Subaru XV Crosstrek Forums banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,941 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I request that Twist2Stop and other experienced off-road drivers please contribute to this. And I would like this thread to eventually become a sticky thread.

As I have found an excellent sand-driving and general off-road advice website here:

On the Beach in a Forester
http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0000/je0607-1.html


Please please PLEASE do contribute if you find any great off-road advice, regarding driving techniques, survival equipment, recovery equipment, recovery techniques, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
That is a good article. There are a few things I can add. First off, I am a North Carolina native and was lucky enough to grow up in a place where driving on the beach is allowed. I have been "driving" on the beach since I was about four years old, sitting on my dad's lap and steering. Back then there were no laws to the contrary so once I could reach the pedals, I was driving on the beach long before I could drive on the pavement. I've been stuck on the beach and many other places and have extracted stuck vehicles literally over 1000 times, from the beach and other places.

At 24 I joined the Army where my MOS was Satellite Communications. My driving ability was recognized and though it was far from my MOS, I was given the duty of Company Master driver and awarded a driver's badge. I was called upon to train and license many troops to drive both on road and off road in mountainous, icy and muddy conditions in a variety of vehicles. One of my favorite jobs was that of a high speed evacuation driver, assigned to a mountain near North Korea.

I'm still an avid off roader and anymore we basically don't go home until we have pushed the limits far enough to break something bad or get stuck in a situation that requires real ingenuity to get out of.

Some key points;
-The Subarus often boast better ground clearance than most trucks. Bottoming out in a traditional 4x4 means your axle or maybe a skid plate is touching the ground. In a Subaru, it means your whole car is touching the ground. So getting unstuck is more of a pain, as you have a lot more digging to do and it takes more force to get moving again. That said, if you don't dig yourself down until the tires are spinning freely, the Subaru's can often be pushed out by hand with a couple friends and light throttle pressure.

-Momentum is key. If you begin spinning, STOP. It's never too late to lower the tire pressure. 15-20PSI is a good target so the 17 he said in the article is great. Mud is more tricky as sometimes more tire pressure is better but I won't get into that. Once your tires are aired down, back straight up in the tracks you already made with light throttle pressure. If the tires are spinning, it is OK as long as you are still moving BACKWARDS. You just don't want them to spin fast, because you will dig a hole. If you stop moving, take your foot off the gas immediately. The idea is to stay on top of the sand. If you can go forward without spinning, do so as far as you can, making yourself a packed rut that you can get momentum on. You may only be able to gain an inch at a time, backing out of there, but eventually you will get out if you don't panic and dig a hole.

-Tires ... the best sand tire is a bald street tire. If sand is your only goal, don't mess with trying to figure out how to put some all terrain or mud terrain tires on your Subaru. Street tires are great because when they spin, you won't dig a hole. In sand, spinning is not good, but digging is your worst enemy. If you must spin, don't dig!

-Wet sand. Stay away from it. Yeah it seems nice to drive down on that hard stuff near the water but if it's salt water, that sand and the spray coming off the water will rust your car like nobody's business. Another rule of thumb is, if the water hits your tires, you are stuck. Ever stood in one spot by the ocean until the waves made the sand cover up your feet? The same can happen to your car, and faster because it is heavier. Good luck finding someone else willing to drive down to the water and pull you out. It will also be much harder once your car gets wet. I have seen plenty of vehicles lost to the rising tide. If salt water gets inside your car, even if you get it out, that car might as well be totaled. Stay away from puddles on the beach for all the same reasons.

-I didn't like what he said about taking all of the tension off the snatch rope before pulling on it. A good snatch rope will be very gentle, and will stretch out storing 5-6 times the amount of towing force that simply pulling on a chain or non-elastic rope will make. The tow vehicle will need to use that energy and momentum to it's advantage. Like he said though, do not try snatching on a regular tow strap or chain. This will break stuff in a hurry. Those devices are made for slow steady force. Also, do not attach an elastic snatch rope or strap to something that can come off as that will become a projectile moving at 100+mph and will destroy whatever it hits.

-Another thing he left out is heat. When a car, especially a car with it's entire under carriage resting on the ground is running, it is generating a lot of heat that cannot go anywhere. This is compounded by hot days on hot sand. I have seen cars burst into flames many times when left running while stuck.

