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Getting up a long steep sand dune. Recovery and Tips

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  • Getting up a long steep sand dune. Recovery and Tips

    Ok, thoughtI I'd start a discussion about driving up a long, steep, soft sand dune. We have some ripper dunes here in WA like Calcup Hill and Yeagarup.

    Let's say we have the correct tyre pressure, heaps of momentum, correct gear choice, centre diff lock engagwd, trc turned off etc... so we are doing everything right but we just cant make the hill.

    How do we get up? Let's say it's the.only way out so we have to get up.

    Be great to hear your thoughts?

    Do we snatch, winch, maxtrax?

    Also, add the additional scenario of being with friends who have 4wd vs being on your own.

    PS. No this hasn't happened to me (yet) but it does way on my mind as I really enjoy my beach fishing and going to remote beaches.

    Last edited by George77; 30-10-2019, 02:12 PM.

  • #2
    My personal experience with the toughest sand driving I’ve ever done was at 5 Rocks north of Rockhampton Qld. January a few yrs ago the sand was fine, soft, extremely dry and very hot. Had [email protected] 43 deg days followed by a cooler 37 deg day. There’s a long, long up hill sand track that starts off straight, but then gets tight and turny up top with no pull over bays until you breach a crest a fair way up. When we went up the first time it was a hard slog to get up but did it on the first attempt. Had to absolutely flog the guts out of the car in 2nd low and ring it’s neck at 5,000 rpm all the way. On our second day of camping we decided to go for a leisurely drive down the 2-way hill, back into town to get some ice and have an ice cream. On our way back to the base of the hill we encountered car park hell. Cars were lined up 6 deep and the front runners had repeated goes at going up. Took 30 mins before it was our go. I had 15 psi in the tyres on advice by the shop keeper in town. He said the sand driving at 5 Rocks wasn’t like anywhere else in Qld. He said it wasn’t like Fraser or Moreton. He said 15 psi max, but be prepared to go down to 8. My first attempt was with 15. Gunned it up in 2nd gear low, flogging it. Got up to the tight turns and flicked the steering wheel side to side to side rapidly to turn the sharp bends while flicking walls of sand from the front tyres into the air 5 meters high.... And then we got stuck. Dodgy as hell having to back down blind corners in mega soft sand with impatient drivers flying up behind you too soon. 2nd attempt failed. Was concerned about rolling a tyre off a rim on the front from the hard cornering & slamming the sidewalls into the edge of the ruts in each turn. Dropped down to 10 psi and did it on the 4th attempt. I’d never encountered anything like it before. In soft sand once I gained more experience I’ve always used 2nd gear low for speed, torque and momentum. 1st low is no good as you don’t go quick enough and just high range in soft sand quite often doesn’t produce the power to muscle your way through boggy sand without dropping speed rapidly at times. The most important thing though, go hard when you absolutely need to. It’ll get you through 90% of the time.
    Last edited by Brett1979; 31-10-2019, 09:37 PM.
    2005 120 series V6 Grande, 2 inch susp lift (King/EFS combo), 32 inch MT’s, Safari Snorkel, rear diff lock, breathers, Light Force spotlights, UHF, dual batteries.


    • #3
      Attached is video of a trip down to Bremer Bay in 2016. At about the 20 minute mark we get to the eastern end of Foster Beach and decide to try and get up a monster dune that makes Calcup look like a picnic. The others were driving common rails or petrol engines and eventually made it up after some effort so then it was my turn in my old 95 series diesel. The track was badly chopped up in places by this time so I kept losing momentum at the same spots resulting in a number of attempts to get to the top. Eventually I found starting in 2nd low, then changing into 3rd ASAP and then hammering it got me almost to the top, only requiring winching the last 20 metres, and that was only because we were running out of time. I reckon I would have made it on the fifth attempt. From memory my tyre pressures were down to 8-10psi.


      • #4
        Right so... You have everything just right and still don`t make it up the sand dune. My first thing would be to drop another 5 psi and add a bit more go peddle. If that fails ( and we are thinking you are all alone) Then drop the pressure down to maybe 8-10 but if I had to do some tricky sharp turns I wouldn`t like to go below 12psi. If thats still no good i would be looking at the Maxtracs but this is going to be a iffy prospect as they work ok on flat sand but on a hill best you can hope is 1metre at a time!!!!
        So this brings us to the winch.... Who really has a sand anchor on board I have never seen one in many years of 4wding. The only thing would be to get the trusty shovel out and bury you spare tyre real deep and winch from that. ( never done it though)


        • #5
          Great vid thanks. Awesome country. I used to live in Albany and did numerous fishing trips to Reef Beach but never made to Fosters. If you didn't have a winch I wonder if you could use maxtrax and slowly eek up that last 20m?


          • #6
            Thanks for the reply aocc.

            I wondered.about using 4 maxtrax and just slowly making your way up the hill. I reckon if you were absolutely desperate it could work.
            Last edited by George77; 31-10-2019, 08:31 PM.