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Old 06-21-2014, 02:45 PM   #1
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Driving on sand

We will be going to the beach soon with our Rubicon and I was wondering if anyone had any advise on how to drive on sand. I do know not to drive too close to the water LOL

But was just wondering if there were any tricks that could be useful.

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:54 PM   #2
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I don't think there's any super crazy technique to it, although there are plenty of others in here with WAY more experience than myself. Our local beach allows 4x4 access and we take my JKU out there all the time. You may want to air down if the sand is real soft and deep. I've never aired down and haven't had any issues yet, though my local beach sees a lot of traffic. Just try to keep your forward momentum going at a slow steady pace and you should be fine.

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:58 PM   #3
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If the sand is very dry you'll wanna air down to 15 -20psi. If you get stuck use your floor mats to get back on top if the sand...
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #4
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We will be going to the beach soon with our Rubicon
Remember now,when you go. Pictures or it didn't happen. I'm actually curious myself, because I've always wanted to take my Wrangler on the sand dunes.

I was dissuaded when I saw this guys brand new Suzuki Samurai and he took it to the beach a couple of times, and it was almost totalled afterwards. I heard he kept rolling it on the sand dunes.

I did drive on the sand a little bit in Oxnard. But, just to let my Jeep get some sand between its toes. lol.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:28 PM   #5
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We will be going to the Outerbanks, specifically Nags Head, NC. So I'm unsure of the sand there as they just renovated the beach 2 years ago while we were there. Jersey and Maryland sands seem different from NC beaches...
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:42 PM   #6
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Remember now,when you go. Pictures or it didn't happen. I'm actually curious myself, because I've always wanted to take my Wrangler on the sand dunes.

I was dissuaded when I saw this guys brand new Suzuki Samurai and he took it to the beach a couple of times, and it was almost totalled afterwards. I heard he kept rolling it on the sand dunes.

I did drive on the sand a little bit in Oxnard. But, just to let my Jeep get some sand between its toes. lol.
OH there will be pictures!!
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:06 PM   #7
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A good rule is, if the sand is hard to walk on (deep and soft) it will be a challenge to drive on in which case airing down in a must.

Slow and steady wins on sand. Most people that get stuck panic if they start to slow down and floor it which will drop you like a rock and you'll be stuck for sure.

Following tracks of other vehicles you'll be fine. When you have to cross over expect it to handle like a mixture of ice and snow.

Most importantly: have a blast!
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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OH there will be pictures!!
Until then, here are a couple from a recent trip to the Oregon Dunes. Have fun!!

Oregon Dunes by pdxfrogdog, on Flickr

Oregon Dunes by pdxfrogdog, on Flickr
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:34 PM   #9
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Was in Nags Head in mid May. Not a lot of beach access there. You can get a permit to ride the cape hatteras shoreline but much of its closed off this time of year do to wildlife. Take the drive to the 4x4 beach in corolla and have fun. No permit needed there. I suggest airing down. Makes life much easier and there's a store right as you come off beach to air back up
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:52 PM   #10
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Air down, keep your momentum going, don't stop in extremely soft sand and don't turn sharp so the front tires don't dig. That will get you through sand most of time in 2WD. Let the rear end drift and wander slightly.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:57 PM   #11
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I always drop to 18 psi in the tyres, never been stuck. Sand driving is a lot of fun, keep the momentum up and you'll be fine.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:24 PM   #12
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If the sand is very dry you'll wanna air down to 15 -20psi. If you get stuck use your floor mats to get back on top if the sand...
Ugh; inadvertently drove into deep sand today, and unfortunately neither floor mats nor anything else on hand freed me from my sand trap.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:26 PM   #13
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As previously mentioned airing down to 15 PSI is a good rule of thumb. Do you have a manual or auto trans? Autos tend to heat up in the sand so you need to watch for the hot oil warning. If that happens use 4L, it keeps the slushbox cooler.

When you shift to 4H it's very important that you hold the ESP off button in for 5 seconds until you hear a chime. This will turn your traction control off and it will stay off until the next time you start your engine. So remember if you stop and turn it off, you have to hold it in for another 5 seconds when you start the engine.

If you don't turn it off it can cause you to get stuck. If one of your wheels starts to spin, it will apply the brakes, this will go back and forth on both wheels until you bog down and get stuck.

