West to East and back with The Swag

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 01:39
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August 27th Day1
The ute has been packed for the last week so all we have to do is load the dog and hit the road. Only a short 250k trip today from Pannawonica to Wickham to spend the night with rellies before we hit the road proper.

Up early and on the road. The day is eventful right from the start. Driving through Roebourne, about 10ks from the start, a small dog runs under the ute. Not sure how but we missed him but he trotted off with his owners none the worse for his misadventure. The rest of the day went well with stops to photograph the wild flowers and add to the bird list. Camped at Roebuck plains rest area.

Early start early finish seems to be the way to go we are on the road at 6:30. Lots of vans on the road and we finally see our first Bushtracker ( 05 BTC ) at Fitzroy Crossing. Camped at Sawtooth Gorge just out of Halls Creek on the Duncan Road.

Day 4
Spent the day on the Duncan, Buntine and Buchanan Highways. All dirt or single lane bitumen but a good run and spent the night at Dunmarra Van Park. The showers were a big attraction.

Day 5
We spend a lot of time looking for free camps and would like to check every track we pass. Have found a few on this stretch that we will investigate further at a later date. A good run and camped at a little spot just out of Camoweal. The bird list is growing.

Day 6
Arrived at Mt Isa and, happy days, the truck stop has fuel for $1.14. Filled up everything and headed for Winton. Camped at the long water hole just out of town.

Day 7
Didn’t start well. The starter battery in the ute died. It had been getting sluggish for a while so it was no surprise. The ute has 2 auxiliary batteries but the light weight jumper leads were worse than useless. I had heavy cable that I could bolt between the auxiliary and the starter battery and we were soon on our way into Winton where I purchased and fitted a new starter battery. The country looks great with all the rain they have had. Found a travelling fish truck in Longreach, had a yarn and topped up the fridge with fish. Camped at the Tambo caravan park for the showers but the cattle trucks and the local rosters took the gloss off that.

Day 8
Nice easy day. Travelled through Mitchell, Dalby and up to Bell. Camped at the Bunya View Caravan Park.

Day 9
Sunday in the hills seems to be the place to be for lots of Sunday drivers but the Navigator got us through to Nambour that was to be our base for the next week. Set up camp at the Rainforest Village and had a glass of the grape to celebrate. Tomorrow we go to BTI so like kids at Xmas off to bed early so the big day arrives quicker.
Day 10, 11, 12, 13
We arrived at Bushtracker early on Monday to see how “The Swag” was progressing. We spent the next 3 days going to the factory in the morning to take photos, shopping at the Big shopping centres and sampling the local restaurants. Living where we do you don’t get to do these things very often.
The people at Bushtracker were fantastic. Everybody had time to tell you what was happening with the van and there was every opportunity to look at the building process as it happened.
Finally on Thursday afternoon The Swag was ready to roll. We decided to wait until Friday morning for the official pickup.

Day 14
Pick up day. We arrived at Bushtracker about 10:00 and got straight down to business, awning rollout demo, check the plug connection to the ute, ( had to change a couple of wires, my mistake), predelivery chat and then it was time to hook up the weight distribution hitch and test the brake controller. Get the photos first. Once we roll out the gate we aren’t going back in.
After a nervous first few ks on the highway The Navigator sorted out our route and we headed off the main road to our first lunch stop at Fat Duck Creek. A chance to relax and admire our new home.
We got to travel on our first dirt road, a short cut between Kilkivan and Tansey. Good road but up through some hilly area. This gave a good indication of how the ute was travelling.
The rest of the day flowed nicely and we setup camp at Lawgi Park just south of Biloela.

Day 15
As usual up early to check out the bird life and added Redwing Parrot, Palehead Rosella and Red backed Wren to our ever growing list.
Back on the road, fuel at Biloela, lunch at Rolleston and camp at Theresa Creek Dam just out of Clermont. A nice spot right on the water and a large flock of Plumhead finches came in just before dusk.

