Simpson Desert - Hay River 2009

The Trials and Tribulations of Cam's Suzuki Sierra


Cam and his Suzuki could have been forgiven for pulling out of the trip on half a dozen occasions, but a good pasting of ingenuity, and 'we'll get it going' attitude had it back on track every time - the Suzuki made it all the way home under its own steam.

The Suzi is normally a mild mannered machine which will do anything asked of it

It is a load of fun on the sand being so light and nimble

Drama #1 - Overheating at Birdsville

It turned out that the thermostat fan was wired in reverse so it blew hot air from the engine bay onto the radiator rather than sucking cool air through the radiator.   We're still unsure why this was never a problem until Birdsville - it manifested after an afternoon on Big Red which made us think some damage had occurred.   Thermostat was removed and hoses checked - but only when the fan was reversed (many hours later!!) did the Suzuki start playing the game!

No photo's of Drama #2 - split fuel tank found while refueling at Alice Springs - we were only meant to be there for a couple of hours - Tim and Cam got the tank fixed in four and caught up with us at our campsite at Finke River Gorge after an eventful day!

Drama #3 - Broken Axle at Dalhousie

A complete snap of the axle housing.   Towed the last couple of Km into Dalhousie.   Tim and Cam's scout lashings coming into play here.

Lashing some solid timber in to keep the axle straight

Tim towed Cam into camp

That axle housing is meant to be connected to the diff - and those splines on the end of the axle aren't meant to be smooth!

Looks very messy down there!

Yep, shouldn't have any bits left over

A new axle was required and Ritchie located one for us in Alice Springs - a 12 hour return trip.   Tim and Cam headed off and almost upset the wrecker owner by getting him out of bed because they rang him at the arranged time in the morning - except on Eastern time, not Central - so half hour early!   They checked the diff and it looked fine

Darren reassembling the left side of the axle.   The axle mounts didn't quite line up like the old one, but we were able to drill some extra holes in a support bracket and got it in.   The handbrake didn't connect in the same places either so that was a no go - but no handbrake required where we're going..

Drama #4 - Faulty slave cylinder and axle seal at Copley

The slave cylinder came to the Suzuki compliments of the new axle - so hadn't been subject to the pre trip inspection at Hume Off Road.   It actually leaked and caught fire - Cam very lucky to be quick enough to hit it with the extinguisher.

Would this be the end of the trip???   No, the mechanic at Copley got it back on track in 24 hours.   Tim and Cam were very lucky, as was the group, that every time Cam had a problem, there was a rest day the next day - so time was available without affecting the schedule too much.   Well done guys - mammoth effort!!