It is automatically off in 4L.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:34 PM   #14
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Drove in the OBX sand with my Avalanche. As others have said keep moving and don't be timid. 4 high should be fine. Biggest problem is people who have no business there stuck or being dumb.Last time I was there a tow was 80 bucks and there was a truck waiting.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:32 AM   #15
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I use 4L EXCLUSIVELY. If you are in 4H, and realize you need 4L, it's too late. Describing sand driving is tough, there are just too many types of sand. A few rules of thumb... Be prepared to self extract! Mats, a winch and anchor, whatever you can use. Ive even seen guys bury the spare tire and use a hi-lift and strap. Avoid the dune wherever possible. Dont stop in sugar sand. Keep your momentum up and dont turn sharply. When its buried, its buried. Quit trying and start digging. My experience is mostly around the Great Lakes where "sugar" sand is the norm.
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:29 PM   #16
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The kids love taking the jeep out on the sand.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:27 PM   #17
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4lo rules!!!! Did some beach driving for the first time a few weeks ago in some deep, soft sand. Didn't know any better and had it in 4 hi. Seemed like a lot of strain on the the ol 3.8. Went back the following weekend in 4lo, what a difference. Night and day. Calmed my nerves alittle bit knowing how much easier it was on the jeep in 4lo. I barely had to hit the gas and she crawled right along. Also, I usually turn o/d off. Have fun!!
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:39 PM   #18
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The kids love taking the jeep out on the sand.
What kin of seat covers?
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:42 PM   #19
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I had never driven in sand until last month. 4L and I was good! I was at Carolina Beach so I imagine the sand would be similar. As stated keep forward momentum. I did see a couple of less fortunate people that day need help out though.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:44 AM   #20
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What kin of seat covers?
Those are the CoverKing neoprene seat covers, got them at Quadratech.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:13 AM   #21
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4lo rules!!!! Did some beach driving for the first time a few weeks ago in some deep, soft sand. Didn't know any better and had it in 4 hi. Seemed like a lot of strain on the the ol 3.8. Went back the following weekend in 4lo, what a difference. Night and day. Calmed my nerves alittle bit knowing how much easier it was on the jeep in 4lo. I barely had to hit the gas and she crawled right along. Also, I usually turn o/d off. Have fun!!
I'm guessing you didn't disable the traction control in 4H? I made that mistake at first and it felt like a dog because you are constantly fighting the brakes. I find 4H preferable to 4L with the 6 speed. You lose too much momentum when shifting in 4L. 2nd in 4H works great.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:40 PM   #22
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I had my first sand driving experience two weekends ago and wished this thread would have been around prior to me going up there. We were up in the Northern part of Michigan and the sand was extremely dry and very deep in spots. I did pretty well in 2wd, but when the sand got deeper it was almost impossible as I did not air down. I put it into 4hi and stayed in second gear, no problems. However, when I did some climbing in the dunes in 4hi it was a different story. Like Daggo said, you MUST turn the TC off or it will stall out 3/4 of the way up the dune. It took me a few tries before I figured this out and my stupidity cost me some burning of the clutch as I was clueless as to why the RPMs were dropping so fast and I was stalling. Lesson learned, wisdom gained.

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Old 06-23-2014, 12:44 PM   #23
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Would disabling traction control apply to us guys with auto transmissions?
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:49 PM   #24
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Would disabling traction control apply to us guys with auto transmissions?
yes. The traction control is trying to prevent wheel spin by applying the brakes. When you are on a super slippy surface like sand, it is basically braking full time and ends up bogging you down. It feels like you're dragging an anchor.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:07 PM   #25
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yes. The traction control is trying to prevent wheel spin by applying the brakes. When you are on a super slippy surface like sand, it is basically braking full time and ends up bogging you down. It feels like you're dragging an anchor.
Hahaha, thought I was towing my friend's Jeep up the dune with me. Horrible feeling, especially once you realize what the problem was!
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:12 PM   #26
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yes. The traction control is trying to prevent wheel spin by applying the brakes. When you are on a super slippy surface like sand, it is basically braking full time and ends up bogging you down. It feels like you're dragging an anchor.

This is really good info... I didn't realize that is how it worked. Living in florida half of our trails are sand.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:16 PM   #27
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yes. The traction control is trying to prevent wheel spin by applying the brakes. When you are on a super slippy surface like sand, it is basically braking full time and ends up bogging you down. It feels like you're dragging an anchor.
Thanks for the info. I've never had a problem but will disable it next time I'm out and see if I notice a difference.

Does the traction control ever fight with the anti lock brakes? Lol.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:40 PM   #28
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Hahaha, thought I was towing my friend's Jeep up the dune with me. Horrible feeling, especially once you realize what the problem was!

Read post #13.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:09 PM   #29
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Yep put it in park and press the traction control until it beeps.



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Old 06-24-2014, 06:36 PM   #30
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With an auto tranny using 4h should we have it in drive or a lower gear

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