: OverSand or simply Stuck in the Dirt?
10-03-2001, 08:52 PM
Does anyone have any experience taking non trucks/suvs oversand on Nauset?
I'm curious if an all-wheel-drive car like Audi's A4 or Subaru's WRX will suffice.
Or is an SUV (Xterra/Explorer/TrailBlazer etc...) my only real option?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I have never been on the beach at Nauset, but I drive RI South County beaches with my Blazer. Yes I have been stuck. I would say that you are asking for a problem with the smaller 4 wheel or all wheel drive vehicles. Ground clearance is very important. If you are dragging your bottom you are going to get stuck. I have not seen very many of the smaller vehicles on the beaches. I think that is the reason.
Jeff, I agree with Art.
I have a bit of off road experience; sand, mud, snow, rocks and clearance is a BIG factor. Places like Nauset which have a lot of traffic have had the main pathways ripped up which equals deep ruts/ paths & soft sand.
Conversely, I did see a Mazda all wheel drive van out on Duxbury beach this summer where I've dug out Wagoneers and Subarus that were just riding too low on hard tires.
I hope I made sense.
I plan on taking my Escape on the beach next summer, probably out on Nauset. I have heard very positive things on its performance on the sand, even soft sand. Art's point is my one concern, ground clearance. But I think I should be OK for all but the worst conditions out there. By the way, if your looking for an small SUV, I LOVE my car.
I've only been 4x4 out on East beach a while back but it was a cakewalk compared to Nauset which has much softer deeper sand. I know you recommend against going for the oversand but I drive a newer fullsize v8 4x4 pickup truck. I am really itchin' to oversand during the clave... may I pleeeease? Oh pleeese? }>
Original question: regular vehicle chassis on Nauset...
I would say that an Audi A4 would be getting pulled out a lot. An awful lot. Don't forget that each access point is churned up very deep mounds of loose silica granules and 'real' 4x4s sometimes work hard to overtake these holes in the dunes. The straight runs above the berm would probably be fine, but then you might need to (a) give right of way to an oncoming vehicle into very soft, very deep sand or (b) cut over trenches and drifts to reach a raucous blitz going on at any minute.
Another situation that will get you is when a kid in a hi-rise truck and his girlfriend come 35 mph down a high visibly-occluded bank when you are coming up and you need to turn and stop fast. You've lost all your momentum, the wheels are skew, and you are in deep soft sand.
If you were to ask my opinion it's gonna hurt to do that, so "don do dat". Besides, smaller vehicles carry less friends to dig you out }>
10-04-2001, 01:30 PM
I knew the "space for friends" issue would eventually come up. Juro, rest assured, there will always be room for you on my roof-rack ;).
While the thought of driving an SUV around on a daily basis makes me shudder, if an SUV means more fish, less digging, more remote access, less digging, more FFF sortie cohorts, less digging, more refreshments, you get the idea, and/or more space for "sunbathers" of the female persuasion :)...then I guess I really don't have a choice.
Now the questions is which one. Nick, I'll make a point to drive the Escape this weekend. When you got your Escape, did you consider any others (Xterra, Explorer, TrailBlazer etc...)?
Yup sure did. First of all, the Explorer and Blazer were a little out of my price range. The Exterra was close. I really wanted one of those when I started looking. So good looking. Reasons I went with the Escape (no order):
1. Better Gas Mileage
2. Rides a little smoother (for the 95% of the time that I commute to work).
3. V6 in it has 200hp vs. the 210 in the supercharged Xterra, but it is a lighter overall. The V6 is at times almost a touch too much for the car.
4. The back seats in the escape are much bigger. I can sit in the driver seat (6'3") and then get in the back without my legs being uncomfortable. I've carried five people for lengthy trips with no complaints.
5. For you, there are great financing rates right now on these cars, and the 2002's have a few new features that are a nice upgrade.
The shortcomings are that it isn't a true 4x4 in that it only can do 50% to front and back. It doesn't really lock. It is also a FWD vehicle, I kinda like that, but to each there own. Also, its automatic. Booooo. And finally, there is no 4x4 low, which could be problematic in real bad situations, but I've driven beaches in my dad's Jeep Wrangler, and never used the low.
Any more questions, I can help.
10-04-2001, 03:53 PM
Just corroborated my research.
10-04-2001, 05:45 PM
Big difference between the function of all-wheel drive versus 4-wheel drive. All-wheel tries to compsensate for slippage at any wheel rather than provide in constant traction. OK for snowy slippery conditions but not-so-good for loose sand.
This is a great thread Jeff as I've been ruminating what I need for a 4 wheel drive now that MY suburban has been traded in for Mrs. Roop's Explorer (which I've driven 3X).
I agree with Bob re: the shortcomings of all wheel drive where you should really be 4 wheeling. No 4X4 low is also an issue if you ever do get stuck.
A heavier vehicle isn't necesarily a bad thing. I firmly believe the most important issues in 4 wheeling on sand is to deflate your tires, have some clearance and proceed slowly, never stop your forward momentum if you start to get bogged down.
If you do get stuck, dig out the wheels, let out some more air & proceed.
BLah, blah, blah.... sorry for the run on. I need a truck, the Audi is full of sand, the leather is stained from saltwater and it's starting to smell worse than just spilled coffee.
