Re the Gibb River Road August 2003

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:42
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An update on the Gibb River Road from the beginning of August 2003 Wyndam turnoff to Ellenbrae Stn - very good - few corrugations. Ellenbrae to the Kalumbaru turnoff - not good very corrugated - one part of the road about 15 kms is dreadful - travel time over this took us about 11/2 hours!!!!! Kalumbaru to King Edward Campsite is not too bad - corrugated but take it slowly in parts. Grader supposed to be going to grade the road into Mitchell Falls as from this week. Absolutely dreadful road in to the Falls, took us about 3 1/2hours to go in from the campsite and a bit less to come out. Back to the Gibb Road to Mt Barnett Roadhouse and onwards to Derby is very good and not badly corrugated. But from what one can gather the road can deteriote very quickly. We enjoyed our trip across the Gibb and had very miniminal damage to our gear. The worst was the stove which cracked a gas pipe, which my husband has now fixed. We wrapped cutlery etc well and had no breakages. Very glad to have joined the bushtracker group. happy travelling The Fosters.
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:44

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:44
Welcome to the group, as the word spreads, I think every Bushtracker owner that finds out about the group joins. Thanks for the Gibb River Road report, I don't know of any other forum members travelling over that way at the moment. We just wish that the Bushtracker factory would tell each new owner about the site, as we are here to promote the excellent product that we have all decided to buy, The best caravan in Australia. When you get some time would you mind putting some details in your personal profile section with where you call home, and description of Bushtracker, and tow vehicle etc. Brian & Margaret.
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Reply By: Meg and J - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:45

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:45
We too crossed the Gibb River Road about 6 weeks ago and I believe that they have now graded the Mitchell Falls Road which was very bad when we were there. Have met up with quite a few others in Bushtrackers who have also been across the Gibb so there are a few of us up here. There were four BTs in the caravan park at Derby, two were very unhappy BT owners and the other one and ourselves are very happy. The unhappy ones had a lot of problems with batteries, airconditioners, fridges and windows. Everyone, and I mean everyone, whom we have met have had a lot of trouble with their batteries and some have spent quite a bit in trying to get the problem fixed. The only problem we had crossing the Gibb was that our microwave didn't like it and decided to die (it actually dropped the magnatron and couldn't be fixed). Don't think we'll get another as they probably don't like the shaking. We did get a lot of dust in and can't find where it is coming in but think it might be the Four Seasons hatch so have got a piece of foam rubber to put in the cavity when we go on more dirt roads. I think we will be having red dirt for quite some time to come. We love being on the road and most BT owners seem to get together and have a chat or two or three... Meg and John
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Reply By: Andy1 - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:46

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:46
Meg & J You say, "Everyone, and I mean everyone, whom we have met have had a lot of trouble with their batteries and some have spent quite a bit in trying to get the problem fixed." Can you expand at all on what sort of problems. If you have read my postings you will see that we are struggling as to what approach to take - having lifted out the (three) batteries to check the electrolyte etc we seem to have been in time to stop electrolyte loss from causing damage. The batteries appear OK, the little green charge indicators are visible but will we have a problem in the middle of nowhere? The option to replace all three with the 105Amp sealed type is attractive but not cheap. Did any of your conversations get into the sort of detail that you can pass on to help decision making in this area? Andy
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Reply By: Dusky - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:47

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:47
Meg and John, Can you please provide further info, apart from Andy's request, as to why the other two BT owners were very unhappy? I am very seriously considering the purchase of a BT and any negative comments would be useful so that specifications can be modified. A lot of the Forum BT comments are being fed into my future BT requirements specification. Could the problems that have occurred be due to travelling too fast on corrugations? Perhaps some owner's expectations are too high! Thankyou everyone for all the excellent BT input, Dusky
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Reply By: Meg and J - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:48

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:48
Hi Andy We are probably the least technologically minded people and don't understand a lot of the techno jargon on the website but will tell you what we know in our case. Our original batteries, supposedly sealed but you could undo the tops, all failed and we replaced them with AC Delco Voyager Marine RV Batteries. All the other people we have spoken to had the same problem but have also changed to the same batteries as we have. We were concerned when we looked at ours and could see a red dot in the three batteries but everything is working fine. On speaking with the others, they too said the same thing, that theirs shows red all the time. We have since spoken to another two people in BTs and they have also said the same thing, but none of them, to our knowledge, have had any problems since changing over. Someone did say to us that the next time we have to change the batteries that we should go for a row of 6 volts. Will worry about that at the time. We have three batteries and three solar panels and are finding that with the 190 lr fridge, we are just barely getting through with power. We watch the ProStar's readings and often it goes to flashing red late in the evening and that is using 1 light in the van. The fridge seems to run a lot but then we have been in the north all the time and it has been quite warm. We have a 35 amp bushtracker charger. Hope this helps. I don't know how many other people are travelling who have the knowledge that some of you on the website have, but we simply cannot understand a lot of the technical jargon. In the beginning we were very worried, but now just take it as it comes. Meg and John
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Reply By: Meg and J - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:49

