of information about the trip & what to expect. Part of the paperwork is a number of sheets specifically showing & explaining the road & track conditions and it includes pictures. Connie & I are constantly amazed at how little some people will read of this information. We ponder this problem quite a bit but we can’t force folks to do the right thing before the trip, we can only hope they do.

   Every time we have customers who find the conditions exceptionally difficult we update our pre-trip paperwork, but that doesn’t mean folks will read it & take note of the contents. Of course people these days can look up on the internet all of the roads they will be travelling over so can get a pretty fair idea of the conditions and whether it will suit them. However this doesn’t seem to happen from what we understand. Connie & I can only do our best, sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be enough.......


      Anyway, we didn’t have any great big problems in 2015 and we’ll hope our luck continues next year........

Mick Hutton
Copyright : November 2015




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