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More Power

By Nathan Johnson | 14 September 2023
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Since the creation of the internal combustion engine, finding ways to generate more horsepower, kilowatts and torque from them has been forever evolving.

So, let’s break down these terms and what they represent in an engine.

Horsepower: This is a measurement or a rate at which work is done and customarily used to reference the output of engines and motors. The term was adopted by a Scottish engineer, James Watt. He was determined to compare the output of a steam engine to that of a draft horse. So, with a bunch of mathematical equations, he worked out how many horses it would take to get the same output as the steam engine. Therefore, we have the term Horsepower.

Kilowatts: Modern-day measurement of the horsepower saw them convert the output into

Watts, and by definition, 1 Kilowatt equals – 1000 Watts, 1 HP equals 0.7457Kw.

Torque: Referred to as a moment of force. It is said to describe the moment of change of angular momentum imparted to an isolated body. It was Archimedes who used levers to push and pull a linear force applied to a body. Torque can be considered a twist of an object relative to a chosen point. A few mathematical equations later, we have a measurement for torque, usually measured in Foot Pounds Ft-lb and now commonly measured in Newton Meters Nm.

How do we generate more power (insert video of Tim the Toolman grunting)? With modern-day advances in Electronic Fuel Injection, finding or delivering more power from an internal combustion engine, can be very simple but, at the same time, very complex.

When your motor vehicle was initially designed and built, an engine map was loaded into the Electronic Control Unit (ECU): the map tells the engine when to fire injectors and or ignition coils, how to adjust the Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and in some cases when to shut down cylinders to increase fuel economy. All this and more is happening inside the ECU; it sends and receives information from sensors all over the engine and transmission to give you the optimal driving experience required to enjoy driving your car.

By adjusting the engine map, we can move the timing at which the engine fires and how much fuel it can deliver, adjust valve timing to stay open longer or shorter, take away throttle lag in the throttle pedal and throttle body, adjust transmission shifting, and loads more variables. Some performance gains will require modifications to the engine, which your desired outcome will determine. You may want to be able to run a race-defined fuel like E85 and a pump fuel like ULP98; if this is the case, for example, you may require a fuel system overhaul to be ethanol-compatible.

Other mechanical upgrades maybe tuned-length exhaust headers, high-flow catalytic  converters and tuned exhaust systems, and cold air induction with an air filter with high flow capability. In looking for a much higher increase, you may want to upgrade to a supercharger or turbocharger used to force the air into your engine, resulting in much higher power increases.

All of the above is relative to petrol fuel-injected vehicles. What about modern-day diesel?

The modern-day diesel is no slouch; technological advances, like the petrol engine, have also evolved. Once a diesel engine was a true workhorse, they loved to load and lug along, being

able to generate high torque at low RPMs. The slow burning of the diesel fuel combined with a long stroke in the diesel engine delivered that torque.

Now, to deliver a more efficient diesel engine, I will go out on a limb and say there would be a few that do not have a turbocharger attached to them. The ability to squeeze more diesel and air into the combustion chamber gives the engine more power, much quicker and can run more efficiently. The turbo provides each cylinder with as much filling as allowed, and the Common Rail Fuel Injector sprays a high-pressure atomised diesel that mixes with that squeezed-in air to create the firepower the engine requires.

How do they increase the power of these engines? Like the petrol engine, the ECU has a map set out by the manufacturer. The relative tuner can adjust the map to change the timing of componentry in the machine, allowing more turbo boost, opening the injectors for longer to deliver more diesel and changing a few signals to and from the ECU on select sensors around the engine bay.

You may need mechanical upgrades as well with diesel tunes, and typical upgrades include larger diameter exhausts to assist in letting the exhaust flow much better, cold air induction like snorkels, larger surface intercoolers and, in some cases, depending on your desired outcome, bigger common rail injectors and turbo upgrades.