Day 16
We had light rain overnight and it was still a bit damp as we left camp. Didn’t get very far before The Navigator, camera in hand was sneaking through the damp bushes on the side of the road to get some shots of a large flock of Brolgas. Not sure how many photos she has taken so far this trip but if the number of times we have stopped while she trots back with camera in hand is any indication there must be hundreds. O well, I guess if the idea of travel was to get from one place to another in the shortest time, we wouldn’t be towing the Swag.
I am very pleased we are able to travel over 1200ks between fuel stops. After looking at some of the prices being charged by some of the roadhouses I am sure we will save a few bob.
Being nice finally paid off. I have been making sure that road trains don’t get stuck behind and always give them the chance to pass asap. Just north of Greenvale while we were checking every little side track as a possible night camp, a couple of cattle trucks got passed and one of the drivers told us about a spot a few ks ahead. Lucky creek turned out to be a good little camp and we had the company of Margaret and Brad in the campervan True Blue.
Day 17
Only a short leg today. Lucky creek to Millaa Millaa with lunch from the Ravenshoe bakery. Very good, check it out if you are ever in the area. Arrived at our rainforest block about 1:00pm. You don’t realise just how big a unit you are until you have to start doing U turns on small dirt tracks and in amongst the trees in the rain forest. Still with The Navigators precise directions (I’ll make sure you have 6 inches to spare before you hit anything) we managed the U turn reversing over a steep bank and the power mover jockey wheel got us turned around in the trees. Time to setup and relax.

Day 18, 19, 20
Time spent relaxing, exploring the block and getting ready for the next leg. The Atherton Tablelands are a wonderful part of the country and we are looking forward to the time we can get back to the block more often. On a more serious note, we got the washing done, filled up the water tanks and topped up the food and wine supplies and were packed and hitched and ready to roll The Swag by bed time on day 20.
I spent some time messing around with the WDH setup, taking measurements, checking weights, and have decided to use the 5th link on the hitch instead of the 4th.

Day 21
A beautiful morning. The sunrise through the mist over Mt Belinden Kerr was brilliant.
Stoped in at Ravenshoe on the off chance the bakery was open early to get some fresh bread for the next leg of the trip. Yes they open early and the bread was lovely and fresh, but pies for breakfast, bloody lovely on a cool misty morning.
Spent the day along the Gulf Development Road through Georgetown, Croydon and turned south just out of Normanton. The Navigator has spent the day, when not taking photos or typing pocketmails, adding waypoints to the gps for all the good bush camps we have passed.
Camped for the night in a borrow pit (some call them quarries) just north of Bang Bang turnoff. Had a nice fire and rinsed out the washing in the barrel so now it will be forever known as Wash camp.

Day 22
Cloudy and overcast with the promise of some rain .
I think the change to the WDH is working well. The roads are all single lane bitumen or dirt and the whole rig feels nice and firm at between 85 and 90 kph.
We finally got the rain just north of Cloncurry. Topped up all the fuel at Mt Isa and spent the rest of the day pushing the wind out onto the Barkly. Camped at Soudan rest area .

Day 23
The Navigator has been busy this morning marking campsites along our route. It will take us a good while to cross this stretch when time is our own.
The wind that we pushed for most of yesterday has eased and we made good time to Tenant creek. Send off the pocketmails and back on the road.
Camped at The Devils Marbles and spent the rest of the day walking and taking photos.

Day 24
Off to Alice. Good run adding to the bird list as we go. Saw my first wild Major Mitchell Cockatoo.
Got to Alice at lunch time so we parked down by the river and went into the markets for home made spring rolls for lunch.
Parked up at the Heritage Van Park. Sites are a bit small but the amenities are first class and they are dog friendly.

Day 25, 26, 27
Lots of friends in Alice Springs so we do the rounds and see everybody and visit some favourite restaurants.
The usual chores like refuel, wash and stock up supplies and water and we are to go again.

Day 28
On the road at 8:30. Today we get back to the dirt. Tyre pressures adjusted down to 35 psi we started out across the Tanami Track. Stopped for late lunch east of Yuendumu. The road is bloody rough so drop the tyre pressure another 5 psi.
About 4:00 we found a nice repeater station for the night camp. The sight that greeted us in the van was a bit of a shock. The fridge catches had come unglued from the fridge door and everything including the freezer door was on the floor. The Navigators wine cask had been pieced by broken glass from the fridges bottom shelf and the whole area was kind of chardy.
Nothing for it but get out the box of goodies (known from now on as the caravan first aid kit) and set about putting things back to rights.
Luckily the cask of red had survived. So with a few glasses of red, some two pot epoxy, some silicone, a couple of stainless screws and the spare bits of hinge that come with the fridge we had it all back together before dark. The fridge door will need a bit more work but it has survived the rest of the trip well and we replaced the glass shelf with Perspex.

