stay on hard sand until you get it lifted a little with wider tires to disperse the weight a little. that is a heavy vehicle for soft sand and skinny tires. you dont want to get that thing stuck while in 4x4 unless you have a buddy vehicle of almost equal size.
About how much higher should it be and how much will it cost to get it lifted.
Right now it has 265/70/16 Michelins Cross Terrain SUV's on it, are those the same as all terrains? Will they work for now? They look brand new and it be kind of hard to convince my wife to buy new tires.
Get the metric equivalent of 31X10.50 and you should have no problem. I run a set of those on my 90 suburban and until I started having trouble with the front drive shaft slipping, I never had any problems with soft sand. I also didn't have to lift the truck for that size tires.
Been driving burbs for over 10 yrs, They are better in sand than pickups because of the weight distribution. Look a Capt. Billy, he's been driving them for ever.
To keep from buying tires invest in a good air pump, then you can just lower your tire air pressure to about 18 psi and walk across that sugar sand.
It will do alot better than you think the way it sits. Had a friend that drove one thru more than I would have tried with standard factory tires.
Hve fun and catch a few big ones
The buddy system is the way to go on your first few trips.
Honestly it will probably suit your needs as is. First of all stay away from agressive tires. You don't want anything that will dig (wider would be great). I think a 2" lift kit would be a good idea. I used to play with 4x4's. I had a 84 Chevy swb pu with 4" susp. lift 2"body 300hp 350 4bm on 38 radial SuperSwampers. It was hell on wheels in the rice fields but you had to be carefull on the sand. If you need any further help let me know, I'll do all I can. Oh yeah bud thanks for the tip on the 3/0 wide kits. I haven't heard anything yet but I certainly appreciate the effort. Feel free to email me if you want. Hell of a nice ride bud. I'm happy for you.
285/75/16 or very close to it is a good size to go with. No mud terrain tires, they dig in the sand too much and will get you stuck before helping you. My first truck was a blazer w/ 38" swampers and it did alright but would overheat because the tires would do too much digging in the soft sand. You want weight distribution. My last truck was a chevy z-71 w/35 x 14.5" tires and 6" lift and did great but was overkill for a beach. The truck I have now is an expedition w/ 3" lift and 33" bfg all terrains and is suited perfect for the beach. Your tires should be fine but they are a little skinny is all I was saying. You should be able to fit 285/75/16 all terrains on it which is equal to 31/10.5" tires.
BTW if you dont have the autotrack system in the suburban the lifts are not that expensive for 3". In the $500 range. My 6" on the z was around $2000 including installation but that replaces the entire front end of the truck. The 3" just gives you longer control arms or a drop pitman arm which cuts the cost of the lift significantly. If you have the Autotrack you are SOL on cheap lifts though. Autotrack is like all time 4x4. I have a similar all time 4 on my expy which is great on slick roads and dirt roads for handling but is hell on MPG
I've got a 2001 4x4 Blazer. It's an s-10 and not near as heavy but has the same weight distribution. Very different than a truck. I put 30x9.50 BFG A/T and I love the look it gives my blazer but my stock Laredo tires did better in the soft sand than the bfg's do...they dig in ALOT more. It takes alot more gas to go a long way on the beach in soft sand...ie...PINS trip. I have slowed down fishing way up matagorda beach due to the gas situation. The big upside to the offroad tires is when your not in the sand. There are plenty of places around the beach that can bury you in a min. Having those good tires means the difference from getting out or getting your wallet out for a tow. I pulled a full size f150 4x4 out of the mud at high island. He had those stock goodyear wranglers on it...he was smart and didn't bury it so it was really easy to yank him out. A word about road driving.....I find the bfg a/t's to be very harsh on the road and also very hard to keep balanced...just my own experience. I actually like the road ride on the mud terrains better....just my opinion...
One more thing.....do yourself and your suburban a favor and get some offroad shocks installed. i'm not a mechanic and I did it myself. I have the rancho rsx-9000x shocks. They are very adjustable for road driving or offroad driving, you can even get a switch to adjust the ride that mounts indash. They were very affordable considering how much they help your stock ride when getting into the beach driving environment. It can get pretty rough in the remote areas where you need a 4x4. The feel of the ride on my blazer is totally different now...much much better.
