Your Trip Right presents
The Great Central Rd Guide
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After completing the Connie Sue Highway in 2014 we made our intentions clear that in 2015 we would cross the Simpson first from West to East along the French Line then South to North on the Hay River Track. Family and friends were envious of our 2014 epic down the Connie sue, so it didn’t take long for word to spread and before we knew our convoy had grown form 1 in 2014 to 7 in 2015.
Was installed by French petroleum company in the 1960’s. The French line is the shortest and most direct route across the Simpson Desert. The French line is only 437km long however what makes it challenging is the 1200 dunes to cross which includes the mammoth Big Red which towers 30 meters above the desert plains.
Jess and I were nervous, me more so then Jess. We were planning on towing the Tvan across the desert and I really wondered about the pulling power of the Prado over the dunes. Making matters worse every article we read about crossing the Simpson made us more confused then we were before hand. Growing up in Newcastle I am use to and know the dunes in that part of Australia, I knew if the dues out in the Simpson were anything like those on Stockton beach I had a real problem coming. Our back up plan was the big V8’s in our convoy these big V8’s have and some serious dollars sunk into their performance and were running like race car’s these day’s.
To ensure success in our desert crossing we did a bit of work to the Prado. Obviously we would have loved more power but as we had already installed the Roo Systems Chip and a 3 inch exhaust we had no cheap avenues left to explore. Which left me with what I believed could be the weakest link in the Prado the Automatic transmission.
Our Prado is heavy without towing the Tvan, all our accessories and emergency gear really weighs us down. Adding a fully loaded Tvan to the mix and 1200 sand dunes you can easily work out the gear box was not designed specifically for this assignment. From what little I knew about the auto transmission I had concluded heat was going to be the enemy in the Desert. Reducing the heat was the key to our gear box surviving this punishing outing.
I had a yarn to wholesale automatic transmissions in Melbourne which led me to buy an additional oil cooler, Oil temperature gauge and Torque convertor lockout kit, this is why
Oil Temperature Gauge
Torque convertor lock out
I installed all these myself only as I had no other option living in the Docker River. The jobs varied in difficulty but save your self stress and get a pro to do it.
Your Trip Right crossed the Simpson with 7 other cars including 200 series Land Cruiser Sharah, 100 series Land Cruiser Sharah, 76 series dual cab ute, Land Drover, two Hilux Utes and our Prado 150 series.
We all met a Dalhousie springs and we were all keen to see how our car and driving techniques would handle the famous Simpson Desert.
Dalhousie was unreal. The heat of the springs combined with the excitement of the group made for a very exiting first night at camp. For more information on Dalhousie click here.
Our Simpson Desert adventure started at 10:00am the next day. Our group back tracked to Dalhousie ruins. I found the ruins at Dalhousie really interesting. Walking through the old stone buildings. As you walked through each building you figure out what they were once used I found the blacksmiths building the most interesting. You can imagine how important he would have been when Dalhousie station was being used, I think if a blacksmith was still there today he would do a good trade as busted rigs limp off the end of the Simpson desert.
At Dalhousie Ruins Jess and I spoke about the importance for the early settlers to build good relationships with the local Indigenous people of the area. Giving the scarcity of water and the importance of the region to the local people you would want to make friends with you neighbors here.
It was freezing at the ruins. The wind howled through and I struggled to keep the drone in the air. Jess ran around snapping photos while Layla enjoyed spending time with some people other then us…
We left the Dalhousie Ruins quite late around 11:00am and we were more excited then ever to see how we were going to fare against the Simpson Desert.