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I have a 2002 X5 and am soon to upgrade, the wife wanted to go to Fraser Island (the world's largest sand island), about 3 hours north of Brisbane for a bit of fun - so the X5 was destined to become an over road maven.

Fraser Island is accessible only by barge and only to 4WD vehicles. Thats because it is made entirely of sand and the island is 120 km long (75 miles to the metrically challenged). The only access is to drive along the beach or weave through a few 4WD tracks that are nothing but rut filled soft sand.

I was a bit apprehensive at first, so I did some reading on this and some other forums and found a number of inspirational stories of people letting their X5's loose in the wild. So after being inspired, I thought stuff it, lets go.

Before we got onto the barge I let the tyre pressure down from 40PSI to about 22. With the low profile tyres I was worried that too low pressure would see the tyres roll off the rims (no sweat there) - next time I think I will lower them a bit further.

You roll off the barge and suddenly you are on a beach with waves pounding nearby.


Driving on the hard pack sand on the beach was easy, the east beach of Fraser Island is actually classed as a highway with a speed limit of 80kph. They have police doing speed checks and breath tests, plus you share it with airplanes landing & taking off.

We headed inland on the tiny tracks, very bumpy and a bit nerve wracking as some of the climbs are fairly steep considering its all on dry sand.


We had no trouble driving around the inland tracks on day 1. Just make sure that DSC is off for this kind of thing, and drive in manual mode in 1st or 2nd - plenty of revs to keep it moving.

We missed the tides and popped out onto the beach just near high tide. This meant that we were stuck (you can only travel across some sections 2 hours either side of low tide). So we had to get a room in a nearby place instead of getting up the beach to our camp site.

The next day on an inland track we got bogged! The biggest issue the X5 has is the low clearance. I drove too slowly on a section with not enough revs, so we ploughed in and got firmly stuck!


Luckily a Landcruiser full of backpackers came along before too long and 6 big German boys pushed us out.

I related this story to the guy at the camp site, he said "Mate, you got drive the car like you just stole it!"

Absolute words of wisdom they were - the next day we confront a track that the book says "Experienced 4WD drivers only! Low clearance vehicles not suited, the track is soft sand and deep ruts." So I did what any good Aussie boy would do, and I drove that X5 like I stole it!

We bounced up hills, flew over tree roots, almost got sideways on sand - but did we get stuck - no way! We were red lining it regularly in the sand and that baby worked hard, but she overcame every single challenge I gave her!


So, if you are considering taking your X out onto the sand - give it a go.
Lower the tyre pressure.
Turn DSC off.
Drive in 1st or 2nd gear
Drive it like you stole it!
Buy a tyre inflator - quality one.

Have fun! The X5 is a beast and will do more than you think!
 

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(Insert one liner here)
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:bow: That's awesome. I always believe a vehicle should be used to it's abilities.
 

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Years ago, I took our '03 X5 off-road in the mud and snow. It was first-gen, so it didn't have the current "X-Drive" AWD system. The early system was prone to getting stuck if none of the wheels had traction (it would "give up" in a sense). Ours did very well... as long as we kept on the throttle!

- Mike
 

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I am trying to work out if I can go around Australia in my X5 or as some of my mates say, I need a 'real' 4WD.
Your experience is inspiring and sounds like a lot of fun. My experience with off-road is limited to a taking a shortcut across a paddock on my way to buy scotch, and ending up bogged outside a Dan Murphy's. Maybe I need a few 4WD lessons?
 

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I have a 2002 X5 and am soon to upgrade, the wife wanted to go to Fraser Island (the world's largest sand island), about 3 hours north of Brisbane for a bit of fun.....
I know it's been a while since this post was put up but was wondering how did you go with cleaning out the sand from the engine bay? Any problems afterwards?

Cheers
 
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