Day 29
Back on the road, if you could call it that, again. We have come to the conclusion that the Tanami Track has very little to recommend it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great camps and some spectacular views and the solitude is inspiring but the corrugations take the edge off the whole experience.
Anyway we got to see Rabbit Flats roadhouse and found a great camp on a ridge just west of the Granites gold mine. Shame it was only 10 in the morning. The down side was somebody had burnt a pallet there some time in the past and one of the old nails was waiting for me and ended up nailing my thong to my foot.
We pushed on after first aid and stopped for lunch a couple of hours later. I had found some rivet heads on the floor the day before and assumed they had something to do with the fridge. Wrong. The front door glass of the oven was laying on the floor, in one piece thankfully so lunch was spent soaking the wounded foot in a bucket of hot water and orange pine o clean and replacing all the aluminium rivets in the stove with stainless ones from the van first aid kit. It really does pay to think about what you carry with you. Without the van first aid kit we would have been left with no fridge or stove for a few days. Not to mention the shower door that fell victim to the aluminium rivet failure as well.
Now you would think that was enough for one day but one more little surprise awaited us. We passed a track that led to a camp that had been recommended by a friend in Alice, so , as we had done a half dozen times that day we decided to do a U turn and go back. The table drain was all loose sand this time and when the rear wheels dug in so did the drawbar. Gotcha, stuck right across the road. Low range four-wheel drive no go forward but reverse worked once the front of the ute had dug in and lifted the rear just enough to free things up.
Spent a nice quiet night at camp with a lovely roast from the new camp oven The Navigator had been dying to try out.

Day 30
This is the day we get off this track. The section between the Balgo turnoff and Halls Creek is the best we have travelled over so far so we even did a 40k detour to look a Wolfe Creek Crater. Quite a sight, a meteor strike about 300,000 years ago has left a large round basin.
The bitumen feels good under the tyres and the dog seems a lot happier. We fuel up at Halls Creek. Top up the food and wine and pump up the tyres and head for Mary Pool. The camp is deserted so we setup relax and watch the birds.

Day 31
Sunday morning and The Navigator can’t get Macca on the radio. As disasters go this rates even ahead of the chardy all over the floor. Still don’t know who won the AFL grand final and none of the truckies we are passing seem to want to talk to me.
Lunch west of Willaire and refuel at Roebuck Plains Roadhouse. They have the distinction of being the most expensive fuel we purchased both ways.
Camped the night at Goldwire rest area. Good camp well off the road with plenty of room.

Day 32
Second last day on the road. The thought of work is starting to creep in. Not pleasant but reality for the time being. Had lunch at Pardo road house and fuelled at Port Headland. Pushing into the wind all day so we stopped at Yule River for a break and give the dog a swim.
Back onto the road, into the wind all the way to Wickham and set up camp on the brothers front lawn for the night. Even though we have a hot shower every night in the van it is good to be able to hop in and not think about the amount of water you are using.

Day 33
Last day and only 220ks to home. Stopped at Karratha and stocked up with groceries. Arrived home about 2:30. I think Matilda (dog) is the most excited. I don’t suppose I can blame her after the time she has spent in the back of the ute.

Total Distance Travelled: 13383 Ks. Without the Van 4820 Ks. Towing Van 8563 Ks.
Total fuel used 2654.32 lt. Without Van 872.23 lt. Towing Van 1782.09 lt.
Average fuel consumption for total Trip 19.83 lt. / 100 ks
Average fuel consumption Without Van 18.09 lt. / 100 ks
Average fuel consumption Towing Van 20.81 lt. / 100 ks
Total spent on fuel $3504.76 or 26cents per kilometre
We are very pleased with all aspects of our trip. A long way in a short time but we did get to see the best and some of the worst this country can dish up. The ute performed right up to expectations and apart from the few little hiccups the van is fantastic. After what we have put both vehicles through, it is my opinion that with proper servicing and maintenance our package will see us over many more Ks.
It really does pay to have a good assorted tool box and any little spare bits that might be of use.
I am also sure that being able to travel more than 1100 ks between fuel stops is an advantage.

