4WD on dirt track


When you drive into Birdsville from the south, one of the first things you will see is Peter Barnes’ mechanical workshop on the left. Peter is a busy fellow. You will probably find him on his back fixing a 4WD’s suspension. Most of the time it’s broken leaf springs or shackles, airbags – or – if it is really bad, bent or broken chassis members.If you ask him why even expensive aftermarket suspension accessories break, he will usually give you one reason – weight. Weight is the suspension killer. Even though you may have the capacity to carry 500 litres of water, should you always carry it? 500 litres of water is 1/2 a tonne.

Carrying weight on bitumen or a well-graded highway is one thing. Carrying it on rough, corrugated roads is a totally different proposition.

Remember: If you can do something about optional weight, such as too much water, ridiculous amounts of fuel, even large amounts of provisions, consider this when traversing the really rough sections of the outback.

You will hardly ever suffer from carrying 200 litres less water but you will suffer if you do thousands of dollars damage to your suspension.