10-04-2001, 06:45 PM
Sounds like my Audi!!!
OK Juro ! you twisted my arm, The one I got ten stitches in yesterday. The beaches change from week to week, day to day, sometimes its fine sand, sometimes its coarse, and sometimes just rocks. Right now east beach toward Charlestown Breachway has got some bad areas. Some take the back trail to get to the breachway. Misquamicut beach is very soft and has a steep pitch to it. I will be around to help you out, just use caution. Go for it!
I just wanted to add my two-cents worth, based on my experience on Nauset beach:
Manufacturers have figured out that 95% of the people buying SUV's are never taking them off-road, so now they are starting to build them for the soccer mom set. Soccer mom SUV's are not good beach buggies.
Everything that makes a rig good for the road, makes it bad for the beach.
The most important factors for driving on the beach are, ground clearance, torque, and tires. Horsepower don't mean squat. You want a buggy with lots of ground clearance, big wide tires, and plenty of low-end torque, preferably a very wide torque curve.
Four-wheel drive low, is not meant for getting unstuck after you get buried. It is designed to lower your buggy's overall gear ratios to give you a better selection of usable gears, which will keep the engine in the usable torque curve.
Another thing you want to consider is the track width. The deep tracks on the beach are made by full-size pickups with heavy campers on them. A small narrow buggy will run with one side in the tracks, and the other side up in the middle. This is not a good thing.
You can forget about any sort of all-wheel drive car, you can not even get a sticker for it.
Manual transmissions are preferable to automatic transmissions. You can select the gear which keeps the engine in the torque curve.
Buggies I have seen stuck on Nauset:
Ford, Chevy & Dodge full-size pickups( Probably too lazy to let air out of the tires.)
Suzuki's( Too narrow, tires too small)
Isuzu Rodeo, ( Not enough ground clearance)
Keep in mind that you MUST have a full-size spare to drive on the beach. This is the problem with the Isuzu Rodeo. The spare tire hangs down well BELOW the rear differential, giving the rig about 6" of real ground clearance. It is like having a rear-mounted snow plow on your buggy.
Cargo capacity is good too. If you leave the beach, you can not go back on for six-hours, so if you forget water, food, etc, you are just plain stuck without it. If you plan on bringing a non-fishing spouse to the beach, they will need to be comfortable, in order to insure that you will get plenty of fishing time. This means things like big coolers, chairs, grills, tables, wind screens, etc.
To summarize, think big tires, wide track width, manual transmission, lots of suspension travel, stiff springs, cargo capacity, and low-end torque.
And please remember to lower the pressure in your tires to 10-15 psi so you don't chew the beach to shreds!
Great advice Jay - see you on the beach. The run from area 1 thru 7 is wide open and then again past 8 to the inlet as of yesterday. Still lots of blues around. That wind took a couple of coats of paint off the truck and a decade off my rotator cup yesterday before it swung NW and if I could have cast anymore I would have stayed to reap the evening ebb which I am sure was productive for those who didn't kill themselves in the morning blow like us.
Good luck, hope the migration passes within your casting radius before the fat lady sings.
For those talking about an oversand vehicle...
a co-worker of mine is selling this hot sand buggy CLICK HERE (http://autotrader.com/findacar/vdetail.jtmpl?car_id=75505625&dealer_id=&certified=n&max_price=&start_year=2000&end_year=2000&address=02445&search_type=used&make=JEEP&model=CHER&distance=15&car_year=2000&ac_afflt=none)
I look at this rig all the time, it's tricked out bigtime for serious offroad work and it looks to me to be an outright oversand macheeene.
10-11-2001, 12:23 AM
Most SUV's will get you out and back if you drive them right. Years ago I went with wide tires for int. scout. but in winter these were terrible with any kind of snow on ther roads. Thus I would switch to snow tires in jan. While I had to let a bit more air out of the tires, I still managed to drive the beaches with no problem. I had a subura for a few years while the family was growing and with careful route chosing got to where I wanted to go. By then they had close the steep dune routes on the National seashore so I never drove on hills with it. Currently I'm driving a pathfinder (automatic) , previously for 12 years I had an automatic pathfinder, At the time I was not sure of the automatic but I didn't have a choice. It worked just fine and now am confident enough that I have little concern about trail conditions.
If the wheels spin, not enough traction let air out. If the engine bogs down, not enough power, change to lower gear.
If you park it near the water at low tide and take a long walk checking fishing spots. Drain it and sell it.
10-11-2001, 05:43 AM
Had an interesting talk with Sean Fields before the Spring Clave who took me out truck fishing at Nauset. Whatever truck you get the salt will do a job on it. So if money is tight and you plan on keeping it for awhile it might not last as long if you had not used it on the beach.
Sean would know, he's been doing the beach thing forever. Since he lives on the cape he's able to keep the mileage low. Since I live off cape, my mileage is very high... getting to the cape! Someday I'll figure out how to stay on that side of the bridge on Sunday nights.
Anyway, if you can keep the mileage low a lease might make sense. Trade it in, get a new one without the high mileage penalties.
He's right about the salt impact - if it doesn't pour rain on the way home, I do the "Deluxe" underbody wash and armorcoat wax thing at the Bedford cloth car wash first thing Monday morning.