Trevor, Lyndal & Matilda

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 02:36

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 02:36
A very interesting trip to read about, and memories come flooding back to when we travelled some of the roads and tracks mentioned. We stayed at the Goldwire rest area last year and can also recommend it.

I put a couple of screws in each of the pads on the fridge door after one came off, and haven't had a problem since. Pop rivets would do the same job.

I found it interesting that you had problems with Aluminium rivets giving way on stove and shower door. We have now travelled 100,000 km in our van over all sorts of roads/tracks and haven't had any failures.

We will be travelling with another BT over your part of the block next year, and I know of 3 others that will also be over there, so you might like to give some thought as to a suitable camping area where we can all get together and chat for a few days with any other BT's that happen to be nearby.

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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 05:12

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 05:12
Hi Brian
Keep in touch when you get out this way. I know a couple of out the way spots that might be suitable for just such a camp.
I think the problem with the alumininm riverts stems from the stove being a little less than snug fit into it's recess. It is snug now. I can assure you.
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Reply By: Mobi Condo - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 03:51

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 03:51
Howdy Pannatrackers,
Thank you for the details - made very interesting reading. Whets the appetite a bit and provides some stuff to watch for.
Your "diary" will be read in conjunction with maps for even more delight.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 05:16

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 05:16
Hi Ian & Sally
With work getting in the way of our real life for the next 28 months we will be restricted to the maps at home and a few trips to keep our hands in. Role on retirement
Trevor & Lyndal
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Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 07:20

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 07:20
Back again - we sort of understand - that four letter word "work" is our problem too. Never mind you only have 28 months. We have much fun with maps and reading real life stuff from real life people. It makes the journey so much more interesting as we go past such and such which is where so and so did thus and thus and we read about it in their notes!
Cheers and some good local trips in the meantime. Ian & Sally
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 11:54

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 11:54
Thanks Trevor for an inspiring read. It is journals such as this that encourage people into the lifestyle and we have just put our Bushtracker and F250 into storage for the next 1075-1440 sleeps (depending on how long it takes us to save for a retirement house) until we return again from London. We will look forward to following others adventures again until we can get back on the road for ourselves.
Perhaps you and the Navigator can put some photos on the forum for others to look at.

Cyclone Angie
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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 23:39

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 23:39
Hi Ange
Have posted some photos, but to post all the flowers and wildlife shots would take me a year. We are still to sort them into folders. Digital cameras are just fantastic.
Trevor & Lyndal
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Sunday, Oct 09, 2005 at 02:54

Sunday, Oct 09, 2005 at 02:54
Thanks for the photos Trevor and Lyndal. Also love the interior ones. Don't you just luuuuurve the way BT will do a custom build so we can all have our dreams!!!!

Cyclone Angie
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Reply By: Fosssil - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 20:52

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 20:52
Hi Trevor Lyndal and Matilda...

I was very interested to see your report...sounds as if you did a lot in 30 or so days...

After reading your report, there is only one thing that sticks in my mind, and that is the failures that happened.

I have to say I was very disappointed to see the equipment failures, even though the equipment was not Bushtrackers except the shower door, perhaps some reinforcing of likely weak areas that caused your fridge and stove and shower doors to fall off in your first trip should be done before the event ...ie. in production instead of after it has been picked up from the floor of the van in many pieces....
Probably about 1 hours work during production and the use of stainless rivets in stress areas might be appropriate, and would go a long way towards making these areas stronger so this does not happen...If you can do it after the event, it should be able to be done before the Van leaves BTI
I would not be happy after spending about $90,000 plus dollars to see that type of damage after my first trip, and though it was a testing trip, it is what we are told Bushtracker are designed for.

Steve, do you have a comment about what can be done to strengthen these areas...

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 21:11

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 21:11
We had problems with the door on our first Waeco fridge (2001 model). The lower hinge was a single right angled bracket that screwed into the front of the cabinet. In time with continued rough roads the section of the cabinet where the screws go into started to move out under the weight on the door. This then allowed movement in the hinges and the plastic insert on the bottom of the door was pushed up into the foam insulation.
We replaced the fridge last year with a new one and the lower hinges now have a double right angled bracket so that the weight of the door is supported under the cabinet, not just by the screws held by the front of the cabinet.

