Oodnadatta track rough on tyres?

Gidgee

Active Member
William Ck to Arkaringa actually. Having not done that road ever I am wondering if I should be on AT tyres? I was going to put them on a year ago but never got time with everything else and I'm still on the factory HTs, which aren't great even on bitumen. Heading off at Easter and I'm still vacillating again mostly due to too many other distractions. While we're discussing the road a mate wants to come along and take his Kokoda caravan which is rated as "off road", sensible or not?
 

Ashbine

Active Member
I've done the Oodnadatta Track on new mud tyres one year and I was glad I did as it was full on mud, slush and water. I think the minimum you should have are ATs just for their stronger construction. The Oody has a habit of throwing up old rail spikes and bits of wire. Go the ATs. Generally I would say your mates caravan would be Ok but again it all depends on the conditions. When the track is dry and in good condition it is a doddle.
 

RBJET

Well-Known Member
Better to be safe than sorry if you can but then again I've seen sedans cruising at 100km/h if the weather and track conditions are ok.
 

mac_man_luke

Well-Known Member
Drop your tyre pressures and have a good spare and plug kit and you should be ok but it can be pretty rocky/rough in sections depending on its last grading.

But better tyres are always worth while as they will be nicer to drive and be less likely to have issues.

Saw plenty of caravans on the track last time i did it but there were sections with horrible corrugations that would be tough on any van
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
HT will make it but you will have tire damage and much more likely to get punctures, personally I would spend the coin and take AT, if nothing piece of mind but hey I take Land Rovers all over the country so 1 less stress is always good....
The van will be fine but make sure it also has good tires and don't forget to deflate them as well, on tracks like that my camper goes down to 18 cold which equates to about 23 hot
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
As others have said the conditions vary considerably so you might be fine. Just have a think about if it is worth the grief potentially chasing up a replacement tyre etc.
Issues like that can change the whole experience of the trip. Personally I like to prepare for the worst conditions and minimise the dramas but they can still happen regardless
 

Tink

Well-Known Member
Looked at your profile and you have a 2017 Colorado so assume you are still on OEM tyres. Not sure of the distance covered. Can you say mileage anymore in this metric world? What is the metric equivalent? Kilometerage? Anyway I digress.
I never attempt any remote travel on tyres with less than 80% tread, that is, almost new. Just too many risks.
An AT tyre of LIGHT TRUCK construction will handle being aired down a lot better than a non LT tyre. You can get ATs in both LT and non LT construction. The LTs have stiffer side walls and carry the load better when aired down.
As for airing down, I start at 28PSI cold and go down from there for comfort on corrugations. Have been as low as 16 on really severe corros.
Drop you speed by the same percentage as your pressures.
The van will handle the track if driven sympathetically. Good luck and have fun.
Tink
 
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Gidgee

Active Member
Thanks all, I was leaning to getting them so I feel better being second guessed that I wasn't being overly cautious.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
I've done the Oodnadatta Tk with HT tyres a couple of times. As long as you don't flog it and you have the right pressure you'd probably be OK because I didn't have an issue. Having said that, I much prefer LT all terrains as a minimum. Sometimes you're a lot more careful with gear you aren't as confident in and so have less hassle as when you think you are pretty tough and invincible, if you know what I mean?
 

Neddysmith

Active Member
I did Oodnadatta track right through last year in late Sep, weather was dry except last day running ATs, aired down to about 26 i think from memory but could have gone slightly lower for comfort but didnt have any issues, track was in pretty good condition and think HT would have been OK if aired down, then again the heavier construction of a Light Truck AT is always beneficial off road on dirt tracks.
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
I have always thought the biggest threat to tyres in those conditions is excessive speed. My first experience in dirt road driving was in 1964 while sharing the driving in a friend's car over hundreds of miles of unsealed roads in central NSW. The car was a 1955 MG TF sports car. I can assure you it was not running on LT or AT tyres and we did not have any problems. Everything in those days, except the then fairly rare Land Rovers and the even rarer other makes of 4wds, were on street tyres and were being driven on countless dirt roads. Today we seem to need a different type of tyre for every road surface.

In my RAAF days I drove my EH Holden four times over the Nullarbor at a time when there was around 500 ks of unsealed road in SA. It was on ordinary everyday street tyres. I doubt if there was anything else available in those days in the standard size of 6.40 x 13.

As for the Oodnadatta track: I have crossed it in my Hilux on both LT and HT tyres on the pressures recommended in owner's handbook. Providing you don't load the car to the max and push it along while trying to keep to a tight time schedule, you should not have any problems with any type of tyre.
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
Only problem I have with lowering pressures on ht's is increasing the risk of sidewall damage due to their lighter construction. AT's minimum for dirt roads like the odt imo.
If I was living permanently in those areas I would be using heavy cross plies on split rims. For a one off trip, HTs with a bit of common sense thrown in are fine.

I called in to the Burke and Wills dig tree site ten years ago. The park ranger had 7.00 x 16 crossplies on his pre 2005 IFS Hilux and 7.50 cross plies on his family Nissan Patrol.

As for reducing pressures, I have only done that once in thousands of ks of dirt roads and mountain tracks and that was to drive to the top of Big Red and back down again.

I have also lived for a period of eleven years in rural NSW and I will be back there again as soon as we can sell our house. The local people don't get out and change pressures whenever they go from bitumen to dirt.

Having said that, some manufacturers tell you to reduce pressures. Cooper is one of them. I have only used Goodyear and Bridgestone on my current car. Goodyear's head office on their customer information service told me not to reduce them. The Bridgestones are the same specifications and also work perfectly on and off road on Toyota's recommeded pressures. The handbook pressures are so low anyway that I doubt if nobody would want to reduce them but they work both on and off road and dont wear the outside edges as they would if the pressures were too low.

