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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WOW
Thanks VanMom4 .Your the best!!!
Finally some real world feedback! :)

love the picture, nice shovel.

At least in the picture it looks like that is some pretty packed sand. Some of the places I will be going in long island can be packed and others are deep soft sand. I wonder about taxing the engine too outside of just getting stuck.

I am getting the VC 2 inch lift and 265/75/16 tires. So that should be a bit of a help. I think I will buddy up with a friend whose got a 4x4 truck for my first outing. Incase I get stuck.
I go with him sometimes with my subaru outback and the outback just glides across the sand. So this will be a new and interesting experience.

Thanks again.
 

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WOW
Thanks VanMom4 .Your the best!!!
Finally some real world feedback! :)

love the picture, nice shovel.

At least in the picture it looks like that is some pretty packed sand. Some of the places I will be going in long island can be packed and others are deep soft sand. I wonder about taxing the engine too outside of just getting stuck.

I am getting the VC 2 inch lift and 265/75/16 tires. So that should be a bit of a help. I think I will buddy up with a friend whose got a 4x4 truck for my first outing. Incase I get stuck.
I go with him sometimes with my subaru outback and the outback just glides across the sand. So this will be a new and interesting experience.

Thanks again.
beach life with a buddy sure sounds like the way to go - we were so remote I didn’t dare let air out of the tires, but maybe next time

if all else fails just shove all the dry seaweed behind the tires 😆
 

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WOW
Thanks VanMom4 .Your the best!!!
Finally some real world feedback! :)

love the picture, nice shovel.

At least in the picture it looks like that is some pretty packed sand. Some of the places I will be going in long island can be packed and others are deep soft sand. I wonder about taxing the engine too outside of just getting stuck.

I am getting the VC 2 inch lift and 265/75/16 tires. So that should be a bit of a help. I think I will buddy up with a friend whose got a 4x4 truck for my first outing. Incase I get stuck.
I go with him sometimes with my subaru outback and the outback just glides across the sand. So this will be a new and interesting experience.

Thanks again.
Air down and let us know how it does.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Janus9, it'll be a blast and I can't wait to get out there and adventure it up.:cool:

And thanks Van Gogh for the link. I have actually been reading a lot of your posts since I am doing the exact same lift kit and tire size and it has been beyond helpful. Only difference is I decided to go with a 130 WheelBase. I had actually seen your death valley post but just skimmed it since it wasn't a "real" ocean beach situation. But after reading through it again I found it to actually have extremely invaluable information for sand driving and in great detail. So thanks for making me look again.(y)

It'll be a couple of months before I am out on the beach but once I am I'll return the favor and post my experience.
 

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Thanks Janus9, it'll be a blast and I can't wait to get out there and adventure it up.:cool:

And thanks Van Gogh for the link. I have actually been reading a lot of your posts since I am doing the exact same lift kit and tire size and it has been beyond helpful. Only difference is I decided to go with a 130 WheelBase. I had actually seen your death valley post but just skimmed it since it wasn't a "real" ocean beach situation. But after reading through it again I found it to actually have extremely invaluable information for sand driving and in great detail. So thanks for making me look again.(y)

It'll be a couple of months before I am out on the beach but once I am I'll return the favor and post my experience.
Word! But I have to warn you in case you didn't see it, I experienced a "steering assist fault" and full rack and pinion warranty service repair (took a month) in December. I'm still not certain what exactly caused it, but as I documented in my build link (and posted at the top of page 1 to warn new readers), the service tech may be right that the larger tires were the culprit. But he claimed to have made some kind of adjustment that informs the van it has larger tires (I could find nothing changed in forscan, but I only know even a fraction of what's in there or what the tech knows), and supposedly I'm good to go know after the change was made. But we'll see.

If it returns, I'll be forced to go down to smaller tires (please god no!). Probably have to pay for the second repair too since my local dealer is cool but not that cool. They let me off the first time. Might bring a case of beer down there next week now that I think about it.

Good luck!

Cheers.
 

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BTW, I recently experienced a steering assist fault as well. Out of the blue. Shut the van off. Restarted. Gone. Stock van.
Another forum user had it intermittent like that. His was resolved (so far) by key off and on. And as I'm sure you read from my earlier post, there is a Ford Communication about a known issue relating to steering. Does your wheel shake at low speeds while turning? Fast u-turns are a good test.

Cheers.
 

