High/low range for sand driving ?.

dangermouse

Member
Hi All,

Tyre pressures always seem to be the topic for sand driving, I was wondering if there were any theories/opinions/rules in regards to high/low range when sand driving.

Cheers DM.
 

Gavo

4x4 Earth Contributer
I'm fairly confident this will depend on your truck.
My last few trips to Stockton beach I've tried both.
For me high range is winner. But I've got plenty of Torque down low in a turbo diesel v8.
 

Outrage

4x4 Earth Contributer
Definitely vehicle and sand condition dependant. Once it started to get soft the auto patrol needed low range otherwise it was labouring.
 

FODFA

Active Member
Yeah it really depends on conditions, I use either depending on conditions but probably high more often. Manual or auto may change your decision as well.

Cheers Andrew
 

hayden94

Active Member
Cruising around on stockton im in high range more often than not. But on blacksmiths beach im in low 90% of the time. Really soft sand. Thats a manual n/a td42.
 

red hilux

Well-Known Member
The beaches here can be pretty soft.

I have a TD auto. I normally go straight into low range. Less stress on the gearbox and engine, less heat build up.

I try and not work the car as hard
 

Aaron Schubert

Moderator
Yep, it depends on the vehicle and conditions. My 80 will do both happily, but the Hilux I had before wouldn't be able to get out of first gear in high range!

Interestingly, I've been using my EGT gauge to see what is most efficient when you want to drive on a beach for a long distance. I've found that 2nd gear at about 2800 RPM in high range makes the engine run cooler than 4th gear low range at the same RPM

Aaron
 

prawns

Moderator
I think everybodys nailed it

Maybe try high range and if you seem to be struggling too much - find a safe spot to stop and put it into low.

I think Gavo gave me a great trip last time we were out Stockton, after stopping (dont use brakes on sand to stop unless you have to as it can dig your wheels in) reverse back 8foot or so....doing this means when you start off again you have nice hard sand infront of you to get started :)
 

03hilux

Well-Known Member
Gday DM.
Havent seen you on here for ages. Hope all is well. Have you still got your Ranger?

As most have said, High range works best. Occasionally, is the truck is struggling too much, I have found that low does work, but the transfer whine does my head in. But never L1, this will just dig a hole to China.

In my old Hilux, high range 2nd,3rd and 4th with tyres set at 16psi had no probs on stockton and blacksmiths. On Fraser Island, towing a camper along the main beach, 30psi worked well, but on the inland tracks, I aired down to 12-14 psi.
In my 80 series, I find the above gears and tyres set at 18-20psi works best.
 

03hilux

Well-Known Member
The beaches here can be pretty soft.

I have a TD auto. I normally go straight into low range. Less stress on the gearbox and engine, less heat build up.

I try and not work the car as hard

Yep, it depends on the vehicle and conditions. My 80 will do both happily, but the Hilux I had before wouldn't be able to get out of first gear in high range!

Interestingly, I've been using my EGT gauge to see what is most efficient when you want to drive on a beach for a long distance. I've found that 2nd gear at about 2800 RPM in high range makes the engine run cooler than 4th gear low range at the same RPM

Aaron

Two different vehicles with two completely different methods. Interesting.
 

Toddyh

Well-Known Member
Just to confuse you more... I find high range much nicer when actually driving but the stress on the clutch on start off is not worth it . I mostly use low for that reason unless starting is particularly easy (like I'm parked facing down a hill or on hard packed sand). High is definitely the choice when climbing tall dunes due to the momentum needed.
 

ntorlako

New Member
My Pajero (Auto, 3.5 V6) does Stockton beach easy in high range. Mostly in 2nd gear. I normally drive on ~18psi, so plenty of room to go lower if it gets boggy.
 

Buxter

Well-Known Member
That's an interesting question, mate.

IMHO, ..Tyre pressure, is the most important thing on sand. One of the problems I have found is that you cannot always predict exactly where the soft and really sold sand starts and finishes.

