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Old 07-29-2019, 01:20 PM
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Recovery tracks vs plywood

Time to settle this. Some recovery tracks can be $300 for a pair (Maxtrax), plywood is dirt cheap. What's the big difference? The recovery tracks have teeth that grip to your tire tread. Are those worth that much?

I did an experiment this weekend. I got my JK Rubicon stuck (on purpose) in some pretty soft beach sand (I had proper permit to be there) and tried to get out with some pre-cut 4' X 1' plywood boards. I had 4 of those, one for each tire. The result: plywood did not get me out. I had tire pressure at 20 psi, all lockers on, Jeep body solidly resting on the sand. I dug with a shovel in front of each wheel as they show you in the recovery tracks instructions, put the plywood boards at an angle and tried to crawl out. At one point it seemed the tires were about to grip, for about a second, and then just went spinning on THE plywood.

I've seen some people screw bolts on the plywood that can serve as teeth to grip the tire. My guess is that this would not work either because the tires would not grip the edge of the plywood. You can't bolt anything to the edges. Recovery tracks' edges are cut and have teeth so the first contact with the tire would make it grip.

Now I'm thinking of buying some cheaper recovery tracks. Does anyone have an opinion about that? The ones I have my eyes on are Toryea, $70 on Amazon. Why should they be so much cheaper than Maxtrax ($300)?

One last thing, if I only had to carry one piece of recovery equipment it would be a high-lift jack. That one never leaves my Jeep.

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Old 07-29-2019, 01:36 PM   #2
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As last resort getting out of sand I was using interior carpets with great results.
Plywood might work with a layer of rubber on top.
But imo proper tracks are the way to go, the difference in price is probably the quality of plastic (grip coefficient).

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Old 07-29-2019, 01:45 PM
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As last resort getting out of sand I was using interior carpets with great results.
Plywood might work with a layer of rubber on top.
But imo proper tracks are the way to go, the difference in price is probably the quality of plastic (grip coefficient).
You are right about the grip coefficient. I've read reviews that cheap tracks can crack, but my rig is not that heavy. But the grip is another story.

Did you damage your carpets when you used them in sand?
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:48 PM   #4
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You are right about the grip coefficient. I've read reviews that cheap tracks can crack, but my rig is not that heavy. But the grip is another story.

Did you damage your carpets when you used them in sand?
Off-course, rubber underneath was damaged but not made them unusable.
And if the wheel spins those are simply thrown back.
As a last resort solution might be considered.
However some long shape grooved rubber mats might work in stead of tracks in sand.
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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The x-bull recovery tracks on amazon get very good reviews for about $70
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:01 PM
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Off-course, rubber underneath was damaged but not made them unusable.
And if the wheel spins those are simply thrown back.
As a last resort solution might be considered.
However some long shape grooved rubber mats might work in stead of tracks in sand.
Not a bad idea. All-weather rubber mats would keep the Jeep cleaner, plus can be used in emergency to get out. I wonder if those would work in mud though.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:02 PM
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The x-bull recovery tracks on amazon get very good reviews for about $70
X-bulls are now $110 on Amazon. Still way better than $300. TY.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:34 PM   #8
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First, 20 psi is not low enough for sand.

Carpet mats are cheap (or free, look at carpet store samples. They throw away outdated ones.)
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:49 PM
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First, 20 psi is not low enough for sand.

Carpet mats are cheap (or free, look at carpet store samples. They throw away outdated ones.)
By carpet mats do you mean any carpet, meaning the carpet you use in the house? That is cheap indeed, even if you pay full price (like $1 per sq ft).

I usually don't air down when I drive on sand, and I do it all the time. I drive with tires aired up to 42 psi (less wear). True, I have off road tires, but I doubt that makes a huge difference on sand (they are still stock size). Jeeps don't seem to have a problem, I don't know about trucks. If you have one of those all-wheel drives then you MUST air down, and then you still have to know what you are doing when you get to the soft stuff. I used to go down to 16-18 range back in the days when I drove VW Tiguan.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:13 AM   #10
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I was always weary of buying the cheap off brand and actually found that ARB makes them now as well. They're not as expensive as Maxx Traxx at about half the price, but they have a lifetime warranty. Not had to use them yet, but I am sure they'll work just fine. And actually ARB doesn't make them... Tred is the maker and they are an Australian company. But either way, right in between on price and great warranty.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:13 PM   #11
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Old snowmobile tracks are my favorite.

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