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Guys airing down is 100% necessary. Any four wheel drive truck will struggle and eventually get stuck in sand at street pressure. Go down to 15 PSI if it's hard packed sand, 8 to 10 PSI if it's soft and 5 PSI if you get stuck. You will be amazed at how easily your Transit will float and drive over sand at low pressure. At 8 PSI and below, you want to be careful doing high speed turns in the sand. Like cranking it in a tight turn at wide open throttle. This is really the only way you can cause the tire to separate from the wheel. Usually it's just the outside tire bead. It's easy to reseat the tire bead with a ratchet strap and an air source. Other then that these things will go anywhere in flat sand at low tire pressure. There is a huge difference in floatation from 15 to 10 PSI, and another huge improvement from 10 to 8 PSI and another one from 8 to 5 PSI. At 8 PSI you will be laughing at how easy it is to drive in soft sand.

Make sure you bring an air source with you if heading into the sand. Power Tanks www.powertank.com are nice if you use it more often. I use mine to run air tools for home projects, airing up the rigs and power tools in the field. Any air compressor that connects to your car battery will work. Always keep your car running when using an air compressor that is getting power from your car.
 

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From the owners manual...

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Sand

Do not continuously drive your AWD vehicle in deep sand for more than 2.5 mi (4 km). This can cause the driveline components to overheat.

When driving over sand, try to keep all four wheels on the most solid area of the trail. Avoid reducing the tire pressures but shift to a lower gear and drive steadily through the terrain. Apply the accelerator slowly and avoid spinning the wheels.

Avoid excessive speed because vehicle momentum can work against you and cause the vehicle to become stuck to the point that assistance could be required from another vehicle. Remember, you could be able to back out the way you came if you proceed with caution.
 

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From the owners manual...

*
Sand


Do not continuously drive your AWD vehicle in deep sand for more than 2.5 mi (4 km). This can cause the driveline components to overheat.

When driving over sand, try to keep all four wheels on the most solid area of the trail. Avoid reducing the tire pressures but shift to a lower gear and drive steadily through the terrain. Apply the accelerator slowly and avoid spinning the wheels.

Avoid excessive speed because vehicle momentum can work against you and cause the vehicle to become stuck to the point that assistance could be required from another vehicle. Remember, you could be able to back out the way you came if you proceed with caution.
Wow, that has to be the worst set of sand driving advice I've ever read. They literally went against every known trick that off-roaders with any experience widely advocate. Trusting Ford on this subject is like trusting an insurance adjuster on whether or not you should go sky diving. They're 100% CYA, and don't want you do anything in their van but deliver packages or drop kids off at church.

1) If you get stuck in sand or mud, you will almost always get out easily just by airing down, or by having the tire pressure lower to begin with. Ford is warning against this as CYA because not everyone carries an air compressor to restore normal pressure upon return to highway conditions, and because they have to assume everyone is running at full GVWR (I'm certainly not). Go to any off-road forum and post that Ford quote about not airing down and you'll get laughed out of the room.

2) Momentum is 99% of what gets any vehicle that's not really designed for difficult (think uphill) sandy sections to make it through. Try it yourself, you'll see. Hit a very deep uphill sandy section at a crawl with your tires at normal highway PSI. You'll end up stuck just like the litany of people I've watched get stuck on that same section at Death Valley.

My brother literally just got back from there on Sunday night and called to tell me how he helped a sprinter 4x4 driver get out from that same spot. The guy was trying to drive slow because he thought his "4x4" sprinter could tackle anything without airing down. Wrong. You need momentum or low psi, can't have it both ways.

If you're willing to air down low before you hit sand (think 1/3rd normal pressure), you can go slower, but if you're lazy and want to keep air pressure at slightly-lower-than-recommended for highway but still doable for off-road, you can use momentum to get through. It's a compromise. Spend time airing down and airing back up, or use momentum and just run a little bit lower than stock (I'm using 54 front, 65 rear). If I don't have to get out and air down, then drag out the Viair and air back up just by keeping my speed up to 10mph+, I'll always go that route. It's just so much easier.

3) TCS must be off in sand, or really any off-road situation. If you leave it on, the vehicle may brake your wheels to a stop if they begin to spin even a little. This is why Mud/Rut mode is so nice, it disables TCS by default. Did Ford mention that in their sand section? Sheesh.

And remember, more than the vehicle, more than tires, more than the road conditions, it's the driver who has the most influence over whether or not a vehicle gets stuck. Ford did get one thing right about using a low gear, and that's the kind of thing a good driver is instinctively going to know.

