R51 bad off-road capabilities?

General off-roading discussions...what's in your trail kit?

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labsy
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R51 bad off-road capabilities?

Postby labsy » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:38 pm

Hi,

I like to do light off-roading with my 2006 Pathy, and what I noticed is it goes like a tank until certain point, then it does not kinda stuck, but STUCKS like a block of concrete.
Driving mostly on mud and snow, I got stuck several times in past few months. For example, wet grass soaked my Pathy instantly, from moving slowly to total stop. Could not move a bit in either direction. Driving today in 50 cm (20 inches) wet snow went fine, smooth, until it stopped, belly on stucked snow and would not move again.

Ok, call me stupid, but when I watch others doing off-road, they do stuck, but they try recovery going back and forth few times....but that's not case with R51 Pathfinder - when it stucks, you cannot get it even and inch back in any drive setting. Brand new 31,5'' GoodYear Duratracs, ESP on/off, 4Hi, 4Lo, pulling handbrake, throwing gravel and stones under wheels, full gas or just a gentle touch...nothing moves this 2,4 Tone roar. Not even a bit!

Is it me or just gravity?


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eieio
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Postby eieio » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:58 pm

mash the pedal! :)

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labsy
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Postby labsy » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:20 pm

eieio wrote:mash the pedal! :)
No go, tried every known off-road driving technique I know. All I got was stucking few meters before of after original spot, but when stuck, could not move a bit backwards :?

I guess this rig is just too heavy for serious off-roading.

Thus thinking of installing airbags rear to have a bit of chance to raise back end and get some grip.

azaizai
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Postby azaizai » Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:58 am

I was having similar problems climbing a muddy, snowy hill.

I'd tried going up the hill slowly in 4Lo and got to a mushy point and started spinning tires and making little progress. I backed down a little bit and tried again in 4Lo with a little more speed, with a little more pedal. Same thing.

So I backed all the way down the hill, switched it to 4Hi and let her go. I wasnt going retardedly fast, but it was uncomfortably fast for my wife. When we hit the mushy spot it was like it wasnt there. I could feel the spin, and a milisecond of lag, and then we just moved on past.

I think with the virtual traction difs, speed and pedal are king. Its not going to rock crawl or slow go...but if you just gotta get through something, give it more speed and gas pedal. Otherwise when the ABS limits one wheel to get traction on the other you wont have enough go juice to make a difference.

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labsy
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Postby labsy » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:47 pm

You are probably very right. Inertia is well worth considering factor with those heavy vehicles. The only bad is when you don't know what's under snowy blanket, some hidden hole, grass, gravel or roughly ploughed field, like in my last episode :roll:
Obviously I need to get used to use more inertia.

Kestral
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Postby Kestral » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:21 pm

I actually find my 2012 Pathy better in the snow then my 2006 Toyota 4Runner. The 4Runner's traction control would kick in with the smallest slip of the tire and just bog down and you could not move at all and you could not turn it off. I find the traction control more progressive on my Pathy and you can shut it off or so it seems I don't really know if the switch totally disengages the Trac control or just retards it's function.

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disallow
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Postby disallow » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:43 pm

I have no issues with the offroad capabilities of the path. tires make a HUGE difference though.

azaizai
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Postby azaizai » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:52 am

Ya labsy, I feel ya there. I knew that hill like the back of my hand so there wasnt too much to worry about.

I guess we have to pick our spots a little better...or win the lottery and invest in some differentials and lockers lol

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doctahjones
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Postby doctahjones » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:32 am

if you drag the frame in any vehicle, you're not going to go anywhere. tires need weight on them to be able to have enough friction to move the vehicle, and if your pathy gets to a spot where the ground starts touching the undercarriage then you will start removing weight off the tires.

i know with a 2in lift and 33" tires i can only clear ~14in in the front, so if you've only gone from the 29in OEM tires to the 31.5in tires then you can probably only clear 10-11in of muck before you're going to start dragging the frame.

so, i would say the pathfinder is just fine for dry offroading, but if you plan on taking it through some big mud trenches, you'll probably get stuck.


all that said, as long as i'm not dragging/floating the frame i've had no issues in mud or snow.

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labsy
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Postby labsy » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:48 pm

doctahjones wrote:all that said, as long as i'm not dragging/floating the frame i've had no issues in mud or snow.
Exactly! Seems like my Pathy is unstoppable until frame sits on the ground...then it cannot move anymore in any direction.

So theoretically, soaking rig into mud/snow depends on relative pressure to the ground and resistance of ground against soaking. So, bigger wheels by means of size and width would help a bit, but since from 256 width we cannot go to extremes like 345 without drastic mods, there's no big difference.

