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i couldnt find any threads on this so i figured i would start one. I am a begginer on the trails. This is my first jeep and first veh to have in the trails. I try and get out as much as possible b.c i love it. I am still kind of worried what to do in certain situations. such as......


1. When i approach what looks to be a fairly deep puddle?

2. Do i accelerate hard threw the puddle or go slowly but at a steady pace?

3. If there is mud do i go slowly but at a steady pace?

there are more just have to think of them. For all you guys that are new to the trails post some questions and for all you experts plz help and post some answers. Thank you
 

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Driving in the NJ pine barrens is unlike most off road driving. The combination of sand, mud, and alot of water makes for a very challenging drive.

1. WATER - The most important thing about water is to go slow. You want the water to stay on the outside of the engine. If you enter water too fast you run the risk of water in your intake and your breathers on your axles or t-case. You need to keep a steady pase through the water especially if its deep, don't slow down or speed up. The most important thing is to enter slowly.

2. Sand - Sand especially with water acts completely different from mud. In sand and water a 29" tire can dig a 35" hole. A spinning tire creates a wash affect that will push all of that traction giving sand away from your treads. If you rev up your engine and spin your tires in sand you will sink to the frame. The key here is to enter the hole with a little more momentem than just a water hole. Keep your throttle steady but you may need to give it some power if you start to feel resistance from the water. Keep turning your wheels slightly side to side to keep a bite solid ground. The most important thing is if you stop DO NOT floor the throttle. First try to back up and pick a new line. If you can't back up or go forword your last hope is to have a good strap and a good buddy.

3. Mud - The key to mud is power and traction. A good set of tires and a heavy foot. Mud unlike sand requires wheels spin. You don't want to try to dig a hole but you do need good momentem when you enter and keep on the throttle. Like in sand its helpful to turn your wheels side to side as you go to keep a fresh bite on solid ground.

4. Rocks - I don't have alot to say for driving on the rocks. I have taken a TJ through some kind of hell when it comes to rocks, but the XK has not seen that yet. The most important thing with rocks is to know your vehicle. Ground clearance is important, or good skid plates. Pick your line carefully, try to imagine where your tires will travel over the rocks as you look ahead of you. Rock crawling is all about low gearing. Having a 3.73 gear ratio is great because it multiplies your engines power, and power is always useful on rocks.

5. Strapping - The most important thing about off road driving is to know when to give up. It is possible to get stuck. I think your not really trying to have fun unless you get stuck. You always want to push your vehicle farther than it has gone before and conquer new ground, that sometimes means you make bad decisions. Not if but when you get stuck remember not to dig a hole. It is easier to be pulled out if your tires are touching the ground.
 

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In deep water, you want to create a "bow wake" in front of your vehicle. This will allow you to pass through deeper water than otherwise possible without fear of ingesting it into the engine. So the answer to your question is not too slow and not too fast. You have to get the speed just right. The last thing you want to do is suck up water into your intake. Remember that water does not compress.
 

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another tip

keep your thumbs on the outside of the wheel. if you hit something hard and your steering wheel spins really quickly, it could break your thumbs.

check the dept of the water before you enter. look before you leap.

after 4 wheeling do a walk around and check out your jeep. make sure you have not broken anything before you hoop back on the highway.

tread lightly and keep the trails open, or i will hunt you down and beat you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thank you for all of this honestly it is all great advice and i tend to use it to my advantage when we hit a trail where i will need this information plzz any more info chime in and let me and the new guys know. this is all such useful info. thank you once again.
 

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If at all possible, have someone spot your line on rock trails to help guide you through it. The last thing you want is to smack down on something and break your XK!!!!
 

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I've always plowed through water (granted, not too deep) at a decent speed to get that splash effect. From the pics my wife has taken, I don't suck up water because it all gets pushed to the outside and up, leaving a clearing in front of the Jeep without water. But, I agree that in deeper, or unknown water conditions, the best bet is a moderate pace and don't stop in the middle!

