Sunrise in the Painted Desert and a Stub Axle Replacement

in photofeed •  19 days ago  (edited)

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure” Bob Bitchin

We sheared off the left axle of our camper trailer getting out to the Painted Desert. Luckily we had a spare stub axle with us, and we made it out after finding some replacement bolts to attach the spare. I must admit it was definitely feeling like an ordeal to be stuck out in the desert, with your face in the sand, trying to jack up the camper, with three kids including a newborn baby. Funny how things turn from ordeals into adventures retrospectively. I am sure you all have stories of woe that later become campfire favorites. I took this title shot the next morning at sunrise over the Arckaringa Hills in the Painted Desert. The orange, yellow, and white shale dates back to when this landscape was once an ancient seabed 80 million years ago. I did not see another person for the whole shoot. Outback South Australia.


I plan on getting into the habit of putting a few more behind the scene shots up here on steem to give my followers a bit more insight into what it takes to get a "photo". Those that are interested I have a few shots of the trailer recovery below

Trackshak Axel.jpg

I had to hike back up the road and found the rim and tire which had flung off into the outback at high speed when the bolts holding the axle sheered off. It ripped all the handbrake cable off with it.

Trackshak Axel2.jpgTrackshak Axel4.jpg

Note it took three jacks, two of them high extension jacks, to get this back off the ground as we were lifting if from the chassis rail (obviously no rim holding it off the ground as there would be with just a flat tire). Impressively the camper took the hit onto the ground at high speed with only minor distortion of the back RHS.

Trackshak Axel5.jpg

My boys watching on with interest to see if we can get it back on the road. It does not matter how well you think your rig is built, when your traveling in the outback and crossing deserts you need to have spares for everything and the tools to use them. The old military saying "two is one and one is none" comes to mind.

Trackshak Axel3.jpg

If you would like to learn a little bit more about my background in photography you can read the interview @photofeed did with me here.

Robert Downie
Love Life, Love Photography

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Robert Downie -

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Gotta love Aussie roads mate! Good to see you had the gear, and know-how, to get it rolling again. You mention hi-lift jacks...I've seen so many people with high-clearance cars and trailers without them. Never ends well.

Good photos...Kinda looks 50 degrees in the shade out there...I've been there too and it's probably not far off right?

Yes it was hot; hence the shade cover. I use jack extensions and base plates for high lift hydraulic jacks as the traditional ratchet high lift jacks are not stable and can collapse when they loose tension and are the the cause of more injury than most other things 4WDing.

I have a hi-lift mounted on my camper trailer as it's way off the ground but I agree, they can be unstable and very bloody dangerous to use if not done properly. I have used mine as a winch before too though, and it got me out of a bind. (It's slow going though.)

Base plates are good though. I have a few really thick purpose-made marine-ply ones plus a piece of rectangle checker-plate to throw down first in case the ground is unstable and soft.

So many people by a vehicle and head off to places like this with literally nothing but the vehicle and no clue. Victims.

So damned hot out there huh? It's relentless....Especially when doing what you were. So unpleasant, but one has to endure it to see this this big old land of ours at its best.

Yes sometimes there is no other option than a high lift jack ; but you would be surprised how much height you get with the systems these guys have ( they are impressive. I have no affiliation with them by the way just use their stuff.

Makes me cringe when you see people using high lift jacks to crab along in deep sand with no base. Just need to watch a few you tube videos of people coming unstuck doing that and ending up under the 4WD. We have a vehicle mounted winch but did not have to use it on this trip.

I'll check it out. I used to work at ARB and obviously off-road a lot so this stuff interests me.

Yep they don't have a dealer in Australia so I had to import from the US; perhaps an opportunity there for someone who has the time and contacts.

I saw that on their website. I'll do some research and see if I might want one...Probably will want one. That's what I do. Lol.

lol sounds like an addiction.

i would not even know where to start with this one :) did you hit something or did it just decided to rip away?
a lot of people don't know what it takes to make a photo, especially those nature, in the wild ones.

"Funny how things turn from ordeals into adventures retrospectively." mostly the one that you survive with no harm to anyone :) but yes those are the best stories

Endless corrugations over many thousands of km created stress fatigue of the high tensile bolts which hold the stub axle to the wish bone suspension arm. Once one bolt shears then the others quickly follow.

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