-Another thing worth reiterating is momentum when changing lanes. Don't try getting in the next ruts over without a good head of steam built up. Never try it from a stop. Just use steady throttle pressure only when traveling at minimal effort. If your car is already struggling, don't bother.

-Low range is great for deep sand. Subarus don't have it. Your gas mileage will be in the 2-8MPG range while driving your Subaru on the beach. This tells me it is working pretty darn hard. The hotter a car gets, the less power it makes. Be sure to service your differentials and engine oil more often when putting this kind of stress on your Subaru. The oils break down and do not lubricate as well once they have seen extreme heat. The only Subarus I have been in on the beach were turbos and they had plenty of power for the really deep stuff. Some of the lower powered N/A cars may have a hard time, especially when it's really hot out. I have been in 4x4 trucks that simply were unable to move, even with low range. In this case you may have to wait it out until the vehicle cools down and the sun goes down and some more dense air moves in. The sand will also be easier to drive on at night because of the moisture in the air.

-The easiest time to drive on the beach is when it's raining or has just rained. The hardest is when it hasn't rained in a week or more. Hot, dry sand is merciless. Just because you do fine in the morning doesn't mean you will be leaving on the same sand you came in on if you stay out there for a few hours and the temperature really rises.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Here is a video of my dad's Outback XT on Ocracoke in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is some of the softest sand you will ever come across. My dad has years of experience driving Subarus on the beach and 40 years experience driving in sand. He knows what he is doing and still got his stuck one day. This is one of my XJs with a small lift and 31x10.5 inch tires on it. It has a locker in the front which changes some things but there is a lot to be learned from this video;

-First off, my dad was being a horse's ass. He was trying to get me stuck so he kept blowing his tires out in the sand and digging holes. Sometimes he would even go forward, making a mound I had to pull him over and a hole to pull him out of. He knows better.

-I began bottoming out so I started turning my wheels to fill in the ruts as I backed up. Normally you want to back straight up. I wasn't worried about getting stuck so I was trying to make the ruts less deep, mainly for him. The Jeep being locked in the front also assured me I would push sand steadily without digging one tire down when turning the wheels.

-Notice when I start and stop on the gas. I start moving very gradually and when the momentum stops I stop. I also don't use the brakes. You don't need brakes in sand and they will get you stuck.

-At the end I decided if he wanted to be an ass I was going to make myself a road good enough to drag him out whether he was ready to stop playing or not. By backing up and going forward on top of the sand I packed the sand down and made a road in the ruts. Then I built up a few tons of energy and snatched him out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiYJ3WnycQs&list=UUV7jEhGBEwbVtrl7BxhILlw&index=21
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,941 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Twist2Stop! That's exactly what I was hoping to get on this thread. I feel enlightened after reading all that, thanks so much!


And I know this is the general maintenance section, but I'm going to post this anyways.

The Subaru off-roader's must-have modifications list.


MODIFICATIONS
* Front skid plate, trans guard, and rear differential guard
* Trans cooler especially for automatic/CVT (and other miscellaneous coolers such as engine oil, power steering fluid as necessary)
* upgraded clutch for manual transmission (for improved torque capacity and higher heat resistance)
* Differential coolers (a bit excessive, but possibly safe insurance for severe conditions)
* breather extensions for transmission and differentials
* Fan cutoff switches (for deep water crossings)
* VDC and ABS cutoff switches (for when ABS hinders stopping, and for when VDC becomes too intrusive)
* All-terrain or off-road tires
* Center differential lock for automatic/CVT
* front and rear LSDs (clutch or torque-sensing) or custom locking differentials
* Strut lift kit
* Lift/Overload heavy-duty springs w/ upgraded struts (preferably KYB)
* Sway/anti-roll bar quick disconnect fasteners (made of 2" stainless clevis pins, stainless flat washers, and stainless cotter rings)
* Lights (including spotlights, fog lights, driving lights, reverse lights, work lights, etc)
* Front off-road bumper bar w/ winch mount (and shackles/tow hooks, if possible)
* Winch
* Rear off-road bumper bar (spare wheel mount and shackles/tow hooks, if possible,)
* Off-road wheels
* Snorkel
* CB and HAM radios
* Heavy-duty roof basket
* Rally-spec or custom upgraded heavy-duty fenderliners (stainless-steel, aluminum, or heavy-duty plastic such as Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene [UHMW-PE])


