sand

cam04

Well-Known Member
Beach travel.

Cardinal Rule: If you are getting stuck, lower your tyres even further.

Always try to park facing slightly downhill.

Handbrakes have a habit of siezing up after a week at the beach - maybe try to think about not using them - toyota owners just do your best to pretend you have one.

If you need to U-turn, use momentum to drive UP the beach, then turn down the beach using gravity and harder sand.

Indicate your intent - with indicators.....

If you are ever lucky enough to drive remote beaches, keep a BIG gap between the cars so that if one gets into trouble you can actually help him.

If you are ever unlucky enough to to be getting constantly stuck and it is an emergency, driving IN the ocean is often where some harder packed sand can be found.

On non surf beaches, creek mouths and the Western beaches of Fraser Island etc, rippled sand is always harder than flat sand. If in doubt, drive on the ripples even if it means a bit of salt water. If you are looking for ripples it usually means you are doing dodgy stuff - take care, lower your tyres even more.

Always always always try to keep your car out of salt water - it looks great on car adds and youtube, the reality is much worse.

Read your manual and learn what the switches and buttons do. The majority of modern vehicles need the stability programs turned off for sand which usually involves pressing and holding the stability control button until the light flashes. This requires doing every time the ignition is turned back on. Mastering your onboard electronics is critical to success, and is easy to overlook until it is too late.
 
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cam04

Well-Known Member
Desert travel, see - beach travel above, and:

Use a flag - dunes are steep and helicopters are far away

Drive with mechanical sympathy - don't overload, be happy to go slow in low range so auto boxes don't heat up

Stay on track - those little bushes look green and soft but they will eat your sidewalls

Comms - local radio with the group - if you are stopping for a beer/leak/whatever, let them know. They will be out of range and wondering soon.
Long range comms - epirb/plb/spot/satphone - have a clue and have a plan - helicopters are far away.....

First aid - better than average required - helico............

Heat - stay with the car, have shelter, have water, have comms, have a fly net and learn how to drink beer through it. Heli........
 
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boobook

Well-Known Member
Dunes often swerve to the left or right on the way up because as the track gets cut up, people make tracks either side. For example. the track may crest to the right like in the photo below.

Often you need enough momentum to get up the dune, but too much means you can't steer if the sand is soft, especially if you're towing.

When these are tight, just as your front wheels get to the turn, back the power right off, then power up again as the front wheels are out of the turn. That gives you a lot more control on the steering. If you don't, you tend to just go straight ahead.

Also quickly announce yourself at the top of dunes with your approx location, track and direction. every 10 mins or so.

I have found 18 - 20 ish is about right if the dunes are small, to 12 to 14PSI if they are large. Tracks are easier before the middle of the day. You may need to drop another couple of PSI in the afternoon.

Make sure you have plenty of tread and LT tyres with decent height sidewalls, on lesser-used tracks you get lots of mulga spikes, especially right on the edge of the formed tracks. Fatigue is costly with punctures and tyres.

On the Simpson, W-E is easier on the driver, car and fuel.

If you tow on conditions like this, practice, practice, practice reversing till you are perfect at it. Knowing how to turn on soft sand, reversing down these dunes is a skill that is mandatory if you intend to tow.

Start looking for camp spots at about 3PM and stop lo later than 4 to make things more enjoyable so you can have a well deserved break before the evening setup and cooking rituals happen. If travelling in a group, make each car responsible for picking a camp spot each day. That gives everyone buy in and more participation.

If going to more remote spots, make sure everyone has committed to the trip and have an emergency protocol of someone pulls out halfway through agreed up front. If not handled properly, this can screw up the whole trip for everyone. Especially if that person has the only stove etc.

Most importantly. Don't rush the trip, less km is better. I allow a minimum of a 2 night stopover every 3 - 4 nights. And allow 40 - 80 km per travelling day. The biggest regret I have after most trips is trying to cover too much ground.

Don't go within 400km of Birdsville in the first 2 weeks of July. :rolleyes:

1460698881048.jpg
 
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Lost1?

Active Member
Accelerate, brake and steer using smooth gentle inputs wherever possible. This minimises the damage you do to the track.

If you don't make it up the dune first time, drop your tyre pressures. You should be able to climb most dunes around 1500-2000 rpm in low range 2nd gear. Flogging your vehicle over dunes rips up the track and can get expensive when you break stuff. Digging big wombat holes can also bring others unstuck. Think about what you are doing on the track. Fill in any holes you create on the track after you recover the vehicle.

