Mereenie Loop and Oodnadatta Track

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 21:05
ThreadID: 136379 Views:1770 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
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Hey everyone,

Do you reckon a Mazda Tribute could do the Mereenie Loop and Maree to Williams Creek on the Oodnadatta Track?

It's got road tyres on. Anyone been on these road recently? Whats the conditions like?

Planning to go end of March.

Thanks,
Rach
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 21:17

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 21:17
Hi Rach

Your only weak point will be your tyres, so you will have to take more care and watch for any large rocks that can ruin a tyre if you are not careful.

Having said that, I have seen all type of vehicles on the Oodnadatta Track from a little Holden Barina, stock standard Falcons, Magnas and Commodores that all run stock stand little road tyres.


Cheers



Stephen

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 09:52

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 09:52
Hi Rach Again

I should have also said that if it is wet, then keep well away from the area.

Here are a couple of images showing what both tracks are like when dry.



Cheers



Stephen






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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 21:59

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 21:59
Seen a guy in a Falcon ute towing a caravan leaving William Creek on our last trip up there. Drive to the conditions and you should be OK. Try and take two spares though just to be on the safe side
AnswerID: 617410

Reply By: splits - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 23:35

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 at 23:35
Take it easy and don't think about cruising speeds or time limits and you should be fine.

I have crossed the Oodnadatta twice in my Hilux. One trip was on standard size street tyres and the other on same size LT.

In the early 1970s I drove over the Nullarbor four times in my EH Holden on its standard 6.40 x 13 street tyres without any problems. At that time there was still around 500 ks of unsealed road in SA. To this day I have never seen an Outback unsealed road with so many shredded tyres, buckled wheels and pieces of exhaust systems discarded along each side.

The road surface was not exactly silky smooth all the way but I would put about 99% of all of that damage down to excessive speed, not the road surface.

Keep your eyes on the road surface.all the time and watch where you put the wheels and you should not have any trouble.
AnswerID: 617413

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 09:32

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 09:32
Coward Springs, Easter 1970.......with the Ghan going past....

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 617417

Follow Up By: splits - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 10:35

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 10:35
Not another tough Outback tourer. That brings back memories of me and my little Cooper S on the two wheel tracks between Mt Isa and Boulia in mid summer in 1967. My map said the road was sealed.

Those little flying shoe boxes were not bad in those conditions.Mini /Austin 1800

Crossroads Alice
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FollowupID: 889082

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 11:19

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 11:19
Yep. My heroes :)
We drove a 1963 850 from Adelaide to Darwin and back for our honeymoon in 1967. Start off the relationship in the manner it was to continue.....

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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FollowupID: 889086

Reply By: Rach C - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 15:20

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 15:20
Awesome. Thanks for all that. The pictures are sooo good. I'm very excited to go.

I want to get the car serviced before I go - does anyone know a good mechanic in Sydney?

Is there any particular car stuff (aside from spare tyres) that we should bring on the road trip?

We have 19 days to do Sydney - Broken Hill - Maree - Williams Creek - Alice - Mereenie Loop - Coober Pedy - Adelaide - Melb - Syd. About 7000km all up.
Is this too many km's for only 19 days?


Thank you so much for all your replies.
AnswerID: 617420

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 15:38

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 15:38
Hi Rach

One piece of equipment that can save you a lot of frustration is a good quality Tubeless Puncture Repair Kit and a good compressor. They may not be cheap, but will last you a lifetime if you look after it, and ours is more than 15 years old and still like new, apart from a number of new boxes of strings.

Do not get roped into the cheap kits, they are not worth the money and I have seen them brake when being used. We have used ours dozens of times on both our vehicle and other people that we have come across with no means of repairing a puncture.

You will have a great time and all the best.



Cheers



Stephen


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Follow Up By: KevinE - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:02

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:02
Anaconda currently have their tyre repair kit (Dune brand) for $29.99 for members, which is about a $20 saving on regular RRP.

