off-road driving for beginners?

GregR1

Full Member
hi all!

is there a guide on here that would be good for a beginner such as myself - you know, first truck, first anything with 4x4, wanting to play a bit but not break stuff?  what mods / adjustments / prep should i do to a stock avy 1500 to have some fun going off the beaten path?  i'm thinking fundamental things, like a "stage 1" prep.  i still wanna keep the thing as a daily driver, though - mostly winter and bad days that prevent me from riding the motorbike to commute.

skid plates?  i guess the Z71 package gives them all.  bushings?  replace certain bolts?  add a trans cooler?  reprogram the ecu and trans controller?  add reinforcement?  remove something?
 

newavguy

PM 2017
PM 2015
SM 2014
PM 2013
PM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2010
SM 2009
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
Full Member
Don't worry about playing, the first foot of snow you get you will have more than enough fun. These AV's are great in the snow
 

Schelbi

Cruise Coord
Full Member
Hi Greg, :wave:

I did the same a few weeks ago. My first day in a special offroad driving area. It was a old stone pit in Germany.

All I've done to my 2002 Z71 was deflating the tires. On the road I have 4.5bar = 65 psi.

Before drive offroad I deflated the tires to 1.5bar = 21 psi.

That makes a big difference :D The grip was very good even with AT tires on the slippery wet stones and deep mud. (y)


My next mod for offroad driving is relocating the trailer power outlet. My stock bracket was ripped off by the stones.

And I want to lift my rear end with coil spacers around 2''.


I hope this was a little help for your next offroad adventures :D

Ahhh, wait a minute. I forgot the most important mod: take a good digital camera with you and show us a lot of pics >:D

Schelbi.
 

Alaska_AV.

Cruise Coord
SM 2003
Full Member
Buy an 80's Toyota 4x4 and flog it then trailer it home behind the Avalanche!


If you have to play with the AV, a simple 3" bodylift will double what it can do

if you have the means get a 6"+suspension lift


The must do's

  good tires, All terrains to mudders, they relay help

  Move the trailer plug to the bumper! stop dragging it

  a recovery strap and good jack, shovel,  duct tape, hose pieces and clamps

  A friend to help you get stuck/unstuck

an a camera!
 

gn85

Full Member
- Don't go alone! Very important.  I had it put to me very wisely by a park ranger that had to come pull my truck out. 

"Four Wheel Drive is only good for getting you stuck further back in the woods" - Maryland DNR Officer

- The obvious.  Know your truck, your ability and your trail.  Don't be afraid to pull off the trail and walk ahead.  Take a look at what's coming.  Devise a plan.  Have a spotter if your visibility is limited or you're trying a tricky maneuver. 

- If this is a public ORV trail, make sure you have the proper permits, required equipment and trail rules.  Some examples.  Where I go camping, they've recently implemented a one-way policy so riders are not having head-on collisions.  On Assateague Island, you are required to have equipment like shovels, tire pressure gauge and large piece of board so a jack doesn't sink in the sand.

- Also, you can check with local off-road clubs.  The often have websites and even forums like this.

- You mentioned Z71 in your original post.  Do you have a Z71.  I'm asking because of the locking rear.  Make sure you have an understanding of how that works and can help you in different situations. 

- Know the right speed for a situation.  A lot of off-roading is getting enough momentum but not so much speed that you damage equipment or lose control. 

- Know how to approach and go over obstacles.  If you're going over a hill that will likely hi-center (not enough ground clearance causing contact between the ground and your frame/ underbody between the wheels).  Instead of going straight, trying going at a 30 or 45 degree angle. 

  <--- NOT ME

Had this Jeep gone over at an angle he would have made each wheel climb over individually keeping more wheels in contact with the ground.  I hope that makes sense.

- "When you're in a hole, stop digging!"  - unknown

It's good to know when you still have a chance of getting out of a stuck situation and when you are just digging yourself in.  When you first get stuck, and your tires are spinning try turning your steering wheel back and forth while spinning.  I also vary the throttle (on and off the throttle). Turning the wheel will give your tires new dirt to grab onto and rock the vehicle.  Make sure you have the clearance to turn your wheels.

- Make sure your spare is properly inflated.  It's real easy to overlook UNTIL YA NEED IT!

- Make sure you have a first aid kit (not just a few band aids).  Remember, you're back in the woods and getting help to you may not be that easy. 