Skid plates keep your underbody and mechanicals free from direct damage.
The transmission cooler is necessary for automatics because it puts the transmission under a lot of stress.
Differential coolers are most likely excessive and I personally feel they won't make a difference for most.
Breather extensions are a MUST for deeper water crossings. Same goes to the fan cutoff switches, because you don't want to damage your fans while going through a deep water crossing.
VDC and ABS can help you, but they can actually also hinder you off-road in certain situations.
All-terrain tires make great all-purpose tires, while true off-road tires (such as mud terrains) will provide maximum off-road traction on most surfaces at the expense of on-road manners. I don't think most XV owners will go that route.
Though the center differential is good enough for most, if you do encounter extreme off-road situations, a custom center diff lock switch may help your Subaru's off-road capability.
LSDs don't provide the absolute best for off-road use (if anything, they better suit the can-do-all attitude of the XV), but custom lockers (likely expensive and labor-intensive) will make a Subaru very effective off-road compared to just an open differential and VDC.
Strut lift kit will add however much more ground clearance you wish to have, there are quite a lot of strut lift kits available for Subaru vehicles.
Lift springs add even more ground clearance, and some are designed with overload conditions in mind (such as extra cargo, towing, etc), making your Subaru more suitable for towing and heavy load of cargo.
A modification I found on SubaruForester.org, it allows you to quickly disconnect your sway bars without any tools for extra articulation, and then you can quickly re-attach them for driving on the pavement again.

The rest of the modifications are mostly self-explanatory. Hope more people chime in!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,941 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think at this point this may need to be moved to the new off-road section.

Checking in again, I'm adding in a slightly-modified list below.


Subaru OFF-ROAD MODIFICATIONS AND EQUIPMENT LIST

MODIFICATIONS
* Front skid plate, trans guard, and rear differential guard
* Trans cooler especially for automatic/CVT (and other miscellaneous coolers such as engine oil, power steering fluid as necessary)
* upgraded clutch for manual transmission (for improved torque capacity and higher heat resistance)
* Differential coolers (a bit excessive, but possibly safe insurance for severe conditions)
* breather extensions for transmission and differentials
* Fan cutoff switches (for deep water crossings)
* VDC and ABS cutoff switches (for when ABS hinders stopping, and for when VDC becomes too intrusive)
* All-terrain or off-road tires
* Center differential lock for automatic/CVT
* front and rear LSDs (clutch or torque-sensing) or custom locking differentials
* Strut lift kit
* Lift/Overload heavy-duty springs (Pedders Suspension, King Springs, Ironman 4X4) w/ upgraded struts (preferably KYB)
* Sway/anti-roll bar quick disconnect fasteners (made of 2" stainless clevis pins, stainless flat washers, and stainless cotter rings)
* Lights (including spotlights, fog lights, driving lights, reverse lights, work lights, etc)
* Upgraded alternator and upgraded battery (if using additional lighting and/or winch)
* Front off-road bumper bar w/ winch mount (and shackles/tow hooks, if possible)
* Winch
* Rear off-road bumper bar (spare wheel mount and shackles/tow hooks, if possible,)
* Off-road wheels
* Snorkel
* CB and HAM radios
* Heavy-duty roof basket
* Rally-spec or custom upgraded heavy-duty fenderliners (stainless-steel, aluminum, or heavy-duty plastic such as Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene [UHMW-PE])

EQUIPMENT
* full-size spares(s)
* shovel
* recovery strap
* tow strap
* long heavy-duty rope
* heavy-duty duct tape
* scissor jack or off-road specific jack
* jack board (used to prevent jack from sinking)
* fire extinguisher
* flashlight
* portable air compressor
* tire pressure gauge
* recovery boards (such as maxtrax)
* FLEX-TRAX GoClaws (rubber tire chain substitute, SnowClaws have better clearance than GoClaws but SnowClaws are pavement-use only)
* chain saw, axe/hatchet, and bush saw/machete (for debris clearing)
* CB and HAM radios (if not installed on vehicle)
* spare fuel (at least one 5-gallon fuel tank)
* FIRST AID KIT
* WILDERNESS SURVIVAL KIT


I would greatly appreciate it if anyone else could give any more input or additional tips :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Good reading guys.
I did a LOT of offroading in my wrangler...sold it a few years ago. Did the Rubicon trail in '05 or so, had a really good time.