The handles are metal, not plastic & to me they seem almost identical to the ARB & Bushmaster kits. Only the colour & branding seems different.
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FollowupID: 889093

Follow Up By: splits - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 22:59

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 22:59
Is there any particular car stuff (aside from spare tyres) that we should bring on the road trip?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At the time I did those Nullarbor trips I was in the RAAF. I was stationed at 1 Central Ammunition Depot in western Sydney and had to go to Pearce just north of Perth. To me it was just a trip from one base to another so I just threw all my gear into the car and took off. The fact that it was around 4000 ks and I was leaving Sydney on Friday afternoon and intended getting to Pearce on Monday afternoon was nothing to be concerned about.. I got there alright but I took it very easy on the dirt section.

One of the men told me the stones on the dirt section could puncture the fuel tank so I got some aerated plastic foam type of stuff that had been used as packing around missile parts and glued it all over the fuel tank. That was my only preparation for the car. I did not have a spare anything.

In recent years my wife and I have done a lot of solo touring on many of the major Outback roads and some of the not so good tracks built by Len Beadell. We have a single cab Hilux with a home made light weight camper on the back. The car is standard and always well under GVM. Once again we take bugger all with us.except for puncture repair equipment. We have enough Rema Tip Top products to internally repair just about any size hole in the tread, shoulder and sidewall.

It is the drivers that break cars in those conditions, not the roads or tracks.,
2
FollowupID: 889097

Reply By: KevinE - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:24

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:24
I've noticed that on at least some Mazda Tributes, that the rear suspension is torsion bars. If this applies to your car, no dramas, but getting your tyre pressures right will be even more important, or you're in for a bumpy ride. Personally, I'd spend the money on a set of AT tyres, rather than use the HT's currently on your car. The HT's will do it, but AT's will do it more comfortably.

Here's a link to the late Adam Plate's tyre pressure guide. I think it's the best guide on the subject that I've ever seen.

The Pink Roadhouse website is a wealth of info on the Oodnadatta Track.

The Mereenie Loop is usually a very good dirt road. The only bad corrugations are usually between the Glen Helen turn off & Hermannsburg. But watch out for wild camels on the road though.

Have a great trip! ;)
AnswerID: 617422

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:45

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 17:45
Not a problem if you drive sensibly to the conditions, and don't try to see it all in 2 days.
Load the car up to the max, and drive like a maniac who hasn't a second to waste, and you'll almost certainly damage your tyres and your car.

The biggest single factor involved is ground clearance. So if you load right up and reduce your ground clearance substantially, you are going to have rocks hit the underside of the car and damage the likes of shock absorbers, fuel lines, brake lines, and even wiring.

If you speed excessively, that hammers suspension components and results in problems developing.

If it rains a reasonable amount (say 25mm to 50mm), then you'll be in trouble, and you'll have to wait until the roads dry out - possibly several days, depending on how sunny it is, following the rain.
However, quite often, moderate rains stops 4WD owners from travelling dirt roads, too.

On that basis, keep a check on the weather forecasts for the area, when you're ready to leave, on the Bureau of Meterology website.

Came across a bloke driving a Holden Barina along the Great Central Road, so nothing's impossible if you take care.

Funnily enough, we used to go nearly everywhere in Australia in the 1950's and 1960's in 2WD Holdens and Fords, assorted Pommy stuff such as Vanguards and Morris' and Austins, on some shocking dirt roads - and all those unsealed roads would come with major warnings today, that they are, "4WD Only!" LOL

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 617423

Reply By: gbc - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 21:03

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 21:03
The hire cars of choice from Alice for the loop are rav4’s. You’ll see plenty. Drop your pressures on the dirt and the car will thank you. The corrugations can get a bit fierce out the back of hermannsburg.
AnswerID: 617427

Reply By: Rach C - Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 23:43

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018 at 23:43
Thank you thank you thank you!!!


All this info is wonderful. I love hearing the stories that people have of this trip. I will definitely be taking a tyre repair kit, oil, etc.

For $550 I can get 6 LT tires for the car - worth it? Or just go with the $85 to get a second spare?