Bob Pollock has gone one step further and on the open side of the door placed an angled bracket with a plastic top on it for the door to ride up onto when it closes. This stops an sag in the door and shares the weight of the door on both sides of the cabinet.

I believe this is a useful addition and if someone was to mass produce them, they would be a very cheap, but as one off items it would be expensive.

Maybe Bob can put some photos on the forum when he gets home and someone might be able to get a little sideline going supplying them to BTi and other manufacturers to use on their fridges.

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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 23:32

Saturday, Oct 01, 2005 at 23:32
Hi foss
At the time there was a certain amount of dissapointment with the fridge and stove but if our adventure helps with the improvement of these components that is great.
I prefer to look at the positives that came out of the trip. The Bushtracker as a complete unit is an excellent product. We are more than happy with the way it peformed and being able to fix the problems as we went was a real plus. If we had the to make the decisions about what we purchased and the way we treated it on the trip back again, we would do the same all over again.
Trevor & Lyndal
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Reply By: Fosssil - Sunday, Oct 02, 2005 at 00:53

Sunday, Oct 02, 2005 at 00:53
Hi Trevor....I would have to agree that the Bushtracker is far and above the best Offroad caravan out there and every one who has found an odd fault or two seems to be able to forgive the odd fault very quickly and I would certainly not choose another van just because of the few faults reported....but that is exactly why I am concerned..if it was a problem on any other brand of off caravan I would just say , what can you expect...but not my beloved Bushtracker .

I hope to make my a Bushtracker and F250 a home for my Wife and I for some years to come..

I am just at a bit of a loss how to mentally dismiss these faults as the equipment manufacturers fault when you were able to fix and strengthen it out on the road with a few bits and pieces you had with you...so I guess I am saying that if something is known to be faulty, that perhaps it should be strengthened ((whether it is a Bushtracker or outside component)) before it leaves the factory and ends up on the caravan floor.....If your report was the only one I would say that it was unfortunate...but its not.

Anyway...I guess is forewarned is for armed, and number one rule is to strengthen weak points such the fridge lock and oven door and shower door before venturing onto the real rough stuff..I guess I am just conveying what a pending buyer might be feeling when he/she reads of such faults.

I am not trying to be negative here, just concerned, and in fact I will not type anymore on the topic..but I will certainly be asking questions about the faults when I order my van.....I would have thought that fridge and van manufacturers would have this problem solved one way or the other by now ...A lot of time has passed since I saw the first report of the fridge door catch breaking and the contents ending up on the floor.

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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Sunday, Oct 02, 2005 at 01:28

Sunday, Oct 02, 2005 at 01:28
Good for you Foss
I am going to get in touch with the fridge and stove manufactures the same as I have been intouch with BTI. I really hope that all concerned look at the problems and make the required adjustments.
Hope to see you on the road
Trevor & Lyndal
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:52

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:52
Get a grip Foss, this is a very rare occurance... Don't stress....

The most common fridge we advise in the 190 has a double screwed on locking mechanism now of our own design near bullet proof... I have to do my Detective work and find out how this one was not one of those?? It could be it is our error? or what I will have to figure out.. But our standard is a double stainless screwed on one of our own design so this does not happen....

I have just put on two Posting at the tail end here, these other two are very rare indeed... Like one in 200 or never on the shower door and one in maybe 250 on the oven glass? There is more too this, and it may be that the van is riding a bit too hard, maybe not loaded up enough on the way home, or travel too fast on the corrugation... I am doing my Detective work right now asking the questions to get to the bottom of this... But the workshop Foreman Wayne has only seen or heard of it in the 1/200 and 1/250 cases? There is more to the story... Peter is not in, I will get some more statistics on this for a Nationwide count... But it could be something simple, like the van underloaded with too much reserve carrying capacity on the way home, or just traveling a bit too fast... This is not the norm..

Regards from the Ranger... More to come...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:21

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:21
Trust me,
I really do not like to hear of equipment failures like this....