I doubt anyone is going to be that hardcore with a Crosstrek, but you never know I guess. LOL.

Perhaps a list for light offroading or 'soft-road' as they are now calling it, would help those that want to drive their subie into the woods or service roads and such.

Also, I didn't see a tool and spares kit but maybe I just overlooked it. But yeah, basic wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and some spares, like zipties, wire, tape, etc. I think I saw duct tape on the list. Something with some basics so if you have a minor failure or something falls off or gets smashed you can make some kind of field repair to get you out.

A tow-strap. Just having one along is vital. If you do happen to get high-centered and stuck, surely somebody in a truck will come along and if neither of you have a tow-strap they can't help you. At least the subie has a tow-hook in the kit to screw into front or back. If you have a tow hitch in back, you can put the loop-end of a tow strap over the hitch pin.

A roof basket is a great idea, some of this stuff can go up there, like the strap. Then clamp on a shovel, or at least have one along. Same deal - if you get stuck you may be able to dig yourself out.

A compressor and a plugger is a great idea. Even to air back up if you do air down. I used to carry a CO2 bottle to air up 35's, we would run about 8lbs of air in them, but they needed closer to 30 to run on the hiway. A portable unit to plug into a cigar lighter is better than nothing.

Have some spare clothes along, a tarp, extra food and water, in case you really get stuck and have to wait for help. Flashlight definitely, and one of those head-lamp thingies that you put on your head. If you get caught out at night and need to work on something you'll be glad you have one.

All the jeepers carry a high-lift jack. I did, a fancy green centenial one, but I think I only used it once. And you need a place to jack on the vehicle which the subie does not have. So I wouldn't rate this as a must-have. Besides they are really heavy and bulky. I wouldn't want one on a roof rack. I think they're about 30-40lbs.

A winch was mentioned, but they need a way to be mounted on a vehicle, and frankly, if you're wheeling that hard that you need one you probly bought the wrong vehicle.

Extra fuel was mentioned, but really, with a 400 mile range or so on the 'trek, it's probably just extraneous weight and bulk, and you have to find a place to put it, or mount a can. Seriously, though, I would throw and empty 1-gal gas can in that roof rack, just for an emergency so you go fetch some gas if you should happen to run out.

Mostly this stuff is pretty common sense, but you don't think if them 'till you're there and you need to rescue yourself. With experience comes wisdom. ;)

That's all I can think of for now. Will keep an eye on the thread for sure.

My TJ going through the 'gate-keeper' on the Rubicon. And yes, we always used spotters for really technical sections. Lifted and locked on 35's, which these days is just average. Now they're running 37's, 38"s and who knows what. LOL

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
CJ I too came from wheeling jeeps. If people get that extreme with these I'll be stoked haha Had a JK on 35s that was a DD/wheeler and had a TJ on 42s at one point. That was short lived though, we ended up rolling it thanks to a poor spotter call.

All of that is good info to ad! Especially the tools and first aid stuff, I doubt these cars will get too rowdy. Just be weary of using the hitch pin as a pull point if you do get stuck. I have seen the side load pull the pin through the hitch (sheared the cotter pin) which obviously got a bit dangerous pretty fast. Probably a freak incident but still. They do offer d-ring mount points that fit into hitches which would be much safer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Subir_roo said:
CJ I too came from wheeling jeeps. If people get that extreme with these I'll be stoked haha Had a JK on 35s that was a DD/wheeler and had a TJ on 42s at one point. That was short lived though, we ended up rolling it thanks to a poor spotter call.

All of that is good info to ad! Especially the tools and first aid stuff, I doubt these cars will get too rowdy. Just be weary of using the hitch pin as a pull point if you do get stuck. I have seen the side load pull the pin through the hitch (sheared the cotter pin) which obviously got a bit dangerous pretty fast. Probably a freak incident but still. They do offer d-ring mount points that fit into hitches which would be much safer.
Sheesh...boats and jeeps, bikes, and a Crosstrek. What, are you my brother????? LOL.

