Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

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Alex Roux
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Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Alex Roux » 09 Jan 2015 21:41

On our way down to the Southern Cape (an annual trek) we usually sleep over at friends farming in the middle of nowhere. About 50 km on a dirt road outside of Colesberg.
Otherwise also 20km from Philipstown (if that is any help).

When staying over, we have never witnessed a car passing their road. It is very remote.

I got this flat with 20km further to go on our way to them.
It took me an hour to replace due to having to find a flat surfaced stone as a base for the jack (The earth was too soft otherwise). The heat and big tyres to lift off, and onto the wheel did not help either.
In that hour not a single car had passed. But that was of course not surprising.

Now it is clear that the tire hard torn off, due to heat generate from being flat for a little while.
We know those dirt roads and I know that going too fast on them is generally a bad idea. Even when in 4H in a Patrol. Also much safer and easier to control a big vehicle when driving slowly if you get a torn tyre like this.
But after replacing the tyre it got me to investigate my other tyres. Far from warn to the bone, many of them had weak spots. Cuts on the sides and on the surface facing the road.
These had come about from various rock climbing exercises ranging from Berakkah, At se gat, de Wildt, Moegatle, etc.
So one lesson learned is that, given what some of us on this forum use our cars for on some weekends, take care to make sure your tyres are still safe for the long road. Especially if you have the inclination to go off the beaten track and seek alternative ways with less traffic to get to your end destination (as we do!).

Then another pont I would like to get some views on:
My spare was still fresh. I.e. it had quite a bit more tread on than the four tyres on the wheels.Therefore the true diameter was a little bit more.
(Btw: It is not easy to find 285/75/16 tyres in the Karoo! To find a replacement for our spare was another long story)
(and Ricster should be happy to learn that I am now sporting two fresh KL71s on the front)

I distinctly recall a tyre guy in Randburg telling me that it is not a good idea to have warn and un-warn tread tyres on the same axle.
But according to Supa Quick in Graaf Reinett this is not a problem at all, unless the diffs are locked.
Let me know what you think
Flattie 2.JPG
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by marakasmalan » 09 Jan 2015 23:01

Alex, that is in fact the road between Philipstown and Colesberg? A few observations:

Karoo gravel roads are generally very good. Especially that one. I mean platkar 100km/h good.
4H is not required and yield no benefits on those gravel roads, maybe when wet (twice a year). The surface can be very hard at times. Your problem is more likely not being familiar with gravel roads and panhard rods (a problem especially on the corrugated stretches)
You drove a fair distance with the tyre completely flat for it to look like that. Something considered a sin in the Karoo. :biggrin:


Roadside wheelchanges is a pain, due to articulation and suspension, requiring one to jack the axle. I changed to the (if available) three rock method, much faster and it feels safer than balancing the axle on a bottle jack.

Drive the flat wheel onto a medium rock. Put large rock so that axle will rest on this when driving the flat wheel off the medium rock. Change wheel. If it is the rear wheel, engage diff-lock and drive 2m, stop and put rocks into veld. Else drive new hard spare onto small rock, remove big rock, drive 2m and put all rocks back into veld.

this is the standard procedure for any vehicle if jack is missing or defunct.

A lot of farmers use those tyre sizes on their mall crawlers, LC's, dc's and what-have-you-nots. De Aar, Beaufort West, Prieska, Midelburg, Graaf-Reinett etc have them on hand. From where you where a Bandag stocking them was 75km away. Not to far considering it being the 'middle of nowhere'...

Furthermore, looking at the roadsurface on your picture (apart from being puzzled that you struggled to find a level spot) it should be clear that that road is used a lot. In fact it is a very important communication line frequented by tens of vehicles daily. On average more than 1/h. Just not school holidays and weekends. Also, nowhere on that road are you further than two hours walk from a phone. Maybe three if you start walking in the wrong direction. Never were you more than 5 minutes walk from cellphone reception. Not exactly the middle of nowhere?

I drove it wednesday, coming back from a funeral in De Aar.

But if you do fancy desolation and need to claim to be 'in the middle of nowhere', drive from Kakamas to Loeriesfontein:
More than 280km from town to town with no shop or garage inbetween,
More than 220km without cell reception,
More than 70km at one stretch between inhabited farms,
Less than 50 vehicles /week.
But still not the longest route directly between two towns in SA.

Regards,

Kambro Kind

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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Peter Connan » 10 Jan 2015 06:10

I also want to lay an egg:

Get a tire pressure monitor. With such, you would probably have been able to fix instead of replace.

And also, we should allbe rotating tires regularly, so rotate your spare as well. Then you never need to worry about different sizes.

But if different sizes were actually a problem, space-savers would never have gained favour.

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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Alex Roux » 10 Jan 2015 07:58

Hi Marnus

"...should be clear that that road is used a lot. In fact it is a very important communication line frequented by tens of vehicles daily. " - There are a number of dirt roads between Philipstown and Colesberg. This one is not direct, as it cuts through farms and is therefore presumably only used by the farmers in that area (look up Lukaskop on the map).
It is certainly not the most remote area by distance, but the point being that vehicles do not seem to use it much. It is not the first time I have been on this road either.
On a previous visit we stayed over for two days. Not a single car passed in that time.