Consider more upgrades to drivelines and brakes for petrol and diesel power increases. Talk to your preferred tuner about these upgrades, and they can suggest what will work for

your setup.

Nissan Patrol Y62 – Preparing for MORE adventures!

By Nathan Johnson | 2 August 2023
Posted in
4WD

In the next few months, the Johnson’s 4WD Nissan Y62 Patrol will be heading to the Simpson Desert. Nathan will join ten other vehicles in convoy from Nidigully out to the Simpson Desert and back again with approximately 20 Scouts.

This prompted a deep dive into how the Y62 is set up and what impeding maintenance it required before heading off on an adventure. The last major trip to the Northern Territory was completed in June/July 2021. While the vehicle is still relatively young, the stresses and pressure on the suspension and drivetrain have taken its toll on the original bushes. A close look at these bushes in the rear showed that they had fatigued and started to crack and split.

This was cause for an upgrade in the suspension. The control arms in the rear have all been upgraded to SuperPro bushes, and a Dash Off-Road suspension lift was sourced and installed front and rear. With the extra height, we were able to increase the tyres. We fit the Federal Xplora RT tyres to ensure we maintain excellent traction on and off the road with added sidewall protection and durability.

Another item on the agenda was installing a dual-battery system. Nathan had been considering options and ideas for quite some time. Having seen other Y62 setups, it was time to combine the research and ideas. Having sourced all the electrical components from Hulk 4×4, the gear list is below.

With a permanent 12v system in place, the fit-out of other items was on the cards as well. This included awning lights, tailgate lights, communication devices, a recovery winch and an air compressor.

  • Hulk 4×4 DCDC Charger
  • Hulk 4×4 Flush mount Anderson plug and volt gauge
  • Hulk 4×4 Dual USB outlets
  • Hulk 4×4 8-way Switch Panel
  • Neuton Power Slimline Li-ion 100ah battery
  • Stedi Rock Lights – Roof Rack mounted and tailgate-mounted
  • Starlink Roam satellite Wi-fi Broadcaster*
  • Permanent mounted 12v air compressor*
  • Hulk 4×4 9500lbs Synthetic Rope winch*
  • Single drawer and fridge slide*

*At the time of publishing, these items are still to arrive.

While this won’t be the end of the equipment list for the Y62, the intention is to set it up as a competent touring/tow vehicle. One that can be fully self-sufficient with or without a caravan or camper trailer in tow.

If you would like to see our progress, stop by the workshop, and Nathan can show you the setup, and we can design a solution tailored to your needs if you’re in the market for an upgrade to prepare for adventure.

RockyNats 03, Ready

By Nathan Johnson | 13 February 2023
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When writing and publishing this blog, the Rockhampton region and travellers from afar are on the countdown to one of Australia’s biggest motor festivals, RockyNats. In its second year in 2022, the event was an award-winning success. This year is set to be bigger, louder and more entertaining.

Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop is one of many local businesses to come on board and sponsor this event.

It may beg the question, ‘why would a 4WD workshop sponsor a rev head motor festival?’

For co-owner Nathan Johnson, for as long as he can remember, he’s been a motorsport nut. One of his fondest memories is winning a Dick Johnson Racing Jacket in the 80’s. The race transporter came through Rocky and stopped for the week at the Shell service station on Gladstone Road. There they had on display the Red Shell Racing Ford Sierra. Dick Johnson signed the Jacket, and Nathan wore that jacket until he busted out of it as a teenager. Nathan’s Dad, Ian, would watch Bathurst most years, and Nathan would sit with him and watch as much as he could, Dick Johnson being, of course, the fan favourite.

As Nathan grew into a more intuitive teenager, he realised his mountain bike was not mechanical enough to quench his thirst to pull things apart and make them perform better. Nathan’s cousin and brother both bought their first cars and commenced playing with carbys and timing to make them perform better than standard. The group then decided that the stock engines were not enough, so they dismantled built engines with performance gains in mind during the rebuild process.

