Wheelin' Down Under

Story and Photos by: Andy Sissons
E-Mail: rsissons@magna.com.au
Triple Diamond Four Wheel Drive Club of NSW (Inc)Our gang:

Klaus & Maree
(Trip Leader)
Pajero SWB 2.6L
David, Brian & Ding Toyota Hilux 2.8D
Paul I & Kathy Landcruiser LWB
Paul M and Keith Toyota Hilux 2.8D
Craig, Les and Andy Pajero LWB 2.6L

We trekked onwards and eventually made camp just before nightfall having made it as far as "The Little Face". This is quite a serious obstacle going the other direction but with the aid of gravity it didn't cause us too many heartaches. The scene around the camp fire was fairly restful - it had been a full day. Most people had been up since before 0500 hrs, lifted tonnes of rocks and after dinner, a few beers, bed was definitely the place to be

We were all packed and back on the track at 0745 hrs and the next difficult section wasn't far away. The nasty rock that has a habit of scratching Paul I's car, quickly followed by nasty angles and a real sharp angled corner. Keith was paying particular attention here for when he drives Wirraba Ridge when his car is old enough. The car is already ten years old and to quote Keith "But that's not old enough according to my missus". Klaus didn't even bother to stop at the car munching rock and drove straight through - Brian and I must have done a reasonable rock building job! We had some worrying moments with Paul I's car at the rock but we soon overcame them with a highlift jack and a few gentle pushes to move the car over. The others drove through without any real dramas.

Quote: "I've been on this track seven times and 1 know the correct line!" - Klaus, following a little bit of doubt from the other drivers after having just witnessed the drama a few minutes earlier.

Most people managed to drive this section without any problems except a nasty noise was heard coming from David's car so he was slowly snatched up the final section. A preliminary check found nothing wrong with the vehicle so we carried on.

We reached the camp site of the first night of last years' trip at about 1100 hrs. It was here that David realised his car wasn't turning left properly. More thorough checks revealed that the CV joint must have collapsed. Great!

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At this point we had a choice - leave David's car and come back next weekend to fix it (it would have been quite safe in this very remote area), or remove the CV joint and axle before proceeding with an injured vehicle. Paul I reckoned it would take about two hours to remove the CV joints and to reinstate the wheel assembly. The latter option was decided upon.


The people that were not required in the repair procedure, Klaus's and Craig's vehicles, went ahead to prepare the track for those who would be following later. Paul M stayed at the top as he was now required to be the last vehicle in case David needed to be pulled backwards, or lowered down a steep incline, at anytime.

Within a remarkable short time we heard over the CB that the mechanic party were on the move so the advance party waited until Paul I was safely through "The Pinch" before we again set off to prepare the track and save time. Paul I, with his helpers, had removed the CV joint and replaced everything else in about 75 minutes - a tremendous job and I reckon a world record to boot! See if your local Toyota dealer will do it in that time.

This track is definitely "two-faced" - what is difficult in one direction is much easier going the other way and vice verca. Where one Member went airborne last year was a fairly easy (it’s all relative), albeit very slow, descent which didn't cause problems for anyone - not even to the three wheel drivers in the group.

The rest of the track was by no means easy but in comparison to what we had just traversed in the last two days it was. Even the last section appeared relatively easy.

Published with the permission of the Triple Diamond 4WD Club of NSW (Inc).

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