Great Rattler Run, Oct 2016


The Vintage Adventurer...


Ocean-2-Ocean, USA and Oz


Rattler Last Day – Day 16

Day Sixteen of The Great Rattler Run – Taking The Rattler to the Northernmost Point of The Australian Continent Today was the final day of The Great Rattler Run. Our adventure was drawing to it&...

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The Old Telegraph Track – Day 14

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The Great Rattler Run
Thanks to our Wonderful Sponsors
(Alphabetically listed)

If only I could wake up one morning with a big sign at the end of my bed saying “Welcome to your Epic Journey Rod! Today, you have won a trip to everywhere!” That is the stuff that dreams are made of. Fortunately for me, dreams do come true, and I am lucky enough to venture off into wild places in a Vintage vehicle. But this would not be possible without the generous support of my sponsors. All good Vintage vehicles need some tender loving care before they leave home, and a fairly large first aid kit for any injuries along the way! In the case of The Great Rattler Run, there were 3 support vehicles carrying a total of 7 crew members plus a film crew. In reality, this was just a great ride and a chance to share my beloved Rattler with a bunch of mates, all hitting the road in Vintage style, going places that we aint ever seen before. Without my sponsors, it would not have been possible. So to all of my sponsors, on behalf of my crew, myself and of course, The Rattler, we say THANKYOU!

ARB 4x4
How could one possibly hit The Old Telegraph Track in a 2WD vehicle without products from Australia’s largest and most trusted supplier of 4WD products! As every 4WD enthusiast knows, ARB is a one stop shop for everything off road, and its hard to imagine undertaking a journey like ours without our tried and tested ARB equipment. I had already fully equipped my Landcruiser with ARB diff lockers, bull bar and winch, spot lights, pack rack and much more before they generously offered their support to The Rattler for this journey, by supplying a host of products to assist with every off-road contingency. On our return journey, after encountering difficulties with the Landcruiser fuel filter, it was the ARB guys at Mareeba that came to our rescue and swapped out the fuel filter as we passed through town. At Mareeba, Melbourne HQ and my local ARB store at Biggera Waters, the service guys and office staff were all absolutely wonderful and eager to assist. To me, ARB are the real deal, and are the only 4WD product specialists with a comprehensive Australia wide network of agents to stand behind their products. I was very lucky to have them on board for this trip. Thanks for your support guys.

BFGoodrich Tires Australia & New Zealand – TYRES –
Having travelled all the way from Cockle Creek, Tasmania through to Cairns with the original ‘cheese cutter’ tyres on The Rattler, I could not wait to fit the BF Goodrich mud fats to the rear! This was just in time for us to travel up the black to Cape Tribulation and start the off road journey on the Bloomfield Track. Not only were these tyres more reliable than the cheese cutters, but they were key to The Rattler’s success in climbing steep tracks and crossing rough terrain. Without the mud fats, the 2WD Rattler would simply not have been able to survive the journey North through the Bloomfield Track and The Old Telegraph Track.

Thanks to BF Goodrich’s generous support, The Landcruiser, trailer and Fuso were all equipped with BF Goodrich tyres. Every tyre made the journey without incident. After having taken the Fuso across Australia through the desert on last year’s journey, without BF Goodrich tyres, I can say without question that I will not be using any other tyre ever again!

Cheapa Auto Spares - Oxenford -
When preparing for an adventure into the unknown it is really important to have a parts supplier that is full of knowledge and knows exactly what one is about to do and just what is needed to do it. Trevor at my local Cheapa Auto Spares shop at Oxenford has a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience travelling to the Cape. He knew exactly what I did, and didn’t need. Excellent advice can be hard to find, but if you’re in this part of town and need a reliable parts supplier, look no further than Cheapa Auto Spares at Oxenford.

Davies Craig– COOLING –
As always, I ran a Davies Craig Electric - EWP water pump and radiator cooling fan on The Rattler. The DC combination meant the difference between making it and not. As we headed North, the temperatures rose to over 34 degrees centigrade on some days, and proper super cooling was needed in The Rattler. Originally The Rattler had only 3 US gallons of water to keep the cast iron engine cool and experience has taught me that this is insufficient in stressful conditions.

