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Trip Preparation

Know How To Use Your Equipment

1. Obtain maps of the areas you plan to travel and study them for:

  • Mileage between locations and total distances. (Know what the distance is between fuel locations and your destination)
  • The distance your vehicle can get on a full tank of fuel. ( Remember to allow for the extra weight, 4WD and rough roads)
  • The actual tracks you aim to take, their direction and available facilities.
  • Fuel, food, water and repairs availability, including camping locations.
  • Any possible obstacles such as sand dunes and creek or river crossings.
  • Any permits you may require to enter specific locations.

2. Loading your 4WD:

  • Don’t overload your vehicle - this can be dangerous and reduces handling. ( Keep weight low in the 4WD and centrally located if possible)
  • Don’t put too much on a roof rack - it has a specific weight capacity. (Overloading a roof rack raises the centre of gravity and could cause:
    • A possible roll-over
    • Increased fuel usage due to the extra wind drag
    • Breakage of rack legs)
  • Make sure items are secure in the event of braking or rough tracks.

3. Preparing the 4WD:

  • Tracks with rough corrugations have the ability to loosen any screw or bolt & nut which is not secured with thread-lock and/or spring washers. ( Your worst enemy is vibration - and there is plenty of that)
  • Exhaust systems should have adequate hangers from the vehicle body or chassis to support it under severe jolting to avoid breakage.
  • Dual Batteries are preferable, particularly if using several accessories.
  • Consider fitting a Snorkel for cleaner air intake on dusty roads and water crossings.
  • Carry some spare parts such as:
    • Fan, alternator and air conditioner belts
    • Fuses, some wiring, extra light bulbs and insulating
    • Radiator hoses and sealant
    • A length of heater hose (1m) and some ring clamps.
    • Cable Ties and Tie wire - these can be very handy.
    • A set of spark plugs.
    • Fuel, Oil and Air filter.
    • Engine oil, brake and transmission fluid.
  • Check all lights are correctly functioning.
  • Update shock absorbers if worn (very important).
  • Have your 4WD thoroughly serviced and tuned a week before leaving.

4. Tyres:

  • Check all tyres and tyre pressures - always carry two spare tyres.
  • Carry a tyre pressure gauge.
  • Carry a quality tyre puncture repair kit.
  • Good quality 12 volt air compressor and fittings.
  • Spare tyre valves and caps.
  • Carry a wheel brace and two hydraulic jacks and a base plate.

Do not use ‘lock nuts’ on your wheels - more of a problem than benefit.

5. Additional Items:

  • A good quality 12 volt fridge (e.g. Engel fridge/freezer), to keep things cold.
  • Maps for all areas you intend to travel.
  • Compass and GPS loaded with appropriate raster maps.
  • Good quality ‘remote area’ first aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher – Spinifex and dry grass can build up under the 4WD and catch fire.
  • Tools - spanners, pliers, wrenches and screwdrivers to fit your 4WD.
  • Recovery gear - snatch strap, shackles & winch gear if you have a winch.
  • Camera, torch & batteries, sun block, hat and sunglasses.

Take adequate water - put in several 10Ltr containers rather than one in case of leakage.

6. Communications:

  • HF radio and aerial fitted to your 4WD for emergencies (Join VKS-737).
  • Satellite Phone for calling home in remote areas.
  • UHF radio and aerial for general road communications.

Do Not rely on CB (27MHz) radios or Mobile (Cellular) Phone communications. In remote areas there is no mobile service and they will not work.