For rocks, get a spotter and do what they say.

I haven't had too much fun in mud yet, so I'm not sure about that one.

For sand, steady and moderate is best. I'm sure you've probably gone through all the old videos and pics of people playing around, just look at those and you'll probably see both what you SHOULD do, and what you shouldn't.
 

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My few words of advice:

Try to put your tires on the highest rock in your path to raise your clearence, the normal tendency is to avoid the rocks.

Use a spotter if you have one, but be sure the spotter and you understand how to spot.

Only follow the directions of your chosen spotter, I have seen times when several people try to spot at the same time.

Straddle the ravines or low spots if you can. You can often drive at a level attitude right up a trail with a washed out ravine in the middle of it.

Slow elegant controlled driving is much better than fast driving usually to reduce body damage, but sometimes you do have to go for it, but be sure you know where you are going. Don't crest any hill fast if you do not know what is on the other side.

I think that the best drivers I have ever seen make it look easy by being smooth and controlled.

just my opinions.
 

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if you search videos on the web, jeep has put out many "driving offroad training videos that echo many of these tips listed here and they show demonstrations of what to do and NOT to do...
 

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great info. thanks for starting this thread.
 

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When mudding make sure you pull your abs pump fuse to totally disengae your traction control and ESP. Failure to do so will result in you getting burried! I found out the hard way.
 

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If you find yourself stalled out in deep water, do not try to restart. Have someone pull you out then need to take out plugs and check for water.
 

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UberCommander said:
I am still not sold on this.
The following was copied and pasted from the first page:

3. Mud - The key to mud is power and traction. A good set of tires and a heavy foot. Mud unlike sand requires wheels spin. You don't want to try to dig a hole but you do need good momentem when you enter and keep on the throttle. Like in sand its helpful to turn your wheels side to side as you go to keep a fresh bite on solid ground.

Now explain to me how you going to power your Commander through mud and spin your tires when the traction control/ABS kicks in and stops power to the wheels that are spinning since they are in MUD?

I'm not saying this is for each Commander but it is definately a must for guys with QT II. Now if you have QD II then I dont know since you have limited slip differentials.
 

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CrzCajun said:
If you find yourself stalled out in deep water, do not try to restart. Have someone pull you out then need to take out plugs and check for water.
Thats a good one blake. I found out the hard way with this one too. I tried going through a huge water/mud hole in 2WD with my old lifted Ford Ranger. Well it died in the middle and me not knowing tried starting it back up. As soon as it started I snapped a piston in half.

It would probablly also be smart to change out your airfilter or let it dry out prior to starting the vehicle!
 

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From my playing in the mud, I will say that the traction control did help me. I also remeber the thread that shows how having TC helped. There was one time in the snow that the Jeep system was working against me. I had the ESP on and it kept taking the power away from the engine. Here is a video that shows a QT2 JC going through some good mud and I am sure the he did not pull a fuse. Great video
 

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UberCommander said:
From my playing in the mud, I will say that the traction control did help me. I also remeber the thread that shows how having TC helped. There was one time in the snow that the Jeep system was working against me. I had the ESP on and it kept taking the power away from the engine. Here is a video that shows a QT2 JC going through some good mud and I am sure the he did not pull a fuse. Great video
When I first started out it seemed that the Commander was doing fine in the mud with the Traction Control until I got into the really deep nasty mud. Thats when it wouldnt allow my to spin the tires. Im sure if you are on a trail which is wet and a little muddy the traction control might help. In my senerio it didnt. After taking out the fuse I went down the same trail and made it without any problems.

BTW in that video he wasnt going through mud. That was water. This is a picture of going through mud!
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Uber is correct I didn't pull any fuse but I did shut the ESP down to its lowest level. If you push and hold the ESP button for 5 seconds it turns it almost all the way off. After doing that I can get enought spin to sling mud all over the place.
 

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Great information, thanks to the new guy for asking. that is the best thing about this forum, lots of great advise.
 
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