Following Ford's advice is like Michael following the navigation's advice.

Cheers.

 

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Guys airing down is 100% necessary. Any four wheel drive truck will struggle and eventually get stuck in sand at street pressure.
But the Ford Owner's manual says not to air down in sand? Surely they know more than all of those off-roaders who live and breath this stuff and have decades of experience, right?? (sarcasm)

Newps is right! Airing down is essential! Tear out those pages and throw them in the trash if they're telling you otherwise.

Cheers.
 

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From the owners manual...

*
Sand


Do not continuously drive your AWD vehicle in deep sand for more than 2.5 mi (4 km). This can cause the driveline components to overheat.

When driving over sand, try to keep all four wheels on the most solid area of the trail. Avoid reducing the tire pressures but shift to a lower gear and drive steadily through the terrain. Apply the accelerator slowly and avoid spinning the wheels.

Avoid excessive speed because vehicle momentum can work against you and cause the vehicle to become stuck to the point that assistance could be required from another vehicle. Remember, you could be able to back out the way you came if you proceed with caution.
I can't believe Ford put that in the owner's manual. At street tire pressure, yes trying to drive over sand for long periods of time will tax your driveline components. Mostly your engine, transmission, center differential and viscous coupler (if it has one). You will be flooring the gas pedal to maintain forward momentum. Lower your air pressure and you will float over the sand like you were driving on the road. As stated above, this is basic off-road 101 knowledge. Just google how to "drive in sand".
 

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Ford probably see's that running your tires at less then rated air pressure ruins the Sidewalls of the tire.
Shortened street tire life is the price you pay for fun in the sand with aired down tires.
Makes me wonder if the lawyers got involved because of all the accidents they had with under inflated Firestone Tires, aka, "The Ford Exploder".

When I worked at Four Wheeler Magazine we did a Death Valley trip with a bunch of advertisers. I ran at 18 psi for hours on dirt and paved roads, I think we did 250 miles of dirt roads in two days. I aired down once and did not air up until we left. I was running 35 inch tires on a very heavy rig, close to 6,500 lbs. We were driving flatout full speed the entire time. It never affected these tires in any way. There is a safety margin built into tires.

Driving everyday on the highway with under inflated tires that would be bad idea.

149441
 

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Ford is 100% CYA with that Owner's Guide verbiage. That doesn't make them dumb, or a bad guy - they have to do it! @Van Gogh is completely right, they are advising against airing down because the "worst case" for a commercial van is heavily-laden, and you need high tire pressure to carry load. Carrying heavy loads and driving in sand require opposite extremes for tire pressures; Ford has to "warn" (aka CYA) against the worst case. Think about what's more severe (to the customer as well as to the manufacturer): getting stuck in sand due to high tire pressure or losing a tire and rolling the vehicle due to low tire pressure after you come off the sand? And yes the Firestone/Explorer debacle still weighs heavy when Ford puts out warnings like this.

Also they don't mean that momentum is your enemy in sand, of course it can help you cross obstacles. They mention "excessive" speed in the context of literally speeding down a trail and blasting so deep into a mud-pit that even a recovery rig could have trouble extracting you. The manual is just saying that if you're cautious off road, you should be able to stop before you get super duper stuck, and back out the way you came. Common sense stuff.

@TRANSITIONING - I also have first hand experience driving the Transit in sand and everything in Newps' post about sand driving is totally on point. Airing down is critical especially in this vehicle since the street pressures are so high. Remember Transits can carry thousands of pounds more than something like an F-150 so its tire requirements are completely different, and the stock, required tire pressures are completely not conducive to driving on sand. It's definitely safe to air down to drive on sand, just don't do it if your van weighs 9000 lbs at the time, haha! And Newps is right, you'll be amazed how well the van does - the AWD will excel, the engine won't overheat, and you'll get safely where you're going even if it's over 2.5 miles away. Just put the air back in before you drive on the street!

I also recommend MudRuts mode :)

As usual I typed an essay here, my apologies, but hope it's helpful. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Edit, forgot to state before/after lift or tires: my sand driving has always been with a stock Transit AWD on its stock Conti VanContactAS (new tire for 2020) and it's done great. Typically on soft dune sand, so I don't encounter rocks like in Van Gogh's post, that sort of terrain can certainly require additional ground clearance.
 
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