"Karoo gravel roads are generally very good. Especially that one" - Agreed this road was not in a bad condition either. I do not blame the road. The issue here is that I suspect the tyre that went flat already had been damaged before. That was the main point of this thread.

"Something considered a sin in the Karoo" - The tyre must have been flat for a while, but I did not notice this when driving. I sure as heck did not intentionally drive with a flat! I do not have a TPMS, but I would have thought that I should notice it otherwise?

"A lot of farmers use those tyre sizes on their mall crawlers" - Strange then that we only found a tyre of the right dimensions on the fifth call (285/75/16). This included De Aar, Colesberg and Graaf Reinett. The only tyre they had was a demo All terrain that was on display on the wall of their shop! So I took it on loan and agreed to receive two ordered MTs from them on our return trip. I suspect the LCs you are referring to typically use larger rims and may be thinner. But the general comment from suppliers was that "they do not stock such large tyres".
The other issue I suspect here is that all these tyre places can order any tyre dimensions of your choosing. The problem is that takes a day or two to get there from the coast. Obviously I did not want to wait that long. This was 15 December. Next day was 16 Dec. So I would have been able to get the tyres soonest on 17 Dec.

"...apart from being puzzled that you struggled to find a level spot" It was level everywhere! What I did need was a firm enough surface given the small base of the jack.

Hope that clarifies
Last edited by Alex Roux on 10 Jan 2015 08:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Alex Roux » 10 Jan 2015 08:09

Peter Connan wrote:...we should allbe rotating tires regularly, so rotate your spare as well. Then you never need to worry about different sizes.
Peter, I got a set of 5 fresh MTs in April 2012.
This was just before we went to the Kgalegadi Transfrontier Park, and later that holiday rendezvoused with NORC in the Northern Cape for some dune driving.
So the tyres did quite a bit of work on that trip. Very soon thereafter I went for my first intended rotation upon which I presumably got bad advice. I.e. that given the already apparent difference between the spare and the other four, I should rather leave it as such. So the difference between the spare and the four working tyres obviously subsequently only became greater over time.
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by mve100 » 10 Jan 2015 08:47

Driving from Tankwa in December my brother in law's tire on his fortuner also looked like that. We suspect he also got a puncture and did not notice it. Tire looked almost as bad as yours. On the rear you might notice in time if you have flat

Convinced me of the value of a tpm.

I also got a puncture on the way to Tankwa but noticed a hissing sound when stopping at reception so could fix the tire

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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Alex Roux » 10 Jan 2015 10:06

A relative of mine lost all four his tyres on his Disco 3 in Tankwa. But he had Pirelli on. Probably not ATs.
Not sure how on earth that is possible, surely one flat happens before the other.
Anyhow, he returned home on a flatbed, even though the Disco itself was perfectly fine.

Tankwa is on our bucket list.
Besides TPMS, the other important item for me if we are going there, would be two spares rather than one.
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Peter Connan » 10 Jan 2015 10:21

Alex Roux wrote:
Peter Connan wrote:...we should allbe rotating tires regularly, so rotate your spare as well. Then you never need to worry about different sizes.
Peter, I got a set of 5 fresh MTs in April 2012.
This was just before we went to the Kgalegadi Transfrontier Park, and later that holiday rendezvoused with NORC in the Northern Cape for some dune driving.
So the tyres did quite a bit of work on that trip. Very soon thereafter I went for my first intended rotation upon which I presumably got bad advice. I.e. that given the already apparent difference between the spare and the other four, I should rather leave it as such. So the difference between the spare and the four working tyres obviously subsequently only became greater over time.
Yup, I definately think that was bad advice. It's very difficult to notice a flat onn the rear of the troll if it deflates fairly slowly, I suspect it's because of the excellent stability and the relatively high unsprung mass.

I firmly believe that with a TPMS one would almost never need a second spare, and personally prefer not to carry one. I realize this might come back to haunt me sometime, but in all my overlanding and holiday trips, I have only ever had one flat, which was easily fixed without even removing a wheel. That was a lorry valve assembly on the tar road outside Bisho.
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Stefan » 10 Jan 2015 10:45

Alex Roux wrote: .....
"...apart from being puzzled that you struggled to find a level spot" It was level everywhere! What I did need was a firm enough surface given the small base of the jack.
.....
If the road surface isn't too soft, use one of the car mats (if you have them) as a base for the jack

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Alex Roux
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Re: Getting a flattie in the middle of nowhere

Post by Alex Roux » 10 Jan 2015 11:01

Stefan wrote:If the road surface isn't too soft, use one of the car mats (if you have them) as a base for the jack
Did not think of that.
Peter Connan wrote:It's very difficult to notice a flat onn the rear of the troll if it deflates fairly slowly, I suspect it's because of the excellent stability and the relatively high unsprung mass.
That explains it
Peter Connan wrote:I firmly believe that with a TPMS one would almost never need a second spare, and personally prefer not to carry one. I realize this might come back to haunt me sometime, but in all my overlanding and holiday trips, I have only ever had one flat, which was easily fixed without even removing a wheel.
I've heard from several sources that Tankwa eats tyres for breakfast.
So I am moving towards "liewer bang Jan as dooie Jan".
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