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Post Info TOPIC: Dirts roads and Fiat Ducato
bgt


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Dirts roads and Fiat Ducato


Just curious!!! Anyone here done much dirt road traveling in a Fiat Ducato based motrohome? If so how do the Fiats handle the rough going?

We have a Ducato van conversion and was looking at some of the dirt roads with longing eyes!!



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bgt wrote:

Just curious!!! Anyone here done much dirt road traveling in a Fiat Ducato based motrohome? If so how do the Fiats handle the rough going?

We have a Ducato van conversion and was looking at some of the dirt roads with longing eyes!!


 Motorhome in general do not handle extended rough road use very well and of all the truck chassis the Fiat is the least likely.

A couple of manufacturers build semi off road models Trakka and Sunliner Habitat but they are expensive.

Some specialist manufacturers custom build a full off road motorhome but it costs $300k plus. One Forum member, Peter, has a custom built OKA which handles the rough stuff pretty well.

The odd rough road trip here and there is probably ok with careful driving but for long term or frequent use I would suggest you look at something more robust.



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Monty. RV Dealer.

bgt


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Thanks montie. We already have a Ducato conversion. I'm not looking at doing the Gibb River road etc but just curious if other have done any dirt roads and what was their experience with the Ducato. (This our 4th motorhome, and by far the smallest, so not much tiny house experience).


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I have a old coaster, maybe the best of on road taken semi off road of any motor home, apart from the purpose built units. If you drive to conditions and watch for weather systems you would be ok. Slow and steady comes to mind. slow enough to reconise a bull dust hole and avoid, maybe lower tyre pressure a bit to help smooth the ride. After all these roads are mostly hard surface and not quite as smooth as the blacktop. enjoy the journey
cheers
blaze

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blaze wrote:

I have a old coaster, maybe the best of on road taken semi off road of any motor home, apart from the purpose built units. If you drive to conditions and watch for weather systems you would be ok. Slow and steady comes to mind. slow enough to reconise a bull dust hole and avoid, maybe lower tyre pressure a bit to help smooth the ride. After all these roads are mostly hard surface and not quite as smooth as the blacktop. enjoy the journey
cheers
blaze


 In the 80's I crossed from Normanton to Daly Waters accompanied by a friend who had a Coaster and it handled the conditions (especially the bulldust) equally as well as my Landcruiser.

However be aware that modern day computerised vehicles will not take kindly to those conditions, especially the bulldust which penetrates everything.

Half way between Burketown and Borroloola is definitely not the place to go into limp mode!blankstare



-- Edited by montie on Saturday 18th of January 2020 09:26:38 AM

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bgt


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My wife says I've been in l**p mode for years. That hasn't stopped me!
Friends have traveled almost every road in Australia in an old Mazda t3500 with not a screw falling out. Mind you he was a great mechanic.

I know the Ducato doesn't like a shock to the front and will go into limp mode. But....

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With Blaze . As long as it not 4WD specific type track . Ive taken my Explorer 8m 6.5 ton motorhome on many long metal and private road . Just be aware of soft soil or sand . Generally not a problem In Aust if it hadnt rained recently!! Find Max speed is 40kph . You still get there . Some suspension mods can be done being a truck originally. Softer springs and maybe more travel . ? Depending on vehicle ? Especially leaf springs .

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bgt wrote:

Just curious!!! Anyone here done much dirt road traveling in a Fiat Ducato based motrohome? If so how do the Fiats handle the rough going?

We have a Ducato van conversion and was looking at some of the dirt roads with longing eyes!!


 Like all vehicles bgt, it will handle the conditions fine, until something fails, bear in mind, Fiat are made for European conditions, not outback Australia, unsealed roads, particularly corrugations are tough on all vehicles.

I'm of the same opinion as Montie, somewhere between Burketown and Borroloola is not the place to break down.

 



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Santa.

Moonta, Copper Coast, South Aust.



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Yes Fiat also make Front wheel ., Weight transfer is not the best in greasy, slippery conditions . Depends what you call off road ? Built roads albeit a little rough would be fine !! One day theyll have elect rear drive option ?

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Hm! Waaaay back in June 2007 we stopped for lunch at the Warri Gate (nth of Tibooburra) and chatted with occupants of a European style Motor Home towing a large dual axle air bag suspension with hydraulic raising and lowering ability car trailer carrying a Rav4 or similar.
I was very surprised at their rig being out there on those roads.
They were very happy with it, and confident of their abilities on worse roads and simply drove to suit the roughness with lowered tyre pressures and slower speeds, apparently had been doing so for quite a few years and had very little trouble with it all.
Their next planned destination was Cairns via all back roads in a months time for a family get together. What a way to travel!! Very positively impressive!