When Nathan was old enough and had worked to buy his first car, between the group, there were already enough engine parts to build a performance engine to race his first car down the ¼ mile. This activity was undertaken nearly every month for two years at Benaraby Raceway in Central Queensland.

That’s how he got hooked! 

A path both Nathan and Nyree can see their son, Alan, travelling down. Rest assured, they’ve tried with the girls, Mads and Sara, but the appreciation isn’t there yet.

Fast forward 25 – 30 years, and as small business owners, Nathan and Nyree have the opportunity to prominently participate in a car festival in their home town of Rockhampton. With dreams one day of travelling to Canberra for Summernats, work commitments, family and operating a small business for the last eight years have been in the way.

In 2022 the sponsorship journey commenced. While watching the street parade and admiring all the vehicles in the Show n Shine, Nyree and Nathan’s son, Alan, wanted to buy a street machine. When Alan gets an idea in his head, it becomes an obsession and an influx of available vehicles from carsales.com.au is forwarded at every opportunity.

Weeding through the messages and joking about buying a V8, Nyree decided she’d had enough of the ‘Mum car’ SUV. With a family of five, she decided to buy a vehicle with four seats and two doors. Follow her for more parenting advice!

A 2018 lightning blue Mustang GT was soon in their possession, intending to take the stock standard V8 and turn it into a daily driven entry for Rockynats03.

2018 Lightning Blue Mustang GT

How does a daily drive become a street drag car and one worthy of being showcased in the Street Parade?

Nathan and Nyree wanted this car to look different, sound different and perform like no other. Nathan went to work on pulling together a plan to ensure the vehicle could perform and be driven daily.  

First, some cosmetic changes were made with a Shelby GT500 Boot Spoiler supplied and painted to change the stance, then the addition of side window louvres and tinted windows.

The engine work is simple; a Roush cold air induction kit was sourced and installed to keep the intake temperatures as low as possible. Then a complete X-Force exhaust system was installed, including 4 into 1 1” 7/8 Headers, High Flow Catalytic Convertors, X-Pipe, and Hiflow mufflers, all in stainless steel. The installation of this system was not easy, and it took Nathan and Mat around 12 hours to fit up. It gets nice and tight around the engine installing the headers. The sound it makes is awesome.

Once the exhaust was fitted, the car was taken to Mackay, and Dave Sheehy from CPV Tuning did a number on it, providing Nyree and Nathan with four options in the tune. The Mustang can now run on either PULP 98 or Ethanol 85 Race blend fuel. With these simple modifications, the result is 355kw/477hp at the hubs on the dyno running E85.

Nathan approached a key supplier about options for a performance upgrade of the brakes. With the extra horsepower came the need to stop the vehicle. The result was a slotted and drilled disc rotor with carbon ceramic brake pads. The Mustang already had a Brembo Brakes Calliper on the front, so there was no need for a calliper upgrade. At the same time, Foose Design wheels in 20” and Yokohama Advan tyres were sourced to make it look amazing.

20″ Foose Design Wheels

The final piece of the puzzle (for now) are tyres to arrive, which are specific for street drag racing on Easter Sunday. There may even be a trip to Palmyra Raceway in Mackay to do some test runs first.

The Shelby GT500 Mustang is Nathan’s favourite vehicle, and there are plans to add some extra features to replica a GT500 as they are not produced in Australia. A Mustang can be given to an Authorised Shelby American dealer here in Australia, but it is not the same as owning the real deal, so a replica must do.

Bring on the Easter weekend in Rockhampton; it will be massive!

How I went off the grid for 14 days with a basic setup in my 4WD

By Nathan Johnson | 13 September 2022
Posted in

We’re often asked what mechanical preparations and performance improvement accessories were in place in the Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop Nissan Y62 to prepare for an off-grid adventure in June and July of 2021. 

Nathan and Alan Johnson trekked off to the Northern Territory for an epic adventure. 

