South Australia

Nundroo

“Without question the filthiest most disgusting place I’ve walked into (and that includes a brothel in the slums of India)” – Nundroo roadhouse review found on Google Reviews

Haha some people do funny reviews. We had no problems with Nundroo. In fact we had quite a good experience during our stay. The amenities are a bit rough and there’s some spider webs and stuff – it all adds character. The floors and toilet surfaces are kept clean. The showers look ugly but work well. The staff are great*. Friendly, helpful, accommodating and understanding of our situation. They were helpful keeping us entertained with TV, snacks and air-conditioning at the bar. Thanks guys that really helped prevent the girls from getting too grumpy.

With a busted wheel bearing and a long wait for parts, we enjoyed a pleasant 6 nights in Nundroo. Apart from beers and decent pub grub at the bar, there’s plenty more to do including:

Relax by the pool

nundroo swimming pool

 

Observe the ant super highway. This crosses the entire length of the campsite and provides rapid transit capability, often splitting into dual carriageways.

nundroo ant super highway

 

Bird watching

nullarbor nundroo pink and grey galahs nundroo pink and grey galahs

 

Interact with wildlife. This guy tried eating flies right off the back of my ankle. Can’t say I’ve been licked by a blue-tongue before.

nundroo blue tongue lizard close blue tongue lizard with blue tongue

 

Watch the spectacular sunsets. It’s plenty dusty around Nundroo, in fact it often suffers from dust storms. We had a nice dust storm pass through during our stay. The dust provides tremendous sunsets, plus a free dose of iron supplements conveniently administered via the lungs.

nullarbor plains nundroo sunset

nullarbor eyre highway sunset

Chips: A Comment from Wayne the Mechanic – Skip to Avoid Boredom

When discussing the repair with Wayne we got onto chatting about the hilux in general. He has a hilux too. He commented about how some of the hiluxes in the area get abused and are not serviced properly yet they keep going. He summed it up with “Great vehicle the hilux. They go forever. Unless you put a chip in them.”

The article about chips is one of the most popular articles at outbackjoe.com so it’s a nice co-incidence that Wayne finished with the comment about chips, totally without any input from me. Wayne has witnessed many blown up engines pass his way, usually vehicles towing whilst fitted with a chip. And the owners nearly always believe the chip did not contribute to the failure. It’s amazing how people can seriously deny such basic physics even when faced with a destroyed engine and a mechanic telling them the chip was likely to blame. That’s the power of marketing.

Details on the Bearing Repair – Skip to Avoid Boredom

Both rear bearings were replaced with Repco bearings in Broome around 1.5 years prior to the failure. The bearings have a two year warranty so I contacted Repco and they were very helpful. They offered to pay for a new bearing, new brake cylinder (the rubber boots melted off the old one) and the majority of the labour for the repair. Their support was much appreciated, thanks Repco!

It may sound like this failure turned out to be a bit of a fairy tale for us. Excellent luck with the cheap tow from Mundrabilla, pleasant experience at Nundroo, free parts and almost free labour. The fairy tale didn’t quite work out perfectly. I’ll need a new axle when I get to Melbourne.

The replacement bearing arrived in Nundroo on a Monday morning. Wayne got to work pressing on the new bits but unfortunately broke one of the new locking rings as he was pressing it on. The tolerances of the fit between the locking rings and axle are very precise and the scoring that the axle suffered from its impact with the axle housing meant that the locking ring would not fit.

An attempt was made to source a new axle but we could have been waiting weeks. Instead it was decided to grind down the axle so that the locking rings would fit. The friction fit between the locking rings and axle can no longer be trusted so I’ll need a new axle. There’s a good chance the temporary fix should make it to Melbourne provided I don’t go offroading and don’t corner too fast. All the pissfarting around with the locking rings and chasing a new axle delayed our departure to Tuesday afternoon.

Details on the Circumstances Leading to the Failure – Skip to Avoid Boredom

As mentioned above the bearings were fairly new. Recently I got new tyres. The old tyres were unevenly worn, out of round, had some cuts and blistering and were very noisy. When I got the new tyres I noticed a subtle whoop sound once per tyre revolution. I took the car back to the tyre shop, suspecting an out of round tyre or scalloping or something. Nothing was found wrong with the tyres. The tyre shop checked the bearings and could not find a problem there either. I did not suspect the bearings since they were replaced just 1.5 years prior. It was assumed the sound was probably some normal variability in the tyre construction. Perhaps the sound would fade as the tyres wear in.

So we hit the road with the whoop whoop sound. Then the bearing blew up. Then the whoop whoop sound disappeared with the new bearing. I think the bearing had been stuffed for a while. The old tyres were noisy and masked the noise from the dodgy bearing. There was never anything wrong with the new tyres.

Why didn’t the tyre shop pick up the dodgy bearing? Looking at the flat spot on one of the ball bearings, I suspect that one ball had seized. The rest of the balls were shiny and smooth.

hilux culprit ball bearing

Ball bearing with flat spot. There’s also pitting on the underside. What caused that? Too much heat?

With the car jacked up and the wheel hanging in the air the bearing felt tight and smooth. The bearing was relatively new and the bearing races were probably in good condition. The dodgy ball, with its worn flat spot, was probably not making contact with the bearing races when not under load and so could not be felt. With the wheel on the ground the seized ball would load and unload with every wheel revolution, sliding across the bearing race as load was applied and generating the whoop noise. Eventually it got too hot / wore out the races too much and the bearing was cactus. That’s my theory anyway.

A Note about Nundroo – Skip to Avoid Boredom

Nundroo roadhouse gets some bad reviews. It’s old and run down but it’s fulfilling a market niche. If you want cheap fuel and cheap camping then come to Nundroo. If you want something nicer then go somewhere else. I think too many people are bored and lacking hobbies and so have too much time to complain.

*One thing that can be improved upon at Nundroo is the management. I think they are a bit short sighted, focusing too much energy on controlling small amounts of money and controlling trivial staff activities. Just like most management in every organization. The staff themselves are fine and don’t deserve to be attacked. They can only do what management permits.

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8 replies »

  1. Joe mate, that lizard …. forgive me for this…. is not a blue tongue – although, he does appear to have a blue tongue! That is a “Sleepy Lizard” in SA terms. A Shingle back in real terms. All the best mate – Jeff

  2. Oh, hello! I found this old sticky note today, basically asking me, how my new school is and that I should visit this site and comment. I am assuming this note was from years ago when I was in primary school, and so she taught at a certain school in 2013? I am not sure, was just curious.

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