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Thread: Defender across the Simpson Desert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Defender across the Simpson Desert

    InJuly this year my wife and I took our TD5 Defender across the SimpsonDesert. We travelled from Oodnadatta via Mt Dare, Dalhousie, WAA line,Lone Gum, French Line, Poeppel Corner, QAA line to Birdsville.

    There is plenty of information onSimpson Desert crossings in books and internet pages but as an inexperienced4WDer there were still lots of things I was unsure of. Hereare some Defender specific learnings - it may assist someone else planning thetrip in a Defender.

    Vehicle load. We had a 2ndhand aluminium TJM roof rack. Being mindful of weight, I limited its loadto an Oz tent, spare wheel, tool and spares box, 2 max tracks and otherrecovery gear, two camp chairs and a gas bottle in a bracket. Fridge, battery, food, water, bedding and clothes were inside.

    Vehicle mods. None, although Ihad removed the rear seats to carry fuel and water jerry cans. Additionalbattery in the back.

    Fuel. I have a standard fuelsystem so carried an additional 4 jerry cans in the rear seat footwell. These were strapped to ring nuts inserted into the rear seat mount holes.

    So my total fuel was 75 litres inthe main tank and 80 in the jerry cans. This was way more than needed, we used about half of it. We probably could have returned to MtDare without refuelling. Consumption was 14 litres / 100 km Mt Dare to Birdsville.

    Difficulty. There were no realtechnical 4WD challenges. I crossed most of the dunes in high range 1stor 2nd, only using low range on the last day as the dunes got bigger nearBirdsville. Tyres were down to about 18 psi, probably should have beenlower. I would like to have a story about how only a Defender could doit, but sadly that's not so. Any half capable 4WD would be fine.

    Safety. Pretty keen onthis. We don't have a proper cargo barrier, so had a Safeguard brand rated cargo netover all the gear in the back. It was attached to some robust tie downpoints. Pulling the net tight keepseverything in place on the rough stuff.

    What went wrong. Verylittle. Rear mud flaps fell off, they were cracked before we left. Door over the fuel filter also fell off. Projecta brand low voltage relayfailed.

    Other Defenders out there? Sawabout one each day, mostly Puma powered. Everybody was going well.

    Do it again? Absolutely, theDefender is great in those conditions, all the stuff that is annoying on thebitumen fades, the virtues come out and now you know why you own it.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Warner Area - SEQ
    Some good info there.... thanks for that

    I've been across there numerous times over the years, but never in a Landy, always in a Toyota. Now, having a Defender as well I'm also keen to head out there again in the future in our Landy, but once I've gained some confidence in driving it and its reliability. Got a couple shakedown trips coming up next year and if all goes well, then would love to look at doing the Hay River & Madigan Tracks but would need to find some other like-minded people first.

    Would love to see some more photos of your trip and your Landy doing its thing in the desert

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Gold Coast QLD
    Thx for that, doing it next year in a fairly standard Puma with a 120ltr Longranger Fuel Tank. I was thinking of only taking one or two additional jerry can of dinosaur juice, so that confirmed my suspicions on fuel usage. Back seats are already out and a dry run camping without the camper is happening this weekend. As Rob asked, a few more photos etc would be great if you could please.
    Thx Ian
    1964, S2a SWB "Ralph"
    1977, S3 SWB "Smeg" (Gone)
    1996 D1 300tdi auto (Gone)
    1973 Rangie Classic (Gone)
    2012, 110 (Series 12) Puma "The Tardis"
    1962 109" Tray Back "Ernie"
    1998 D1 300tdi (Dizzy)
    2017 Kawasaki Versys 1000

    You must now cut down the tallest tree in the forest... With... A HERRING!!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Kettering Tasmania

    Defender across the Simpson Desert

    I crossed from east to west along the French Line about 10 years ago in my TD5 90. With no auxiliary fuel tank, we carried 6 jerry cans and also second spare wheel on an ARB steel roof rack - probably overweight but no problems experienced. The crossing was easy and fuel consumption excellent - about 10/100km from memory. It was a great experience and a year or two later we went up the Canning Stock Route - another iconic and highly recommended route.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Wagga Wagga
    I did it in 2000 in a 300tdi Defender. It had a 120litre tank and did it easy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Brisbane,some of the time.
    Thats a good write up,the desert is a fantastic place.

    I have done it twice in a TD5 Disco,and once in the D4.

    We found the roads around Finke,Mt Dare the last time horrendous,but then that is part of the fun.

    My sig is a pic of the D4 on Big Red,shot up there like a walk in the park,much to the amazement of the many watching Tojo owners.

    D4 MY12 white,2.7, rear air,e diff,xenons,arb bar,7 seat ,18" bfg KO2

    Puma Defender 110 (son's)ARB
    bar,snorkle,rocksliders,rack,KM3's,BAS chip

    '56 S1,been in the family since...'56

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