A convoy of vehicles filled with friends saw them journey to Lorella Springs Wilderness Park. 

Six months of preparation led to transforming a soccer-Mum-4WD into an off-road weapon. 

Some items considered include communication, vehicle protection, camping shade, 12v battery system, water storage, fuel storage and food.

To achieve an ideal set-up while being cost-conscious, careful consideration meant the balance between needs and wants was carefully measured. 

From a stock standard Nissan Y62, below is a list of the items fitted to the vehicle: 
  • Dirty Life Theory 18×9 Wheels LT275/70R18 Dick Cepek Fun Country Tyres
  • Ironman 4×4 steel bulbar winch compatible 
  • GME XRS-330C Uhf and AE4705B Antenna
  • Cel-Fi and Hi gain antenna for mobile phone reception
  • Hired satellite phone
  • Hulk 4×4 powerpack with 120ah AGM battery
  • Fold up 160w solar panel
  • Oztrail 80lt Dual-Zone fridge freezer
  • Rhino-Rack backbone and Pioneer Platform
  • 23 Zero Falcon 270-degree awning with sidewalls
  • Oztent RS-1 Swags
  • Coleman twin burner gas stove
  • Hulk 4×4 basic recovery kit
  • Hulk 4×4 20l water jerry cans x 3

Facilities were used, and hot showers were had along the way, thanks to the itinerary factoring in stays at holiday parks throughout the journey. 

Upon arrival at Lorella Springs, a seven-day stay completely off-grid was experienced, with no power backup. The 120 ah battery was used for night-time lighting, and the 80 ltr fridge was topped up at all times thanks to driving and solar power. 

The fridge was initially packed and set to fridge/freezer mode. This was set up on purpose to enable food longevity. Meal planning meant that items could move from the freezer to the fridge each day and be thawed in time for dinner. 

After seven days, the freezer settings were changed, and a fridge/fridge mode was set. Allowing an additional seven days of safe food to consume. 

The 270-degree awning with the sidewalls attached made for a perfect area to retreat to and set up the swags under. Most mornings, a pack-up occurred so the next campsite could be explored. The awning and side walls also prevented dew, allowing for an easy swag pack-up. 

With only two passengers in the Nissan Y62, the available room in the back of the vehicle was used to store the fridge, battery pack, water, swags and camping gear. 

On the two-week adventure, roughly 6,400kms were travelled. An experience that made memories, explored Australia, and reignited a thirst for adventure in remote areas. 

You don’t need all the best and latest gear to enable adventure. Sometimes it is the simplest setups that offer less stress and happier memories. 

Brake Fluid | Preventative Maintenance

By Nathan Johnson | 31 October 2021
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Preventative maintenance is essential in ensuring you see the best value and life out of a vehicle. One of the critical items is brake fluid. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and maintenance schedule recommendations will enable safety and reliability. 

When it comes to Brake Fluid, this item should be checked and replaced/flushed when the logbook suggests it. Most recommendations are to change the fluid every two years, regardless of if you have travelled the allocated kilometres or not. 

To the everyday person, this begs the question, why do we need to change our brake fluid at all? 

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications. It transfers force into pressure and amplifies braking force. It works because liquids are not substantially compressible, and the brake fluid must also resist, as much as possible, the high temperatures created by the braking forces. 

When brake fluid absorbs enough heat, it boils and vaporises and turns from a fluid into a gas. This gas can lead to complete brake failure in hydraulic systems. Suddenly the incompressible nature of the brake fluid, which produces the firm lever feel that we know and trust has disappeared due to the introduction of compressible gasses in the brake system. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, and this means it absorbs moisture. Moisture from the atmosphere and moisture from the gas transferred up the lines.

Therefore, any moisture in the brake fluid will reduce the boiling point and affect your vehicle’s braking performance and the seals of the components that may cause leakage or internal bypassing (that foot goes to floor feeling).  

