Safest for CSR/Spinifex: Ute/Wagon/Petrol/Diesel?

Submitted: Sunday, May 08, 2022 at 16:24
ThreadID: 143682 Views:2037 Replies:11 FollowUps:13
G'day,

I'm looking at driving the Canning Stock Route with my son and father in winter 2023. I need to buy a dual cab because I don't want to spend a month touring in my 1988 HJ75 ute with the three of us in the front, without air conditioning haha.

I have a some questions for the experienced in this group:

Is a tray back ute going to be less of a fire risk than a wagon? I've heard all about the Prados on the CSR...

I understand diesel is safer than petrol due to exhaust temperatures but I've read about 4.2 petrol patrols doing the CSR. Is it really that unsafe in a petrol vehicle? Probably changes year to year and time of year? I can get a petrol ute for half the price of the diesels I'm looking at.

Which direction of travel is easiest on a vehicle? I've done the Simpson a couple of times and I know West to East is much easier. I've read some people say north to south for CSR, other people have said the opposite.

I've been researching Exploroz for preparedness e.g. bringing a weed sprayer full of water and a water based extinguisher, some hooked wire for reaching underneath the vehicle in hot locations to remove spinifex etc.

Thank you very much.
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Reply By: Member - John - Sunday, May 08, 2022 at 17:53

Sunday, May 08, 2022 at 17:53
Ben, a 4.5 petrol Patrol is a pretty ancient vehicle, no Cat to get very hot, so much less of a fire risk. I would get a diesel vehicle as petrol maybe very difficult to source on the Canning. As to direction of travel, pick which ever suits you, from my experience it won't matter, unlike the Simpson. Good luck with what ever you buy and enjoy your trip.
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Sunday, May 08, 2022 at 23:07

Sunday, May 08, 2022 at 23:07
Any diesel vehicle which was made pre-DPF. I was in a party with one of the newer Prados that went up in flames because of spinifex on the track.
And north to south would be my recommendation.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 01:35

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 01:35
North to south as the sun is generally behind you. Diesel a hell of a lot safer and better range. A diesel without a DPF under the car that could catch grass. ALL Isuzu's with a PDF filter have the filter tucked very safely in the engine bay which is where they are the most efficient.
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 09:39

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 09:39
Hi Ben,

For my money, I would be looking at a 79 Series Dual Cab. Much stronger vehicle in stock standard form, plus parts availability if you are unfortunate enough to break something.

Definitely Diesel, more likely to find diesel in remote areas than petrol, I would not use Opal Fuel petrol if I could avoid it.

As far as spinifex is concerned, good regular inspection and clearing the offending material is always a good idea. The weed sprayer sounds like a good idea, make sure it is in easy reach, but do not get complacent thinking I can put a fire out if I have to. Nothing beats preventative maintenance.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 13:51

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 13:51
Hi Macca and Ben,
When the Prado in our group went up in flames, it was being inspected and cleaned underneath regularly throughout the day.
Once the flames started it all went to black in about five minutes, and we emptied two extinguishers on the flames with no effect. The other two vehicles in our group were older pre-DPF Hilux and Prado, and no problems.
Mind you, it was early in the season (late April), so we would have been among the first to travel down the Canning and the spinifex was new growth.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 16:04

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 16:04
Wildmax, why is a Prado's more vulnerable than Hilux, don't they have much the same basic anatomy or is the Hilux DFP and or exhaust in a different location? I'm curious, not planning to take my Prado down the CSR, but I do take it across paddocks and through 1m tall grass at times. I don't take it across crop stubble.
Mark
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 16:47

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 16:47
Remember receiving a group of photos, perhaps 20-25 years ago, of a Prado creating large volumes of black smoke, as Wildmax said. Recall that an explanation was that the fuel line was close enough to the near side rear brake assembly, to be affected by any build up of dry matter. It’s not uncommon for the rear brake pads to wear rapidly to metal on metal contact, no doubt producing excess heat & maybe some sparks.

The vehicle I’m referring to was driven by stock and station agents, up a track not unlike one of Len’s examples, or the CSR.

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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 22:57

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 22:57
Mark, I'm not sure if the DPF set-up in the current model Prado and Hilux is different, but in the case I referred to above, the Prado that caught fire was a (then) new vehicle, while I was driving my previous 3 litre diesel Hilux which did not have DPF, and the other Prado was also an older model.
Since purchasing my current Hilux I have had the DPF and injectors replaced under warranty, and have not experienced any issues - but I remain very cautious in dry vegetation.
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Reply By: Member Kerry W (Qld) - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 12:15

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 12:15
Ben - Nothing wrong with a Petrol if cost is your consideration. "If"and only IF you are looking at older petrol Patrols try and snag a "good" GQ with a Carby RB30 they would arguably have to be one of the most field servicable, reliable and competent 4bys left. They are very reliable up to 400-500,000ks if maintained properly with very little ongong maintenence needed on motor/drivetrain etc. Good ground clearance and easy to access underneath if 2" lift and reasonably sized tyres. (I assume you are mechanically adept and can sort out preventative maintenence etc to ensure it is reliable) They were a very underestimated engine when they first came out, but time has proven them to be reliable and capable. It will be predictably thirsty but not as bad as some as fuel consumption is proportional in those carbies to pedal pressure. If you are poking along in 3rd hardly touching the pedal on a dirt track they still get 15lit 100km (properly tuned).
I assume you dont want to spend a fortune and need something that is relatively easy to get up to scratch for such a trip. Whatever you choose second hand will require a lot of attention to detail.
I have driven just about everything in my time including heavy machinery etc and I still own a 32 year old one of these for these very reasons. If you end up going this way message me and I can give you some tips...
Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:38

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:38
Hi Kerry,

Was that the 4.1 Ltr. ford engine?

