How soft is soft?

Submitted: Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 19:39
ThreadID: 6512 Views:2363 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Hello, I was conducting some tests (read Playing) on the weekend to try and find some of the limits of my vehicle in sand. I eventually got bogged down a narrow track with deep ruts ( deep enough that I was flattening out the hump with the belly) I drive a Terrano which has a fairly low clearance.
The sand was very dry and covered my boots when walking on it. When the vehicle was stopped it covered the trye and was up to the bottom of the rim.
I hadnt lowered the pressures on the tyres as I wanted to make sure I got back out
and after lowering them to about 25psi I was able to reverse out without to much trouble. My question is Would sand in this condition be considered soft? and should I expect anything worse than this on Fraser or North Staddie?
I know I know.... Go do a 4wd course!
I am booked with Duncans in Tewantin but not till the 30th!
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Reply By: Eric - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 20:47

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 20:47
was at North Straddy in Jan. found it very easy , watch the tides , and you will be fine , if you meet other 4x4'4 at the entry to the sand ask if you can tag along
AnswerID: 27494

Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 21:30

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 21:30
No doubt I will start a good debate here, the weight of your vehicle has a lot to do with the whole thing, when I've been stuck on the beach I lower the pressures until I get out, I have been at 6 psi and driven out, then pumped the tyre up to a higher pressure when the ground gets firmer, reducing pressures obviously reduces ground clearance and also has adverse effects on the tyre walls generates more heat etc, reducing the tyre pressures will also help the engine load, the deeper the tyres are in the sand the more power you will need to push that little mound of sand in front of your tyre all the way down the beach, . Normal sand driving on soft sand I usually drive around the 18 psi mark with BFG A/T's on my GQ Nissan, in the Rangie I never go below 24 psi or the tyre keeps on coming off the rim when turning corners. My wifes Suzuki Sierra will run quite happily on 10 psi, mind you if it gets stuck we just lift to some firmer ground. Had a guy on a club trip once who obeyed the owners manual and didn't let the pressure down on his Mazda Tribute because you don't need to, according to Mazda anyway, after beeing snatched out a few times the owners manual was modified and the tyre pressures reduced. One of the Land Rover manual tells you not to attempt an incline unless you know you are going to make it, ho hum.........
You need the tyre to "bag" out to spread the load more over the area, if you have a 2 tonne truck the tyres will "bag out" a lot easier than in a 1 tonne truck, a lot of this comes with knowing your vehicle I wouldn't like to say one pressure fixes all, you will learn a lot about your vehicle when you do the training and when and if you buy another fourby you'll start all over again. Great funKeep the shiny side up
AnswerID: 27511

Follow Up By: Willywags- Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 12:59

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 12:59
I run skinny tyres on my truck(not the picture below) which weighs 2600kg all up and I find that 15psi is really good in very soft sand. I agree with all your points Martyn:-)

Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 18984

Follow Up By: Jimmy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:39

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:39
Mmmm.... Thanks Martyn I did notice that mound of sand in front of the tyre and when I saw it I did wonder if I was going to have some trouble getting out. I am pretty sure my truck weighs in about 1700 kg.
Amazing though, how much of a difference a few Psi make!
FollowupID: 19025

Reply By: petprass - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 23:13

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 23:13
"...and should I expect anything worse than this on Fraser...."

There are a few spots on Fraser Island that are "soft" and can cause some problems.

1. Getting off the barge at Hook Point from Inskip Point and going around the corner to the right onto the Seventy-five Mile beach. Have seen a few vehicles with low clearance getting stuck - and they only just got on the island!! However there is an inland track that bypasses this stretch if it is high tide.

2. At high tide mark anywhere along the eastern beach. It is done all the time and at night as well, but very slow going and a lot of stress on the clutch. There could be spots here that would be difficult for your vehicle - but then again you should only drive along the interdunal region in emergencies in any case. Driving 3 hrs either side of low tide on the beach is like driving on cement so that is when most travel up and down the east coast.

3. Getting around Indian Head if going up using the down ramp instead of the up ramp - did anyone see "Club Boggery" last year?

4. A stretch of very soft sand going uphill just past Champagne Pools - this is tough because you cannot get a good run up due to bends and the track being narrow. Your vehicle may have problems here due to the ruts.

5. Various spots along the beach north of Orchid Beach going towards Sandy Cape - very soggy sand in spots even at low tide. However you must go upto Sandy Cape - it is like a south sea island up there with the water crystal clear.

6. Eli Creek can be a problem depending on the level of the tide and how the currents have configured the outlet of the creek into the sea. Can be flat and not even realise you have crossed the creek to a meter high sand walls forcing you to go into the sea to get around - not my recommendation, however the big tour operators do it all the time.

7. The inland tracks are no problem - can't think of any that would give any trouble.

I have seen all sorts of vehicles going around the island and 99% of the time without any trouble. And then if any do get into trouble there is always someone that can help within minutes. (usually)
Your vehicle should be able to go through nearly all the spots that I mentioned.

AnswerID: 27531

Follow Up By: Jimmy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:44

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:44
Mate you are a legend!
I cant believe how helpfull people are on this site.
I dont know what else to say.... Gobsmacked!
FollowupID: 19026

Reply By: bruce.h (WA) - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 13:36

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 13:36
martyn has covered it well,the only thing you should have done was lower your tyres to at least 20psi before entering the sand as this would have stoped you getting stuck & put less strain on your vehicle,even more important it would do less damage to the track.
signing up for a course is a very good move so is doing what you did on the weekend in finding some where you can practice safely before tackling the harder spots ,as to your question was it soft imho no not if you drove outon 25psi after getting stuck
Regards Bruce
AnswerID: 27585

Follow Up By: Jimmy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:53

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 19:53
Hi Bruce
The fact that I got out on only 25 Psi did seem to me that maybe it wasnt that soft but it sure seemed soft!
The main reason I didnt lower the pressures first was because I felt I need to know the limits of the car in its worst condition. Now I know if I see similar conditions I can get through them with properly depressurised tyes but anything worse and I will have to be careful.
Dont you think I would have improved the track? Because for a while it was acting like a bulldozer flattening the track for the next guy! I do see your point and I would never sit there spinning the wheels or digging big holes.
FollowupID: 19027

Reply By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 22:13

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 22:13
I've been driving Fraser for over 20 years in 4X4's and in VW Kombi's.
My First experience ever driving a four wheel drive was on Faser at night in my Hi-Lux. Could have been nasty but all the evil stories that I heard came to Zip.

I currently use a Terrano auto with 235/15's all round and tow a normal, loaded, on-road trailer up the beach, over the soft-spots and in behind the dunes (where the camping spots are).
I have raised the suspension (50mm) because the original set-up was too low and way too saggy. It's worth spending the $180 or so for new rear springs plus the front end torsion bar tweek and a wheel alignment. ($55)
The Terrano is fabulous in the sand.
None of the soft spots have caused trouble and I am continually amazed at what it can do up the beach. The only time I got stuck was when I accidentally tackled the cutting at Indian Head in 2WD after a really dry season (Idiot). Had to get snatched out by a Suzi. LOL
One July I snigged a really big log a kilometre along the beach, up through the dunes, through the soft stuff and manouvered it into place (with the Terrano)across the cutting to protect our campsite from a king tide with a storm surge and waves that came within 1 metre of our tent. That night the dunes in the front of our site were just about washed right away (Mrs Oskar wasn't real happy at all about that). The Teranno got traction all the way doing 3 pointers in a really tight space and I just couldn't bog the thing.
I usually run about 20PSI or so.
Take the advice in the thread here and you'll have a magic time.
AnswerID: 27641

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