One other item about your brake fluid is the level. The brake fluid reservoir has a maximum and a minimum mark. If your fluid is in between these marks, everything is ok. Most late-model vehicles are fitted with a level switch that will activate when the level gets low. The reason your fluid level would get low is the brake material on your pads/linings is wearing away. When you experience the brake light staying on your dash, that is an indicator to contact your service centre and have them investigate. 

If you don’t feel your brakes are performing as they should be, please reach out to us by calling, walking in or booking online.

Mechanical Failures

By Nathan Johnson | 1 September 2021
Posted in ,
Mechanical Failures

Why did that brand-new part recently installed fail so soon? – Mechanical failures, a question that is always asked when this occurs, and rightly so.   

In essence, nearly all mechanical components fail in their lifetime. Whether that life is a few kilometres or a few hundred thousand kilometres, it will eventually fail.  

I have had the pleasure of working with some very clever Mechanical Engineers in my time, particularly during my tenure in the mining industry. These engineers gave me an insight into Condition Monitoring, and the benefits of looking at oil samples, filtergrams, vibration analysis, and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) reports. 

The consideration in particular which caught my attention is the life of the machine components and how the planners work out when to change them before failure. 

The way it was explained to me was straightforward; it’s ‘The Bathtub Principal.’ 

The life of any component can be very long or very short. It is measured by expecting a new or reconditioned part to fail very early (infant mortality) or at the end of its life (worn out). The probability is relatively high at the start and then becomes very low as the part moves past the infant mortality period and into service life. It then becomes quite high again at the end of life when it becomes worn out. 

When it comes to using quality parts on your vehicle, it is always sound advice to understand the warranty that comes with the components and what the manufacturer will cover when it is time to lodge a claim against a faulty part. Buying your parts from the world wide web is becoming popular, driven by a desire to save on costs. We see a large number of mechanical failures from parts bought this way. My advice is to buy from a reputable company with a warranty that is comprehensive and easily accessible, ensuring the business can be contacted when you need them.  

As the saying goes… poor man pays twice. 

Oil Catch Cans and Diesel Filtration

By Nathan Johnson | 26 April 2021
Posted in

A common add on to most newer 4WDs is an Oil Catch Can and a Secondary Fuel Filter. If you are sitting on the fence regarding fitting up either of these features, please read on.

Oil Catch Can

Let us start with why we would install a oil catch can. One of the first emission controls to become popular on all petrol and diesel engines was a system called Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV). This allows the positive pressure created in the engine’s sump to make its way out via a PCV valve usually mounted in the valve cover of the engine. This positive pressure released via the PCV valve has oil mixed with it and requires the engine to keep this oil contained, so it does not end up on the pavement whilst driving or parked. The PCV valve is connected to the air intake piping/manifold so the engine can burn this vapour off and out the exhaust it goes. It sounds straightforward, and yes it is.

Now let’s enter into the 20th century, and we are now governed by a worldwide set of emission control rules for our motor vehicles set out by a governing body that’s role is to lead us to zero or close to zero emissions.

Let me introduce to you the Exhaust Gas Recirculation System (EGR). The EGR is exactly what the description says it does. You may be wondering why we would want to recirculate our exhaust gasses? This is to further reduce noxious gasses from our engines. It has been said that if we recirculate the exhaust back into the combustion cycle, it will reduce those noxious gasses, therefore, reducing our carbon footprint. In a nutshell, the exhaust is sent back to the intake manifold, and at certain operating conditions, the EGR valve will let the engine eat its own exhaust.

Now mix these two together, (PCV and EGR), and what we end up with in most diesel engines is a very thick paste that blocks up your manifold, restricting airflow and impeding your vehicle’s performance.

So what does the oil catch can do to help? It takes away the oil that is the by-product of the PCV and sends it through a filter allowing the vaper and pressure to return to the intake. This means that the EGR can operate as intended, and the PCV is now being filtered. The catch can is then drained at your service intervals.