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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:20

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:20
Hi Macca,
The RB30 was the Nissan 6 cylinder, in the VL Commodore it had EFI and was a great motor, the Patrol version had a carby not EFI.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 13:30

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 13:30
Interesting, at work we had one RB30 and a couple of TB42e GQ patrols as well as 70 series tray backs and 80 series wagons. Everyone avoided the RB30 as they thought it was gutless. I mostly only needed to use the Falcons fitted with the outback pack of sump guard and heavy duty suspension.
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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (Qld) - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 17:56

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 17:56
Warren - that’s exactly what I meant - misunderstood and underestimated! People drove them like a diesel rarely letting them rev. They - like many newer Nissan petrol engines - are high revving engines and have a power band around 4000rpm and will not die any earlier just because they sit close to their redline. People used to complain that they were gutless towing - in 5th??.
For many years we adventured with TD 4.2s and TBs the old RB30 always outperformed. It was a novel idea from Nissan to put the RB30 into a 4WD - it would have been a lot more gutsy if Australian Emmission controls at the time didn’t detune them. More Interestingly the RB30s smaller sibling the RB26 TT created an upset and won Bathurst twice in 91 and 92 against the V8s - and got themselves banned- as I said great motors just unimaginative drivers.
Kerry W (Qld)
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 17:14

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 17:14
Ben,
We did CSR in Aug ‘19, with 3 Landcruisers, a chopped 80 & a pair of single cab 79’s. Much of the stock route had been burnt out, so spinifex was of little worry, both on & off the track.

However, in 2017, we did a trip along a number of Len Beadell’s tracks, and the Prado & PK Ranger in the group were regularly cleaning spinifex out of bash plates & suspension parts. The two other vehicles in the group, a 105 wagon & a 79 ute, rarely needed anything more than a quick inspection. Any vehicle with a large bulk of IFS front suspension, and only moderate ground clearance seem to be the main offenders.

I’d be suggesting vehicles like 100 series wagons with 1HDFTE engine, 79 utes with either of 3 engines available but preference being the factory turbo 6, if you can find one for less than $50K. Nissan Y62 if you can carry enough petrol?

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Reply By: Phil G - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 20:10

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 20:10
Spinifex is a problem early in the season - so if you are worried about it, leave your trip until July onwards.
Don't hear much about vehicles burning on the Canning in recent years but I guess its been closed for 2 years now.
My Troopy has a DPF but it is well covered and its hard to see where grass could possibly build up. Toyota did start using a modified DPF guard back in 2019 (they did a recall) and you can do a manual DPF burn before heading into tall grass.

Petrol vehicles run much hotter exhausts and the fuel itself is much more dangerous in a fire so I'd feel safer in a diesel even with a DPF.
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Follow Up By: JOHN C36 - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 23:30

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 23:30
A few photos of the same section of the CSR at different times of year to show how much the vegetation and the fire risk can change.





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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 20:20

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 20:20
TESLA maybe ???

No DPF and good for the environment apparently !!


Enjoy your trip whatever you take

Cheers
Gazz
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 22:59

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 22:59
Good luck finding a charging station along the Canning :-) :-)
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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (Qld) - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 13:10

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 13:10
Wildmax - keep up!...Plenty of Solar out that way - he'll be fine!
Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Member - John - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 17:45

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 17:45
I believe Tesla are installing a charging station at Kunawarritji Community/Well 33 and Durba Springs.........
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Reply By: Member - DickyBeach - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 03:50

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 03:50
It was a long time ago (2003) but my (archived) thread #7590 may be of interest ...............
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Reply By: BenFraser747 - Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 19:01

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 19:01
Thank you very much to all of you for the responses, it has helped me a lot. After further research on here, I'm now leaning away from a dual cab 4cyl and towards a 6cyl Troopy due to the sheer amount of fuel, water, food, camping gear and spares required with 3 people in the vehicle. Unless the electric vehicle charging stations get installed at Well 33 and Durba Springs very shortly? Just kidding, my budget is probably $20K 'ready to go'. I'll likely find a cheaper vehicle and have it thoroughly inspected, make sure it has a new battery, tyres, alternator, starter, water pump, radiator, timing belt and service it etc. before we go. Aiming for July 2023, hence why I'm beginning planning now. Cheers everyone :)
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Follow Up By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, May 13, 2022 at 18:22

Friday, May 13, 2022 at 18:22
You should put mesh in the front of your vehicle to stop Spinifex seeds getting into your radiator.
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Friday, May 13, 2022 at 20:33

Friday, May 13, 2022 at 20:33
Have a read of this thread some archived EO experience and wisdom.
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