The other factor is how deep you can go before frame dragging to the ground. 2 inch lift would do some difference, so I'll probably go wit this with first funds leftover :)
Speaking those, I plan to upgrade front with Rancho lift kit (springs and dumpers), and back with spacers + airbags. Wish airbags or some simmilar solution would exist for front end, too.

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Touchdown
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Postby Touchdown » Fri May 22, 2015 8:07 am

Sorry to hear you're getting stuck. :(

In addition to the other knowledgeable replies, you might also consider the following:
- Lowering your air pressure to 20 PSI for snowy roads and 12 PSI for off road excursions. That will give you a much bigger contact patch and better traction.
- Turn VDC off when in 4 hi (auto off in 4 lo)
- Try manually shifting the truck into the 1st or 2nd gear for low range slow movement. It can auto shift up to 3rd or 4th even if you're going slow.
- After you get the lift, invest in 33" tires! It will make a difference.
- Add some weight to the back of the truck. Try placing a sand bag or two near the rear tailgate. This will help keep those rear tires biting!

Finally...yes you can go to a 35" tire, but in addition to the lift, you'll need wheel spacers and need to do a little trimming around the bottom of the front wheel wells.

Have fun with your Pathy, it's a very capable platform wherever you drive! :)

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NmexMAX
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Postby NmexMAX » Fri May 29, 2015 11:49 am

Touchdown wrote:Sorry to hear you're getting stuck. :(

In addition to the other knowledgeable replies, you might also consider the following:
- Lowering your air pressure to 20 PSI for snowy roads and 12 PSI for off road excursions. That will give you a much bigger contact patch and better traction.
- Turn VDC off when in 4 hi (auto off in 4 lo)
- Try manually shifting the truck into the 1st or 2nd gear for low range slow movement. It can auto shift up to 3rd or 4th even if you're going slow.
- After you get the lift, invest in 33" tires! It will make a difference.
- Add some weight to the back of the truck. Try placing a sand bag or two near the rear tailgate. This will help keep those rear tires biting!

Finally...yes you can go to a 35" tire, but in addition to the lift, you'll need wheel spacers and need to do a little trimming around the bottom of the front wheel wells.

Have fun with your Pathy, it's a very capable platform wherever you drive! :)
This is by far the best advice anyone can receive, along with the running start/inertia/frame dragging info. Airing down helps A LOT.

I got stuck about 8 feet from the paved road in only about 1.5 feet of snow, terrible and embarrassing.

Then as I gained more experience, I am now able to traverse through 2-3 feet of the stuff aired down and weighted down in the rear and manually shifting through the gears. Usually never go past 2nd in 4Lo in deep snow.

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Thupertrooper
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Postby Thupertrooper » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:24 pm

4wheeling in a pathy takes more driver experience then a jeep listen to the good advice though couldnt agree more the pathfinders are very capable just dont expect it to do the work for you :D keep 4wheeling have fun

Hawairish
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Traction

Postby Hawairish » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:25 am

I didn't see anyone mention the obvious, but gears and lockers are the best traction improvements you can do.

With an open diff, as soon as one tire to lose traction, you're stuck. And when that happens, your vehicle then asks one tire on the other axle to do all the work...with a very high probability that tire will become stuck, too. Not sure how good/bad the VDC is, and whether it provides any improvement to a stuck situation (by applying braking to the spinning wheel to transfer torque to the opposite wheel), but there's really no replacement for mechanical traction. Even a limited-slip is an improvement (if you have one), but as the name implies, it will permit slipping...and Nissan has dumbed them down since the 02 truck/SUV line-up.

There are locking options available for the R51. There's a group buy going on right now, btw (expires in about 10 days?) for a Lokka for the front axle of your vehicle (R180) for $250, which is a great deal (use Path15 at Lokka.com, expires soon, use website to confirm fitment). ARB also has front and rear air lockers...not cheap, but very effective.

Gearing is the other factor. When you've increased tire size, you've decreased gearing efficiency for off-roading. Gearing options are limited, unfortunately, but if there are any, it'll require a decent amount of research...no one's making gears specifically for the R51, but the axles it uses have been used in numerous other vehicles for generations and are relatively unchanged.

The semi-obvious caveat to the discussion is the terrain you're on. If you are on very muddy, slippery terrain, even lockers and gears won't be your answer unless you have the right tires. DuraTracs are good, but still might not have the lugging you require on wet/soft terrains (I have DuraTracs, too). A mud-terrain tire would offer more traction in, well...muddy terrain....but really any terrain where it's necessary to claw into it vs. crawl over it. Airing down, as previously suggested, is also a good way to increase your contact patch for any tire.

Lastly, if being stuck in general is a concern, be sure to pack appropriately. Tracks and a come-along can come in handy, with a winch being the best overall option.

my_kris2ffer
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Postby my_kris2ffer » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:14 am

Base in my offroading experienced, tyres and correct PSI you will never have problem


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