I ran 12psi front, 15psi rear, and 12psi on the Camper Trailer, all hot pressures, in the Canning, in 2009
Total weight was 4.7 tonne. It was like a boat for the first 10 minutes every day.

Now the tricky bit !

I soon found out that driving high 1st or 2nd gear, was too fast, and that if I continued, I would damage things. That was after the first dune, but out there, you get a chance to try a few things, as from memory, there is bugger all bigger dunes, till after Durban Springs.

Low range 2nd gear was heaps easier on the Mighty Poootrol.
At those tyre pressures, and the easy revving of the motor.

Another thing I discovered was you could feel the tyres lift out of the sand, and just cruise over the dunes at 1,800-to--2,000 revs, and do it relatively easy, even coming back down from Bililuna, in September in 45c plus heat, in extremely powdery sand.

In the Simpson, its slightly different, as the dunes are much bigger, but the same principal applies

Hope this helps

Cheers Buxter
 
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LowLux

Moderator
I've done the Simpson without going near low range because most of the time it was slightly damp and compacted yet I've been through Big Desert and the Border Track whereby the dunes are smaller yet I was forced to use low because was very loose and dug up and I was towing a cmaper. Environment and conditions dependent I suppose.
 

FODFA

Active Member
If I am towing in sand then usually I will head for low range, unless its really open easy going.

Definitely High range on the Border Track if no trailer, Low range when towing.

When I crossed the Simpson via Madigans line it was Low Range pretty much the whole way, until we got to the QAA Line, then High Range to get over those dunes.

Cheers Andrew
 

hungry6

Member
Secret to sand driving anywhere in the world is the ability to carry smooth and controllable momentum. Use what ever range you want, just be mindful of revs/speed. there is a sweet spot you will find sooner rather than later, and tyre pressure start at 16psi and go down to 12 if the sand is really soft. If you are trying to "hump" a large sand hill, don't do a Rambo charge and try to get it in one go. Create a "hard" track by going forward to the first point of resistance and then reverse back as far as you're comfortable, and do it a few time. One the attempt roll it forward and apply throttle in a fast and fluid motion, you be over it and will be thinking, what was all the fuss about.
 

cookie64

4x4 Earth Contributer
Agree with much of the forementioned posts

If you are near water - tidal, still of unknown depth (think Croc country) or swamp, then I head for low range as it gives you maximum torque and more control, I also drop my tyres down to >18psi for best footprint, the last thing you want to do is get stuck in any of these areas.

For a nice casual drive along a good bit of sand then 4 high, again with tyre pressures to suit the conditions

You must remember to lock your free wheeling hubs in too, and when your off the sand before you hit the black stuff, take it out of 4wd reverse back a few metres and unlock your hubs and pump up the tyres

Obvious stuff, but hey people do forget and it is very expensive to repair.

cheers
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
As a few mentioned it is going to come down to the individual vehicle idiosyncrasies.
This will be especially so with diesel or petrol variants.
With diesels having very good torque down low, high range isn't as big an issue I found.

I usually always ran high range when on the SE beaches, Border Track, Bushies property, Wyperfeld, etc . . . even when very soft.
Since I went up in tyre size though, I find LR is better in some cases.
For the Simmo for example, I was using HR for about 1/3 the way across, just found it labouring a bit at times, so switched to LR for a try.
Found when approaching bigger dunes, I was in drive (auto) and when I started climbing, the best thing was to drop it back to 3rd and it just walked over no stress at around 3000rpm.

It's all a matter of getting out there and trying different things to get to know your vehicle under different conditions and best pressure for tyres etc.
That's the fun part :)
 

Buxter

Well-Known Member
I forgot to mention
Always keep approx 3/4 to 1 tyre track out of the the main wheel ruts.
I had to do this 95% time to avoid the "porposing" effect, which I attribute to the people that run 55psi in their tyres, and use the big long "run ups", and basically crash their way across the dunes.
 
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