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Discussion Starter #1
Spent last week on vacation at a location accessible only by beach and soft sand trails. Fully loaded with family and gear, we were cruising down a sand "road" when the Pilot started to slow to a crawl and paralize itself. We were in first gear with VTM-4 engaged. We unloaded all our gear to reduce the load, but it wouldn't budge. We managed to sink it to the floorbards. VTM-4 basically limited all power and at one point no wheels would move. We got pulled out by a GMC Yukon with a rope through the front shipping tie down. Over the course of one week of exclusive off roading, I found that the Pilot is very capable in most sandy conditions, with and without locking VTM-4. Ground clearance for the most part is aceptable. Morale of the story: Be very careful in soft sand with heavy loads! ;)
 

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Sorry to hear you got bogged down.

What did you have your tire pressure at?

I haven't yet tried to 4 wheel in the pilot, I I four wheel quite often in my Trooper, which is another heavy vehicle. I usually will drop the tire pressure down to about 18 to 22 lbs. It soften the tires and widens the footprint, distributing the weight over a larger area. This helps the vehicle stay on top of the sand.

Usually.


The only time I ever really got stuck in a 4x4 was in hawaii. I was driving a Suzuki Samurai, I let out the tire pressure and went to my favorite fishing beach. It sank like a rock in water. I guess there are different types of sand. I found out that Hawaii's sand is mostly round or oval in shape, from wave action. So it is easier to get stuck. Here in arizona I have never had that problem.

Hopefully this helps a little.
 

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Sounds terrible ... perhaps the heavier load would have helped ... but in this instance the sand and terrain sounds pretty bad ... bad enough that any vehicle short of a HUMMER would've gotten stuck ...

I was in a similar situation several years ago while stationed in Korea ... I was tasked to conduct a recon of an area of land within the secured area just outside the DMZ in a Korean Bongo van. In a fit of stupidity I opted to venture out alone and without any provisions hoping that the trip would take no longer than an hour or two. I finally made it out to the area but had to cross a small creek bed at the entrance. Thinking this would be a simple feat of just driving across my rear axle got caught on a boulder and was pinned. For two hours, in the blazing sun I tried just about everything to get the vehicle unstuck but nothing worked. Finally, dehydrated and lightheaded, I decided to walk the long road back and get help. After an hour of walking, tempted to drink from any water source I could find, I heard the faint sound of a truck heading down the dirt road from behind. I waved the truck down, an old Korean farmer, and pleaded for help. I don't think he understood a word I was saying but he knew I needed help and waved for me to jump in the truck. I pointed him back in the direction of my vehicle and soon we were back at scene of embarrasment. I made motions to see if he had anything to tie into my van, but he waved no. Looking around, there were hulks of trucks used as targets, and in a moment of brilliance, I whipped out my knife jumped in the trucks and started cutting out all the seat belts. Manufacturing a makeshift rope, I tied into the farmers truck and my van, and in minutes my vehicle was pulled out. Grateful, I bowed and lauded praises to the farmer, but he just chuckled at me and took off down the road. Embarrased, I headed home, stopped by a local car wash and washed up the vehicle so no one would notice; there wasn't a scratch or dent to be found. Making it back home, my boss was waiting gazing lividly at me, luckily the van was pristine, but in a fit of nervousness, while parking the van I backed it into a pole denting the driver's side quarter panel ...

Anyway, point of the story is, it really sucks to be stuck ... but, definitely a notch on one's belt and good lessons learned; if not a good story for a few laughs over a few beers.

PrG
 

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It's Tire Pressure That Counts

Wow, it's hard to follow that one PrG

I wanted to say though that I'm sure the trouble in the sand was tire pressure related. I go to the beach annually and see the 4x4s that get stuck each year - it doesn't matter which one it is. It's seems like a right of passage - the proud owner of a 4x4 decides to take on the beach, gets stuck, and pays $50 bucks to the guy in the tow truck from the near by service station. I did it too with my first one. As the tow truck pulled me out a really old rusty pickup easily cruised through the sand and yelled out the window - "hey easy money ehh?" to the tow truck driver. As I paid the 50 bucks the tow truck driver said, "this is what you do. Next time, put your tire pressure down to 15 lbs before you hit the sand. Then when you come off the beach stop by my station down the road and fill em back up." Lowering tire pressure allows your tires to float on top of the sand rather than dig into it. It works ever time for me on the North Carolina Outerbanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
factory tire pressure settings

Good call guys. After getting unstuck, I found that my tire pressure was set at 35 psi from the delaer/factory, 3 more than spec. I measured this the next day when the tires were cold. At that point I reduced the pressure down to 25 psi. While still not low enough according to this article, I think it helped by the remaining weeks beach driving experience. Initially, I attributed my getting stuck to the fact the the Pilot is less mechanically connected (less agricultural) than the Exploder we traded in that never got stuck. I think it did better in the sand because Ford actuall spec'd lower tire pressures, 28?, than the Pilot with the same width tires. I guess the Firestone dibacle helped off roaders but "hurt" highway performance. Great discussion to keep in mind for next time.
 

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I have written else where in this forum about my Jeep and getting it stuck at the beach. The low tire pressure did the trick. Having driven quite a bit on the beach since then, I figured out a few things about 4x4s on the beach. Street tires are better than the big mud and snow tires - smaller treads. Automatics are better than manuals - you lose too much momentum on shifts. Kind of sad I do not have those opportunities in Germany like I did at Nags Head, NC.
 
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