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Old 05-16-2000, 03:02 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 1249
Join Date: Apr 2000
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Chester County, PA
2000 OBS

Cool Driving an Impreza (OBS) on Sand and the Beach

The question has come up enough, that I think I'll post for the archives:

My take on driving an Impreza (OBS) onto the beach (after 2 seasons of experience):

First, go read SPD's comments on thrashing the frame: http://www.spdusa.com/offroad.htm. It ain't Dune Hopping, it's dune crawling.

These considerations apply to any vehicle:

You will *never* get all the sand out of the interior of the vehicle. You can try to minimize it, but if you go often, deal with it. It gets *everywhere*.

Salt and sand damage has to be considered carefully before taking any vehicle onto the beach. It will no doubt have a cumulative detrimental effect. Consider the fun versus risk factor. I got a quality undercoating put on my OBS, and after every trip I put it on the ramps and give it thorough bath, top and bottom, including the engine compartment. Leaves a pile of sand in the driveway. Anyway, around here every December through February, the cars get constantly coated in salt and cinders from the road, when it's a lot tougher to wash them, and the air here is soup. Ask me about this in 5 years (when I might have to trade-in for a turbo, dang), we'll see what the damage was.

*Stay above the high tide line!*

The specifics of driving an Impreza OBS on the beach:

Stuff to bring:
Board to put the jack onto
Tow Rope.
12V air compressor is helpful to reinflate the tires.

1st, let about half the air out of the tires. This increases your tires' "paw" print, so you stay on top of the sand, instead of digging in. I go to about 15 lbs, but then DE has very soft sand. 20 lbs might be good other places. Careful not to go too low, or you'll lose a tire bead. An Impreza has a much better contact patch to weight ratio than a truck; doesn't dig in as much.

Take it very slow, and drive very smoothly, as in deep snow, but moreso. Keep moving in tough spots. Any sudden movements can dig you in up to the axels. If this happens, *don't torch the clutch!* Get out and start digging, or get a tow. It only takes about 20 minutes to dig out (just dig where the wheels ain't). I know, I got stuck twice in the first month; never again.

Clearance in a stock OBS (~6 1/2") is barely adequate for most of the travelled beaches I've been on. Empty, an OBS can get most places, but with a passenger and some cargo, clearance quickly becomes a problem. Choose places to go that are not too rutted up by truck traffic. You also want to avoid thrashing the car; don't cross ruts, or do so at a smooth angle. When forced to drive in a rut, ride up on the side of the rut instead of down the middle, to get a little extra height. Avoid the capes, they have the most traffic and softest sand; you'll never make it. I've found several spots I can get to easily in DE and NC, as long as I keep the weight down. There are many more places I *won't* or can't take an OBS.

Go after a heavy rain, when the sand is flat. After Floyd blew through last fall, the beach was like a salt flat; the OBS didn't even break the crust. That night while fishing, during slack tide at 3 a.m., I went tooling up and down the beach; great fun. Mr. Ranger thought I was nuts!

*Stay above the high tide line!*

Definitely the kewlest vehicle on the beach. Gets lots of comments, like "You drive that out here?" "No, I <insert favorite snappy answer>."

Consider the risks carefully before you try it, and scout out your paths; then have fun!


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Old 05-16-2000, 10:51 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 817
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: El Segundo, CA, USA

I was wondering about this. I go to the GLAMIS Dunes with my Yamaha Banchee and Sand Rail all the time in the winter (summer is toooooo hot) and a big thing starting out there are the TRICKED out FORD RANGERS. I was like "Hmmmm I have a ALL WHEEL DRIVE SUBIE NOW, Wonder how it would do on the sand?". I just haven't had the chance to try it yet, nor do I think I will get the chance cuz I take a truck out there to tow my Rail with. But I was still thinking about it. maybe with some PHAT Adjustible Shocks lifted up a bit the car would do a bit better, and maybe if you put some Off Road style tires on the Stock rims that would really help to.

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