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Old 12-21-2008, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pilot on the beach?

Has anyone taken the new Pilot on the beach or sand? I'm looking at a beach house rental on the outerbanks that is only accessible by 4WD - driving down the beach. I think the Pilot would do fine but I'd hate to get the family stuck in the sand on the way. I've always had Jeep Cherokees and they usually did very well stock.

I'm interested in others' experiences on sand with the Pilot.
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The similarity between the 03-08 mechanicals suggests to me you wont see any difference in experience.

I did a search for "outer" and found many threads including the following

Beach driving
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Rocky! Some of that discussion is the very area we were looking at. There are rentals in the dunes just north of Corolla that are 4WD access only. I think we would be fine with the VTM4 and aired down tires.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Air down your tires and you should be ok.

However, be sure to bring along an air pump (electric is nice) and a tow strap that doesn't have any metal hooks on it (if the strap slips off, the metal hooks become airborne weapons)

Enjoy your vacation.

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am suffering through snowfall after snowfall. Temperatures are below zero day after day if you count windshield. One more word about a beach & I'm gonna knock some teeth out!
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I drove my 04' Pilot on the Hatteras Island beach near the light house with no problem. Had let air out of my tires to around 22psi for traction. There was also an air pump station near the entrance to the beach to refill the tires.





Ps. note my pic

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Old 12-25-2008, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've used my '06 Pilot on the beaches of LI every year since I had it. I go on the beach at least twice a month every Summer. I've never had to air down my tires, nor did I ever get stuck. Believe it or not, prior to owning the Pilot, I had an '03 Acura MDX, '00 Infiniti QX4 and a '96 Nissan Pathfinder. I can say without question, the Pilot was better performing on the sand than any of those. (with Michelin Cross Terrains). With all the prior vehicles, I have gotten stuck at least once, NEVER with the Pilot. Very suprising.

Also I found that using the VTM4 Lock on the Pilot and Acura actually made the vehicles do worse rather than better on the loose sand. It seems having the front drive bias (where most of the weight is) made getting started easier in all situations. When the VTM4 lock was engaged I would feel the ass of the vehicle sink down into the sand somewhat and the front tires were actally pulling the rear up and out, as if the rear of the car was acting like a drag line. The natural front drive bias of the Pilot enabled the vehicle stay on top of the sand betttrer and have less drag.

I have not used my '09 on the sand yet but I'm confident it will be just as good.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The 2009 Pilot exceeding my expectations off road / on the beach. I passed no less than 3 ford explorers stuck in the sand. I followed the previous recommendations by airing down my tires (25lbs) and not using the VTM4. However, once I got onto the in-land trails, I thought the VTM4 actually helped.

One of the best parts was the GPS actually had the trails on it! We were going down the beach when I saw a "road" on the GPS going into the dunes. It looked like a big hill of sand you couldn't tell their was a trail on the other side. On the first attempt up the hill of sand I didn't make it but it easily backed out without getting stuck and made it no problem on the second attempt. Funny, all the jeeps on the beach followed our lead - it was great, a Pilot leading Wranglers offroad.

The Pilot did great, even when some of the sand "ruts" were deep enough that the sand hit the undercarriage. I saw only one other Pilot, older model on the beach. The people with me that watched it play in the sand said it looked like it hardly lost traction (it felt a little differently). The rear view camera came in handy to, we had to turn around in one of the in-land trails.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the sand hill climb, but did get a few pics of the in-land trails, one is attached here. I actually decided to come to a stop before that hill and went up it from a dead stop to see how it did. It felt like it crawled right up but based upon the sand on the top of the tires, I'm pretty sure there was some wheel slip - although the guy taking the picture said it didn't look like there was any spin at all.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The 2009 Pilot exceeding my expectations off road / on the beach. I passed no less than 3 ford explorers stuck in the sand. I followed the previous recommendations by airing down my tires (25lbs) and not using the VTM4. However, once I got onto the in-land trails, I thought the VTM4 actually helped.