The Secondary Fuel Filter

Doesn’t my vehicle already have a fuel filter? Why would I need a second filter?

To put it bluntly, Australia has inferior diesel fuel quality. I do not believe that we make any diesel anymore on the east coast of Australia, and therefore the majority of it is imported vie vessels from overseas. This type of fuel handling, in my opinion, is very loose and would introduce many contaminants into our vehicles.

The standard filter on your 4WD is very good; most are filtering at 5-7 microns, even the aftermarket filters we often use during scheduled servicing are the same to meet OEM specifications. They do have a sediment function, and most have a warning light to advise you of either sediment or blockage. What they don’t do very well is separate out moisture. Moisture in the diesel fuel system is not ideal, and the diesel acts as a lubricant. A secondary filter of good quality will do that very well.

So do I fit a Pre or Post Filter? 

A diesel guru once told me that the pre-filter is a better option than the post, but they both have significant benefits, water separation. A pre filter will typically be 30 microns of filtration, and this allows for great flow to the OEM filter, and the 30 micron filter will catch all the big items and let what will pass go through to the OEM filter, knowing that it has a finer filtration rate of 5-7 microns. The pre-filter has also separated a lot of the moisture, and now the OEM filter only has to filter the fuel and not worry about moisture.

A post filter would have a similar setup though the filter would be 5 microns instead of 30. The same guru as above said to me, ‘why would you want to filter your fuel twice at the same level. The only benefit would be the water separation’. I see his point, but if you are using a filter that is not 5 microns in the OEM housing, then this set up is excellent as a second defence.

In my opinion, the pre-filter is my go-to option.

  • It separates the water early, allowing the OEM filter to just worry about fuel, and if any moisture does make it through, it will be trapped by the OEM filter.
  • Allows better flow to the OEM filter.
  • Catches the big contaminates.

There is always plenty of discussion around pre and post-filtration, and there are benefits to both of course. If you are having these discussions and have one or the other installed, you are already winning.

Johnson’s 4WD supply and install the Direction Plus range of Oil Catch Cans and Secondary Filter products. To discuss your options, please contact us via our socials, our website, on the phone or drop into the workshop.

4WD adventures in Central Queensland

By Nathan Johnson | 21 April 2021
Posted in

If the article is not showing up, click on the link to read it.

MAG-Welcome-to-CQ-Region-20210429

Unbraked Trailers

By Nathan Johnson | 23 March 2021
Posted in

Are you towing a ticking time bomb?

Imagine this, you have packed up the family and are in the car heading out for the day when on the way, a tyre comes out of nowhere directly towards you unexpectedly. You take evasive action to avoid a collision, and then you see a trailer attached to a car, limping to a halt.

You may find yourself asking, ‘what went wrong there? Why does a wheel and tyre just fall off like that?’

If you live in Queensland and own a box trailer that is unbraked or has an ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of under 750kgs or 0.75t, there is a good chance that you could have one of these ticking time bombs.

In Queensland, trailers that fit the above description do not require any registration check before transfer between owners. A responsible trailer owner will be aware of this and will ensure their trailer receives routine maintenance. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is aware of this need. A large portion of the population has a box trailer handy and uses it rarely, meaning the preventative maintenance and safety checks are forgotten.

The same can be said for any trailer, boat, camper, bike etc. Infrequent use and are ‘yard ornaments’ for the majority of the year.

Even if your trailer is unbraked, it is the responsibility of the registered operator of the vehicle to ensure the trailer being towed is compliant with the road rules. Regular maintenance checks should occur on all trailers, even the braked ones over 750kgs.

