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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. Looking for some advice. Next month I am taking my Pro-4X onto the beach in the Outer Banks here in NC. I hear the sand is softer than usual and I have seen some F-150s and such getting stuck. Any tips or things to watch for or equipment recommendations you can make? I have never done beach driving so any tip is appreciated.

Here is what I have:
2011 Pro-4X (75K miles) with Firestone AT tires (30K miles)
Recent trans fluid, transfer fluid, front diff fluid, rear diff fluid changes as well as normal oil change (synthetic + K&N Filter). Even has a new ECM due to shop screw up.

I got the following equipment to go with, pretty much off the DOT recommendation list:
-Auto Fire Extinguisher
-Inflator
-3 inch x 20ft tow strap
-Farm Jack (borrowed)
-Traction Plates

Thanks in advance
 

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I would suggest bringing a shovel or small spade just in case you have to dig your tires out. I live in wilmington and go out on the "north end" of Carolina beach and camp all the time. The sand is very soft but as long as I keep my momentum up and don't punch the gas I have not had any issues. I know it's not OBX but I imagine the sand conditions are most likely the same or similar. I just put my truck in 4low with traction control off and cruise on down the beach to my surf spot or camp site. I feel like 4 high would up the risk of my truck digging into the sand.
 

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We have spent a week on the north end of the Outer Banks several times now (Currituck / Carolla)
The first thing that caught my eye was the hi-lift jack .... I would recommend using that jack only in an emergency ... they can be very dangerous in the sand, especially if you are not experienced in using them.

I suggest "airing down" your tires to around 18 psi for the sand driving. Try and plan your longest beach drives around low tide periods (gives you more hard packed sand to drive on). The OBX beaches have rules about beach goers not being allowed to set up at the waters edge ... giving the cars and tricks a route to travel ... either above or below the EZ-Ups, lawn chairs, towels, parked vehicles, etc. Whenever possible use the tracks of other vehicles before you .... try not to do too much trail blazing of your own. Drive steadily and avoid stopping in the deeper powdery sand areas. A shovel and a good set of traction plates can be your best friends.
Unless you are extremely confident of the route and have good auxillary lighting on your truck I would not recommend much "after dark" driving.

Have a great trip! We love the OBX - 4 wheel drive only areas!

 

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I echo the HiLift jack... if you're not used to using a HILift, don't use it. That said, what do you have for jacking points? Do you have a tire adapter like this? Rock rails? If you don't have a foot plate for the jack it'll sink into the sand. You can make one with 3/4" plywood doubled up. Add a piece of angle iron for attaching stabilizer rigging looking like this.

always air down. Are you going with several vehiciles or solo?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tips.

The tire adapter is actually on the shopping list. Figured I would need that. I also planned to make a foot for the plate.

I also appreciate the low-tide tips. Didn't think of that one.
 

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I will be there in July as well. Am I a fool for making my first sand-ride in my first truck, with street Michelin LTXs? I am thinking 18psi and 4-lo as well, but it sounds like I need to get some supplies. I have no problems driving on snow and ice; am I in over my head before I start?

The other question is, should I have my pressure washer lined up and ready to go the day I get back, or should I hose off immediately after every excursion while there? I am more worried about salt than the maneuvering
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would think you would be ok. From what i understand just don't stop moving in the soft stuff and you are ok.

Make sure you get the required stuff. It's like getting audited, only 1% actually get stopped but they make sure you have the required stuff. Last i heard it was a fire extinguisher, shovel, tow strap. I recommend a traction mat as well.

When are you going to be there? North or south end?
 

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I did see that. Mandatory, which is interesting, but obviously they can't have people abandoning cars in the dunes and impeding traffic.

Corolla for a night, north end I believe, then down to Hatteras and Ocracoke. Sort of a "driving" trip. 2nd week of July
 

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I have been driving 4x4 jeeps and trucks for over 30 years, I never drive in 4lo I only use it to pull out stuck vehicles or when I am stuck in combination with my traction mats

But a tows trap and shovel and traction mats are what I take and I almost always go solo


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19lbs for tire pressure. If you feel you are getting stuck don't keep digging. a good short handle shovel. When you turn around turn into the dune side and carry some speed and don't turn to tight. If you get stopped and stuck don't freak out. Traction aids are a plus but nothing like a little digging to clear your path. Carry a recovery strap, the shackles you need to be pulled out.

if you get stuck you can go down even further in tire pressure. A good rule of thumb to see if your pressures are right is that when moving and you come off the pedal the truck will still keep coasting.