One of the best parts was the GPS actually had the trails on it! We were going down the beach when I saw a "road" on the GPS going into the dunes. It looked like a big hill of sand you couldn't tell their was a trail on the other side. On the first attempt up the hill of sand I didn't make it but it easily backed out without get
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Pics of your Pilot on the beach is always a plus...hint hint

I'm sure you had fun.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Going to Hatteras in August and plan on doing some beach driving with our new Touring 4WD Pilot. This is an excellent thread on the subject so I decided to bring it back to get as much information as possible. We will be driving on the beach at Ramp 55. According to CHNS Google Map it's open. Hopefully it will be open in August.

If you have experience in the sand please share your stories.

I plan on getting some straps in case I get it stuck. Where is the best place in the front of the Pilot to attach the strap? I see an access panel that looks like a place to screw in a tow hook but I don't see a tow hook that came with the Pilot. Also I intend to get a 12V air pump. Any recommendations on 12V air pumps? The Pilot has a 100W AC outlet if that would work better. I use it to blow up our air mattresses when we go camping.

We go almost every year and see tons of serious off-road machines every year. Do you think some of these folks would help tow my "toy" Pilot out of the sand if an inexperienced dad gets it stuck? My eight year old would sure get a kick out of dad begging some giant 4WD machine to haul our Pilot out of the sand!
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcase13 View Post
I plan on getting some straps in case I get it stuck. Where is the best place in the front of the Pilot to attach the strap? I see an access panel that looks like a place to screw in a tow hook but I don't see a tow hook that came with the Pilot. Also I intend to get a 12V air pump. Any recommendations on 12V air pumps? The Pilot has a 100W AC outlet if that would work better. I use it to blow up our air mattresses when we go camping.
Screw-in tow ring is on top of the tire change tools under the floor in the trunk. Read your manual for details on correct tow points and technique. Do this, or at least bring the manual with you so you can when you get stuck. It is a somewhat critical that you tow from the correct point with unibody vehicles like the Pilot so as to avoid torquing your frame or pulling your subframe out of alignment. Body on frame SUVs weren't particularly sensitive to this but your Pilot is. Consider yourself warned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcase13 View Post
We go almost every year and see tons of serious off-road machines every year. Do you think some of these folks would help tow my "toy" Pilot out of the sand if an inexperienced dad gets it stuck? My eight year old would sure get a kick out of dad begging some giant 4WD machine to haul our Pilot out of the sand!
In my extensive experience of getting my stupid self stupidly stuck in mud and sand and awkward social situations, the people with the means to free you generally love to do it, who doesn't like to be the hero from time to time? Off Roaders, as a breed, are generally nice folks. You should be prepared for some good natured ribbing though, and see above, make sure you attach your tow strap to your own vehicle.

Have fun. I went hooning on the beach in Galveston within 2 weeks of getting my Pilot. Excellent fun and never had the slightest sense that it was at risk of getting stuck, despite intentionally going for the dry poofy dune sand. I'd echo the comment I've read elsewhere that VTM4 lock perhaps does more harm than good in loose sand. That was certainly the sense I had, back end squatting down unnecessarily with VTM4 lock on, but not in regular VTM4.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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As regards air compressors, I'd recommend you steer clear of the neat looking little plastic bodied units, I went through a succession of 8 of them over 10 years before I finally bought a decent quality one. The speed difference is tremendous, and this one I fully expect to outlive me.

Cheap suggestion;
Amazon.com: Q Industries HV35 SuperFlow 12V Air Compressor: Automotive Amazon.com: Q Industries HV35 SuperFlow 12V Air Compressor: Automotive

Expensive suggestion;
Amazon.com: Goodyear i7000 12-Volt Direct Drive Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator: Automotive Amazon.com: Goodyear i7000 12-Volt Direct Drive Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator: Automotive
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks that Goodyear one looks to be the king of 12v air compressors. I will probably order that one. I researched the manual and it appears there are only two places to connect the strap to. The rear hitch and the front tow hook that needs to be screwed in place. It also looks like the front tow hook is only used to pull the truck straight out and not at an angle.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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It also looks like the front tow hook is only used to pull the truck straight out and not at an angle.
Bingo, that was what I was hoping to convey. I come from the land of cheap French unibody cars, I've knocked frames out of true on those by nothing more than hitting a pothole a bit wrong. The pilot should be a world better than that, but it'll never be as insensitive to abuse as a body on frame SUV.

Have fun at the beach and let us know what you think of the compressor.
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