Here are a few things you or your mechanic can check to ensure the safety and reliability of your trailer:

Unbraked under 750kgs

  • Ensure the tyres are still legal for the road; 1.5mm tread across the whole tread section.
  • Wheel bearings are adjusted and not rumbling or noisy.
  • The chassis/frame is not rusted through.
  • Ensure the floor is complete and not able to lose items out through the bottom.
  • Check the wiring and lights, including the number plate light.
  • Check your coupling for unnecessary wear as it may need adjustment.
  • Are your “D” Shackles or Bow Shackles rated for the trailer and have it stamped on them?
  • Ensure safety chains are attached.

Braked trailers over 750kgs

  • Check the brake pad/shoe for adjustment.
  • Check to ensure the brakes work when applied.
  • Check the coupling slides freely if applicable.
  • Ensure the cable for the brakes is not rusted through if cable brakes.
  • Ensure the hydraulic brake fluid is in good condition if hydraulic type.
  • Ensure the electric brakes work when applied.

If you’re not quite sure about any of the above, please contact us to book in, and we can inspect all these items for you and ensure compliance, safety and carry out any necessary repairs.

Five Rocks Central Queensland

By Nathan Johnson | 19 October 2020
Posted in

In true 4WD fashion, we love to get out and about to explore our region. Our latest adventure sees us in a convoy of six heading into Byfield National Park to spend the weekend at Five Rocks (17th & 18th of October 2020). 

We set off from Rockhampton in the weary hours of Saturday morning with an aim to beat the traffic jam currently being experienced at Big Sandy. We headed east to Yeppoon and then north to Byfield. Our crew of adventurers were driving vehicles that ranged from a one-week-old brand-new Prado to a fully decked out Rodeo, Navara D22, Hi Lux and an older model Prado. 

When travelling into this area of Central Queensland, your vehicle needs to be equipped to perform. This includes having recovery gear on hand as well as a communication method (UHF) because the phone reception is not much chop. 

With non-existent wet weather at present (October 2020), the challenge to drive up Big Sandy in powdery sand proved to be an exciting obstacle to start the trip. 

Prior to tackling the obstacle, our convoy stopped at an area before reaching sand to let the air down in our tyres. Our usual ‘go to’ for sand driving is 15psi however we had been recommended to drop to 12psi due to the lack of wet weather and known powdery and loose sand on Big Sandy. 

As we headed into the approach of Big Sandy, a group of 4WDers had found themselves struggling to make headway. When we asked what they had their tyre pressures at, they responded by letting us know they weren’t quite sure as they didn’t have a gauge. 

We sat and watched the group attempt to ascend Big Sandy, which was indeed challenging. We saw a car bury itself in the soft loose sand and shortly realised we couldn’t communicate with the group as they didn’t have a UHF onboard. Using alternative communication channels, aka the ‘foot falcon’ up and down Big Sandy, we eventually had the all clear to climb. 

With low tyre pressures, capable 4WD’s and a little skill, we all made it to the top to continue our adventure. 

When travelling on one-way tracks, it’s important to have a UHF and look for the signs which state the channel in use in the area. If you don’t have one fitted to your vehicle, a handheld is an alternative solution that can be just as effective and critical. 

When leading or tailing a convoy, communication is key. Whether it be to let oncoming traffic know how many vehicles are in your convoy or to warn your convoy of upcoming hazards or directions to take. 

For a full list of equipment that we carry on our adventures, check out our 4WDing & Recovery Gear Blog.

Apart from Big Sandy, the tracks to Five Rocks are simple, albeit a little bumpy. Some tracks are boarded to make access a little easier on your gear. There is a lot to explore around Nine Mile Beach and Stockyard Point and the lookout is breathtaking, giving you views of the Capricorn Coast group of islands and forestry. 

We had an amazing weekend with our family, we met new people and enjoyed the disconnection offered thanks to the lack of phone and internet service. It’s fantastic to surround yourself with likeminded people who share your passion for 4WDing and adventures and it’s even better when they’re your family. 

If you’ve been on an adventure recently, we’d love to hear about it! 

Looking forward to meeting you out on the tracks soon.