I think the gas situation has more to due with lack of power in an S-10, I used to have one and moving to the bigger tires is a B. My expy sees no difference when driving on the sand to the road. Going to the end of pins and back would take me a about 1/3 tank maybe a little more. That is what I would get out of it on the road too. My old z would use half a tank but it was a hog anyhow. I really never sweat the gas thing too much though. My boat takes $200 plus for a solid day of fishing so I try to keep in all in perspective.
you could also look into a body lift... they are a whole lot cheaper than suspention lifts.. i got mine for something like $200.... and it was a 3 inch lift... i was able to fit 32x11.50 tires on there after that pretty easy... i could probablly fit 33x12.50's but dont want those cause i will eat up more gas..... these tires i have now run great in the sand even though i dont have 4x4 lol .... body lifts are pretty easy to install too... my friend and i put mine on in 2 days... but it should only take 1 lol
I have had a body lift and they are good for looks but fall apart after a couple of years. They put extra stress on the mounting location on the body and after lots of offroad use they will pull out and you will start dropping the poly spacers out. I used my truck with the body lift offroad alot and ended up loosing 3 spacers total. Never had any problem with any suspension. The body lift is harder in my opinion to put on than a 3" suspension. There is alot of cutting and bracket relocation for the body lift. With the 3" suspension you put blocks on the rear and the hardest thing would take a couple of hours for an inexperienced person which is putting on either the drop control arm or spindle. Much sterdier than the body lift. Every truck I have had has been lifted. 1 with body lift 3 with suspension. I learned from my mistake with the body lift on the first one. Again if it is going to be used on the road/for looks mainly then you should be alright with the body lift.
Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it. I don't want to get into any trouble down the beach so i'm really absorbing all this usefull info. My family and I drove down PINS this evening. We drove about 6 miles past the 4WD drive sign and drove through some really soft stuff. I pushed the 4HI right away and we went right through it. I don't know if I did the right thing or not but we did not get stuck.
I wanted to go further but I was traveling by myself with my family and we were losing daylight quick and didnt want to risk getting stuck in the dark.
Can you all tell me the when is the best time to use 4HI, 4LO, and Auto 4WD.
Also is the Auto 4WD drive the same thing as the auto track you all were mentioning earlier?
Oh and should I stop before I engage in either 4hi or 4lo? Or can I just push the button while i'm driving. If not, well I already did it once LOL.
The ride was bumpy, but the boys loved it. The electronic lumbar support on the captains chairs came in usefull with the bumps.
What kind of equipment should I carry when I go down PINS. So far i'v come up with a shovel, Lou mentioned an air pump and gauge.
Oh say I get a flat how do I keep the jack from sinking in the sand while trying top lift the truck
I feel like i'm asking alot of dumb questions and i'm sure i'll have alot more but this is my first 4WD and I want the trips down the beach to be an enjoyable expereince.
For 4x4 low you need to STOP and put the trany in NEUTRAL then put in low only in extreme conditions. 4x4 high you can put in at all speeds to a certain 50 mph as far as auto 4x4 that is auto trac as we were saying.. it knows when there is slippage in the tires/differental I keep a strap and just a regular safety kit. flairs,firstaid kit, triangle. My F250 has a 12000 lb winch, but thats another story..for a flat..find some wood to stabilize the jack in the sand. hope this helps.. I have 3-4x4 trucks and believe in them!
I've been on the beaches in 4X4's since '75. I think that you new rig will do just
fine. One thing I would suggest you pick up is 50'-100' of 1" nylon rope. It makes
an excellent "snatch strap" that will allow others to help if required. If you can
put eye splices in each end that would be fine, if not learn to tie a bowline.
Fred, nearly all modern 4X4 auto trannys are still set up for running on pavement, not soft sand. The shift points are set at too low RPM for low speed driving in soft sand, so a lot of 4x4s overheat on the beach.
When you are in soft sand, keep a eye on the temp gage, if it begins to climb, shift to 4X4 low. This will increase the RPM your engine is turning and make the cooling system pull more air through the radiator. Most people on the beach wait until they get in much worse conditions to shift into 4X4 low than they really should.
Lugging along in 4X4 high through long stretches of deep soft sand is much worse for your engine, than the extra RPM you turn at the same speed in 4X4 low. Just because your truck has the power to lug through a bad stretch, don't mean you should abuse it by not downshifting. If its a short stretch, 1/4 mile or less, you're probably not going to hurt much by not downshifting, unless its really bad,