To Alice and back, what a trip, such an experience Part 2 The vehicle.......

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 22:32

Martyn (WA)

I'm not entirely sure how this blog thing works yet, not sure if I'm supposed to add part two onto the bottom of part 1 or I start a new blog for part 2............. So I've started a new blog for part two, this part is about the vehicle, what happened, what didn't happen.......

Before I set off I did a thorough service on the D3 which included a gearbox oil change, yes I know the gearbox is "sealed for life", the interesting part is defining "life". This is a whole separate blog, a long and twisted story which ends up with "life" being defined by LR as the length of the warranty period......

So I had bought six new tyres prior to the trip, Cooper HT plus, rim size was a big issue for me here, being 18 inch rims tyre selection was limited in the A/T category, I got a good deal on the tyres so I was half happy, they looked good and they were brand new what could possibly go wrong!!!! I've never been a fan of Cooper tyres, I've heard and seen nightmares caused by the quality of the tyre. Maybe these weren't meant to be used on gravel roads, I was told they should be OK. Unfortunately my opinion of Cooper tyres hasn't changed, I won't be buying any more, this is my opinion I dare say others have had them on their vehicles for 200,000 klms without a problem, and they'll still have 50% tread left.
I punctured two on gravel, straight through the tread, both rear tyres, luckily I had two spares, people will no doubt tell me I had the pressures wrong or I was doing something else wrong. I had to have the pressures up due to the temperature of the tyres at lower pressures, the side walls were flexing and causing the temperature to rise. I drove slower, all to no avail. So tyres, as usual a critical factor and a subject that we can discuss at length no doubt.
The electronic chip I installed has made a big difference whilst towing, especially when overtaking road trains when possible. The higher speed acceleration is now much better.
The fuel economy for the whole trip was 13.0 litres / 100 klms, 90% of the time towing the TVan, so that to me feels OK, I wasn't to disappointed, the overall average speed was 81.6 klm/hr for the whole trip. A lot of time after the GCR was spent on the blacktop on main arterial roads. These numbers are from the D3 trip computer.
Dis anything break? We yes I had one component break, would you believe it was the brake pad sensor in the offside rear wheel. Not sure how it got broken, I might of damaged it when I was changing the wheel, a piece of gravel could have flicked up somehow and broken it. Anyway, you might think no big deal, well it was, the sensor had an intermittent contact enabled an annoying "binging" noise at random intervals, at one point I was just about ready to rip the dashboard out to find the annoying little alarm and smash it!!
When I stopped at the in-laws in Melbourne I attempted to fix the sensor only to break it completely, the light on the dash was now permanently lit but the annoying "binging" noise had gone. Something to replace now I'm home. Something else I found out is these sensors are wired in series, so once I broke one the whole system now doesn't work. Fine in my case all the pads are more or less new.
The windscreen washer bottle connection behind the bull bar also got a bit of a leak, when the level dropped the annoying "binging" noise started again, I had to top the bottle up on a daily basis, I assume the corrugation caused this, I've checked all the connections since I've been home and everything appears to be fine now.
Dust into the vehicle was minimal, the traction control worked a treat on the gravel, on one occasion the TVan stepped out of line on a soft edge whilst I was trying to avoid corrugations, frightened the "crap" out of me, the Traction control picked the problem up and switched everything off, what a god send this technology is.
I did take a spare fuel pump belt and a new serpentine belt, both jobs I believe are beyond the scope of a roadside repair, thankfully I didn't need them, but at least I had them with me.
The Piranha dual battery system worked a treat, having the solar connection was handy, I was able to connect the solar panel to the charging circuit when we had a couple of touristy type days where driving was minimal. The Engle did get a work out, at Coober Pedy the temperature around the fridge did get up to 44 degrees C. Yes I was till able to have a coldy in the fridge.
This just about covers the vehicle, not a lot went wrong as you can see, what did go wrong I've highlighted. Hope you enjoyed the read......

Keep the shiny side up

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