My last run in the jeep it almost rolled, front right over the top. Spotters grabbed the bumper and kept it from going over. Scared the living bejeezus out of me. With lockers and steep inclines, it's not that hard. I got to thinking this is pretty stupid with about $30K invested. As it turned out, wifey wanted a bigger boat so it got sold. Miss that thing though. A guy came along and paid me all that I had into it, he was stoked.

I was going to mention the hitch insert, but it's a heavy thing to carry around, and I doubt most would bother leaving it in the reciever all the time. Mainly a 'trek offroad just needs a strap to pull them up or back should they get stuck or high-centered. And just make sure it has a loop on each end and not a metal fitting - those can be extremely dangerous if they break or the strap comes loose and it whips. But yeah, a side pull on any point is a bad idea...and yes, sometimes you have no choice. I had one of those pully things where you could triangulate or double pull with your winch cable. Synthetic cable too, stuff was great.

Here's what one of those hitch insert recovery point thingies look like. This one is from AMAZAON for $74 - a bit steep IMHO. Check at 4-Wheel Parts for this stuff, even Harbor Freight.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
That's exactly what I was talking about! And maybe I am.... ???

I loved that thing but a lot of money went down the tubes when it got rolled. Spotter wasn't paying enough attention to the rear end. Came of a rock a bit funky on minesweeper and rolled right over onto the roof. Thankfully everyone was fine but the jeep was ruined, roll cage held up well but body was done and the engine didn't appreciate trying to run upside down. Most of the running gear was ok minus a couple tires that ripped off the rims even with the bead locks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Subir_roo said:
That's exactly what I was talking about! And maybe I am.... ???

I loved that thing but a lot of money went down the tubes when it got rolled. Spotter wasn't paying enough attention to the rear end. Came of a rock a bit funky on minesweeper and rolled right over onto the roof. Thankfully everyone was fine but the jeep was ruined, roll cage held up well but body was done and the engine didn't appreciate trying to run upside down. Most of the running gear was ok minus a couple tires that ripped off the rims even with the bead locks.

Pics or it didn't happen... ;D LOL


Here's our group staging at Loon Lake, entrance to the famous Rubicon Trail in Eldorado Forest, CA. I painted my trash bag. 8)
BTW, we mentioned fuel...notice I carried water instead of fuel. The former was more important than the latter. Besides, having a spigot handy was..well...really handy! You can see the Co2 tank on the back rack as well. What is interesting is these jeeps weigh about 3200-3300 stock. Just about the same as a crosstrek. I weighed mine after the build up and it came in at just over 4700. Yikes!! Mileage was downright crappy.






At the top of the famous Cadillac Hill. It takes 3 days to drive 11 miles. We can ride it out and back in about four hours on a motorcycle. Six of us left, only four survived. One guy completly blew up his detroit locker in the rear diff. I took out my tailpipe, had to cut it off at the axle. One of the guys had pheumatic tools, another an onboard welder.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
I'll have to dig up the pics from the TJ. They're on my external hard drive somewhere.

Here's the last jeep I had, was just getting into building it then things changed and I had to sell her. This is just before we added the winch but everything else was pretty much done. This was take on Coney Flats while waiting on a YJ that stalled right in the middle of a long ass puddle.


'


Everyone keeps asking me why I didn't get an orange XV after driving that thing around for so long!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Subir_roo said:
>snip

Everyone keeps asking me why I didn't get an orange XV after driving that thing around for so long!
Hell yeah!! Nice looking 4-door, and orange to boot!

I got out just before the new V6's came along. I see they put Dana 44's in them now. Certainly a lot better than the stupid ol' 35's they use to put in them. I had a 44 made up with a ARB in it, was a nice upgrade. Ran the front 30 open. Every once in awhile a spotter would yell "lock it!" and I would have to laugh. Having one in the rear was all I ever needed. I did a quick browse on the new ones, actually considered it for a bit while car shopping. Decided the 'trek would be a lot easier to live with as a daily driver.

It's interesting all these jeeper guys getting Crosstreks. Is very telling of the qualities of the car. I'm really digging mine!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
I love mine. Once it warms up I'll do a TON of the easy trails around here with it. Come up to Boulder sometime and we can run a few.

That JK was running a locked D44 rear and a limited slip D30 front. I never ever felt the need for the front locker, and I loved the limited slip in the snow.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top