If I think of more things I'll chime in. 
 

GregR1

Full Member
thanks for the tidbits so far!  so, most of the items i can pick up without a massive expense and just keep in one of the side lockers - like straps, shovels, first aid kit, tire pump, etc.

now, i guess i'll get my first taste of what 4wd is all about in the snow, but that might be 2-3 months away (sick how i'm actually hoping it snows earlier - the motorbike rider in me should be ashamed).  i'll find a local 4x4 club to get some trail-buddies, but the mention of recovery straps got me thinking:

1 - should i invest in a winch as one of the first things?  on my Z71 with cladding, is it a simple install or do i need to buy other brackets and stuff?

2 - should i look at replacing the front hooks with solid closed loops like the current F150's have?

3 - when my truck was up on a hoist today (the safety check guy didn't do a good job on the parking brake  :rolleyes:), i noticed the rear sway bar.  do you guys just leave it connected, or unbolt it?
 

Alaska_AV.

Cruise Coord
SM 2003
Full Member
2 - should i look at replacing the front hooks with solid closed loops like the current F150's have?

YES
the hooks are not for recovery!  Many have made that mistake and lost glass and teath!
 

james21

Cruise Coord
PM 2019
PM 2014
PM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
SM 2005
SM 2004
SM 2003
Full Member
Alaska_AV. said:
2 - should i look at replacing the front hooks with solid closed loops like the current F150's have?

YES
the hooks are not for recovery!  Many have made that mistake and lost glass and teath!
Oh yeah I know that all to well. I had one of mine ripped out about 4 yrs ago, right before I got my winch bumper with the shackles. It wasn't pretty, trying to extract a F250 from a mudpit, I was the only other truck around at the time, and the guy was just too stuck for my AV to pull out, luckily the hook just ripped off and went airborne, no one got hit with it or the strap.

Oh and when your using a strap or a winch, and this is extremely important, make sure you put a coat, or a blanket or something on that line, (something light) just so that if it snaps, that line will go to the ground, instead of going into your truck or worse yourself.

-James.
 

JT

Charter Member
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
Full Member
james21 said:
Oh and when your using a strap or a winch, and this is extremely important, make sure you put a coat, or a blanket or something on that line, (something light) just so that if it snaps, that line will go to the ground, instead of going into your truck or worse yourself.

-James.
Great advice! We had a guy killed here recently from a chain that came through his windshield as they were trying to pull him out of a mud hole.
 

GregR1

Full Member
james21 said:
Oh and when your using a strap or a winch, and this is extremely important, make sure you put a coat, or a blanket or something on that line, (something light) just so that if it snaps, that line will go to the ground, instead of going into your truck or worse yourself.

-James.
more details?  do you just sorta drape it over the line somewhere in the middle?  do you clip it on with some cheap small alligator type clips?  i was looking on the Superwinch site last night, and noticed that they have a towel kinda tossed on the line, but i thought that was just to help make it more visible so that people don't walk into it or trip over it.
 

ShapeShifter

PM 2013
PM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2010
SM 2009
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
SM 2005
SM 2004
SM 2003
Full Member
GregR1 said:
more details?  do you just sorta drape it over the line somewhere in the middle?
Yes, just drape it. I suppose you could clip it in place if you want, but it's not necessary.

You are basically just giving the line some wind resistance. That way if it snaps, it will tend to take the towel/coat/blanket with it. The wind resistance from the sudden movement will absorb a lot of the energy stored in the taught line, and will help to prevent it from whipping and hurting someone.

That's the theory, at least... It may not prevent an injury in all cases, but at least you tried...
 

james21

Cruise Coord
PM 2019
PM 2014
PM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
SM 2005
SM 2004
SM 2003
Full Member
GregR1 said:
more details?  do you just sorta drape it over the line somewhere in the middle?  do you clip it on with some cheap small alligator type clips?  i was looking on the Superwinch site last night, and noticed that they have a towel kinda tossed on the line, but i thought that was just to help make it more visible so that people don't walk into it or trip over it.
Basically, people are going to stay far, far, very far away from that line when winching. The only people that could be in harms way are the person operating the winch, and the driver of the rig if it is being winched out.

-James.
 

gn85

Full Member
james21 said:
Basically, people are going to stay far, far, very far away from that line when winching. The only people that could be in harms way are the person operating the winch, and the driver of the rig if it is being winched out.

