Vehicle for traveling sand roads

mudboy dave

Explorer
Oct 15, 2008
951
18
18
37
atco
opentrailsnj.org
Just wanted to add...I've had come-a-longs (the chinese made variety) shear their sprockets on me, rendering them useless. I finally bought an old american made engine hoist (3 or 4 ton) and it is great! I also got it pretty cheap. It is old, but very well made. I now use the chinese made come-a-long to maintain tension on the chain when re-setting the engine hoist. This really helps save time. It also helps when there is a great deal of pressure on the chain and re-setting is difficult (it can take some of the tesion off. also, tree saver straps are a must. they distribute the tension around the tree instead of forcing it into one spot.

I always make sure, when getting into a questionable area, that there is a tree large enough to get me out within reach. Also, if Dave didn't already mention it, if you start to spin a little, in 4x4 turning your tires right to left gently can often give you that little bit of extra grab you need.
Jeff
You are right, the chinese ones from home depot suck royally. You have to use them properly or you are risking damage of the tool AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOUR OWN SAFTEY. Chinese come alongs and engine hoists where never rated to the point of dragging out a stuck vehicle. The key is to get the tension up tothe point of barely being able to crank in anymore and then give your vehicle the slightest amount of throttle to incjh forward without spinning your tires.
 

MarkBNJ

Piney
Jun 17, 2007
1,886
64
1,028
Long Valley, NJ
www.markbetz.net
For what it's worth, I've traversed pretty much the deepest sand I'm ever likely to encounter (North Carolina beaches) with stock tires, no lift, and without ever needing to lock the rear in a 2007 FJ Cruiser.

My take...

Tires: a good set of all-terrains will do you fine. I run 275 70/R17 Goodyears on my FJ and until this last snowstorm I hadn't been stuck anywhere in the pines.

Strap: definitely. You want a good 20k nylon strap with big loops - NOT hooks - on either end. You also want tow points (eye bolts on the frame) up front, and either tow points or a pintle hitch mount on the rear. Lastly, two good steel shackles for securing the strap to the tow points/hitch. You can get good ones at Tractor Supply.

Rear locker: Nice to have, probably not necessary in the pines. On newer vehicles they mostly only function in low range 4WD, and if you get good and stuck in sand/mud/snow I doubt the locker will get you out. It might though. I just don't feel it's a necessity, and my rear locker has never helped me in the barrens. They're mostly for rock-hopper scenarios where you have one tire in the air.

Lift: I don't think it's needed, and you'll just raise your profile and have to push more branches out of the way to go where you want. Steering and suspension engineers know more than most off-roaders, and most lifted trucks handle like crap in ordinary driving. The extra ground clearance is helpful, don't get me wrong, but it's a trade-off, and the pines are not kind to vehicles that are too big in any dimension.

Snorkle: LOL. Go around or back out. On most vehicles by the time you're sucking water in the intake you've got a foot of it in the cabin. If you're looking for the true hard core mud hound experience, then yeah, get a snorkle.

Winch: nice to have, very expensive for a decent one, including bumper mod/replacement. You might need electrical upgrades as well. I don't have one.

Come-along: a good large one might be handy, but if you aren't used to using them skip it. A stuck vehicle is a huge dead weight, and most people don't have the experience to keep from getting killed or maimed.

One last thought on vehicles: when you get stuck in sand, mud, or snow, there are basically two ways of getting loose: 1) a slow, steady pull using an anchored winch; or 2) a quick yank from a tow strap. For (1) you need a wrecker, another heavy vehicle with a winch, or your own winch made fast to something that won't move. Probably most people in the barrens who get stuck opt for (2), in which case you use the tow strap (see above) and give the stuck guy a quick jerk to break his tires free. I bring this up because trucks, with body-on-frame construction, extra gusseting, and other reinforcements have the rigidity to put up with this. Unibody vehicles may not, and if they do not, then the damage will be very expensive to fix.
 

Peter C

New Member
Jan 1, 2011
1
0
1
Suitable vehicle for driving trails

Hello all this is Peter C newbie member adding his contribution to this debate.
As a 4wd enthusiast myself I'd have to say that even a 100% stock un-modified 4wd driven in sensible manner would be a MUCH better machine than ANY 2wd no matter how well equipped the 2wd is.
Maybe an older Jeep 4wd Station Waggon or my favourite (though I admit PRICEY in North America) a Series III Land Rover.
Also most 4wd clubs are family \ novice friendly and are not all into mud bogging etc, you might be suprised at how many clubs would enjoy driving the back trails looking for places of interest accompanied by a member who was also knowledgable on matters Un-explained \ Paranormal.
OK back later Peter C.
 
Dec 22, 2009
10
0
1
Good ol' Jeep

Hi folks,

It's been a looong time since I visited this forum. Back in my mis-spent youth I had a CJ-5 -- a real Jeep with 2 seats and a small forest of levers on the floor. Not one of these citified things with carpets and air conditioning etc. At any rate, I went everywhere and anywhere with it, usually by myself, with complete confidence. This in the day before cellphones.