If you have to get multiple vehicles across a large dune you may need to take a different line after the first couple of vehicles have crested the dune. Take the time to walk the alternate route and remove any mulga sticks that could stake a tyre and ensure you can drop in on the track as quickly as possible after cresting the dune.

Outside of winter Desserts are hot arid environments. An adult needs 6-7 litres of water per day to survive. I plan for and carry 4 days of additional water for contingency.

Plan, prepare and check off your planning list before a trip. Ensure at least one person has completed an advance first aid course.
 
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SirDrinksalott

Active Member
What about spares?

My neighbour came back from a trip to Lake Eyre and was telling me he broke a wheel bearing but had a spare and him and his BiL changed it?? My only spare is Gaffer Tape.
 

Lost1?

Active Member
When down south along the Limestone Coast there are a couple differences to beaches further north.

Stay away from wet sand. The coarser sand is quite treacherous when wet. You can dig yourself in very quickly.

Go straight to 14 PSI. Don't be shy about going down to 10 PSI if you start to struggle. Or 8 for brief periods during oh sh1t moments. You need.to increase tyre pressures back to 10-12PSI once you have extracted yourself so you don't roll a tyre of the rim.

If you begin to lose momentum, stop reverse over your wheel tracks and go again. If that doesn't work drop your tyre pressures. Then repeat. Don't keep spinning your wheels when you lose momentum. You are just making recovery harder for everyone later

Keep a reasonable distance (about 200 metres) between vehicles when travelling on the beach. You don't want to be stuck with the lead vehicle if it hits a weed patch and sinks on its guts.
 

Lost1?

Active Member
What about spares?

My neighbour came back from a trip to Lake Eyre and was telling me he broke a wheel bearing but had a spare and him and his BiL changed it?? My only spare is Gaffer Tape.

Spares vary for vehicle types. I don't carry large amounts of spares. I run 33" tyres on a ML Triton. To date I have found a slightly cautious approach reduces the need for heavy spares such as CV joints or front struts. Instead of flogging my ute through mud or up uneven steep climbs, I just drive as far as I can at a steady pace then winch the last bit. To date I have not snapped a CV joint. Although some running the same size tyre size as I do have snapped their share. If I were driving a Cruiser or Patrol I would carry front wheel bearings and hub seals. Probably not CV joints, unless I was running 35" tyres. Shocks? When I do the Canning Stock route maybe. But excess weight does as much damage as flogging the vehicle like you are driving in the DAKAR rally.
 
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SFA hilux

Active Member
Why? Do they do wheel bearing out of no where? Why not other model fwds? I imagine cruisers have a pretty much similar set up to my solid axle Hilux. Should i be carrying wheel bearing?
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
It looks like the desert and beach threads have been merged which explains my first two posts now.

Just one more tip, when driving at speed in sand tracks or following tracks up a beach, practice turning the steering wheel half a second before you think you should. An old racing tip. You’ll be amazed.
 

Lost1?

Active Member
Why? Do they do wheel bearing out of no where? Why not other model fwds? I imagine cruisers have a pretty much similar set up to my solid axle Hilux. Should i be carrying wheel bearing?

Forgot about stuff like the old hilux. When the wiper seal on the solid axle fail, crap starts to get into hub. It is common enough for some to not notice the issue. Then the bearing gets a gutful of crud as you drive along the tracks and dies. If you follow a thorough daily check routine you could carry 2 sets of wiper seals and one set of bearings as a precaution if you wanted. It would really depend on the operator. For IFS utes, if the CV boot splits it is the same cost to replace a boot as the assembly in many instances. So you just swap the lot. Unless your remote and the workshop has CV Boots in stock, but a drive shaft will take a week to get there.
 

SFA hilux

Active Member
Forgot about stuff like the old hilux. When the wiper seal on the solid axle fail, crap starts to get into hub. It is common enough for some to not notice the issue. Then the bearing gets a gutful of crud as you drive along the tracks and dies. If you follow a thorough daily check routine you could carry 2 sets of wiper seals and one set of bearings as a precaution if you wanted. It would really depend on the operator. For IFS utes, if the CV boot splits it is the same cost to replace a boot as the assembly in many instances. So you just swap the lot. Unless your remote and the workshop has CV Boots in stock, but a drive shaft will take a week to get there.
Ahh ok, thanks that makes sense. The way the Hilux is the dirt would have to travel a long way through grease to get to the wheel bearings. Also your actually supposed to clean and repack your front bearing every 20k kms in the Hilux, probably in cruisers too, probably not many do that though, I do and I think there’s a pretty slim chance of failure if you do this.
I do have an old set that I might put in my spares box though thanks.
 