-James.
Actually, let me chime in on this and give some advice.  Don't expect others to know to stay clear of the cable.  BE RESPONSIBLE.  Make sure your area is clear of bystanders and those involved are clear as to what is going to happen. 

I've pulled plenty of people (and large pieces of firewood) out with cable, tow ropes and chains.  People like to 'watch' these things.  Just make sure everyone is out of the way.  I've had people stand between people and my truck.  I can easily see the truck sliding sideway pinning someone.  But not everyone knows these things. 

Please be careful. 
 

FLINTaVa

Silent Avalanches In Memoriam
PM 2016
PM 2015
PM 2014
PM 2013
PM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2010
SM 2009
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
SM 2005
SM 2004
SM 2003
Full Member
It all depends what you mean by "offroad".

Best advice is know the limits of the vehicle and your driving skills. I could take my '94 S10 Ext cab (2WD 4 cyl engine) most anywhere I've driven my Z71 Avalanche. I had a regular 4x4 Avalanche too, no skid plates or locking rearend. Main difference is I can afford to be a little more careless with skidplates.

I stuck an S10 Blazer 4x4 on the railroad tracks once, I was able to cut the wheels and rock it until I found some grip. Had I went over the incline and tracks slightly diagonal (which I did on my return from that trail) no problem.

Same trail with an Avalanche ? you'd be a beached whale on the tracks if you tried to go over slow and straight. The wheel base is too long but you could punch over the tracks with a bit of speed. (skid plates) even lifted could beach

Snow is another story, Avalanche weight can be a plus or minus  :D 
 

brevity_thing

Full Member
Great thread and good info!

I learned a lot from watching Land Rover off-road training videos.  There is one that is related to the Camel Trophy competitions in the 90's, that has bonus features that are off road driving techniques.  They cover fording water, sand, crossing ditches, embankments, sloped surfaces, ascent and descent, and winching.

If anyone wants a copy PM me.

I have been beating up my old Jeep off road, and yeah, I plan to tow it with the Avy.  But there is part of me that wants to take a trip out west and try some mountain pass trails with the big truck!  My nephew lives in Utah, and he has taken me on some mostly mild 4x4-only trails at Browns Park and Dinosaur.  I know the Avy could do that stuff, and it would be fun!
 

chavey

SM 2012
SM 2011
SM 2010
SM 2009
SM 2008
SM 2007
SM 2006
SM 2005
Full Member
Yeah,the AV can easily do beginner and some intermatiate trails.  Not so much ground clearance, but wheel base issues.  I was much longer than the jeeps so had to do allot of 3 point (and 5 point and 7 point. . . .) turns.

Check out my Backroads trip.  Avy handled it EASY.
 

Mace Bigelow

Full Member
I am going to respond on my experience alone. I have been wheeling/mudding for 20 years and went from blazer to jeep to land cruiser.

The main things encountering:
MUD
1. Tires-This makes all the difference. If you are going in with street or mild ATs expect clogging and spinning
2. Clearance-You can have the baddest set of knobby mud flinging self clinging mudders but if you have no lower carriage clearance-expect to get stuck on that.
3. Cooling-When in mud you WILL clog up that radiator so make sure you got some jugs of water to clear the fins
4. Momentum-As others might has said. Splashing into a mud hole is just asking for problems. Take it slow and let the gearing work for you.
5. Equipment-I have seen people mudding with "one tire" fire (limited front slip-non-posi) and they just bog down. Make sure your 4x4 works and works effectively.

DIRT/HILLS
1. Tires arent that important, now its pressure and grip. You might have to lower the PSI AFTER you attempt a climb. Dont count yourself out without trying.
2. Clearance Again. If you arent lifted enough, you will bottom out. Sometimes you might have to angle in and out.
3. Cooling When you are in low gear and hardly moving-its gonna get hot, so keep an eye on that temp gauge.
4. Equip. Same as above.

I dont have experience in sand or snow


Extra must haves: Water, MREs, Shovel, Oil/Tranny fluid, tow straps, fuel can (prefer empty) Hose and clamps with inserts, extra serp/belts, tire plug kit/ , small tool set, hi lift jack, Small air compressor, CB radio, extra phone (minutes type) and finally but not least-a booster pack

Could use extras: Winch, Onboard generator/welder, self extractor (dig in shovel for winch for self recovery)


Hope it helps. Stay safe.
 
Top