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I think the Fiat like Mercedes Benz Sprinters and not built like the Coasters, ie Sprinters to get their 10Lt of diesel to 100Km of road, they have numerous sensors that, vibration and heat to me can cause problems, but if you have mechanical ability, and time to figure out the problem, along with a scan tool and readout, and for the Sprinter a Torx set of tools along with the workshop manual on on laptop, I say go for it. I would also have Ken Tame Insurance with Breakdown Cover plus the CMCA additional Breakdown cover+ ($185/yr) to provide some peace of mind.

Of Course my comments re sensors etc also apply to 4x4 Twin Cabs but they are generally not loaded up as much as a Mh/campervan.

Our Long Wheel Based High Roof Sprinter Campervan rarely goes off road, mainly then a short distance to an off road camp spot. Even to carry an additional spare tyre/wheel in our Sprinter would be a pain.

Peter

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bgt


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I hear what everyone is saying. Although I don't buy the 'they are built for European conditions' argument. Fiats, along with the Mercs, are sold all around the world. And built and modified for those conditions. Besides, like the common misconception about roads in the USA, there are many 'rough' roads in Europe. Albeit not dirt roads. By the way the Fiat has a 3 year warranty including roadside assist. So Fiat will come fetch us from the other side of Woop Woop.

We don't intend doing the Tanami or Gibb River road. But there are camps in the Pilliga Forest that are on dirt roads. Also roads in the Flinders Range etc etc etc.



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bgt wrote:

 Also roads in the Flinders Range etc etc etc.


 A 3 minute clip of the Bunyeroo Valley Scenic Drive.

https://youtu.be/lhPsTlP_cTo

Take it quietly and you will have no drama with that.

Cheers,

Peter



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bgt wrote:

I hear what everyone is saying. Although I don't buy the 'they are built for European conditions' argument. Fiats, along with the Mercs, are sold all around the world. And built and modified for those conditions. Besides, like the common misconception about roads in the USA, there are many 'rough' roads in Europe. Albeit not dirt roads. By the way the Fiat has a 3 year warranty including roadside assist. So Fiat will come fetch us from the other side of Woop Woop.

We don't intend doing the Tanami or Gibb River road. But there are camps in the Pilliga Forest that are on dirt roads. Also roads in the Flinders Range etc etc etc.


Best way to find out the truth bgt is to go ahead and do it.

As a matter of interest there are roads in the Flinders that will shake the fillings out of your teeth.



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Santa.

Moonta, Copper Coast, South Aust.



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bgt wrote:

I hear what everyone is saying. Although I don't buy the 'they are built for European conditions' argument. Fiats, along with the Mercs, are sold all around the world. And built and modified for those conditions. Besides, like the common misconception about roads in the USA, there are many 'rough' roads in Europe. Albeit not dirt roads. By the way the Fiat has a 3 year warranty including roadside assist. So Fiat will come fetch us from the other side of Woop Woop.

We don't intend doing the Tanami or Gibb River road. But there are camps in the Pilliga Forest that are on dirt roads. Also roads in the Flinders Range etc etc etc.


 Just be careful if you are out the middle of Woop Woop that you don't end up Ship Creek....   that's unless your with AAMI          blankstarenobiggrin



-- Edited by Southern Cruizer on Sunday 19th of January 2020 07:57:55 PM

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bgt


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I've been up Ship Creek. And without a paddle!

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Bruce, I have owned a Fiat Ducato based Auto-trail Tracker FB for 5 years. We normally stick to the blacktop but where necessary go on the dirt. An example would be Wallaman Falls near Ingham in FNQ where the last 10 kms odd is mostly clay based dirt. The Tracker handled it really well much to my surprise. All the horror stories about front drivers that are all over the local forums had me a little nervous but all worked out fine. The reason we do not normally go on dirt unless well made is ground clearance. There is not enough to go down any seriously rough roads so my recommendation would be to pick your mark. cheers,

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bgt


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Thanks Gary. I was hoping a Ducato user would reply. I also own a Jeep and I'm used to all the bashing from none Jeep owners. So I'm not worries about the Ducato bashers.



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In your original post bgt you asked for opinions, like them or not opinions have been forthcoming, what more do you expect.