So far my dirt road/track 4wd puncture record stands at one. That was two years ago on the Donahue Hwy near the NT border. I have had five in 2wd cars on sealed roads. The first was in the middle of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
 

bear92

New Member
The conditions change all the time. We were thinking of doing the track and spoke to somebody who had done it a week before. He told us it hard on tyres and he had a spike puncture. We planned to start our leg from Marla. Just as I was airing down the local cops came up and asked if I was thinking of doing the track. It was closed due to recent rain but the sign said it was open - apparently it's controlled from Adelaide and the remote link wasn't working to change the status so they were about to change it manually.

Drove to Coober Pedy and it was open from there to William Creek. Aired down and it was a breeze - we stuck to 80km/h for the majority of it. We didn't want to go any faster because of the lower tyre pressures ... and we didn't want/need to anyway. There were a few spots where it was still a bit wet and very slippery. There were also some cut up bits from vehicles driving through before it had closed off but had now dried out. The majority was very smooth though all the way to Marree where we headed south.
 

Tink

Well-Known Member
With you there 2luxes, lived in the country my whole life & if i had to get out & change air pressures every time I hit a dirt road it would take forever to get anywhere!.
Yeah but you are not normally loaded to the hilt with camping gear for your big trip and normally have help close at hand. Others have to mitigate the risks as much as possible being so far from home base.
I will continue to lower my tyre pressures to (a) improve comfort on corrugations, (b) reduce the risk of punctures and (c) reduce the stress on vehicle components.
Each to their own I say.
Tink
 

peterfermtech

Well-Known Member
I think tyre pressure discussions are a bit like a monty python skit with everyone trying to out do each other. I can't speak about sand as I have had little experience but in the VHC the only issues I've seen have been on tyres running under 20psi including punctures but mainly de-beading. I'm not arguing there isn't a place for deflating. I just think it gets over emphasised as a necessity. I find that 26 psi in the bush works fine and mostly allows me to drive back to the nearest petrol station to air up (I'm lazy). My outback driving days were long before the internet in 2wd cars so it was whatever pressure I ran on the road. Probably 30-35 psi.
regards
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
Drove to Coober Pedy and it was open from there to William Creek. Aired down and it was a breeze - we stuck to 80km/h for the majority of it. We didn't want to go any faster because of the lower tyre pressures ... and we didn't want/need to anyway.
I would never drive at that speed on unsealed roads, particularly in sandy desert conditions. I rarely exceed 60 and are often well below that. The most common accident in the Outback is a rollover and they have killed many people. There are are endless changes to the road surface that, if entered at high speeds, can throw the car all over the place.

A major point when it comes to the way a car handles is the tyre slip angles. Few owners even know they exist. They are the angle formed between where the distorted tyre is pointing in a corner and where the wheel is pointing. They can be altered by changing tyre pressures or weight distribution from front to rear or side to side. They decide whether the front end runs out wider in a corner or sudden swerve or the rear end slides out and the car tries to spin around. Manufacturers set cars up so the front runs wider (understeer) because it is easier for the average driver to control. Oversteer is when the rear end goes first and very few drivers can confidently control that. To do this the front angle is always higher than the rear.

Long flat and fairly smooth unsealed roads like the Oodnadatta or Birdsville Tracks often contain small sandy patches, holes, small patches of rocks or corrugations, washouts and many other obsticles that can come up suddenly and cause a driver to brake or swerve hard. That is when far too many drivers find out the hard way that changes to the car design or manufacturer's instructions like non standard tyre sizes, the pressures they think are best, their incorrect weight distribution, their stiffened rear suspension and so on can leave the car very screwed up and their hair standing on its end.

Most of these situations can be eliminated by keeping the speed well down.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
I would never drive at that speed on unsealed roads, particularly in sandy desert conditions. I rarely exceed 60 and are often well below that. The most common accident in the Outback is a rollover and they have killed many people. There are are endless changes to the road surface that, if entered at high speeds, can throw the car all over the place.

A major point when it comes to the way a car handles is the tyre slip angles. Few owners even know they exist. They are the angle formed between where the distorted tyre is pointing in a corner and where the wheel is pointing. They can be altered by changing tyre pressures or weight distribution from front to rear or side to side. They decide whether the front end runs out wider in a corner or sudden swerve or the rear end slides out and the car tries to spin around. Manufacturers set cars up so the front runs wider (understeer) because it is easier for the average driver to control. Oversteer is when the rear end goes first and very few drivers can confidently control that. To do this the front angle is always higher than the rear.

Long flat and fairly smooth unsealed roads like the Oodnadatta or Birdsville Tracks often contain small sandy patches, holes, small patches of rocks or corrugations, washouts and many other obsticles that can come up suddenly and cause a driver to brake or swerve hard. That is when far too many drivers find out the hard way that changes to the car design or manufacturer's instructions like non standard tyre sizes, the pressures they think are best, their incorrect weight distribution, their stiffened rear suspension and so on can leave the car very screwed up and their hair standing on its end.

Most of these situations can be eliminated by keeping the speed well down.
I would think this is more about the driver than the car, tires or pressure , some drivers can not handle a car when slipping sideways because they never learnt how and / or never masted how ( maybe an indictment of driver education in Australia), personally I am happy to drive at 100+ on dirt roads and happy to drive a car sideways on dirt or bitumen.
When we did the Ood in 2015 it was in pretty good condition for the most part, we met a group doing a charity run and I got chatting to one of the participants about there trip and the old car they were driving, he made comment about tire pressure and flats, he said he and the locals ran "normal" road pressure and no need to deflate, I then pointed out he had a slow leak and I could hear air leaking from his rear tire...
His response was " ah crap thats the 3rd flat we have had "....
 
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