Saturday, 8 September 2018

Day 6 – We’re in Trouble!

The days have been hot and the nights cold.  Not surprising for a desert!  Each morning we’re completed pre-start checks on the vehicle and trailer.  This morning there was a problem.  Actually there were two problems and both were with the trailer.
After only one hard day of corrugations and ruts the four shock absorbers on the trailer independent suspension are stuffed!
They have been beaten to pieces by the track.  Then Carlin noticed a more serious problem.  The heads on the camber bolts had sheered off.
The trailer suspension was floating around loose and could fall apart if we continued.  What to do?  We’re almost exactly at the halfway point and no trailers (let alone vehicles) get recovered out here.  The cost of recovery is just too high!   We were going to have to use our initiative to solve this problem.
Being the mechanic Carlin took the lead.  He’s also much thinner and therefore more suited to getting under the trailer Smile. The other end of each bolt (there were two) had two nuts.  One to retain the bolt and the other as a “locking nut”.  We removed the outer nut and relocated the inner nut towards the end of the thread.  This enabled us to hammer the bolt back through the suspension arm and mount leaving almost 12mm of shaft sticking out.
Then we used some of the 2mm stainless steel wire I purchased prior to departing just in case we experienced some type of mechanical emergency (Readers you will realise, despite appearance, I’m not totally stupid).
Both ends of the bolt were wired together and then tensioned.  In an effort to ensure the bolt didn’t work back out of the mounting I used my Aldi Duct Tape and wrapped the entire area.
So now we have no shock absorbers and the suspension is held with 2mm wire and duct tape.  If we were going slow yesterday it will be a crawl today.  We must complete the rest of the Gunbarrel and reach Warburton on the Great Central Road in the hope we’ll be able to obtain replacement bolts.
But then things improved (but not with the suspension) when we came upon our first group of wild camels.
Hit one of these with the 4x4 and you’ll know all about it.
Obviously they don’t see many humans or vehicles as they were very curious.  The looks on their faces suggested they were thinking “What the hell are you doing out here?”
Camels are not native to Australia.  They were introduced, along with their Afghan handlers, to transport goods through the centre of the country in the period prior to railways and roads.  With the construction of the old Central Australian Railway to Alice Springs the camels became redundant and we released to roam the deserts.  Their number increased significantly and a small export trade for live animals to the Middle East now exists.  However most of them are simply culled as they compete for food with cattle and native animals. 
I managed to video the second group.  You may notice the large bull at the rear (with big hump) keeping his harem in line.  They don’t appear to be all that intelligent deciding to run in front of the vehicle down the track.  It took several kilometres to pass them as we couldn’t go any faster than they could run.

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Then we came upon a camper trailer where the owners either weren’t bush mechanics or they had failed to buy steel wire.
I suspect the decal says it all…….
Thirty kilometres later we made it to Mount Beadell.


Marilyn McDonald said...


I cannot believe that you didn't have spares of everything with a thread on board! And that wire doesn't look as substantial as the No 8 variety, but no doubt is in the same mode for a kiwi bloke ...

Cheers, Marilyn

Tom and Jan said...

I couldn't find No8 wire and bailing twine in the hardware before we departed. However the 2mm stainless steel wire seemed a suitable alternative. Of course it's not my trailer so I could abandon it. ๐Ÿ˜