First of all, we have solved the problem on the one type of fridge that is most common and the catch is riveted on, of our own design... The other size of fridge, and I assume it is the one you have, we have been forbidden to drill and rivet the catch on, but of late they have been holding up... Yours I don't know...???

The other two failures are a bit rare... I am curious, what tyre pressure were you running????????? As a rule, things like that do not happen on the corrugation unless people are running the tires too hard..... On severe corrugation off of main roads, I have let my own down to 25 psi, and slowed down... If we get this kind of a report, it almost always comes back to someone running to hard, too fast, and / or too high of pressure in the tyres... In recent memory, I can only think of one other off hand to have the oven glass come out, and that was me, on the corrugation into Lawn Hill when I was too lazy to let the tyre pressure down and battled on... Now to be fair to others, please tell me what tyre pressure you were running OK? Last one with breakages like that said

"I don't know, I haven't checked them since I picked the van up....!" Bingo, hit the problem on the first go......!!!!!

Any way, sorry for your troubles... I hope it is just as simple as you ran the tyres a bit too hard... The only other thing is that if you did not load up the van, it could have been a bit too hard of ride on the reserves in the spring pack... If you travelled light just to get home, that could have been a contributing factor... Let me know the answers will you?

Kind Regards, the Ranger at Bushtracker

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 05:12

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 05:12
Hi Steve
I have some thoughts about what caused the problems. I wouldn't attempt to rule out any of the combination of factors that contributed to the failures.
First up tyre pressures. Coming from the mining background that I do, a prestart check each morning of my equipment is compulsory.
On the first morning after leaving the factory the tyre pressures were 45psi drivers side and 35psi on the off side. Rectified with the compressor then and there. The next time I had cause to change pressures was the morning we left Alice Springs. Ute adjusted to 38 psi all round and van to 35psi. When we stopped for lunch on the first day we had only covered about 100k of the dirt section on the Tanami. I let the tyres on the van down to 30psi hot and continued on. Average speed over the dirt between 55 and 65 kph. I drive on dirt roads every day of my working life and this is the worst by far that I have travelled over.
We had a full load of water, 4 tanks and a full load of supplies and gear. Appart from our books we had everything we will require in the future .
Now to the factors that I believe contributed to the problems.

The Fridge a 190lt Waeco : The bottom hinge pivot in the door of the fridge was pushed up into the fridge door by a combination of the corrugations and the load in the fridge door. A litre of tomato juice and a couple of litres of water. The sagging of the door pulled the sticky patch off the door and the door was able to swing in the breeze. The door swing back and forth caused the top hinge to fail and the pin dropped down allowing the freezer door to come off. Presto crap everywhere.

The shower door : The fact that there was only one rivert in the bottom hinge and the likely event that it was hit by the fridge and freezer doors as they made there way to the deck will most likley account for that problem.

The Swift Stove : Appart from the road conditions the fact that it was not a snug fit in it's recess was the cause of the problems there. When I found the door glass on the floor one of the screws that held the stove into the recess had sheared off. When I replaced the screw and tighended the others the black surround was pulled slightly out of square by the screws being done up tight.Now that we are home I will remove all the holding screws and add some packing behind the surround to square it back up.
So as you can see I don't think any one thing can be blamed for the problems. The fact that I was able to overcome the problems as they happened was more due to good preperation than good luck and I would recommend everybody spend some time thinking about what gear you will have with you when you set out. Even on the shortest trips.
Steve thanks for your interest
Trevor & Lyndal

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:40

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 02:40
Hello again, Posting #2 on this one,
Trevor and Lyndal,
I have just read it, to Wayne and Paul, and came across where you indicated and have run the trye pressure at a modest 30 psi .... That should be OK, but rivet failures in the shower door? Wayne and Paul say extremely rare, can't even remember one says Wayne right now... Wayne has only had two catches failed in the last 100 vans, and has not seen one like you are describing... He is the Shop Foreman and should know.. Oven glass?? Wayne says he has done one only, and it was on a van on some really terrible conditions.... So that would be 1 in 250 or more with that new stove.. That is again VERY RARE... Now these kind of things happening together indicate something may be wrong!!!

I would say, putting all of these three together, sounds to me like your van is either under-loaded and riding too hard, or you are travelling too fast and must have been on some very very severe corrugations.... Something is not right, and I would like to help so get back to me, OK?