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:49
Hi Dusky We have to say that we are very happy with our BT. However, the other complaints have been: 1. Batteries, see previous email. 2. 2 airconditioners had cracked and another didn't work. Apparently the gas pipes break and let the gas go. One person had this happen three times. 3. Fridges - a number of people, and others they had encountered, had problems with their fridges. Once again the gas pipes seem to be loose and the vibrations cause them to fracture. Some had modified the back of the fridge to support the gas pipes to minimise the vibration. Maybe this is something that should be looked at by the refrigeration installation. 4. Dust getting in. We have found that since we put a large piece of foam in the four seasons hatch that we are not getting nearly as much dust as we were. One other person had to seal ALL windows and all outlets as he could not stop the dust. This person also had a problem with his ceiling coming loose from the top of the van. I actually saw this and was horrified. His was the only van that had this problem that we have met along the way. Ours is okay. 5. Our four seasons hatch does not seem to close down tightly and hence we got a lot of dust in the beginning. Of course this was across the Gibb River Road and probably one of the worst for dust. We have no idea how other people travel. We take it fairly slowly and carefully when in extremely rough conditions. We are not subjected to a time limit. So it is quite subjective when people say how they travel. There is also a lot of different ideas going around about how much air should be in the tyres so this too would make a difference. We think that if Engel made an upright van fridge, a lot of problems might be solved. Once again I have to say that we are happy with our BT and consider that it is the strongest van that we have seen in our travels. There are always going to be problems and we just hope that they are small ones. Meg and John
AnswerID: 559322

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:50

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:50
We have just returned from a 9 week 15000km trip around the top and in the middle which included the GRR. We drive an OKA motorhome. (a motorhome is a caravan with an engine) The GRR was in great condition in late June early July when we did it. We had trouble with our fridge, a 100L Trailblaza. We broke a thermostat coil. Result no fridge. Replaced the coil in Derby (wrong one off course) Found out that u can jury rig the fridge so it will run continuously without a thermostat.. Have to manually swith it on and off. I will be carrying a spare coil ~ $27.00. Re dust. Our door was a source of dust entry. Thing flexed like a rubber band. Lock continuously became loose. Ours is a single locking door as we were advised that tripple lock doors are/were failing. Caravan doors are made for cubby houses. i will be modifying mine before the next trip. Our oven fell apart. The stove lid fell off first.then the door. Our roof rack broke. I was surprised and disappointed not to see any of the major off road caravans on our trip. I was amuse by a comment made by a road van. They called off road vans white tails because they never saw them get dirty. Now thats a challenge. If any one is looking for a great off road van trip here is a beauty. The roads are great, scenary superb and the country remote. Begin at Andamooka. This is an amazing opal mining town. Then take the Borefield road to the Oodnadata track. Head towards William Creek. On the way check out lake Eyre south. Camp the night at Curdimurka.William Creek has grown since i was there last. I think the population has increased to 4 .From WC head for Coober Pedy. CP is like a city compared to Andamooka. At CP explore the Breakaways. Mad Max was filmed here. From CP head to Oodnadata via the painted desert. Now if u are feeling adventurous head for Dalhousie. Dalhousie is the start (or end) of the Simpson desert crossing. The only difficult spot might be the Pedirka sand hills. From Dalhousie head to Mount Dare then to Finke. From Finke its an easy drive to Kulgera on the Stuart Hiway, but check out Lamberts geographic centre of Oz on the way. There are great remote camp spots everywhere on these roads. Vidas
AnswerID: 559323

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:51

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:51
Thanks for the trip plan Vidas, much appreciated. I have a doc file for this sort of stuff and have added yours on the end.


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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:52

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:52
Something that came in my Westprint newsletter recently that you may be interested in. Surveyor Generals Corner. The Chairman of Wingellina Community, Donald Ferguson announced on 16 July that Surveyor General's Corner is now open again. Access will be supervised by Wingellina Community and the charge is now $50.00 per vehicle.<O:P> </O:P> <O:P>Whats next?????</O:P> <O:P>Brian.</O:P> <O:P></O:P>
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AnswerID: 559325

Reply By: Tassietracker5 - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:53

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 02:53
Just wondering: On your trip thru' the Gibb River Road, did you stop at "Durack River Station"? (Hema Maps Australia Road Atlas P81 D12) They have (had) a wonderful camping facility right on the banks of the Durack River complete with warm showers and toilet facilities all housed in a spectacular pink shed on the hill. The camping spot was called "Jack's Waterhole". We stayed there in September 1997, but it was flooded out sometime after and all the facilites were washed away. I am curious as to whether the owners have re-built the facilities and if it is re-open to travellers. Thanks Tassietracker5
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