Australia is a big island, actually the biggest in the world, and it offers many different climate zones. While it was cold and nasty in the south in late May, the north around Darwin had its best season.
And because Tony is a good-weather campervan and we are good-weather campers we decided to move the Barossa Valley, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island to the second half of our Australia trip and cross that continent as quick as possible.
And as we knew that it would be a big drive of more than 3’000 km through the Australian Outback, with mostly no cell phone reception, gas stations or water, we wanted to be sure we would make it. But precisely on our way to Port Pirie, close to Adelaide, Tony shocked us.
We drove with about 80 km/h when there was a sudden power loss and it felt like something was blocking the van. It was as if Tony didn’t receive enough fuel anymore, but when going down to the 3rd gear the symptoms disappeared. And after a few minutes normal driving in the 4th and 5th gear was possible again.
A quick google search brought the result that it could be the fuel filter and with some bad luck this could lead to a blockage of the engine. Something you want to avoid at all cost – especially in the desert. So, we spent the next morning trying to find a mechanic who was willing to take a look at Tony the same day. The fact that it was Friday didn’t make the task easier, but probably the 10th mechanic we called was willing to squeeze us in. And when checking the van later he agreed to our diagnosis and even found some dirt in the fuel filter as a proof. But he also told us that we couldn’t be 100% sure that this was it, but anything else would be an open-end investigation and that we should take the risk.
In order to further reduce our risk, we wrote down the number of the Australian Roadside Assistance RAA and figured out how the radio on our van worked. Further on we bought and filled an extra gas canister, an extra oil canister, filled up the cooling liquid, oil and windscreen solution and increased the tire pressure to the optimum. After also buying nine liters of water and food for the next six days we felt ready for the big trip.