Regards from the Ranger
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 03:56

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 03:56
Prior to putting the posting on about the comparison between the Caprice and Swift stoves, I contacted Phil Hubbard the manufacturer of Swift stoves and he said he has found that they have had a few problems with the oven door glass failing and theu have fixed them under warrantee.

He also said that they have recently modified the doors of their stoves to prevent this problem occuring in future stoves.

He told me that he may join this forum as he was keen to hear feed-back or about any faults with their products from customers, so that they can modify and improve the product if required.

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Reply By: Fosssil - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 06:39

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 06:39

Hardly a matter of "get a grip, foss"...I was just conveying my surprise, and how I would feel if it happened to me.

As you are indicating, it is a serious problem that you don't like reading about, just like I didn't.

I hope you find the answers to each problem no matter how rare....

As a matter of interest Steve....would the Air suspension have made a difference under those circumstances, or are those conditions severe for the air suspension as well. ....it seems that using the removal of air from the tyres is sort of like using and adjusting the air suspension....anyway I will leave it at that.


AnswerID: 567204

Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 17:27

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 17:27
Hello Pannatrackers, Trevor, Lyndal

Tuesday mornings final Analysis.... Results:

It total it sounds like a weird combination of odd conditions that contributed to all three coming together in your van... We are working on a door support for the fridge as this has happened before, Peter says there have been 5 in the last 250 vans that we know of... So about a 2% failure rate.. Oven glass falling out of the door, Peter confirms 1 in the last 250 vans.... So really nil for Bushtrackers... And the shower door failure, yours is the very first one, it must have been hit by something as you have said... Again nearly nil failure rate....

First of all, I am glad you are so handy and well prepared so as to have handled the mishaps with as little distress as possible... But secondly, I think we have to take something on board, and this is my best guess at the "Statistical Anomaly" of all three occurring in your van... My guess is that unlike others, you were going home to W.A. not fully loaded. You traveled over with kit and swag, and back before fully loading like most others do before crossing the Red Centre... It may just be that on the severe corrugations like it sounds like on the Tanami (must not have been graded recently) you had too much reserve capacity in the suspension possibly running 500 kg too light... Not your fault, just the circumstances... We might warn others in the situation to load up more to soften the ride on the way home... We have to build in the reserve capacity to allow the majority to load up as they do, in your case it might be the cause....

That is my analysis, really guess on the matter... Will warn others, and continue investigations, would like to have seen the stove issue...

Kind Regards from the Ranger at Bushtracker
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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 21:14

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 21:14
Hi Steve
Let me be the first to volunteer to test your fridge door support. I will be taking the door off shortly to reinforce the bottom hinge pivot and realign the top pivot. A door support will be added at this time.
I don't expect to have any more problems with the fridge or shower door after that.
I am not sure how we are going to add 1/2 tonne of gear to what we already carry. Simple folk with simple needs and don't like a lot of clutter but the book collection will help.
The stove will be sorted soon and I don't expect to have any more problems with that either.
Being able to repair as we go prevents things from becoming the disaster they could have been and the feeling of self satisfaction is a tangible thing.
Keep up the R&D.
Trevor & Lyndal
FollowupID: 845010

Reply By: Fosssil - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 20:16

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 at 20:16
It certainly sounds as if a certain set of severe circumstances conspired against the BT, and I am encouraged by your investigations Steve.... also, Trevor's undented enthusiasm for the BT is good to see.
It seems as if some type of door rest would have just about solved the problem of the fridge and shower screen doors, so I guess that could be in the works soon.
AnswerID: 567206

Follow Up By: Fosssil - Wednesday, Oct 05, 2005 at 05:52

Wednesday, Oct 05, 2005 at 05:52
I probably should just point out what I mean by this waffle I made above.....

" It seems as if some type of door rest would have just about solved the problem of the fridge and shower screen doors, so I guess that could be in the works soon." ...

If the fridge door was able to rest, locked closed on some type of support, it would most probably / almost certainly still be attached and therefore would not have hit the shower screen, taking it off its hinge...

Just thought I would clear that up in case someone thought that I was talking about a door rest for the shower screen....Haa!

foss ..
FollowupID: 845011

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