The secret to The Rattler’s success is to have maximum water flow irrespective of engine RPM, and with a constant RPM of the electric cooling fan, ventilation was at its maximum at all times. Ford Model A’s are well known to overheat with their original cooling system, but thanks to the Davies Craig setup, The Rattler was as cool as a cucumber throughout the entire journey.

Delkor Batteries Australia –
As we all know if a battery lets you down in the middle of nowhere it can be grim. I ran Delkor Batteries in all vehicles and even when we had a need to have the lights on for extended periods without the engines running, the Delkor batteries held their charge and the engines kicked into life instantly. When the Rattler turned into a submarine and the water had to be cranked out of the engine for ages, the Delkor never faded, not one bit. I was surprised, really surprised just how good the gel’ battery was in The Rattler.

Penrite Oil – LUBRICANTS -
Oil was supplied by Penrite who have been a sponsor since 1988. I chose a 15W-50 Diesel Oil for the 4cyl Model A Engine and it worked supreme as always. I run modern bearings and hi-tech oil distribution within the engine and with a ‘flat tappet’ face it is important to have superior cushioning, and the oil must have a high zinc content. Penrite oil does the trick.

Originally Model A Fords ran a 140w in the gearbox and 600w in the differential. I chose a Penrite 85w-140 for the diff’ and a 75w-90 for the gearboxes. I used the same engine oil in the Landcruiser and the Fuso support vehicles.

Grease for all the moving parts that took a real beating was Penrite QCA-MX9. A really great grease for extreme conditions and for being submerged in water.

Red Devil Radiators and Air Conditioning - RADIATORS –
Another really important thing to be sure of when venturing into rough hot country is to have a fully serviced radiator. Not one that has already been on a bash, but a fully refurbished pressure tested one.

Andrea from my local Red Devil Radiator Shop in Oxenford re-builds my tank and cores to my specifications and I have not had any issues at all. So far, Red Devil Radiators have prepared my vehicles to drive at Rally pace from Peking to Paris via Mongolia, across Australia via the 5 deserts including French Line track in the Simpson Desert, and now on The Great Rattler Run from Cockle Creek to Cape York.

Snyder's Antique
Not only did they lend me the leading man, Don Snyder III himself for 3 ½ weeks, but I also got a hotline to one of the world’s leading Ford Model A parts suppliers. Don, now a veteran on my Rattler Runs, provides me with the same invaluable support as he offers to all of his customers. There was no better man to have by my side, or at the wheel of The Rattler. Not only did Don travel half way around the world to be ‘tortured’ with Aussie roads and harsh conditions, but he drove more than half the distance and mostly on rough corrugated roads. Will he be back? This was his second bash with me and the Model A and I’m really hoping he will climb on board for the next one too.

Finally, a special thanks goes out to the crew, Don Snyder, Kevin Howard, Trev Duncan, Mark Price from Wicked Fabrications & Engineering Pty Ltd, Shaneen Pointing and Simon, who were absolutely great! When something needed to be done, it was done. When someone needed to work out that something needed to be done, it was worked out. The crew was like a well-oiled machine, and worked together as if they had been doing it for years! In fact, the only common denominator on this trip was myself, and none of them even knew each other before we assembled in Tasmania. How lucky was I for the stars to align and provide me with a seamless team such as this one!

As we were about to embark on The Old Telegraph Track, the crew backed up The Rattler to a small patch of grass outside our rooms at The Archer River Roadhouse, and set about changing the rear differential to a low speed one that I carried on the truck especially for the Old Telegraph Track. The high speed diff 3.27:1 I used for the black top gave the Rattler a 100kph and the 4.11:1 gave the Rattler a top speed of 80kph but fantastic hill climbing power. How amazing is it that they could all just set to work on changing the diff when only one of them had prior experience with a Ford Model A!

There was never a point where the work or the issue or drama was too much for any of them. They are the best crew I have ever had. Thank you to all for a fabulous journey, for your hard work and the great memories!

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The Landcruiser takes on Cannibal Creek. I was trying to wash the camera lady off the bank! Not enough water today.


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Beautiful Elliot Creek. This area is known as The Saucepan and was a short walk from our overnight camp spot. Take the turnoff to Twin/Elliot Falls. We were at the end of the dry season when there so imagine what this place would be like after some rain!


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