Also any words of wisdom on the red dust? Dad told me it would get in the engine and do bad things. But will the dust actually affect the engine much (lifespan, bits stop working)? My current thoughts on this are that since its a one off trip it cant do much harm but that is based off no actual knowledge whatsoever. Tribute is currently at 150,000km, 2006 model. Did survive going through the creek which was a bit deeper than I thought - water came higher than the tyres (oops).

Cant tell you how excited I am for this trip!! :D

AnswerID: 617430

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 07:58

Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 07:58
Rach
Don't waste your time with old tyres, as they are likely to puncture quickly and you will have wasted your money and be no closer to your destination.
Just start the trip with new or near new tyres including the spare (you will eventually use them). If you are a scrooge like me and your current tyres still have some life in them, hang onto them, they will only cost you the refitting fee.
I wouldn't take spare oil, if you are losing that much oil between fuel refils (you do check your oil every time you put fuel in?) then again it's not likely to get you far. I'd take some drinking water. About the only additional spare I would take are spare -new fan belts (again you will eventually use them).

A lot of dust will reduce your engine life, but that's months and months worth. Red dust is no different to any other coloured dust. like city grime. Your car has an air filter for that reason, think about having a new one installed before you go or check when the last one was installed. Get the mechanic to show you how to open the air filter box and if need be, you give it a partial clean by "banging it" to remove loose dust. When you get to a major town or service centre you can blow the dust out with an air compressor (from inside out). I really doubt you will need to clean your air filter out though.
If your car at 160 000km has never had new shock absorbers (struts), I would be considering getting new ones installed
As said above, drivers and their speed cause vast majority of problems.
Mark
2
FollowupID: 889101

Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 08:15

Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 08:15
I would go an all terrain tread but not an LT necessarily. There will be better handling and riding P rated tyres for your car which more importantly weigh a lot less and will strain your standard suspension less.
1
FollowupID: 889102

Follow Up By: splits - Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 14:31

Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 14:31
Also any words of wisdom on the red dust? Dad told me it would get in the engine and do bad things. But will the dust actually affect the engine much (lifespan, bits stop working)?
-----------------------------------------------------------
It will if you take the air filter out and throw it away but I don't think you are likely to do that.

The only dust you are going to encounter (except for wind created dust) will come from passing cars. The traffic out there is not like Sydney during peak hour so you won't see very many. Dust coming from your wheels is not going to get into the air filter even if the intake is under the front fender like many utes.

All air filters let a certain amount of dust in because they all have tiny holes in them to let air pass through. The engine has been designed to cope with the minute particles that get through those holes. I have always used genuine air filters, not after market.

If you intend doing a lot of unsealed road driving then a pre cleaner can make a big difference. These are not practical on many cars but it is easy to put one on the top of a snorkel like you see on many utes. There is one big problem involved with that though.

I walked into Donaldson's Pre Cleaner . head office at Wyong NSW a few years ago and asked about their cleaners for my Hilux. They said none of their bowl style cleaners are suitable. The reason being the air has to change direction at 90 degrees to get up into them so the faster you go the less air the engine gets. They are designed for stationery engines or low speed things like tractors.

I made a scoop for the top of my snorkel with the pre cleaner on top. That solved that problem. It resembles the old postman or referee's whistle that had a revolving pea inside them. The air comes in and swirls around. The only way out is up through the angled vanes in the bottom of the pre cleaner and off into the car's air cleaner.

You would be amazed at how much dust it collects, even while driving around cities for extended periods.

Just one more point: if you want to spend an hour or two or three reading about punctures then have a look through this link
. punctures

You may find these DVDs useful. I have most of them and they are excellent. They do not contain any advertising DVDs
1
FollowupID: 889112

Reply By: Iza B - Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 14:22

Friday, Mar 09, 2018 at 14:22
Underbody protection is a thing to consider. Have seen lots of two wheel drives do those roads, in the right conditions. A big hole in the sump will stop most vehicles.

Iza
AnswerID: 617446

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