I only got it stuck once, in a swampy area near the Warren Grove FAA tower. I was giving my fiancé her first tour of the pines. Fortunately we weren't too far from our cabin; a half hour walk brought us back to get some help. It took quite a bit of sawing branches, digging and manhandling to get the jeep out of the muck and mire. One of the great things about the jeep was that it WAS a real jeep and a good dousing with a garden hose got rid of the mud, both inside and out.

Jeep's advertising slogan at the time was "Jeep: The toughest four letter word on wheels". It was. F%#K !! The toughest four letter word in the swamp. :)

Stolzfus-the-Dutchman
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,283
243
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
Hi folks,

It's been a looong time since I visited this forum. Back in my mis-spent youth I had a CJ-5 -- a real Jeep with 2 seats and a small forest of levers on the floor. Not one of these citified things with carpets and air conditioning etc. At any rate, I went everywhere and anywhere with it, usually by myself, with complete confidence. This in the day before cellphones.

I only got it stuck once, in a swampy area near the Warren Grove FAA tower. I was giving my fiancé her first tour of the pines. Fortunately we weren't too far from our cabin; a half hour walk brought us back to get some help. It took quite a bit of sawing branches, digging and manhandling to get the jeep out of the muck and mire. One of the great things about the jeep was that it WAS a real jeep and a good dousing with a garden hose got rid of the mud, both inside and out.

Jeep's advertising slogan at the time was "Jeep: The toughest four letter word on wheels". It was. F%#K !! The toughest four letter word in the swamp. :)

Stolzfus-the-Dutchman
I had a jeep. A YJ. Shortly after getting it I took my wife out and buried it EXACTLY where you did. Behind the WG tower. We're talking water and mud up to your knees while your still sitting behind behind the wheel -freaking out- stuck!!!! It was around '97 It was a bad day. I've had a bronco II, a jeep YJ, a jeep wagoneer, an explorer (terrible) and a full size bronco and the full size bronco has been the best in my experience.
 
I didn't have much foldin' money back then in the pines - how much money could one make trapping muskrat and picking berries? Anyway, our trick was to fill the tires in my woodsbuggy (1961 Mercury Monterey) with water. We used an empty propane tank and an air compressor and the extra weight gave me traction in the mudholes, which if you know ANYTHING about the pines are everywhere when it rains. It made a huge difference! My buddy had green, and he put tractor-tread tires on his Chevy Carryall and that was way better than the old snow tires he was using, and the winch on the front sure helped when the mud got too deep. He also had an MA war-surplus Willys Jeep with a Chevy 283 engine and that was an awful lot of fun to off-road in as it could be made into an open car. We would get so bored that we would try to see how far we could go without engaging the hubs - it could be challenging once you got off Ridge Road and hit the goo. That removable top made it excellent for the kind of delinquencies we liked to engaged in - driving through town at 3AM with a propane tank full of air hooked up to diesel horns, installing a kerosene-drip system to the manifold that made huge clouds of fog come out the exhaust, etc. I'll stop right here before anybody we p*ssed off remembers us! :argh:
 
I've witnessed Dave drive his mini van, with no problems, where I drove my 4wd pick up!! One thing I learned on my outing with Dave, is when you come to a large puddle and aren't sure of the depth, and don't have anyway of checking it, drive as far to one side or the other of it and NOT IN THE MIDDLE!! Wish I hadn't brain farted on my last trip on Burnt Mill Rd. Got my
F150 grounded, my son's jeep couldn't pull me out. Luckily, my buddy was there with his P/U and pulled me out no problem. That tow strap paid for itself right then and there!! LOL!! Other than that, the advice everyone has given is very solid and if you follow it, you should be good to go.
It happened to me on Goshen Pond Rd in Nov 06. I kept to the side, but the banks were steep & muddy. Next thing I knew I was in the middle with no way out. worn tires and no winch did not help.

That being said, once I got set of new tires, I was back in business! My 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport takes a licking, and keeps on ticking!
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
1,354
94
1,028
37
camden county
Brandon sell that 2wd jeep and buy a 4wd. Cherokee's in 2wd are about the worst thing on the sandy roads. Remember when I gave you and your buddies a lift out of the barrens that one time and had to go about 30 mph nearly killing your friends..hah....that was because my 4wd was busted. It was shot for about 3 weeks and during that time I got it stuck twice....once by dover road and once horribly out at Rockwood Road(took me from 12-8 to get it out). Also 2wd cherokees are flat out awful in snow and ice....on second thought why the hell did they make 2wd cherokees...thats like venomless rattlesnakes......everyone gave great advice, the come-along and a long chain will help you out nicely if you do get stuck....best thing is don't push the envelope.