Laingy

Member
G'day Adventurers.
I thought I'd add my piece of advice to this "driving on sand" forum, although the following event happened 50 years ago. Warning! If you don't want to read this long memoir, move on now!

A close mate (who is a regular on this forum) and I both had LWB Series 2 Landrovers, both kitted out more for camping than off roading. I had traded my SWB Tojo for the more spacious Landrover, and managed to quickly fill it with all the comforts of home, including small tent, gas cooker and gas bottle, spare water and fuel jerrycan carriers and a few other luxuries. My mate, lets call him Joe, had a similar set up, and suggested we go for a long drive to get me used to the differences between Toyota and Leyland. Point of Interest No. 1 This is back in the days before ARB, BCF, Bunnings, Kings and all the other super 4 x 4 and camping stores existed.
So.....leaving the ladies back on the farm we decided to go for a long drive around SA, focusing on some areas of coastal significance. We ended up at a fairly quiet little coastal village called Port Parham, which had about 20 beach shacks and not much else. A few old fishermen called it home, and every 2nd shack had a boat on a trailer behind a tractor parked out front.
So....off we go along the beach, which looked fairly firm, and felt even better to drive on. We drove about 10 miles (before kilometres were invented in Oz) along the beach and decided to turn around and head back. Point of Interest No. 2 here: When the tide goes out, it goes out about 2 miles across the sand until you can barely see the water. Excellent for driving on! Or not!
So.....nearing Port Parham again we (I) decided to head further out and do a big circle in the wet, firm looking sand before heading back up the beach towards the shacks.
Point of Interest No. 3. When driving anywhere off the main road surface, engage 4 wheel drive before leaving road!
You can see it coming, can't you? My LR started to slow down, so I whacked her back a gear and planted my foot. That only succeeded in making the wheels churn further into the wet sand. Next thing the vehicle stopped completely, and it was only then I realised I wasn't in 4 wheel drive. Big mistake!!
I tried taking off in all gears but only succeeded in digging myself in deeper, so I stopped and climbed out, signalling Joe, who was about 200 yards behind to come no further. We both thought it was quite funny at the time, but Joe said we should get to and recover my truck as the tide was starting to come in. We gathered all the rope we had (about 8 pieces of varying length, and tied them all together, securing them to my tow bar and Joe's roo bar. After 15 minutes of engine roaring, we then had TWO Landrovers bogged up to the floor plates. No amount of rope was going to help, so we decided to use the old "remove spark plug and hand crank engine over" trick. Ten minutes of this and we decided to seek help from the old fishermen in the shacks!! They were our last resort!
Point of Interest No. 4: Don't expect any locals to assist you after they'd already helped out dozens of like-minded off roaders! After banging on numerous doors and receiving replies of "Eff off amateur dickheads" from more then one helpful source, we found a bloke who said he could help, as he had a tractor in his back yard. Only problem was, it was in TWO PIECES. The front wheels and engine, and the back wheels and gear box were about 2 yards apart. Joe and I thought we'd lost both Landrovers, but this old bloke had 4 sons, who promptly dragged the pieces together, bolted the necessary parts back on, and within 20 minutes were chugging down the sand towards our fast submerging vehicles. The sea water was already up to the bottom of my doors so we decided to work on my vehicle first. tying all our ropes together and and connecting them from the old 1938 Fordson tractor to my tow bar, which only helped snap the rope with a loud cracking noise. I thought that was the end, especially as my feet were now wet INSIDE THE CAB! The old fisherman had his lads run back to his shack and drag about 20 yards of heavy chain down the beach, and after tying everything together the tractor pulled my truck clear of the beach in a matter of minutes. Joe's car was next and within minutes we were both hugging the old bloke and his lads and offering them all the money we had (about $75 between us) for rescuing us. He refused any recompense and just said our experience should be a warning to us. It was. I never drove on sand again unless I first walked the area , and at least had sand mats and a winch with long cable fitted just in case.
That's my story. There are more, but later on. :)
Cheers and stay safe!
Laingy
 
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