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  1. Reassuring to hear these sort of stories, as having recently purchased our 1st 4WD & after lots of research, our insurance is with club 4×4.

  2. Feels good to read stories like this, my current insurance is about to run out, hence i got a quote from Club 4×4 which was very competitive and much more detailed and suited to my needs and type of 4WD driving i do. So changing to Club 4×4 is a no brainer for me.

    1. Post

      Hi Kevin,
      That is a good question. On face value, suspension failure is a mechanical issue and mechanical issues due to wear and tear are not covered by any motor policy. However, in this case, the suspension failure was due to an identifiable event, being a particular impact that caused the damage and therefore it was covered under the policy. Hope this clears it up.

  3. Dear Aiden,

    I hope Alan and Diane are not the couple in a Ford Ranger towing a camper trailer that myself and a group of friends encountered at Laverton on the 19th August. That particular Ranger had had suspension failure east of Ilkurlka and the couple had abandoned their trip as a result.

    It was the observation of most in my group that the Ranger and camper trailer combination that this couple had, visually appeared to be very heavy and quite possibly overloaded, being very obviously tail down on the tow vehicle.

    This couple even spoke to some members of my group suggesting that we consider abandoning our own trip based on their (perceived) impression of how bad the track was.

    Possibly well intentioned advice, but they didn’t look as well set up or as experienced as they implied, and certainly had no idea of how well prepared we were as a group to venture into a very remote location.

    The corrugations on these tracks are well known to be horrendous and the last thing needed out there is an overloaded vehicle and trailer. My own group had been planning this trip since January and all of us were very pedantic about how much our vehicles weighed to the point of ensuring that we were below specified GVM’s by putting vehicles over weigh bridges or vehicle scales.

    We had all set our vehicles up with reputable aftermarket suspensions designed to carry the loads we intended to carry and no one had anything less that well known brand Light Truck construction All Terrain tyres on everything. You need this construction of tyre simply to get safely down to the low pressures needed on these tracks.

    Yes, east of Ilkurlka the corrugations were horrendous, and vehicles cop a flogging, but the damage done can be minimised. Don’t overload, have suitable suspension (including shock absorber) upgrades, run tyres that can be let down to low pressures. There’s letting down tyre pressures, and there’s letting down tyre pressures. How low can you go? I did pretty much the entire Anne Beadell from Ilkurlka to Coober Pedy with cold tyre pressures of 14psi front and 18psi rear No one, regardless of vehicle ran cold pressure higher than 18psi. Even at 30 – 40 kph the Anne corrugations are surviveable at these tyre pressures, and despite everyone having two spares, not one tyre needed changing for any reason.

    Our group was comprised of 2 Toyota LC 70 series wagons towing camper trailers, an LC 70 single cab ute towing a camper trailer, a GU Patrol ute, Dual cab MN Triton, Club Cab MQ Triton (my vehicle), and a late model dual Cab Ranger. All vehicles made it to Coober Pedy without incident. One camper had a bearing failure due to contamination, however it took about an hour to fix that as spares were being carried.

    Setting up vehicles and driving to the conditions just cannot be overstated. The only time (I am aware of) any member of the club I am a member of has had a catastrophic fail (on a vehicle) in a very remote area was a rear axle bearing on a Hilux disintegrating. That vehicle was overloaded, the owner knew it but still ventured onto the Canning Stock Route (worse corrugations than the Anne Beadell), and that resulted in a 1400km round trip to source spare parts by one of the other members on that trip. That Hilux was serviced and in good condition, but no amount of preparation can prevent failures of serviceable axles and suspension (and chassis) when subjected to that kind of punishment for long periods.

    Every media personality into outback touring that I enjoy following, starting with Pat Callinan, and including Ronny Dahl (4WDing Australia) and Andrew St Pierre White (4XOverland), endlessly talk about how critical things like weight and tyre selection is. Getting suspensions upgraded for what your rig is going to be carrying most of the time. Even “Empty”, the Kerb weight of my own Triton is now less than 350 below GVM because of all the modifications and gear in it. Standard springs just are not up to that, and it was springs getting replaced in the picture above.

    Sadly, overloading is so common it is now a significant concern, not just for insurers across Australia, but also for Police, and Police blitz’s in WA and Victoria resulted in a staggering 70% plus of caravans and camper trailers weighed exceeding gross weights, some recorded excesses as high as 500kg over weight… Overloaded camper trailers/4WD combinations more common than overloaded caravan/4WD combinations.

    Although a West Aussie, I work in Alice Springs and daily travelling north up the Stuart Highway (in the cooler months) convoys of overloaded 4WD’s towing camper trailers and caravans are more common than rigs that look balanced and under weight, and it keeps repairers from Alice out to Mt Dare and beyond endlessly busy recovering and repairing vehicles that are breaking simply from being too heavy.

    The point being, the vehicle and camper my group saw at Laverton on the 19th of August had returned there after suspension failure east of Ilkurlka. And it looked overloaded. Not a suitable setup for venturing out somewhere like the Anne Beadell.

    For the record, I too am insured with Club 4×4. And stories like that of Alan and Elaine keep me reassured I have the best cover I can get for my Triton and it’s setup. Hopefully I never need it. Sean

  4. Post

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I’ve no idea whether the couple you came across were the same people. However, in this particular case, there was an insurable event that occurred which was the reason that the claim was approved. You are spot on with your comments relating to managing weight and preparing appropriately for these sorts of trips. Unfortunately most people think that a vehicle with a 3500kg towing capacity can tow 3500 kg when it is fully loaded, when the reality is that based on a 6000kg GCM, and a vehicle with a GVM of 3200kg, can actually only tow 2800kg when fully loaded. And this is not considering the limitations of the camper trailer or caravan which often face very similar issues. The good news is that we are passionate about educating people about topics like this and we will continue to do so.

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