Have fun!
 

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In the early to mid 80's the rule was, if you saw someone stuck you rendered as much aid as you could. This usually generated alot of good Karma and when you got stuck someone would always stop and help.I dont know if it still applies


I would add a GOOD mini compressor to re-inflate the tires and flares.


I used to run that beach in a 84 D-50 4x4 every weekend. Street Coopers for shoes and the only thing I added were a couple of KC day lighters and some tow hooks.


Get you truck in a hi pressure wash shortly after you hit the mainland. by 1986 I had rust thru's on every body panel.
 

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Just keep your momentum when things look loose. I went to corrolla in may a couple years ago and only had it in 4 wheel getting on/ off the beach and to/from our house. Getting on and off was probably the deepest softest sand. Definitely take all precautions with shovels, straps, etc. but don't be surprised if you don't use them. Drive smart and have fun!
 

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I’m a little late but hopefully you had a fun trip! We go to OBX every year (16 years now I think) but have started staying in Corolla the past 4-5 years mainly for the drive on beach. We didn’t take my frontier on the beach (we elected my dads leased F150 and my uncles leased F150) driving in the sand is definitely fun. We load everyone in the truck beds.


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Hey guys. Looking for some advice. Next month I am taking my Pro-4X onto the beach in the Outer Banks here in NC. I hear the sand is softer than usual and I have seen some F-150s and such getting stuck. Any tips or things to watch for or equipment recommendations you can make? I have never done beach driving so any tip is appreciated.

Here is what I have:
2011 Pro-4X (75K miles) with Firestone AT tires (30K miles)
Recent trans fluid, transfer fluid, front diff fluid, rear diff fluid changes as well as normal oil change (synthetic + K&N Filter). Even has a new ECM due to shop screw up.

I got the following equipment to go with, pretty much off the DOT recommendation list:
-Auto Fire Extinguisher
-Inflator
-3 inch x 20ft tow strap
-Farm Jack (borrowed)
-Traction Plates

Thanks in advance

To late to answer OPs question, but thought I would offer my experience. We rented a home at the North end of Corolla several years ago. You were required to have 4wd to travel up the beach to the home location(I think it was Hwy.12) The sand can get very deep unless you are at water's edge. And you need to cross the dunes to get to the "roads" in the neighborhoods. I had a 4wd bronco-2 at the time and did not have any issues, but I had good ground clearance and tall enough tires to allow me to deflate them for better flotation. I saw some Front Wheel Drives and All Wheel Drives stuck as soon as the pavement ended. I saw 4wd S10's stuck on the dunes, and I ended up pulling a Cherokee off the dunes. So I would say the important things are: 4wd with low range, ground clearance, low tire pressure, solidly placed tow hooks, Kinetic Recovery Tow Rope or a Snatch Strap, and a shovel.

I do not think the Pro-4x will have a problem. But I was also surprised to see the Cherokee stuck. Just think ahead and have basic tools just in case. At the very minimum, a cell phone to call the expensive tow service(make sure you have their number and rates ahead of time). Of course most people on the beach with their vehicles will want to help if they can.

We had a great vacation. Hope you did as well.
 

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Like others have said add a shovel or two and I would personally air down to 18 psi or so in the front and 15-16 in the rear.
 

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Like others have said add a shovel or two and I would personally air down to 18 psi or so in the front and 15-16 in the rear.
First time I drove OBX was with my 09 Xterra. Had it in 4 High and immediately bogged down in the sand. Got back onto pave and went back to campsite thinking, I'm not going to be able to drive on the beach. In the morning, switched to 4 low and off I went. Need 4 low for fluffy stuff but down on wet hard sand 4 high keeps the revs down. I find it has a lot to do with momentum. This works when I ride my motorcycle in deep sand. I will learn from this thread and carry a shovel when I take the Frontier out there
 

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KK2018, some recovery boards or even just a pair of 2x6 planks would prob be another good addition if you're doing sand regularly. I have two different styles of shovels and a snatch strap with dual steel recovery pintles in my equipment locker and always make sure they are stashed and ready to go before hitting the trails. Recovery boards are on my buy list.
 

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I love how this post is 2 years old. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is my favorite place on Earth. I go 5-6 times a year. This was last weekend in Frisco.
311204
 

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Why anyone would purposely take their vehicle out onto a saltwater beach is beyond me. Some moron got his semi-truck stuck on the beach here in OR during a "photo op". Tide came in. He's f*<ked now, even though they managed to get him towed out.
 
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