Something you are going to get good at when you go to Lake Gairdner is cleaning your vehicle(s). That last 150 kilometres into the lake on the dirt roads will coat your vehicle and trailer with an extremely fine dust that gets into every last rook and cranny. And then when you are traveling on the lake you will get salt spray deposited all under your vehicle.
Preparing Your Vehicle
- Cover the inside floor of your vehicle with heavy duty plastic and tape it down. At the very least have heavy duty moulded rubber off-road car mats. The salt sticks to your shoes and you will drag it inside your vehicle.
- A highly recommended modification for your vehicle or especially towing enclosed trailers is to create a positive pressure in the cabin. In your vehicle just slightly crack the front windows or have your cooling set to fresh air and if possible tape up the vents at the back of the vehicle.
- For enclosed trailers fit some air scoops/ducts to the roof and tape up the back door. You will be amazed at the difference this will make.
- Some people will try and protect their competition vehicle with plastic wrap, this only works to a certain extent, you can never seal them properly, but it's better than nothing.
- If you have an open trailer, anything that is on it is guaranteed to be covered in dust.
- Spray the underside of your vehicle and trailer with some sort of salt neturaliser / preventative (Salt Off, Salt Away, lanolin, or fish oil) before you leave home.
- When you are on the lake, drive slowly, this will minimize the amount of salt that gets flicked up onto your vehicle.
Entering the lake
It is part of our leasing arrangement with the Department that all vehicles must be cleaned prior to entering the lake and that we do as much as we can not to deposit red dust onto the surface of the lake. Our aim is to leave the place as we found it, as best we can.
Before you are permitted to enter the lake by our gate keepers, you must remove as much dust as you possibly can from all your vehicles. From many years experience we have found the bester way to do this is with a garden blower. These are supplied at the edge of the lake, but we strongly recommend you bring your own. They don't take up a lot of room and can save you quite a bit of time when your waiting in line. The newer cordless one's are ideal, but a 2 or 4 stroke blower will more than do the job.
If you wish to access your competition vehicle or trailer prior to entering the lake you are going to need a blower.
Use of water to remove dust is banned as all it does is create another problem.
Leaving the Lake
It is part of our leasing arrangement with Mt. Ive Homestead to try a minimize the amount of salt dropping off vehicles and left on the road. Mt. Ive is a working farm and the last thing they need is additional salt on their property. There is a check point just prior to leaving the lake where brooms are provided to brush off as much salt as you can. Give your mud flaps a hit with the broom or a kick with your foot as this is a classic place to hold salt spray. Also go along the lower sides of you vehicle and bang them with your hand, you will be amazed with the amount of salt that will drop off.
There are 2 car washes in Port Augusta these are ideal for cleaning your vehicles especially if it will take you a few days to get home or you have a hire car. Expect to take a couple of hours to give it a good clean in and out and under.
Augusta Car Wash, 8 Augusta Hwy, Open 24 hours
Clean Bee Car and Dog Wash, 37 Victoria Parade, Closes 11PM
Cleaning your vehicles when you get home
When cleaning off salt from vehicles, DO NOT use high pressure spray, all this does is force the salt further into all the joins, cracks and crevasses.
The best method is flush out the body and under the guards to remove the large clumps and then to put a garden sprinkler under your vehicle and leave it there for at least a couple of hours at a time till you have covered the whole underneath. Repeat as many times as you thing necessary to dissolve all the salt. Don't do this on your grass as you will kill it.
Treatments and Preventatives
Salt Off and Boat & 4x4 wash is safe on your paint work yet extremely effective on the underside to remove corrosive soil and salt buildup. It is an Australian made product. Here is a list of Salt Off distributors, most of them being suppliers to the boat industry.
Claims to remove all traces of salt. Minimizes corrosive effects of salt. Made is the USA, there are a number of Salt Away distributors in Australia, most of them being suppliers to the boat industry.
Spray your vehicle underneath once a year with lanolin, and give it a few days to dry. You can spray everything except for seals, your engine and exhaust pipe. Lanolin is a sheep by product that creates a protective coating. It might smell a bit, but its cheap insurance (and the smell eventually goes away!)
Spray your vehicle underneath once a year with Fish Oil, and give it a few days to dry. You can spray everything except for seals, your engine and exhaust pipe. Lanolin is a sheep by product that creates a protective coating. It might smell a bit, but its cheap insurance (and the smell eventually goes away!)
Electronic Capacitive Rust Protection
Some people swear by ERP, and say it makes a massive difference. Others not so much.