Own a Fiat and a Jeep eh?biggrin



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Santa.

Moonta, Copper Coast, South Aust.



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Actually the OP asked for opinions from other owners, as they would be more relevant to his situation. Guess he might be better off to ask in a vehicle-specific forum

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Had a Fiat Ducato based Knaus motorhome for nearly 5 years. Been to lots of places that were rough unsealed roads and never had a problem. Had oversize springs put on the front and airbags on the back. Lower the tyre pressure and take your time. No big deal. Also know when to go. Not in the wet. Hope that helps. Dave

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bgt


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Guys I do appreciate replies from everyone. But nothing like an opinion from a Fiat user/owner over campfire stories. Like comments on Jeeps. Most of the negatives come from folks who have never had one. Any way we don't intend paddock bashing in our Fiat. Just some sssllllooowww driving into some off the black stuff sites.

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Santa wrote:

In your original post bgt you asked for opinions, like them or not opinions have been forthcoming, what more do you expect.

Own a Fiat and a Jeep eh?biggrin


 If you ask often enough you will eventually get the answer you want to hear!blankstareblankstare



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Geeco wrote:

Bruce, I have owned a Fiat Ducato based Auto-trail Tracker FB for 5 years. We normally stick to the blacktop but where necessary go on the dirt. An example would be Wallaman Falls near Ingham in FNQ where the last 10 kms odd is mostly clay based dirt. The Tracker handled it really well much to my surprise. All the horror stories about front drivers that are all over the local forums had me a little nervous but all worked out fine. The reason we do not normally go on dirt unless well made is ground clearance. There is not enough to go down any seriously rough roads so my recommendation would be to pick your mark. cheers,


 Thats the requirement, to pick your route. We parked at Bingara and those that know the river front free camp there know that you have to go down a good but loose stone dirt road to the river. Upon exit a Fiat front wheel drive MH climbed one of the exit roads with a fairly steep incline. It started losing grip. The owner reversed and tried another with success. 

It I was to buy a MH I'd do rear wheel drive myself but that doesnt mean front wheel drive is on the nose.

Tony



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bgt


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Keep in mind that there is a weight distribution difference between a Fiat based motorhome and Fiat based van conversion. The motorhome has much more rear weight, thus less weight over the front drive wheels. We have a van conversion with no rear overhang. Thus more weight distributed to the front/drive wheels. I haven't put ours to the test yet. So watch this space!!!

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Hi Santa
I have a 2006 Fiat Ducato Jayco Conquest

My model, (in my opinion) is not suitable for driving any distance on corrugated gravel roads, as I have tried it

But, as others have already said, you are better off making up your own mind, driving to your own abilities

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Tony

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Tony Bev wrote:

Hi Santa
I have a 2006 Fiat Ducato Jayco Conquest

My model, (in my opinion) is not suitable for driving any distance on corrugated gravel roads, as I have tried it

But, as others have already said, you are better off making up your own mind, driving to your own abilities


 Morning Tony, in my opinion corrugated roads will knock any motor home around, I avoid them wherever possible, nowadays if I turn onto a dirt road and find corrugations I do a u turn rather than hoping it will improve, they never get better, in fact usually deteriorate even more..smile



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Santa.

Moonta, Copper Coast, South Aust.



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Santa wrote:
Tony Bev wrote:

Hi Santa
I have a 2006 Fiat Ducato Jayco Conquest

My model, (in my opinion) is not suitable for driving any distance on corrugated gravel roads, as I have tried it

But, as others have already said, you are better off making up your own mind, driving to your own abilities


 Morning Tony, in my opinion corrugated roads will knock any motor home around, I avoid them wherever possible, nowadays if I turn onto a dirt road and find corrugations I do a u turn rather than hoping it will improve, they never get better, in fact usually deteriorate even more..smile


 Opps, egg on my face again

I am in Tamworth and my Internet keeps falling out, and I thought that you was the original poster, Santa



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Tony

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Have you tried letting tyres down, makes a massive difference on dirt roads.



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The thing is with Campervans and Motothomes, if you have problems due to a corrugated road, tow trucks with a long tray may not be close by, as not all breakdown companies have a long tray vehicle. Further more rural mechanics are not as familiar with Fiat Ducato's and Sprinters compared to Toyota Coasters.

And yes we go remote/outback in our Landcruiser and Traveller Caravan, probably one reason why we don't take our Sprinter Campervan.

Peter

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